Learn to Speak Razzle Dazzle in 3 easy steps

If you’ve ever seen the musical Chicago (and if you’re reading this blog, you better have!) you’ll remember Billy Flynn’s famous number, Razzle Dazzle. It’s one of my favorite show tunes and pops into my head most often when I’m at industry cocktail parties.

Tom Wopat is fluent in Razzle Dazzle on Broadway

When I first started attending these events, I was intimidated by the “accomplished” attendees who seemed to have done everything. While some truly had “done everything” others just knew how to Razzle Dazzle ‘em.

How to translate the language of cocktail party Razzle Dazzle in 3 examples:


  • “The musical I wrote is headed to Broadway”

This could mean he actually has a show that is opening on Broadway within the year. However, EVERY new musical is technically “headed to Broadway” but some have further to go — as in they may still be at the living room reading phase somewhere.

  • “I’m a producer”

This could mean that he is a bona fide Broadway producer, who can take your show all the way to the “Great White Way.” However, producer is a fairly vague term, with no solid definition, so it could mean a wide variety of other things (producing community theater, investing, producing high school shows) and still be a technically true statement.

  • “I was talking to my friend [insert VIP name here] and then yesterday with [insert different VIP name], etc”

We have all met shameless name droppers like this. It may be that this person is very connected and truly has a social circle of celebrities and VIPs. It may also mean that this person is facebook and twitter friends with these people. She’s not lying with her statement since in this age of easy access, we can all “talk to” these VIPs but that’s a far cry from the kind of friendship his statements may be implying.

You may or not be a Razzle Dazzler yourself but whether you realize it or not, people around you are speaking that language all the time. In a competitive industry, where networking and self-promotion are key, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can’t measure up to these (self-described) distinguished people. While the people who make statements like those I’ve listed above are absolutely speaking a version of the truth, there is undoubtedly a good dose of glitz and glamour between what you’re hearing and actual reality. But you can’t really fault them for it — this is show biz after all.

One comment

  1. Great post and so true! I am an actor and write my own blog, similar to yours and which you can find at my listed website*, from the actor’s perspective. I have often wondered if the person I’ve just met is doing exactly what you’ve described here, and I’m certain the answer is yes a large portion of the time.

    This post, and most of what I’ve read from you, can so clearly be applied to any aspect of the business. As a writer and a performer I greatly appreciate the advice you share with us all on a regular basis. Keep it coming!

    *please forgive the shameless plug

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