Musical Lists

31+ Musicals Written By Black Artists – A Full List

In case you didn’t know, August is Black Business Month – a time to celebrate and support Black-owned businesses! And while creating a musical might not be the first thing you think of when you think of the word “business”, it is in a way, a very specific type of business! So here is a full list of musicals written by Black artists.

I encourage you to pick a show you aren’t familiar with and give it a listen this month!

* Musicals have been listed if at least one member of the writing team is a Black artist.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through one of the following links, we may earn a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. See our disclosure for more info.

Jazz Age Musicals Written by Black Artists

Shuffle Along

Music/Lyrics: Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle  Book: F.E. Miller, Aubrey Lyles, George C. Wolfe

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1921)

Golden/Post-Golden Age Musicals Written by Black Artists

Black Nativity

Music/Lyrics: Traditional  Book: Langston Hughes

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1961)

King Kong

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

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

St. Louis Woman

Music: Harold Arlen  Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen

Musical Type: Golden Age (1946)

1970s-1990s Musicals By Black Artists

Ain’t Misbehavin’

Music: Thomas “Fats” Waller  Lyrics: Various  Concept: Murray Horwitz, Richard Maltby, Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1978)

Black and Blue

Music/Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)

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 (1995)

Bubbling Brown Sugar

Music: Various  Book: Loften Mitchell  Concept: Rosetta LeNoire

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope

Music/Lyrics: Micki Grant

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1971)

Don’t Play Us Cheap

Music/Lyrics/Book: Melvin Van Peebles

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1972)

Five Guys Named Moe

Music/Lyrics: Louis Jordan  Book: Clarke Peters

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1990)

It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues

Music/Lyrics/Book: Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor, Dan Wheetman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1999)

Jelly’s Last Jam

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

Me and Bessie

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)

Play On!

Music/Lyrics: Duke Ellington, Various  Book: Cheryl L. West

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)


Music: Gary Geld  Lyrics/Book: Peter Udell  Book: Ossie Davis, Philip Rose

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1970)


Music/Lyrics/Book: Mbongeni Ngema  Music/Lyrics: Hugh Masekela

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)

The Capeman

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

The Wiz

Music/Lyrics: Charlie Smalls  Book: William F. Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)


Songs: Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, James Taylor  Songs/Adaptation: Stephen Schwartz  Adaptation: Nina Faso

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1977)

Contemporary Musicals By Black Artists

A Strange Loop

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael R. Jackson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2019)

Ain’t Too Proud

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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2017)


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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

MJ The Musical

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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Motown: The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Berry Gordy

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

New York, New York

Music/Lyrics: John Kander, Fred Ebb  Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda  Book: David Thompson, Sharon Washington

Musical Type: Contemporary (2023)

Passing Strange

Music/Lyrics/Book: Stew  Music: Heidi Rodewald

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical

Music/Lyrics: Douglas Lyons  Music: Greg Borowsky  Book: Melvin Tunstall III

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

Some Like It Hot

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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

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)

The Color Purple

Music/Lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray  Book: Marsha Norman

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

The Visitor

Music: Tom Kitt  Lyrics/Book: Brian Yorkey  Book: Kwame Kwei-Armah

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

The Wild Party

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa  Book: George C. Wolfe

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

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Which of these musicals written by Black artists is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above musicals written by Black artists? 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 Written by Black Artists.
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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