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by Rachel Devitt

March 9, 2014

Pop's Broadway Babies

by Rachel Devitt  |  March 9, 2014

In the beginning, pop music and what we might call "showtunes" today weren't really distinct things. American pop has its roots in Broadway's roots: vaudeville, British music hall and, unfortunately, minstrelsy. Someone like Cole Porter could write a song for a Broadway show that then became a pop hit and standard sung by all the big stars -- or vice/versa. But somewhere along the way, we separated them into two pretty distinct camps that entertained the occasional crossover star (hi, Barbra). But lately, we've seen a lot more of that scurrying back and forth between the Great White Way and the pop charts.

Pop stars like Fantasia, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ricky Martin and Mos Def have all taken starring turns on the stage, while others have transitioned into behind-the-scenes movers and shakers (like Cyndi Lauper, who did the music for Kinky Boots). Meanwhile, some Broadway stars are slowly finding their way onto the pop charts (though that crossover has proven a bit more difficult): Broadway diva-turned-Glee star Lea Michele just added another hyphen with the release of her solo debut, for instance. And Broadway vet Idina Menzel has one of the top songs in the country with the runaway hit "Let It Go," from Disney's Frozen. Trace this long and complex relationship between stage and studio with our playlist of pop stars-gone-Broadway and Broadway babies on the charts.

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