The beloved award-winning streaming series, Ted Lasso, endeared itself to audiences with pop culture references in its storylines (which included several subtle and direct nods to Broadway musicals). This might seem odd considering that Ted Lasso is about an American college football coach who takes the reins of a fledgling professional soccer team in London. However, since the theater is where many of the cast and crew first got into show business, it makes sense for them to honor their first love.

The series benefited greatly in casting West End theater legend Hannah Waddingham as AFC Richmond owner, Rebecca Welton, who sings a Broadway hit in an episode from season 1. During an interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Waddingham said the set was full of theater and musical fans, especially Brett Goldstein (via AV Club). Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt also shared in a podcast their passion for theater and its importance in Ted Lasso.

Related: Ted Lasso’s Real-Life Busker Cam Cole Explained

12 Sound of Music

The men singing So Long, Farewell in Ted Lasso

There are two references to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music, in season 3. There is the humorous Diamond Dogs debate over Julie Andrews’ best roles in the episode “4-5-1,” and the now iconic scene from the final episode, in which the team performs their version of the hit song, “So Long, Farewell.” It’s an adorable rendition that is punctuated with loud cheers and fist-pumps from the players and the fans after Ted responds, “Thank you, fellas. That was perfect.”

11 Hamilton

Ted and Beard share a beer in the pub in Ted Lasso

In the season 2 opener, “Goodbye, Earl” Ted is having dinner with Beard when he asks his friend if he can share something that is bothering him. Ted says, “Can I get real a second? Put down my meal a second?” and Beard replies, “Put down your beer and tell your buddy how you feel a second?” The clever banter, which both characters display throughout the series, is a reference to the song “Right Hand Man” from the ground-breaking musical Hamilton. The subtle nod is so well-done that it’s easy for audiences to miss on the first viewing.

10 Once

Ted and Rebecca walking together in Ted Lasso

The season 2 Christmas-themed episode, “Carol of the Bells,” features a funny reference to the musical (and film) Once. While Ted and Rebecca are walking down the street near his apartment, they pause to listen to buskers performing modern Christmas hits, which prompts Ted to remark: “I love the buskers y’all got over here. Always reminds me of…”Once”…I loved “Once” so much, I saw it twice.” It’s a wonderful reference that exemplifies Ted’s witty and goofy sense of humor.

9 Oklahoma

Ted pointing at someone in Rebecca's office in Ted Lasso

One of the highlights of Ted Lasso are Ted’s visits to Rebecca’s office where they discuss serious topics while making pop culture references, such as the musical Oklahoma. In the season 1 episode, “Tan Lines,” Ted tells Rebecca that he and Michelle would use the word “Oklahoma” as a code word meaning they had to be absolutely honest. Later, in the season 3 episode, “Big Week,” Rebecca says, “Oklahoma,” to Ted because she knows he’s bottling up his sadness. It’s a tender moment between the two characters that summed up their deep friendship in the series.

RELATED: Ted Lasso Cast & Character Guide

8 Chicago

Ted Lasso dancing in the TV series

While wandering the streets of Amsterdam in the season 3 episode, “Sunflowers”, Ted unexpectedly discovers an American-themed restaurant. When he is asked if he would like to sit in the Wind City seating section, Ted enthusiastically quotes a mash-up of lines from the award-winning musical Chicago: “Tell Mama that Roxie Hart is coming home. Lipschitz.” The reference once again highlights Ted’s joyful and fun personality and Sudeikis’ comedic chops.

7 The King & I

Nate at a press conference in Ted Lasso

A subtle reference to the acclaimed musical The King and I occurred in a scene from the season 3 opener, “Smells Like Mean Spirit.” During a post-game press conference, Nate, the coach of West Ham United, is asked how things are going with his new team. A nervous Nate delivers one of the musical’s popular lyrics, “Getting to know them. Getting to know all about them. Getting to like them.” It’s an awkwardly funny moment that beautifully demonstrates how Nate is meant to be with the laid-back crowd at AFC Richmond instead of the unemotional folks at West Ham.

6 Frozen

Rebecca sings Let It Go from Frozen

Rebecca’s perfectly symbolic rendition of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen: The Musical during the season 1 episode, “Make Rebecca Great Again,” is the impetus for a key turning point in the series. It’s the perfect song for Rebecca to sing as she is attempting to let go of the pain that her ex-husband Rupert caused her in the past, and it motivates her to check on Ted when he has a panic attack because he is holding on desperately to his own wounds. “Let it Go” firmly bonds the two characters whose relationship had previously been strained.

5 West Side Story

Ted Lasso standing with other coaches in the series

A hilarious reference to the popular West Side Story is featured in the season 1 episode, “For The Children.” In response to Roy and Jamie arguing with one another during practice, Ted says the rivalry reminds him of the Sharks and Jets, the two gangs from the musical. Neither Roy, Jamie nor the rest of the team have ever heard of West Side Story, which forces the often stoic Beard into giving them a rare and silly look of astonishment. The reference cleverly reveals the generational gap between the coaches and the players.

4 Singing In the Rain

An image of Ted Lasso smiling

Following the funeral for Rebecca’s dad in the season 2 episode, “No Weddings and a Funeral,” Ted references the iconic 1950s musical Singing In The Rain while telling a memorable story about Mr. Welton. He says to Rebecca, “I know I only got to meet Mr. Welton that one time, but, well, the fact that a fellow his age could still do every move from Donald O’Connor’s big ole dance scene from Singing In The Rain, it just gave me hope for getting older, you know.” Using a musical reference to express condolences upon a person’s death is one of the many authentically human moments that define the series.

3 Jesus Christ Superstar

An image of Ted looking angry in Ted Lasso

Walking into Rebecca’s office in the episode, “Smells Like Mean Spirit,” Ted asks Rebecca, “What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happenin’. The line references the opening lyric to the song “What’s The Buzz?” from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar. This is another subtle reference that audiences might initially miss but one that reveals how smoothly Ted delivers a zinger whenever he has his daily morning meetings with the boss.

2 Les Misérables

Beard forgiving Nate in Ted Lasso

The famed musical Les Misérables is briefly mentioned in the season 3 episode, “4-5-1,” however the musical’s message of forgiveness is illustrated in the season’s penultimate episode, “Mom City.” Ted reminding Beard that he once gave him a second chance during a low point in Beard’s life and Beard sharing his backstory with Nate in an act of clemency are stirring callbacks to the mercy that is shown to Jean Valjean and that the character offers others in Les Misérables.

1 La Cage aux Folles

Isaac and Colin playing video games in Ted Lasso

The season 3 episode, “La Locker Room Aux Folles” is a deeply meaningful reference from the pioneering LGBTQ + musical, La Cage aux Folles. Colin’s decision to be open with the team about his sexuality, Isaac’s struggle with not knowing his best friend’s struggles and a homophobic incident during a match reflect themes from the musical. The inclusion of La Cage aux Folles memorable song, “I Am What I Am,” further cements the episode as beautiful example of how art like Ted Lasso and La Cage can be used to tell important, heartfelt stories.

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