The ’80s weren’t just an awesome decade for pop music. The 1980s welcomed genre-definining musical theatre on Broadway—from blockbuster hits like Cats, Les Misérables, and the still-running The Phantom of the Opera to landmark scores like 42nd Street, Chess, Barnum, and more. This week’s Playbill Mixtape features iconic tunes from these shows and songs from lesser-known titles, too. The proliferation of material in the ’80s made it impossible to capture all of the worthy musicals, so if you want to dive deeper into shows on Broadway and off, check out the albums for A...My Name is Alice, Closer Than Ever, How to Eat Like a Child, Baby, and so many more.
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A historical guide for your listening education:
“Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats” — Cats; Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Eliot
“Sunday in the Park With George” — Sunday in the Park With George; Stephen Sondheim
“Good Morning” — Singin’ in the Rain; Nacho Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
“42nd Street” — 42nd Street; Harry Warren, Al Dubin, and Johnny Mercer
“Join the Circus” — Barnum; Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart
“Good Thing Going” — Merrily We Roll Along; Stephen Sondheim
“New York, New York: Sailors on the Town” — Jerome Robbins’ Broadway; Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green
“Pump Boys” — Pump Boys and Dinettes; Jim Wann
“Come Back with the Same Look in Your Eyes” — Song and Dance; Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Richard Maltby, Jr.
“I Am What I Am” — La Cage Aux Folles; Jerry Herman
“I Am The Starlight” — Starlight Express; Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe
“How Shall I See You Through My Tears” — The Gospel at Colonus; Bob Telson and Lee Breuer
“And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” — Dreamgirls; Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen
“Muddy Water” — Big River; Roger Miller
“H-A-P-P-Y/We’ll Take A Glass Together” — Grand Hotel; Robert Wright and George Forrest
“The Man Nobody Could Love” — Legs Diamond; Peter Allen
“Pity The Child” — Chess; Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice
“Tell Me It’s Not True” — Blood Brothers; Willy Russell
“The Music of the Night” — The Phantom of the Opera; Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, and Richard Stilgoe
“When There’s No One” — Carrie; Michael Gore and Dean Pitchfork
“Children of the Wind” — Rags; Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz
“Take That Temptation With a Time-Step” — Nunsense; Dan Goggin
“You’re Nothing Without Me” — City of Angels; Cy Coleman and David Zippel
“One Day More” — Les Misérables; Claude-Michel Schöneberg and Alain Boublil
“Not Since Chaplin (Reprise)/I Can’t Make This Movie” — Nine; Maury Yeston
“Children Will Listen” — Into The Woods; Stephen Sondheim
“The Writing on The Wall” — The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Rupert Holmes
MUSICAL THEATRE 101: 1980s
Think the electro-pop of “Jellicle Cats.” Think the gentle lullaby of “Music of the Night” from Phantom. Think 42nd Street!