Desegregation Doo-Wop

Hairspray shines bright, but it's all surfaces

Is it time to start worrying about the dumbing down of the Broadway musical? The trend is alarming. Say what you will about the Brit-pop musicals that dominated Broadway in the 1980s and '90s, but shows like Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera at least had big ambitions and tried to engage the audience emotionally. The Broadway hits of the past few years have been of a different, more frivolous sort. Most of them are aimed at kids (The Lion King), or they hark back to old-fashioned eras with tongue planted in cheek (42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie),...

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