Baby boomer-era stars reinvent themselves

Cyndi Lauper is another in a line of Baby Boomer-era pop and rock stars who have brokered a successful second career on Broadway, reports boomer journalist Paul Briand for The Examiner.

Lauper, who now 60 years old, is known for such pop hits as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time” in the 1980s. But recently she received a Tony Award for her Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.

Cyndi Lauper, 60 and still rockin'.

Cyndi Lauper, 60 and still rockin’.

Lauper wrote the music and lyrics to the musical about a factory owner who turns his struggling shoe making business into a maker of fesish footwear for crossdressers. “Kinky Boots” won six Tony Awards last night including Best Musical, Best Leading Man and Best Original Score.

She is a newcomer to Broadway and thanked Broadway during a recent ceremony “for welcoming me.” She added: “Everybody else in my category, I feel honored to be part of this community. You inspire me.”

She joins, among others, Phil Collins and Elton John who have transitioned from rock to musicals.

Collins, drummer and vocalist for Genesis then a solo performer through the 1970s and ‘80s, did a lot of work for Disney, contributing songs – and his voice – to such animated films as “Jungle Book” and “Tarzan.”

He helped develop “Tarzan” into a 2005 Broadway musical.

Elton John, the glam pop star of the 1970s who had a string of No. 1 hits, is best known on Broadway for “Aida”. It premiered on Broadway March 23, 2000 and ran for 1,852 performances until September 5, 2004, making it the 34th longest running Broadway musical.

It was four Tony Awards in 2000, including Best Musical Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actress.

Musician/actor Steve Van Zandt (right) with Springsteen.

Musician/actor Steve Van Zandt (right) with Springsteen.

Another notable contributor to musical theatre, though to a lesser extent, is Steve Van Zandt, a guitarist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. His second act has included acting gigs, most notably on HBO’s “The Sopranos”.

But he recently reunited the band The Rascals to do 15 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway with a show that combined live performance, video reenactments, archival concert and news footage, op-art backdrops and psychedelic lighting, with a 50-foot-by-25-foot LED screen.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing the news about these successful boomers. And it’s a good reminder that success is never permanent. We tend to forget that you need to re-invent yourself constantly if you want to stay on top. Success is a treadmill…

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