Other genres contribute to BroadwayBy Luke Haynes | 07/08/2015 1:23pm
'Kinky Boots' has a musical score written by Cyndi Lauper, who, in 2013, was the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Amazon.com
Perhaps the most common vehicle for pop stars finding themselves in the theatrical business is the Jukebox musical, such as ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and The Four Season’s “Jersey Boys.” Although less common than an artist organization, several jukebox musicals are arranged by genre, such as the classic rock musical “Rock of Ages” or the more recent “Motown.” Because of the artistic restrictions from the start, namely the inability to alter lyrics, these musicals tend to be unwieldy without the fluid storytelling that defines most musical masterpieces.
In addition to the jukebox musical, many original musicals are now being penned by pop stars looking to break out from their current mold. While there have been some commercial flops such as U2’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” and Sting’s recently-closed “The Last Ship,” other pop originals such as Elton John’s “Billy Elliot” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots” have earned great critical and commercial success.
These products of musical synergy serve not only to gift the theatrical community with new voices – most musical icons who have taken on this endeavor have also found it a constructive creative challenge that enriches their songwriting process. Again, there are naysayers who worry that handing over the musical keys of Broadway to pop stars is a form of selling out, but thus far most pop-culture composers have used their personal style to enhance the Broadway style instead of replacing it.