As a 20something writer with wardrobes fit to burst, I (obviously) identify heavily with Carrie Bradshaw. Who wouldn’t want to be the iconic Sex and the City woman? She’s got men falling at her feet, a close group of friends, and a contact list with everyone you could imagine. However, one thing about Sex and the City doesn’t get enough credit — all the theatre references.
Sure, the Sex and the City outfits wouldn’t be out of place in a Broadway show. Their love lives are basically Company on repeat. But as I watched Sex and the City, I couldn’t help but wonder… what are the best theatre references? Carrie Bradshaw spends all her time searching for Manolo Blahniks, we search for any way to make something “theatre.” We really do live in parallel worlds.
Forget Y2K making a comeback, we’re living in a Sex and the City renaissance. And Just Like That, the sequel series airs from December 9 on HBO and Sky Comedy. Candace Bushnell’s Is There Still Sex in the City? is playing Off-Broadway, and Sarah Jessica Parker is coming back to Broadway, starring in Plaza Suite with her real-life husband Matthew Broderick (not Chris Noth). Check out the theatre references in Sex and the City, and then drink an honorary cosmopolitan at the theatre!
“Annie, get your clothes on!”
Forget Annie Get Your Gun, Carrie Bradshaw is a rootin-tootin’ fashionista. When she’s on the phone talking about Big’s new partner, Natasha, she lists out the times she’s met her: once she was in her lingerie, and the other time she was a cowgirl. There’s no business like fashion, I guess?
“Hair, like the musical”
Was Carrie Bradshaw living a bohemian life in New York City? Some of her outfits can be called boho-chic-inspired, and she definitely lived in her own world at times. So when Carrie finds herself in a club called Hair, she questions the experimental nightlife. Maybe she’s curious about the Hair musical too.
“So it’s, goodbye, Dolly?”
Saying farewell to a lover/partner/date/ex (circle your personal choice) can be pretty difficult. Make it easier with this little line that Carrie says to Stanford, a nod to the iconic musical Hello, Dolly!
If there’s one theatrical campaign I will run, it’s for the Broadway musical Aida to premiere in London or back on Broadway. For Carrie and Charlotte, they’re heading to the Met to see the Aida opera. The drama happens off stage though, when Carrie sees Big in the auditorium and chaos ensues.
“The Phantom of the Opera”
Could Big play the Phantom? Could Carrie Bradshaw play Christine Daaé? Before I make up that Broadway casting in my mind, Carrie likens her ex-flame to the mysterious man at the Met.
In an attempt to liven up their relationship, Trey gifts Charlotte tickets to The Producers. At the time, The Producers would have been the hit show, so getting your hands on these tickets would have been like gold. (Fun fact: Sarah Jessica Parker’s husband, Matthew Broderick, originated the role of Leo Bloom in The Producers.)
If the Sex and the City world crossed over in real life, we’d like to think that Broderick gave Trey the tickets to please Charlotte. If this scene was in 2021, I’m convinced Trey would have given Charlotte Hamilton or Moulin Rouge! The Musical tickets.
Charlotte tap dancing
To get over her divorce, Charlotte takes up tap dancing. Putting on her new shoes, she tries to timestep the pain away. In the end, she shuffles out of the rehearsal room, and is even more of an emotional wreck.
Smith Jerrod’s play
The Absolut vodka ad might have been his big get, but Smith Jerrod’s true passion was Off-Broadway. We’ll always remember “my youth” and our trip to the moon during Carrie’s theatre excursion.
Bobby Fine and Bitzi von Muffling’s wedding
The wedding of the century was a theatrical event. Come on, the episode started out at a piano bar, where all good theatre begins! This whole episode is theatre from the pool party, the waxed back, and the smashed window. The betrothed couple is also none other than theatre icons Nathan Lane and Julie Halston!
Bonus! The Sex and the City 2 Opening Scene
Another wedding, another over-the-top cultural phenomenon only Sex and the City could pull off. The second film in the series begins with a gay man's chorus singing "Sunrise, Sunset" as Stanford Blatch prepares to somewhat shockingly marrying Anthony Marentino. However, the real shocker comes a bit later, as the officiant takes the stage and is revealed to be none other than Liza Minnelli herself. Come for the Norm Lewis and Kelli O'Hara cameos, stay for Ms. Minnelli performing Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," full choreo and all.