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12 Recording Artists Who Wrote Musicals

Pop and rock singer-songwriters do not only like to breach the world of movies; sometimes they venture into theatre, too. It makes perfect sense, as Broadway is chockfull of musicals that need a little deft help from seasoned musicians.

What follows is a list of familiar voices on the radio that have infiltrated the stages:

Sara Bareilles

Many movies get a new lease on life in theatre, and the 2007 film “Waitress” is no exception. Sara Bareilles was called in to compose songs for its theatrical iteration, which premiered at the American Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts. “Waitress” is expected to move to Broadway in April 2016.

Sheryl Crow

Like Sara, Sheryl Crow had the great nerve to score a Broadway musical based on a film, and not just any film: “Diner,” Barry Levinson’s critically acclaimed 1982 opus about six Baltimore friends. Levinson himself has a hand in the musical, which will open in December 2015 at the Delaware Theatre Company.

Edie Brickell

Competing with Sheryl and Sara is Edie Brickell, whose theatrical brainchild, “Bright Star,” will open in Broadway around 2016. No less than Steve Martin is starring in it.

Thom Yorke

Radiohead’s vocalist has brushed up on his Broadway chops too, providing music for Harold Pinter’s “Old Times.” It will star Clive Owen and Eve Best, and be helmed by Douglas Hodge.


Sting not only composed the songs for but also starred in the Broadway run of the ill-fated musical “The Last Ship.” It closed three months in due to lacklustre sales. “Ship” originally had Jimmy Nail in the lead, but even his replacement by Sting himself marginally helped its clout in the box office.

Cyndi Lauper

So far now from her halcyon days of hitmaking, the kooky singer has reinvented herself as a star in the theatre world. She scored the monster Broadway hit “Kinky Boots,” based on the 2005 film of the same name. It won her a Tony for Best Original Score, marking the first time it was ever awarded to a solo female.

Bono and The Edge

In 2011, the U2 twosome was called in to provide the music for the Broadway imagining of “Spider-Man.” Despite disastrous previews, the final production, “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark,” opened in 2011 to super-heroic box-office revenues. The show ended its Broadway run in 2014.

John Mellencamp

You can’t get better than “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the 2012 musical that boasted writing by Stephen King, production by T-Bone Burnett, and songs by John Mellencamp.

Sarah McLachlan

Along with members of Massive Attack, Elbow, and The Avalanches, Sarah McLachlan contributed original music to the 2013 musical “King Kong.”

Dave Stewart

“Barbarella,” the sexy sci-fi movie from the 1960s, transmuted into a musical with the help of the Eurythmics’ very own Dave Stewart. The musical ran from 2004 through 2005.

Tori Amos

From “Cornflake Girl,” Tori Amos  has turned her sights on “The Light Princess,” a fairytale musical that showcases her best compositions in years. In 2013, the pianist was able to mount “Princess” at the Royal National Theatre in London; a Broadway version is in the offing.

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