I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about the MCU. Thousands and thousands of words analyzing every single aspect of a fictional universe. But now I only care about one thing, both real and imaginary, and one thing only: the Rogers musical from the first Hawkeye trailer. How does this thing exist within the MCU? Where did it come from? When did it come from? How did it get to the stage so soon after the Blip? Those are just a few of the roughly one billion questions I am now determined to answer about the Captain America Broadway show.
When Did the Steve Rogers Musical Open on Broadway?
The Snap happened in 2018. Hawkeye takes place after the Blip, when Hulk brought half the universe back into existence in 2023. In-world evidence points to Avengers: Endgame taking place in October, with Thanos arriving at the Avengers complex on or about October 16. This date is why the Rogers musical is breaking my brain.
Hawkeye takes place during the Christmas season. The Rockefeller Center tree is already on display in the trailer. In our world, since 1994, the tree has gone up sometime between November 28 and December 5. That timeframe is the earliest Clint Barton could take his family to see the musical. However, the trailer also indicates they’re in New York City much closer to December 25. Christmas appears to be only a few days away. For this musical’s Broadway opening to make any sense, we need to give it as much time as we can following the Blip.
That would be even easier if we could also assume the show is still in previews during Hawkeye, and therefore had not officially opened for critics. Unfortunately the marquee of the (very real) Lunt-Fontanne Theater is covered in posters featuring critical praise for Rogers. If we give the show’s producers credit for turning around posters within days of those reviews publishing, the absolute latest we can say Rogers opened was sometime around December 15-18. With just two weeks of previews, the latest the musical opened to any theatergoers was sometime around December 1, roughly seven weeks after the Blip.
How Fast Can a Broadway Musical Go from Rehearsals to Opening Night?
We’re turning to the experts for this one. From Playbill:
“A Broadway show, like Rome, isn’t built in a day. The writing and developing of a play or musical can take years. Once it gets the green light to open in a Broadway house, things speed up considerably. Between the first day of rehearsal and the first preview, usually no more than a month or two pass.”
Under the best-of normal circumstances a Broadway show can go from its first cast rehearsal to its first preview in just a month. With seven weeks Rogers could theoretically pull that off. What it could not do though is be entirely written first. The music and score had to already exist before the Blip. And for reasons that will soon be clear, those possibly existed even before the Snap. First though, we have to answer some questions about the post-Blip world.
How Fast Can a Broadway Musical Go Up Amid Worldwide Chaos?
Both WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier showed the mayhem and confusion that followed the Blip. Instantly doubling the world’s population caused just as many problems as it solved. We know it resulted in major food shortages and housing issues. The number of people needing sustenance and lodging doubled, but supply lines, farms, and other vendors couldn’t immediately double production too. The Flag Smashers were still fighting against those problems six months after the Blip. Seven weeks anywhere—let alone a place with the population density of New York City—wouldn’t be enough time to get anything resembling normal entertainment up and running.
Especially since we saw in Avengers: Endgame that normal recreational activities like Major League Baseball had ceased operations entirely following the Snap. It’s unlikely Broadway remained open either. Turning around a big musical like Rogers in under two months, with an industry that had just been at a total standstill, would be an enormous undertaking during the best of circumstances. In the MCU the musical went up under the worst of circumstances.
The only advantage Rogers would seemingly have is a major pool of eager talent to pull from. With Broadway shuttered for five years, Rogers would have its pick of cast and crew with 50% of them not having worked in five years. While the other 50% would still be at the top of their game, having been dust all that time.
When Would People Want to See a Musical About an Avenger?
It’s hard to imagine that anyone wanted to watch a show about the heroes who failed to stop Thanos during the five years preceding the Blip. But the moment Steve Rogers and the Avengers brought everyone back, with the two most famous members (Steve and Tony) seemingly giving their lives to the cause? Absolutely. That musical would print money. It would be worth it to pay the ridiculous overhead and overtime costs to get it up as fast as possible. Strike while the iron is hot, you know?
That would be incredibly selfish though, diverting money and resources to entertainment while the world and New York City remained entirely broken. Especially for a musical that made money by turning violent acts of death and destruction into happy little song and dance performances. All of which raises another important question.
Would a Broadway Producer Be Greedy Enough to Capitalize On All of This?
Yes, obviously. Next.
When Was the Musical Written?
The only number shown from Rogers is a song based on the Battle of New York when Loki invaded the Big Apple in 2012. That gives us a baseline. This show is not about the Avengers. It’s about the life of Steve Rogers, a legendary figure who first entered the public’s consciousness during World War II. And whose career ended just seven weeks before the show began its previews.
That’s not necessarily a huge problem though. As Agent Coulson showed, the world still celebrated Steve Rogers 75 years after he went into the water. It’s very possible someone wrote a musical about Rogers’ life sometime between 2012 and the Blip. And even with the quick turnaround, a new ending and the addition of a new song or two could include Steve Rogers’ final act of heroism to make the show a celebration of his entire life.
It’s also possible the show was originally about the Avengers and it got reframed to focus on Steve. But the fact that this is only about Steve and not also Tony Stark strongly indicates it was always only about Captain America.
Clearly the overwhelming majority of the show’s music and score already existed before the Blip. When is hard to pinpoint, but the most logical explanation for how it opened less than two months after the Blip points to 2018 being its original opening target date.
Was Rogers in Production Before the Snap?
The most reasonable explanation is that Rogers did not need just seven weeks. The timeline makes more sense if it was already in production before the Snap. And to 50% of the cast and crew the last rehearsal was basically “yesterday,” before Thanos dusted them. That would help explain how the show got off the ground so quickly. It was already in production during the spring of 2018.
Even if all of Broadway didn’t shut down during those five miserable years, for reasons already stated the show wouldn’t have still opened pre-Blip. No one would see that post-Snap. Rogers could only ramp back up after the Avengers defeated Thanos for good. At which time it would be an ode to America’s oldest hero.
What’s the Real Story Behind the Fictional Rogers the Musical?
I hope Hawkeye gives us answers about this musical. I hope the show is mostly about it. It’s the only thing in the whole MCU I care about now. And I’m going to think about it every day until Hawkeye premieres. But until that day I’m going to imagine an ambitious Broadway producer with questionable morals took a pre-existing show about Steve Rogers, one that got derailed by the Mad Titan, and hyper-tracked it to Broadway to cash in on the public’s love and admiration for one of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
And hopefully that it has nothing to do with the actual Captain America musical that never got off the ground in 1985. Not everything that turns to dust should return.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike, and also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.