Ben Crawford in ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy)
Categories like “Songs from Broadway Musicals” or “The Tony Awards” are no strangers to “Jeopardy!”, but this week theater buffs would have won big if they knew the correct response to Monday night’s Final Jeopardy clue.
The category du jour was “Playwrights,” and the clue was as such: “This late writer has had 10 plays on Broadway, most of them set in Pittsburgh like Jitney, which premiered in 2017.” A few key hints helped two of the three contestants jot down the correct answer: buzzwords like Pittsburgh and 10 plays would help keen players identify August Wilson and his famed Century Cycle, which charts the lives of Black Americans in the 20th Century, using each historical decade, from 1904 to 1997, to spotlight their experiences. While Jitney is the first play Wilson wrote for his cycle, it was, per the “Jeopardy!” clue, the last to appear on Broadway: it played at the Samuel L. Friedman Theater in 2017.
August, a two-time Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony Award winner, passed away in 2005, but his memory continues to endure on stage and screen. His play Fences was an Oscar winner adapted to the screen in 2016, and Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom is currently streaming on Netflix and is up for several Golden Globe Awards.
Just as “Jeopardy!” honored Wilson, the hit game show (currently guest hosted by Ken Jennings after Alex Trebek’s death) has long celebrated Broadway via several fun categories and clues. Below, test your knowledge in just a handful of clues that have previously appeared on the show:
1. In 2001, he beat out Matthew Broderick, his co-star in The Producers, to win the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. (Who is Nathan Lane?)
2. In 2018, this actor ditched his shield to go from Captain America to bad cop in Lobby Hero. (Who is Chris Evans?)
3. The longest-running Broadway musical, The Phantom of the Opera, features a dramatic score by this composer. (Who is Andrew Lloyd Webber?)
4. The Sound of Music and this 1957 Broadway show each have a song called “Maria.” (What is West Side Story?)
5. “Long” after playwright Eugene O’Neill’s death, this tale of family dysfunction returned to Broadway in 2016. (What is Long Day’s Journey into Night?)