Rewrite the Stars
by Zac Efron (featuring Zendaya)

Album: The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2017)
Charted: 16 70

Songfacts®:

  • This song of forbidden love was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for the P.T. Barnum musical biopic The Greatest Showman. Pasek and Paul's previous works include the music for the movie La La Land, the Broadway musicals James and the Giant Peach and Dear Evan Hansen and the NBC TV series Smash.
  • The song is a duet between Zac Efron (playing a rich white playwright called Phillip Carlyle who becomes P.T. Barnum's partner) and Zendaya (who portrays Anne Wheeler, a poor black acrobat and trapeze artist). The pair are in love, but after Phillip's parents insult Anne's lowly status, she runs away. Philip chases after Anne, trying to convince her that they can "rewrite the stars" and change their destiny.

    What if we rewrite the stars?
    Say you were made to be mine
    Nothing could keep us apart
    You'd be the one I was meant to find


    Anne is less optimistic, believing there are too many barriers to having a relationship with someone of another color in racist 19th century America.

    You think it's easy
    You think I don't want to run to you
    But there are mountains
    And there are doors that we can't walk through


    Anne declares that though they love each other, no one can rewrite the stars, and sadly there is no hope for their relationship.
  • Speaking in an on-set interview Zendeya said: "There's always the factor of them not being able to be together because of, literally, the color of their skin. You know, at the time that was a hundred and twenty percent not allowed, and it was in fact very dangerous."
  • The song's commercial success represented a chart comeback for Zac Efron, who previously reached the Hot 100 with his Vanessa Hudgens duet "Can I Have This Dance" from High School Musical 3. It was one of a number of tunes that Efron recorded for the High School Musical franchise, the most successful tune being "Breaking Free," which peaked at #4 in 2006.

    Zendaya had charted several times prior to this song. She posted a #40 high in 2014 with "Replay," from her self-titled debut album.
  • This was covered by English singers Anne Marie and James Arthur for The Greatest Showman: Reimagined, a re-recording of the original soundtrack by some of music's biggest stars. Atlantic Records West Coast president Kevin Weaver explained to Billboard that because of the popularity of The Greatest Showman soundtrack in the UK, he wanted to support that market by recruiting two of Britain's most popular young artists.

    Their version peaked at #7 in the UK and also reached the top 10 in several other European countries including Belgium and The Netherlands.

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