There was a time when Broadway songs routinely topped the pop charts. Don’t believe me? Check out this post we did about the last songs from musicals to make it on the radio. (You know you want to listen to Helen Reddy, again.)
Now, the closest music theater gets to a top-40 station is when I leave my Follies CD on top of the bedside clock/radio. Or Glee does a cover and makes digital download millions.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped intrepid souls from mixing genres, serving up a showtune with some rock spice — usually courtesy of a duet between seemingly disparate artists. The latest to attempt a little mash-up action, Tony-winning British tenor Alfie Boe (Baz Lurhman’s La Boheme) arrives June 4 with a new album of theater classics (available for pre-order now) that show off his huge operatic voice, but he’s brought along some guest stars like rocker Robert Plant and teen idol Nick Jonas to shakes things up.
Curious how that might work? Well, lucky for you we’ve got a sneak listen to Boe and Jonas dueting on “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Miserables:
You know, it’s actually quite a traditional take, no tambourines or vocoders in sight — just a rich orchestration and a sort of father/son quality to the vocal.
However, have you heard about this awesome insanity…
Yep, that is Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider tearing up “Big Spender” with an equally big-voiced Cyndi Lauper on his new album Dee Does Broadway. The album also features tracks with Bebe Neuwirth, Patti LuPone and the leading “ladies” of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Speechless. As Snider himself said in an interview with Billboard Magazine, ” This is going to be one of those polarizing things — career suicide or else brilliance.”
But if we’re going to talk great Broadway/pop mash-ups, it personally doesn’t get any better than this combo of Showbiz royalty and felt. Ladies and Gentlmen, when Ethel Merman met The Muppets…