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Hit Parade: The Lullaby of Broadway Edition

Music from Broadway used to top the charts before rock and rap made the musical old hat—but show tunes are making a comeback.

Listen to Episode 26 of Slate’s Hit Parade:

Musical theater is one of America’s greatest cultural products—and in the mid–20th century, it also dominated the Billboard charts, from My Fair Lady to West Side Story. But the rise of rock ’n’ roll in the ’60s sidelined show tunes on the radio. And even when Broadway tried to rock—from Hair to Jesus Christ Superstar—a new generation grew wary of characters breaking into song (unless they were animated mermaids, teapots, or lions). And yet, in the 21st century, Broadway music has staged a cultural comeback: taking over our movie screens, making shows out of jukebox hits, and raising a new generation to believe they can rap like Hamilton and Lafayette. In this Tonys month, Hit Parade dances down the Great White Way to chronicle the tangled history of the Broadway musical on the pop charts.

Content retrieved from: https://slate.com/culture/2019/06/broadway-show-tunes-billboard-charts.html.