History of the Singapore Musical
Is There a Singapore Musical Theatre?
Singapore Musical Theatre
Prescription for Singapore Musicals
Content Development For Musicals
The Singapore Musical
Singapore Musical Theater
Creative Industries
Five Foot Broadway 2007
Musical Theatre Workshop
Musicals in the Raw
Why New Musicals?
Incubating Musicals
Impossible Dream
How to Write a Musical
Writing Musicals
Future of Musical Theatre
Musicals Dead?
Jukebox Musicals
The Story of Chess
Sondheim v Webber
Fred Ebb
Film Musicals List
Break a Leg
Musical Dissonance
Flop Musicals
Are Critics Necessary?
Writer's Block
Five Foot Broadway 2005
Report 5 Ft Broadway
The Next Wave
New Wave 3
Admiral's Odyssey, The
Atlas Unbound
Big Bang!
Bunga Mawar
But Now We See
Chang and Eng
Corporate Animals
Firefly in the Light
Forbidden City
Good History, A
I Have a Date with Spring
It's My Life
Kampong Amber
Kung Fu Tale, A
Lao Jiu
Lao Jiu (2012)
Lost in Transit
Magic Paintbrush
The Magic Paintbrush: the Musical
Makan Place
Making the Grade
Mortal Sins
Mr Beng
Nanyang the musical
Oi! Sleeping Beauty!
Pagoda Street
Phua Chu Kang
Roses & Hello
School House Rockz
Shanghai Blues
Sing to the Dawn
Singapura: the musical
Sleepless Town
Snow Queen, The
Snow Wolf Lake
So You Want to be a Nurse
24 Hours
Twist of Fate, A
Viva Lah! Singapura
Women on Canvas
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Break a Leg


Break a Leg!

"It's bad luck to say 'good luck' on opening night
Once it's said, you are dead
You will get the worst reviews
You've ever read!"

-  From The Producers: Book, Lyrics and Music by Mel Brooks

There is a theater superstition that if you wished your actor friends good luck before a performance, it might have the opposite effect, and lead to bad luck. Instead, you should tell them to "break a leg".

The origin of this phrase is obscure. One explanation suggests that after a performance it is customary for actors to go back on stage to take another curtain call, especially if the applause is prolonged. The longer the applause, the more times the actors reappeared to acknowledge the ovation. In the older theaters, the actors waited below the stage, and had to climb the rickety dangerous stairs to get back up, and if one fell, well, one might break a leg.

So if you wanted the actors to perform brilliantly, you might wish them to receive enthusiastic applause. However, returning for each curtain call would increase the risk of falling down the stairs. Therefore, by urging them to break a leg, you indirectly signal that their performance will be a magnificent one, and greatly applauded.

But a word of warning. During our festival of new musicals, Five Foot Broadway, we received so many requests for legs to be broken, that our narrator, Kevin, fell down a hole and suffered bad bruises to his leg, nearly breaking it. And our star performer, Ros, literally fell down the theater stairs and twisted her ankle. Fortunately she did not break her leg, but she needed to be on a wheelchair for the entire performances.