Musical Lists

40+ Musicals Set in California – The Full List

Whether you’re doing some research, putting on a show, or simply looking for new musicals to get into, it’s good to get familiar with what’s out there. And that’s why we’ve put together this list for you! A full list of musicals set in California are included below.

This list is broken down into two categories – “Musicals Fully Set in California” and “Musicals Partially Set in California”. Each category is sorted alphabetically.

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Musicals Fully Set in California

Back to the Future

Music/Lyrics: Alan Silvestri, Glen Ballard  Book: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

Musical Type: Contemporary (2020)

Setting: California (Hill Valley)

Bubble Boy

Music/Lyrics/Book: Cinco Paul  Book: Ken Daurio

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Setting: California

City of Angels

Music: Cy Coleman  Lyrics: David Zippel  Book: Larry Gelbart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)

Setting: California (Los Angeles)


Music/Lyrics: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul  Book: Peter Duchan

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Setting: California (San Francisco)

Fade Out – Fade In

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics/Book: Betty Comden, Adolph Green

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Setting: California (Hollywood)

Flower Drum Song

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics/Book: Oscar Hammerstein II  Book: David Henry Hwang, Joseph Fields

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)

Setting: California (San Francisco)

I Remember Mama

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Martin Charnin, Raymond Jessel  Book: Thomas Meehan

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)

Setting: California (San Francisco)

Mrs. Doubtfire

Music/Lyrics/Book: Karey Kirkpatrick  Music/Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick  Book: John O’Farrell

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Setting: California (San Francisco)

Nick & Nora

Music: Charles Strouse  Lyrics: Richard Maltby, Jr.  Book: Arthur Laurents

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1991)

Setting: California (Hollywood)

Nunset Boulevard

Music/Lyrics/Book: Dan Goggin

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)

Setting: California (Hollywood)

Paint Your Wagon

Music: Frederick Loewe  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Type: Golden Age (1951)

Setting: California

Pipe Dream

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics/Book: Oscar Hammerstein II

Musical Type: Golden Age (1955)

Setting: California (Monterey)

Pretty Woman

Music/Lyrics: Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance  Book: Garry Marshall, J.F. Lawton

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

Setting: California (Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Rock of Ages

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Chris D’Arienzo

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Setting: California (Hollywood)

Singin’ in the Rain

Music/Lyrics: Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed  Book: Adolph Green, Betty Comden

Musical Type: 1952 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1983)

Setting: California (Hollywood)


Music: Marvin Hamlisch  Lyrics/Book: Howard Ashman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)

Setting: California (Santa Rosa)

Sunset Boulevard

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics/Book: Don Black, Christopher Hampton

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1991)

Setting: California (Los Angeles)

The Human Comedy

Music: Galt MacDermot  Libretto: William Dumaresq

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)

Setting: California

The Most Happy Fella

Music/Lyrics/Book: Frank Loesser

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)

Setting: California (Napa, San Francisco)

Musicals Partially Set in California

3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down

Music: Michael Rupert  Lyrics/Book: Jerry Colker

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine

Music: Frank Lazarus, Various  Lyrics/Book: Dick Vosburgh

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)

Setting: USA (California) / Ukraine


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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Setting: Asia, England, USA (California, NYC)


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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Setting: England (London) / USA (California)

First Daughter Suite

Music/Lyrics: Michael John La Chiusa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

Setting: USA (California, Maine, Washington D.C.)

Flying Over Sunset

Music: Tom Kitt  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

Setting: USA (California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C.)


Music: Barry Manilow  Lyrics/Book: Bruce Sussman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)

Setting: Denmark, Germany, USA (California, NYC)

Legally Blonde

Music/Lyrics: Nell Benjamin, Laurence O’Keefe  Book: Heather Hach

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Setting: USA (California, Massachusetts)

Little Miss Sunshine

Music/Lyrics: William Finn  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)

Setting: USA (California, New Mexico)


Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics: Various  Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Setting: Europe (Germany) / USA (California, NYC)

Mack & Mabel

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Herman  Book: Michael Stewart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

Merrily We Roll Along

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: George Furth

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

Passing Strange

Music/Lyrics/Book: Stew  Music: Heidi Rodewald

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Setting: Germany (Berlin) / Netherlands (Amsterdam) / USA (California)

Road Show

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: John Weidman

Musical Type: Contemporary (2003)

Setting: USA (California, Florida, NYC)


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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Setting: Canada / China / USA (California)

Some Like It Hot

Music/Lyrics: Marc Shaiman  Lyrics: Scott Wittman  Book: Matthew López, Amber Ruffin

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Setting: Mexico / USA (California, Illinois)

Song and Dance

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black, Richard Maltby Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

Tell Me on a Sunday

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

The Biograph Girl

Music/Lyrics: David Heneker  Lyrics/Book: Warner Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

The Lightning Thief

Music/Lyrics: Rob Rokicki  Book: Joe Tracz

Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)

Setting: USA (California, New Jersey, NYC) / Fictional

They’re Playing Our Song

Music: Marvin Hamlisch  Lyrics: Carole Bayer Sager  Book: Neil Simon

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1978)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)

What Makes Sammy Run?

Music/Lyrics: Ervin Drake  Book: Budd Schulberg, Stuart Schulberg

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Setting: USA (California, NYC)


Music/Lyrics: Jeff Lynne, John Farrar  Book: Douglas Carter Beane

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Setting: USA (California) / Fictional


Music: Joseph Zellnik  Lyrics/Book: David Zellnik

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Setting: USA (California, Midwest)


Music: Gipsy Kings, John Cameron  Lyrics/Book: Stephen Clark  Book: Helen Edmundson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Setting: Spain / USA (California)

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Which of these musicals set in California is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above musicals set in California? 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 Musicals Set in California.
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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