Musical Lists

55+ Biography Musicals – The Full List of Shows

Whether you’re producing a show or simply looking for some new musicals about popular culture, it’s always good to get familiar with what’s out there. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of the most notable bio musicals (biography musicals) for you below!

This list is broken down into five subgenres: “Autobiographical Musicals”, “Semi-Autobiographical Musicals”, “Biographical Musicals”, “Semi-Biographical Musicals”, and “Jukebox Biographies”. Each subgenre is sorted alphabetically.


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Autobiographical Musicals

Everyday Rapture

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Dick Scanlan, Sherie Rene Scott

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Sherie Rene Scott


The Lion

Music/Lyrics/Book: Benjamin Scheuer

Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)

Who It’s Based On: Benjamin Scheuer


Semi-Autobiographical Musicals

A Class Act

Music/Lyrics: Edward Kleban  Book: Linda Kline, Lonny Price

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Edward Kleban


A New Brain

Music/Lyrics/Book: William Finn  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: William Finn


Fame Becomes Me

Music/Lyrics: Marc Shaiman  Lyrics: Scott Wittman  Book: Martin Short, Daniel Goldfarb

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Martin Short


Late Nite Comic

Music/Lyrics: Brian Gari  Book: Allan Knee

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Brian Gari


Tick, Tick… BOOM!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Larson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Contemporary (1990/2001)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Jonathan Larson


Biographical Musicals

Barnum

Music: Cy Coleman  Lyrics: Michael Stewart  Book: Mark Bramble

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)

Who It’s Based On: P.T. Barnum


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Music/Lyrics: Michael Friedman  Book: Alex Timbers

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Who It’s Based On: Andrew Jackson


Bombshell

Music/Lyrics: Marc Shaiman  Lyrics: Scott Wittman  Book: Patrik Komljenović

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Who It’s Based On: Marilyn Monroe


Chaplin

Music/Lyrics/Book: Christopher Curtis  Book: Thomas Meehan

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Based On: Charlie Chaplin


Clinton: The Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Hodge  Book: Michael Hodge

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Who It’s Based On: Bill Clinton


Coco

Music: André Previn  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)

Who It’s Based On: Coco Chanel


Diana

Music/Lyrics: David Bryan  Lyrics/Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary (2019)

Who It’s Based On: Princess Diana


Fiorello!

Music: Jerry Bock  Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick  Book: Jerome Weidman, George Abbott

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Who It’s Based On: Fiorello La Guardia


George M!

Music/Lyrics: George M. Cohan  Lyrics: Mary Cohan  Book: Michael Stewart, John Pascal, Francine Pascal

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1968)

Who It’s Based On: George M. Cohan


Grey Gardens

Music: Scott Frankel  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: Doug Wright

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Based On: “Big” and “Little” Edie Bouvier Beale


Hamilton

Music/Lyrics/Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

Who It’s Based On: Alexander Hamilton


Harmony

Music: Barry Manilow  Lyrics/Book: Bruce Sussman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)

Who It’s Based On: The Comedian Harmonists


Here Lies Love

Music: Fatboy Slim  Music/Lyrics: David Byrne

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Who It’s Based On: Imelda Marcos


Jelly’s Last Jam

Music: Jelly Roll Morton, Luther Henderson  Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead  Book: George C. Wolfe

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

Who It’s Based On: Jelly Roll Morton


King Kong

Music/Lyrics: Todd Matshikiza  Lyrics: Pat Williams  Book: Harry Bloom

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Who It’s Based On: Ezekiel Dlamini, aka “King Kong”


Leader of the Pack

Music/Lyrics: Ellie Greenwich & Friends  Book: Anne Beatts

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)

Who It’s Based On: Ellie Greenwich


Loving Repeating

Music: Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics: Gertrude Stein  Book: Frank Galati

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Based On: Gertrude Stein


Me and Bessie

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Will Holt, Linda Hopkins

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)

Who It’s Based On: Bessie Smith


Queen of the Mist

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)

Who It’s Based On: Annie Edson Taylor


Rex

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick  Book: Sherman Yellen

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Who It’s Based On: King Henry VIII


Scandalous

Music: David Pomeranz, David Friedman  Lyrics/Book: Kathie Lee Gifford

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Who It’s Based On: Aimee Semple McPherson


Side Show

Music: Henry Krieger  Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)

Who It’s Based On: Daisy and Violet Hilton


The Capeman

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Simon  Lyrics/Book: Derek Walcott

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

Who It’s Based On: Salvador Agrón


The Immigrant

Music: Steven M. Alper  Lyrics: Sarah Knapp  Book: Mark Harelik

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

Who It’s Based On: Haskell Harelik


The Pirate Queen

Music/Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics: John Dempsey  Lyrics/Book: Alain Boublil, Richard Maltby, Jr.

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Based On: Gráinne O’Malley


War Paint

Music: Scott Frankel  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: Doug Wright

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

Who It’s Based On: Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein


Semi-Biographical Musicals

Ben Franklin in Paris

Music: Mark Sandrich, Jr.  Lyrics/Book: Sidney Michaels  Additional Songs: Jerry Herman

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Ben Franklin


Evita

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Eva Perón


Funny Girl

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Bob Merrill  Book: Isobel Lennart

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Fanny Brice


Gypsy

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: Arthur Laurents

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Gypsy Rose Lee


Jimmy

Music/Lyrics: Bill Jacob, Patti Jacob  Book: Melville Shavelson

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Jimmy Walker


Legs Diamond

Music/Lyrics: Peter Allen  Book: Harvey Fierstein, Charles Suppon

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Legs Diamond


Martin Guerre

Music/Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics/Book: Alain Boublil  Lyrics: Edward Hardy, Stephen Clark

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Martin Guerre


Nevermore

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Christenson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Edgar Allan Poe


Six

Music/Lyrics/Book: Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss

Musical Type: Contemporary (2017)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: The six wives of Henry VIII


Sunny Afternoon

Music/Lyrics: Ray Davies  Book: Joe Penhall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: The Kinks


The Sound of Music

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II  Book: Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Maria von Trapp


The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Music/Lyrics: Meredith Willson  Book: Richard Morris

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1960)

Who It’s Loosely Based On: Margaret Brown


Jukebox Biographies

The following shows make use of popular music and popular songs. These songs are used to form the biographical narrative of stars in the music industry


A Beautiful Noise

Music/Lyrics: Neil Diamond  Book: Anthony McCarten

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Who It’s Based On: Neil Diamond


A Night With Janis Joplin

Music/Lyrics: Janis Joplin, Various  Book: Randy Johnson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Who It’s Based On: Janis Joplin


Ain’t Too Proud

Music/Lyrics: The Legendary Motown Catalog  Book: Dominique Morisseau

Musical Type: Contemporary (2017)

Who It’s Based On: The Temptations


Baby It’s You!

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Floyd Mutrux, Colin Escott

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)

Who It’s Based On: Florence Greenberg


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Music/Lyrics: Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil  Book: Douglas McGrath

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Who It’s Based On: Carole King


Buddy The Buddy Holly Story

Music/Lyrics: Buddy Holly, Various  Book: Alan Janes

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)

Who It’s Based On: Buddy Holly


Fela!

Music/Lyrics: Fela Kuti  Book: Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Who It’s Based On: Fela Kuti


Get Up Stand Up!

Music/Lyrics: Bob Marley  Book: Lee Hall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

Who It’s Based On: Bob Marley


Jersey Boys

Music: Bob Gaudio  Lyrics: Bob Crewe  Book: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice

Musical Type: Contemporary (2004)

Who It’s Based On: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons


Jolson

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Francis Essex, Rob Bettinson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1995)

Who It’s Based On: Al Jolson


Million Dollar Quartet

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Colin Escott, Floyd Mutrux

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

Who It’s Based On: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley


MJ The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Michael Jackson, Various  Book: Lynn Nottage

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Who It’s Based On: Michael Jackson


Motown: The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Berry Gordy

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Who It’s Based On: Berry Gordy


On Your Feet!

Music/Lyrics: Gloria & Emilio Estefan, Miami Sound Machine  Book: Alexander Dinelaris

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

Who It’s Based On: Gloria & Emilio Estefan


Ring of Fire

Music/Lyrics: Johnny Cash  Concept/Creation: Bill Meade, Richard Maltby, Jr.

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Who It’s Based On: Johnny Cash


Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Music/Lyrics: Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Jabra, Various  Book: Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, Des McAnuff

Musical Type: Contemporary (2017)

Who It’s Based On: Donna Summer


The Boy From Oz

Music/Lyrics: Peter Allen  Book: Nick Enright, Martin Sherman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

Who It’s Based On: Peter Allen


The Cher Show

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Rick Elice

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

Who It’s Based On: Cher


Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, Kees Prins

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

Who It’s Based On: Tina Turner


Related Posts:

Jukebox Musicals

Musicals About New York City

Musicals Set in London

Musicals Set in the 60s

Musicals Set in the 70s

Pop Musicals


Which of these bio musicals is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above bio musicals? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, Author of Bio Musicals.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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