Entry in progress—B.P.
“The show must go wrong” is a variation of the saying that became popular in the 2000s.
Wikipedia: The show must go on
“The show must go on” is a well-known phrase in show business, meaning that regardless of what happens (such as the lead performer breaking a leg), the show must still be put on for the waiting patrons. Theatre veteran Noel Coward queried this cliché in the early 1950s, though, writing a song with the title “Why Must the Show Go On?”
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
The show must go on.
Wash. Post, 3 July 1879.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
the show must go on: things (orig. a circus or theatrical peformance) must carry on as planned despite difficulty, calamity, etc.; to get the show on the road: to get started (colloq.)
1941 E. HOLDING Speak of Devil xvii. 281 The hotel business is like the theatre. No matter what happens, the show must go on.
1943 Amer. N. & Q. Jan. 159/1 The Show Must Go On..is still primarily a circus slogan, although it can certainly be regarded as an axiom, in a lesser degree, of any form of show business, including the theatre.
1957 ‘GYPSY ROSE LEE’ Gypsy xxxiv. 309 Gertrude Lawrence, with a true show-must-go-on attitude had accepted my degree in absentia.
1961 L. MUMFORD City in History viii. 231 For the Roman the whole routine of the spectacle became a compulsive one: The show must go on!
1978 R. HILL Pinch of Snuff i. 10 How’d she look at the end of the film? I’ve heard that the show must go on, but this is ridiculous.
9 September 1879, New Haven (CT) Register, “Barnum Scared by Yellow Fever,” pg. 3:
If the St. Louis Globe of August 24 tells the truth, P. T. Barnum was stricken with the yellow fever scare while in St. Louis recently with his show. Some of the attaches of the circus learned of the proprietor’s alarm and visited him at the hotel to tender their aid and sympathy. What there occurred is told by the Globe as follows:
The great showman threw himself on an ottoman, and while he folded his hand across the front of his vest, he said:
“Bailey, where is that doctor of mine? He is never here when I want him. Fred go down and pay my bill; have my trunk packed and get me a sleeping car berth.”
“I’ve got the yellow fever. I know I have. Get me out of this quick.”
They saw he meant it and in a few hours after they had him on the train. As he parted with Fred Lawrence he said:
“Fred, be a good boy and if I die on the road I want you to kill the sea lion Dick, have old Phineas got up in good shape and put me in Dick’s cage. Haul me around, Fred, in the procession behind the calliope. Many’s the boy and girl who’ll worry their parents to buy tickets to see Barnum stuffed. The show must go on even after I am gone.”
The train pulled out and they saw the great Barnum no more.
New York City • Music/Dance/Theatre/Film • Sunday, January 18, 2009 • Permalink