Will Broadway ever have an album at the top of the pop charts again?
Last week, the cast album of Love Never Dies hit Number 10 on the UK National Charts.
Yep, a musical was right up there with Lady Gaga and Rihanna and Michael Buble (who I saw in concert last Saturday, and who is destined to croon on a Broadway stage at some point in his career – hopefully before his “buble” pops).
First the West End boosts their attendance by 7.6%, and now they put an album in the Top 10!
Over on this side of the pond, Broadway tunes, especially for new musicals with original music, never chart that high (the Hair revival recording got up to #63, but that was a revival. I found one release that had Wicked at #187). In fact, Billboard created a special chart for cast albums in 2006. Why? To quote Playbill.com, “The addition of the chart generates exposure for the genre which does not often chart on the Billboard 200.”
Now granted, the Love Never Dies recording has got to be one of the most anticipated cast recordings in decades, with a super phantastic brand, and a composer who might as well be Lady Gaga, he’s such a rock star to his fellow Brits.
But still, I couldn’t help but be a little jealous.
There was a time when Broadway tunes charted higher, or were covered by artists who could force them to the top of the charts.
Don’t believe me?
Take this 10 Question Quiz and test your knowledge of Broadway chart toppers (I got an 80%).
When you’re finished with the quiz, go back and look at the years of the hits in the questions. Nothing past 1975.
We’ve lost our support from pop music. It’s no wonder we’re losing audiences.
And it’s no wonder why the West End is gaining on us.
What can we do? Lobby the music industry? Ask our composers to write with the charts in mind? Make one of our musical theater composers a rock star, too?
Let’s do it all and then some.
Because re-establishing Broadway’s place in the fabric of popular culture is one of the most powerful things we can do to grow our audience.