The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

With their work on the 2016 movie La La Land, songwriters Benji Pasek and Justin Paul breathed new life into a form verging on extinction: The non-animated, non-adaptation movie musical. Even compared to pop hybrids like Saturday Night Fever and Moulin Rouge!, the duo’s follow-up, the P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman, was an almost unprecedented success: A multi-platinum movie-musical soundtrack? That wasn’t just for kids? It helped the Pasek and Paul had good ingredients to work with: Though most people knew him as Wolverine, Showman star Hugh Jackman had begun his career in musicals, and had even won a Tony Award for The Boy From Oz. Co-stars Zac Efron and Zendaya, meanwhile, had their Disney bona fides, while Keala Settle spent nearly a decade on Broadway. And the music delivered an undiluted shot of positivity that bridged old-school showmanship with modern dance-pop and messages of self-acceptance (“This Is Me”) and perseverance (“Rewrite the Stars”) that had special resonance with the LGBTQ community. They’re still nowhere near Rodgers and Hart, nor Lerner and Loewe. But give Pasek and Paul some time—they’re off to a good start.

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