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The History Boys

The Broadway University faculty has come up with a quiz in honor of Presidents Day.

By New York City
Rembrandt Pearce's portrait of George Washington
(Photo © National Portrait Gallery)
Rembrandt Pearce's portrait of George Washington
(Photo © National Portrait Gallery)
In honor of Presidents Day, we professors at Broadway University have devised a little test to check your knowledge of musical theater songs in which presidents are mentioned. Here are the questions -- 43 of them, because there have been 43 U.S. presidents. However, as history buffs will immediately notice, all 43 presidents aren't commemorated. And you'll find that some shows, even some songs, are repeated in the quiz. But there's still enough here to tease your brain. For each lyric or bit of spoken dialogue below, please identify the song and the show from which it comes. All answers are due by this Thursday night.

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1. "You've seen the sign that says, 'George Washington once slept here?' Well, though nobody spied him, guess who was beside him?"

2. "I'm not suggesting he isn't A-1. He has a character like George Washington."

3. "I hear those trumpets begin to blare. And now I'm Washington upon the Delaware."

4. "For the first time in a year, Adams isn't here."

5. "Mr. Jefferson, dear Mr. Jefferson, I'm only 41; I still have my virility."

6. "Mr. Jefferson today is having a buffet, and he thought the bunch who came to lunch would like to hear them play."

7. "As Jefferson, you knew it! As Madison, you knew it! And now that you're Monroe, you surely ought to know!"

8. "Who'd have dreamed I'd be counting my sheep at night where Van Buren and Polk used to sleep at night?"

9. "Commodore Perry say hello! Also come memorial plaque President Fillmore wish bestow."

10. "Commodore Perry very fierce. Disregard confusion below. President Fillmore now named Pierce."

11. "Free now, thanks to yo', Massa Lincoln, emancipator."

12. "What he did to Shakespeare, Booth did to Lincoln."

13. "President Grant on campaign, making speeches from a train."

14. "Frankfurters, Boston beans, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, Popcorn, Sitting Bull, Ragtime Baby."

15. "Is it Hayes or Tilden? No one seems to know."

16. "Drew a crowd to his trial, led them in prayer, said, 'I killed Garfield, I'll make no denial.'"

17. "He was close advisor to President Grover Cleveland and served in the House of Representatives two full terms!"

18. "The Secret Service was at the ready. The recent assassination of President McKinley had been a lesson well-learned."

19. "Look! Now that Wilson is in and old Taft didn't win, hell, they're comin' to blows!"

20. "Who is ready to keep the foe at bay? Fight like Teddy and speak like Henry Clay?"

21. "Search for Warren Harding. Who's he?"

22. "You're a Coolidge dollar. You're the nimble tread on the feet of Fred Astaire."

23. "We're keeping cool with Coolidge. He's our pal! We're keeping cool with Cal!"

24. "They offered us Al Smith and Hoover; we paid attention, and we chose."

25. "When you've been through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoo-oo-oo-ver, anything else is a laugh."

26. "If Mr. Roosevelt decides to rule-la-la until the year 1944, he'd better teach Eleanor."

27. "We might have been left bereft of F.D.R."

28. "Truman's Bess ought to be you. His success ought to be you."

29. "That makes Ike the kind o'feller they like, and what's more, they seem to think he's gonna, but Harry won't get out."

30. "Hula hoops and nuclear war, Dr. Salk and Zsa Zsa Gabor, Harry Truman, Truman Capote, and Dewey."

31. "Not the Roosevelts, not the Trumans, not the Eisenhowers, no, this is not that kind of show."

32. "I might be mannish-ish or mouse-ish...but with thee, I'm Eisenhows-ish."

33. "While the right people stay at home with all those Kennedys."

34. "And I think that Mr. Eisenhower is absolutely swell." (Conductor means to correct her by tapping baton.) "Oh, really? When? I think that Mr. Kennedy is absolutely swell."

35. "J.F.K. to U.S. Steel, from jolly Nikita to Norman Vincent Peale."

36. "L.B.J. took the I.R.T. down to Fourth Street, U.S.A. When he got there, what did he see?"

37. "From here to Saud Araby, if Johnson blows his nose, run and hock the baby."

38. "Khruschev stopped screaming, and Librium came in, and Nixon didn't win."

39. "How can you say it's just a house? Is Jimmy Carter just a grin?"

40. "Man, Reagan's way worse than Nixon ever was."

41. "The Bushes of Tex. were nervous wrecks because their son was dim -- but look what happened to him."

42. "Your hair is only for now. George Bush is only for now."

43. "Bush is bad. Bush is bad. He's the worst president we've ever had."

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[To contact Peter Filichia directly, e-mail him at pfilichia@theatermania.com]


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