14 Musicals for Black History Month To Give a Listen
Black History Month has arrived! This is the perfect chance to learn more about Black history and celebrate the achievements of Black artists. And what better way to do that than through musical theatre? Here’s a list of musicals for Black History Month that are definitely worth listening to.
I encourage you to pick a show you aren’t familiar with and give it a listen this month!
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Musicals for Black History Month
Music/Lyrics: The Legendary Motown Catalog Book: Dominique Morisseau
Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2017)
What It’s About: The life and times of the Temptations
Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk
Music/Lyrics/Book: Daryl Waters, Ann Duquesnay, Zane Mark, George C. Wolfe, Reg E. Gaines
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1995)
What It’s About: Black history (told through music and tap)
Music: Stephen Flaherty Lyrics/Book: Lynn Ahrens
Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)
What It’s About: Two women’s stories during the Antebellum South
Music/Lyrics: Micki Grant
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1971)
What It’s About: Black experience throughout the 20th century
Music: Henry Krieger Lyrics/Book: Tom Eyen
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)
What It’s About: R&B bands of the 1960s/70s
Music/Lyrics: Fela Kuti Book: Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis
Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2008)
What It’s About: The life and music of Fela Kuti
Music/Lyrics: Various Book: George C. Wolfe
Musical Type: Contemporary/Revue (2002)
What It’s About: Harlem from the 1920s through the present
Music: Jelly Roll Morton, Luther Henderson Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead Book: George C. Wolfe
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)
What It’s About: The life and music of Jelly Roll Morton
Music: Stephen Flaherty Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens Book: Terrence McNally
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)
What It’s About: Race relations in early 20th century America
Music/Lyrics/Book: Tommy Butler
Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)
What It’s About: Martin Luther King, Jr./The Civil Rights Movement
Music/Lyrics: Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle Book: F.E. Miller, Aubrey Lyles, George C. Wolfe
Musical Type: Jazz Age (1921)
What It’s About: Fictional comedy about competing mayors
* Shuffle Along is a historically significant Broadway musical that helped inspire the Harlem Renaissance
Music/Lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray Book: Marsha Norman
Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)
What It’s About: An African-American woman’s experience of early 20th century American South
Music/Lyrics: John Kander, Fred Ebb Book: David Thompson
Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)
What It’s About: The true and tragic story of the Scottsboro Boys
Music/Lyrics/Book: Matt Gould, Griffin Matthews
Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)
What It’s About: A man battling to find his place in a world of injustice
Other blog posts you might like:
• Musicals Based on True Stories
• Musicals Written by Black Artists
Want a weekly list of stagey surprises?!
Which of these musicals for Black History Month is your favorite?
Or have you ever seen any of the above musicals for Black History Month live? 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!
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 has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.