Move over Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, there is a new team of musical composers in town! Recent decades have seen the invasion of rock and pop star in the musicalsphere! That’s right, Kinky Boot’s composer Cyndi Lauper is not the only member of pop royalty to turn her eye to penning a successful musical, there are plenty of chart toppers who have taken the stage by storm.
Whilst the back catalog of pop and rock artists have been turned into musicals (Mamma Mia! Jersey Boys, Thriller Live, We Will Rock You, The Bodyguard etc etc!) stars are now interested in going one step further by writing new music specifically designed for the stage. Below we celebrate our some of our favorite chart topping musical artists who have made cracking productions! Check out our list of Pop Stars who write musicals!
James Bourne – Loserville
A huge star among teens and young ladies in Britan, Busted, McBusted and Son of Dork musician, James Bourne penned West End Musical Loserville. The show was a modern love story about a geeky lad, Michael, who falls for a girl named Holly. Bourne’s pop/rock score was hailed as being fun and accessible. Some tracks were even co-written with McFly Star Tom Fletcher! Basically every teenage girls dream team!
Stand out song: We’re Not Alone
Loserville ran at the Garrick Theatre in London from October 2012 to January
Boy George : Taboo
Taboo is a strange one really. With a book by Mark Davies Markham (re-written for Broadway by Charles Busch) and with music and lyrics by Boy George, the story focuses on Boy George’s performances at London’s Taboo club. Based Taboo is based on a true story and contains some pre-existing music from the Boy George back catalogue, however the majority of music was a new and original score written especially for the show by Boy George himself, earning him a Tony
Stand out Song: Out of Fashion
Taboo ran at the Venue Theatre in London from January 2002 and on Broadway at the Plymoth Theatre from November 2003
Bono and David Howell Evans – Spiderman: Turn off the Dark
Two key members of U2 working together to create the original score for a big budget Broadway musical sounds like a recipe for success. And it was…sort of. Law suits and preview issues aside, there is no denying that the Spiderman musical was spectacular. The score was punchy with an undeniable rock influence that one can only expect from the pair of Irish rockers.
Stand out Song: Rise Above
Spiderman Turn Off The Dark ran at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway from November 28th 2010 to January 2014. The show is set to take up a LA residency later this year.
Billy Joel Armstrong – American Idiot
Front man to American rock sensation, Greenday, Billy Joel Armstrong went one step further than other chart topping artists and actually wrote some of the book to American Idiot, as well penning a large proportion of the music. Armstrong even occasionally appeared in the show! Incidentally, Kinky Boots star Stark Sands also starred in American Idiot in the supporting role of Tunny. American Idiot won itself 2 prestigious Tony Awards, therefore receiving the ultimate approval.
Stand out song: Wake Me up When September Ends
American Idiot ran at the St James Theatre on Broadway from March 2010 – April 2011. The show has since toured the US, the UK and played in Tokyo and Seoul.
Tori Amos – The Light Princess
1980’s Synthpop and solo singing sensation, Tori Amos, lent her musical skills to a National Theatre stage adaptation of Scottish Fairy-tale, The Light Princess. Nominated for several prestigious Oliver Awards, The Light Princess was a sell out success.
Stand out Song: Better Than
The Light Princess ran at London’s National Theatre from September 2013 until early 2014.
Elton John – Billy Elliot and the Lion King
The daddy of all popstars come musical composers, Elton John certainly knows how to write a great song that spans the genres! Originally penning the music for the 1994 motion picture, Elton John returned to the project for the stage musical adaptation of the show, which has become one of the most popular worldwide productions. The show won six Tony Awards and
Stand out Song in The Lion King : Circle of Life
Lion King the musical opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1997 (moving to the Minskoff Theatre in 206) and on the West End at the Lyceum Theatre in 1999. Since then the show has gone on to stage other successful productions across the world.
With the creation of the stage production of Billy Elliot, Sir Elton had an even bigger fish to fry as he composed an entirely new score for the show, winning himself a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination.
Stand out Song in Billy Elliot : Electricity
Billy Elliot the Musical premiered on London’s West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 (where it continues to run,) opening on Broadway in 2008. The show has since gone on to play in countless other countries to sell out success.
The chart toppers are still at it too! Broadway is about to see the opening of the highly anticipated Sting musical The Last Ship, starring Rachel Tucker and the Sheryl Crow’s Musical, Diner premiers in Virginia in December 2014.