What Does Get the Show on the Road Mean?

Get the Show on the Road Meaning

Definition: To begin an attempt at something; to leave for someplace new.

Origin of Get the Show on the Road Meaning

There are a few speculative origin stories that sources list for this expression. Some people mention theater productions. It is common for a show to start in one location, like Broadway, and then travel to other locations after becoming successful in the first.

Another idea is that it relates to circuses or traveling fairs. These events travel from one city to another.

The earliest example readily available of this expression was from the year 1889. It put the idiom in quotes and referred to it as an expression of the day.

This makes it seem as if the idiom was relatively recent during that year. It was referring to the Rockton Fair. This makes it seem like the fair or circus origin is the more likely of the two possibilities.

Examples of Get the Show on the Road Meaning

get this show on the roadThe dialogue below shows two women preparing to attend an important event. In this example, they use the idiom in the sense of leaving.

Mila: Hurry up! If we don’t leave now, we’ll be late!

Betty: Okay, okay I’m almost ready. I just need to grab my purse and my shoes. See! That didn’t take long at all. Now I’m ready.

Mila: Less talking, more moving! Let’s get this show on the road!

Betty: Okay, fine! I’m going. I’m going!

pokemon get the show on the roadThis dialogue shows a couple of roommates talking about a new invention they have designed.

John: This is the best idea ever! We are geniuses! I really think our invention is going to revolutionize the way that people use closets.

Amanda: I agree. Now all we have to do is build a working prototype.

John: Exactly. I’m ready. You’re ready. Let’s get this show on the road!

Amanda: Okay! I’ll start by cutting the wood. You start by setting up the electrical wires.

More Examples

This excerpt is about trucks carrying cargo for the popular theatrical play Hamilton.

  • Two 18-wheel trucks roll into view, cutting through the glow of the lights. The unmarked trucks could be carrying produce to nearby restaurants or T-shirts to a souvenir shop. But as they rumble and turn onto Argyle Avenue, a finely printed slogan becomes visible on the truck’s side: “Let’s get the show on the road.” –LA Times

The second excerpt is a quote from a novelist.

  • “There was one really good bottle for the four of us,” he went on. “If you’re Irish, you’d have two. With one, you have to have a bloody mary just to get the show on the road.” –New York Times


The phrase get the show on the road can mean to start a new endeavor or to head out the door and journey someplace different.