On Broadway they call it the "Eleven O'Clock" number. It's that big, magic, show-stopping, star-making moment that occurs near the end of a musical. It's that big number that saves the show and sends everyone home singing a sweet tune.
Both national political parties are waiting for Eleven O'Clock. They need that Big Moment when they know a star is born. They're thirsting for it.
So far, we've seen some false starts, some almost-stars and some obvious poseurs and understudies. But the time for tryouts is nearing an end. The Big Show needs to open soon.
Who will step forward and belt out the Big Number? Who will reach the rafters with a victory that matters and a message that resonates? Who will make that vital link - not just with the party faithful but with those way up in the third balcony?
The instant when the moment, the person and the message finally come together for each party has proved illusive. The media are anxious, like hyperactive schoolchildren who just devoured a whole bag of Oreos.
But those of us who've seen more than a few these shows are beginning to understand that we've still got some watching and waiting ahead of us.