A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 04, 2022
Eleven O’Clock Number (11 O’Clock Number)

An “11 o’clock number/song”—also called a “10 o’clock number/song”—is a showstopper, usually sung by a musical’s star as the second-to-last song in the show. For a show starting at 7:30 p.m., this might be at 10 o’clock, and for a show starting at 8:30 p.m., this might be at 11 o’clock. The name is still used for a matinee performance.

“Included were a groups of songs which he (Gene Barry—ed.) called his ‘11 o’clock songs,’ or melodies for after the show is over” was printed in The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA) on March 10, 1962, although the usage here is unclear. “The show (1776—ed.) casts the formal traditions of musical comedy to the winds. Not only is there no big brassy ‘ten o’clock number,’ no chorus line and little love interest, there isn’t even an intermission” was printed in the Atlanta (GA) Constitution on June 28, 1969.

Liza Minnelli popularized the term “11 o’clock song” in her first television special, Liza, in June 1970. “A number called ‘The 11 O’Clock Song’ gave Liza a cue to sing a lot of Broadway show-stoppers” was printed in the Los Angeles (CA) Times on June 30, 1970. “Her (Liza Minnelli—ed.) opening medley included such show-stoppers as ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,’ ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and ‘Cabaret.’ She called these the 11 o’clock songs—the numbers that come late in the show and knock an audience for a loop” was printed in the Daily News (New York, NY) on June 30, 1970.

TEN O’CLOCK NUMBER (formerly the ELEVEN O’CLOCK NUMBER) Contrary to what one might expect, the ten o’clock number is not necessarily performed at ten o’clock. On Broadway, since the curtain goes up at 7:30, it has generally come shortly after ten o’clock” was printed in the book The Language of Show Biz:  A Dictionary (1973) by Sherman L. Sergel. However, “11 o’clock number” has been usually used.


Wikipedia: 11 o’clock number
11 o’clock number is a theatre term for a big, show-stopping song that occurs late in the second act of a two-act musical, in which a major character, often the protagonist, comes to an important realization. Examples include “So Long Dearie” from Hello, Dolly!, “If He Walked Into My Life” from Mame, “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy, “Work the Wound” from Passing Strange, and “Cabaret” from Cabaret. It was so named because in the days when musical performances would start at 8:30 p.m., this song would occur around 11:00 p.m.

Among the theatre community, there is some debate as to the characteristics of an 11 o’clock number. It often signifies a moment of revelation or change in heart of a lead character, although there are exceptions to this. The 11 o’clock number is also differentiated from the finale in that it is not the final number in the show, but even this is not considered a requirement by some commenters. Broadway producer Jack Viertel defines an 11 o’clock number as “a final star turn”.

,a href=’https://www.newspapers.com/image/747515773/?terms=%2211%20o%27clock%20song%22&match=1&clipping_id=114213278">Newspapers.com
10 March 1962, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA), “Gene Barry Wows “Em At Chi Chi,” pg. 7, col. 1:
Included were a groups of songs which he (Gene Barry—ed.) called his “11 o’clock songs,” or melodies for after the show is over. Included were such evergreens as “Everything I’ve Got,” “Almost Like Being in Love” and “It’s Wonderful.”

Newspapers.com
28 June 1969, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “‘1776’ Success Big Surprise” by Diane Thomas, pg. 8-A, col. 1:
The show (1776—ed.) casts the formal traditions of musical comedy to the winds. Not only is there no big brassy “ten o’clock number,” no chorus line and little love interest, there isn’t even an intermission.

Newspapers.com
13 June 1970, The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), “TV Keynotes: They Waited for Liza” by Charles Witbeck, pg. 13, col. 2:
Since she was born into show business and grew up in it, Liza (Minnelli—ed.) will sing about it from a current point of view. Right off the bat, she lets go with Broadway showstoppers—the 11 o’clock songs—“Guys and Dolls,” “Shall We Dance,” “Hello Dolly!” “Cabaret,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Let the Sunshine In,”—songs the middle-aged set loves, hums and dance to at the country club.

Newspapers.com
30 June 1970, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “TV Review: Show’s Commercials Compete With Liza” by Cecil Smith, part IV, pg. 16, col. 5:
A number called “The 11 O’Clock Song” gave Liza a cue to sing a lot of Broadway show-stoppers; ...

Newspapers.com
30 June 1970, Daily News (New York, NY), “Lia Entertains Viewers In the Tradition of Judy” by Kay Gardella, pg. 67, col. 1:
Her (Liza Minnelli—ed.) opening medley included such show-stoppers as “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “Cabaret.” She called these the 11 o’clock songs—the numbers that come late in the show and knock an audience for a loop.

Newspapers.com
9 July 1972, Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, “Close-Up: Word Baker,” Enquirer Magazine, pg. 34, col. 3:
Word Baker: I think “Hair” changed the profile of theater forever. it was a landmark of such dimension that everything in musical theater is going to be different. It cut loose from any form of the old musical...the 11 o’clock number or the hero’s and the heroine’s duet with a this-and-a-that here and a dance there.

Google Books
The Language of Show Biz:
A Dictionary

By Sherman L. Sergel
Chicago, IL: The Dramatic Publishing Company
1973
Pg. 221:
TEN O’CLOCK NUMBER (formerly the ELEVEN O’CLOCK NUMBER)
Contrary to what one might expect, the ten o’clock number is not necessarily performed at ten o’clock. On Broadway, since the curtain goes up at 7:30, it has generally come shortly after ten o’clock. Equally traditional has been the attempt to make the last (new) number in a show a rousing blockbuster of a number, thereby helping to end the show on a high note. Since this number generally takes place in the vicinity of ten o’clock it has become known as the ten o’clock number though at the matinee the number, if you have it, occurs at five o’clock.

Newspapers.com
25 March 1973, Sunday News (New York, NY), “Movie Musicals: A Hit or Miss Affair” by Kathleen Carroll, Leisure sec., pg. 7, col. 3:
“We wanted to have an 11 o’clock number [theater terminology for the number that really grabs the audience],” says Dick Sherman.

Newspapers.com
31 December 1974, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, “Angela Lansbury brings some good news” by Earl Wilson, pg. 20, col. 1:
“I’m on the stage almost every minute like a pile-driver. One thing God gave me was energy. I really do an 11 o’clock number at 7:45 and another 11 o’clock number at the end of the show.”
(Angela Lansbury in Gypsy.—ed.)

Newspapers.com
14 October 1975, Evansville (IN) Press, “‘Salute to Broadway’ hits the mark part of the time” by Ridge Kennedy, pg. 13, col. 4:
The men are complemented by Miss Mimi Hines, a showstopper with her “11 o’clock” number from “Funny Girl,” and Miss Lainie Nelson, a gifted young vocalist.

23 July 1977, New York (NY) Times, “Fans Say ‘Hello9!’ to Touring ‘Dolly!’,” pg. 11, col. 3:
In the parlance of the Broadway theater, she (Carol Channing, in Hello, Dolly!—ed.) said, “It is my 11 o’clock number—it sums up the whole show.”

11 May 1978, New York (NY) Times, “‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ Born of Waller Music” by John Corry, pg. C17, col. 5:
It was though essential to “Ain’t Misbehavin’” that it be what Mr. Maltby, Mr. Faria and William Elliott, who had joined the show as a vocal arranger, called their “11 o’clock number.” This was to be the show-stopper, and hopefully it would be hilarious and sung by the two plump actresses.

25 October 1980, New York (NY) Times, “The 11 O’Clock Number” by Russell Baker, pg. 23, col. 1:
Coming as it does before the finale of the campaign, it is what people in the Broadway-musical business call “the eleven o’clock number.” That is, something a little livelier and different from what’ gone before, something to wake up the audience just before the show creaks to its predictable conclusion.

Newspapers.com
9 January 1981, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “‘Fables’ Not Just Kid Stuff To Puppeteer Luis Barroso” by Howard Posner, pg. 12-B, col. 4:
... “10 o’clock number” (show biz slang for a show-stopper).

Newspapers.com
20 November 1981, Daily News (New York, NY), “Kate stumbles, Jackie scores” by Rex Reed, pg. C20, col. 3:
The songs are not the greatest, and I don’t understand why nobody thought to give Jackie Robinson a show-stopping eleven o’clock number that might tie up the pieces of his life in a crescendo of rousing personal philosophy.

Newspapers.com
23 January 1983, The Home News (New Brunswick, NJ), “Road to N.Y. long for ‘Snoopy’” by Ernest Albrecht, pg. B23, col. 2:
Now, a song with a title like that suggests the kind of number that used to be called the 11 o’clock number, the Broadway musical show-stopper when the star takes center stage and tops everything that has gone before.

Newspapers.com
28 June 1984, Daily News (New York, NY), “Broadway” by Pat O’Haire, pg. 83, col. 1:
Over the years, he promised he’s write an 11 o’clock number for her (in musical terms, that means the socko finale just before the curtain). He finally did, and she (Marilyn Cooper—ed.) sang it in “Woman of the Year.”
(Fred Ebb, a lyricist, promised this to Marilyn Cooper.—ed.)

Newspapers.com
31 July 1985, Sacramento (CA) Bee, “‘The American Dancemachine’: For dance loves, show has your number” by Herb Michelson, pg. F3, col. 1:
But it’s a fine, snappy piece of work, originally choreographed by Danny Daniels—your basic show-stopper, an 11 o’clock number done here at about 8:45.

Google Books
The Musical from the Inside Out
By Stephen Citron
Chicago, IL: Elephant Paperback; Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
1997
Pg. 155:
What must that eleven o’clock number contain? Two things. It must climax the play and state the concept as well. If it can be a showstopper* without taking away from our emotional involvement with the characters –- even a production number—that is all to the good.

Newspapers.com
26 July 2009, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “‘First Wives Club’ is the latest Broadway-bound musical to take shape at the Old Globe” by Diane Haithman, pg. E6, col. 5:
(Rupert—ed.) Holmes cut his creative teeth as a pop songwriter—he wrote one of the biggest hits of the late 1970s, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” That experience helped him in translating the requirements of a theatrical musical to HDH. “I’ve had to describe what an ‘11 o’clock song’ is to pop writers who never had the necessity to know the term,” he says.

And what is an “11 o’clock song?” “If the show were an hour on the face of the clock, the 11 o’clock song is the one you do just before the end of Act 2 that blows everyone out of the room,” Holmes says. “This is the last big number you’re going to get. It’s the bump—the big bump.”

Twitter
Bronx Events
@bronxevents
“Unleashed” Concert: “Unleashed” is a concert of Broadway “11 o’clock” songs. An 11 o’clock song is usually a big… http://tsciti.es/1hV5J47
12:16 AM · May 1, 2014

Twitter
Culture Chops
@CultureChops
In ‘Fun Home,’ a Wife’s Late, Desperate Outcry: A musical likes the Broadway tradition of an “11 o’clock numbe… http://nyti.ms/1G3cm22
1:24 PM · May 28, 2015

Playbill
32 Theatre Terms Everyone Should Know
From “break a leg” to “strike,” here’s what they mean and where they came from.

BY RUTHIE FIERBERG
AUGUST 10, 2019
(...)
11 O’Clock Number
Back in the day, shows typically began at 8:30 PM. When 11 o’clock rolled around, it was time for the big showstopping number, the penultimate song in the show. There are three general types of 11 o’clock numbers as TDF defines it: the soul-barer, the group toe-tapper, and the solo toe-tapper. A soul-barer like “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy or Lola’s “Hold Me in Your Heart” from Kinky Boots marks a massive emotional shift or coming-to for the main character; the group toe-tapper is a trademark of older musicals like “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” from Guys and Dolls or “Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and was the composer’s chance to give people a buoyant tune to hum on their way out of the theatre; the solo toe-tapper is even rarer nowadays, but includes songs like Hello, Dolly!’s “So Long Dearie.”

Broadway Direct
BROADWAY SONGS TO CELEBRATE 11 O’CLOCK NUMBERS
SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
The 11 o’clock number is the theatre term for that big, show-stopping song that happens late in Act 2, usually sung by a major character that comes to a realization. They have this name because the song would often occur around 11 o’clock. These songs often are some of the most well-known songs from a Broadway show, and for good reason. Here, we’ve created a playlist full of some of the most memorable 11 o’clock numbers from these celebrated productions.

Twitter
Something Rhymes with Purple Podcast
@SomethingRhymes
Today’s live show at the @FortuneTheatre1 might be happening a tad too early in the day for an 11 O’Clock Number, but if we’re lucky Gyles might give us a quick rendition of something!
See you later, Purple People! 💜
http://SomethingRhymeswithPurple.com
(The following text is shown on an image.—ed.)
‘THE 11 O’CLOCK NUMBER’
The 11 O’Clock Number is a term for a big, show-stopping song that is performed near the send of the second act of a show - this is said to have originated in the early days of musical theatre, as shows would start at 8.30pm, meaning the penultimate song would be performed at around 11pm!
6:00 AM · Nov 20, 2022

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Sunday, December 04, 2022 • Permalink