Meryl Streep

LORELAI: You’ll get to see the next Meryl Streep all goofy and eighteen and doing crap like, “Hey, name an occupation!” “Plumber!” “Name a farm tool now!” “Tractor!” “Hey, I’m a tractor doing . . . plumbing.”

Mary “Meryl” Streep (born 1949), often described as “the best actress of her generation”, particularly known for her versatility and accent adaptability. She has received numerous accolades throughout her career spanning over four decades, including a record 21 Academy Award nominations, winning three, and a record 32 Golden Globe Award nominations, winning eight.

She was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004, Gala Tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 2008, and Kennedy Center Honor in 2011 for her contribution to American culture. President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts in 2010, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. In 2003, the French government made her a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. She was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2017.

After receiving her BA from Vassar, Meryl Streep attended the Yale School of Drama, graduating in 1975. She has been mentioned several times as one of Lorelai’s favourite actresses. Lorelai references improv theatre, where actors must improvise a scene on the spot, often considered part of a young actor’s training.

Yale Drama School

LORELAI: That reminds me – Yale, best drama school bar none. Put that in the pro column.

The David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, founded in 1924, and providing training in theatre arts. It is a partner of the Yale Repertory Theatre, and is ranked as one of the very best theatre conservatories in the US. The Juilliard School in New York is usually said to be the best of all, however.

“There was a person inside that cow”

PARIS: Hey, I was trying to give the kid some human contact. He’s been talking to nothing but a cow for a year and a half.
BRAD: There was a person inside that cow, I’ve told you that!

The role of Milky White the cow in the 2002 Broadway production of Into the Woods was played by actor and singer Chad Kimball [pictured], who was also the understudy for Adam Wylie’s role of Jack. He has been in a few other Broadway shows, and several regional theatre productions.

Paris says Brad was in Into the Woods for a year and a half, but it was only about a year – perhaps she is counting rehearsal periods. However, Brad seems to have been missing from Chilton for around eleven months.

Paris Sings at Brad

PARIS: [sits down next to Brad; sings] I’ve got my beans at Grandma’s house, my magic beans at Grandma’s house … I’ll take my beans, my magic beans, who’s got the beans, we need some beans, I love the beans … Into the woods at Grandma’s house.

Paris sings a slight parody version of the “Prologue” to Into the Woods, previously mentioned. Although there is a refrain line of Into the woods at Grandma’s house, it doesn’t mention magic beans quite so often as Paris makes out. Nor are any of those few mentions sung by Jack.

Jerome Robbins

PARIS: I’m only saying it won’t be a totally satisfying victory just beating Jerome Robbins and the rest of the losers here. I’d really like to take you down also.
BRAD: Boy, she is really up on her theater references.

Jerome Robbins, born Jerome Rabinowitz (1918-1998), dancer, choreographer, film director, theatre director and producer who worked in classical ballet, on stage, film, and television. Among his numerous stage productions were West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof. Robbins was a five-time Tony Award-winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story, and a special Academy Honorary Award for his choreographic achievements on film.

Chita Rivera

BRAD: Paris, this time on stage has been a very growing experience for me. I’m no longer intimidated by you or people like you.
PARIS: I’m thrilled to hear it, Chita Rivera. Move.

Chita Rivera (born Dolores del Rivero Anderson in 1933), actress, singer and dancer best known for originating roles in Broadway musicals including Anita in West Side Story, Velma Kelly in Chicago, and the title role in Kiss of the Spider Woman. She has won three Tony Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement. She is the first Latina and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Les Mis and Cats

MADELINE: What about your costumes, ’cause that seems great.
LOUISE: Ooh, unless you’re doing Les Mis.
LOUISE: Furry spandex with a tail and jazz shoes?

Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis, musical and adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name, by Claude-Michel Schönberg (music), Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel (original French lyrics) and Herbert Kretzmer (English lyrics). The original French musical premiered in Paris in 1980; its English-language adaptation has been running in London since 1985, making it the longest-running musical in the West End. It ran on Broadway from 1987 until 2003 – it had been due to close in March 2003, but a surge of interest postponed its closure until May.

Cats, musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based upon the 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. Cats opened to positive reviews in the West End in 1981 and to mixed reviews on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards. Despite its unusual subject matter, the musical turned out to be an unprecedented commercial success. The London production ran for 21 years, closing in 2002, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years, closing in 2000.

Louise and Madeline probably don’t think the costumes for these productions would be great to keep, because in Les Misérables, the costumes are mostly the rags of convicts and peasants, while in Cats, they are cat costumes.

Nathan Lane

RORY: Hey Brad, good to have you back. How was Broadway?
BRAD: It was great, but Nathan Lane is a very bitter man.

Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane in 1956), actor. In a career spanning over 40 years he has been seen on stage and screen in roles both comedic and dramatic. Lane has received numerous awards including three Tony Awards, an Olivier Award, three Emmy Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Lane received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2008.

I’m not sure how Brad would have met Nathan Lane in 2002, as he wasn’t doing Broadway that year – three of his films were released that year, and he was in an episode of Sex and the City. Maybe he heard a lot of theatre gossip.