I threw myself a little Murder, She Wrote Marathon Party today.* I especially enjoyed the episode Mourning Among the Wisterias which originally aired on February 14, 1988 (Season 4, Episode 15). The writers were usually pretty astute about Angela Lansbury's Broadway connection and often threw in Sondheim references, but this one is just plain funny.
Eugene, a dying Pulitzer prize winning playwright, played by Barry Nelson, proposes to Jessica:
Eugene: Jessica, what I want is a legal wife to survive me. You're my only hope.
Jessica: It's about your play, isn't it?
Eugene: I'll be long gone before it opens. I want you to oversee the rehearsals, do any little rewrites that, you know, might be required. Make sure that Arnold [the producer] doesn't turn it into a musical on roller skates.
Given the timing of the episode, the reference** had to be about Starlight Express. It ran for 761 performances at the Gershwin on Broadway and it's still touring around Europe. In fact, roller skating on Broadway is more popular than one would believe. All of these shows have had roller skating scenes in them: Dance a Little Closer in 1983, The Rink in 1984, The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, Xanadu in 2007, and inconspicuously The Little Mermaid in 2007. Even the 1964 Funny Girl had a skating scene that was cut from Broadway but made it to the movie version.
*Day 8: no cocktails, no divas, no tickets***, well okay, I cheated slightly on that one glass of Riesling but that was really for medicinal purposes and divas at home don't count.
**When I was searching for the reference, I accidentally became obsessed with Starmites (I knew it was Star-something). And check out who introduced their performance at the 1989 Tony Awards. Ahhhh.
1:18 a.m. update I have just now been reminded by Noah and Kevin that we saw Sharon McNight perform this song Hard To Be Diva at the 2007 Theatre World Awards last June. We didn't know who in the world she was. She was going crazy and was all over the stage, all over the audience. And now look. Well, it is Hard To Be Diva after all.