Musicals Based on True Stories – A Full List

Do you ever watch or listen to a musical and wonder whether it was based on something that really happened? Well you’re in luck! Here’s a full list of all of the musicals based on true stories from every decade. And you can even click the “Musical Info” button by each one to learn more about each show.


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Jazz Age Musicals (1920-1939)


Dearest Enemy (1925)

Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Lorenz Hart Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Info ➝


The Desert Song (1926)

Music: Sigmund Romberg Lyrics: Otto Harbach Book: Hammerstein, Harbach, Mandel

Musical Info ➝


Golden Age Musicals (1940-1959)


Up in Central Park (1945)

Music: Sigmund Romberg Lyrics: Dorothy Fields Book: Herbert Fields, Dorothy Fields

Musical Info ➝


Fiorello! (1959)

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

Musical Info ➝


Post-Golden Age Musicals (1960s)


Jennie (1963)

Music: Arthur Schwartz Lyrics: Howard Dietz Book: Arnold Schulman

Musical Info ➝


Funny Girl (1964)

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

Musical Info ➝


George M! (1968)

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

Musical Info ➝


Maggie Flynn (1968)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss, Morton DaCosta

Musical Info ➝


Coco (1969)

Music: André Previn Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Info ➝


Jimmy (1969)

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

Musical Info ➝


1970s Musicals


Minnie’s Boys (1970)

Music: Larry Grossman Lyrics: Hal Hackady Book: Arthur Marx, Robert Fisher

Musical Info ➝


Goodtime Charley (1975)

Music: Larry Grossman Lyrics: Hal Hackady Book: Sidney Michaels

Musical Info ➝


1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976)

Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Info ➝


Evita (1976)

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice

Musical Info ➝


They’re Playing Our Song (1978)

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

Musical Info ➝


1980s Musicals


Barnum (1980)

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

Musical Info ➝


The Biograph Girl (1980)

Music/Lyrics/Book: David Heneker, Warner Brown

Musical Info ➝


Dreamgirls (1981)

Music: Henry Krieger Lyrics/Book: Tom Eye

Musical Info ➝


Mayor (1985)

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse Book: Warren Light

Musical Info ➝


Sarafina! (1987)

Music: Mbongini Ngema

Musical Info ➝


1990s Musicals


Jelly’s Last Jam (1992)

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

Musical Info ➝


Floyd Collins (1994)

Music/Lyrics: Adam Guettel Book: Tina Landau

Musical Info ➝


Kat and the Kings (1996)

Music: Taliep Petersen Lyrics/Book: David Kramer

Musical Info ➝


Side Show (1997)

Music: Henry Krieger Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Info ➝


Titanic (1997)

Music/Lyrics: Maury Yeston Book: Peter Stone

Musical Info ➝


A New Brain (1998)

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

Musical Info ➝


Parade (1998)

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Info ➝


2000s Musicals


A Class Act (2000)

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

Musical Info ➝


Road Show (2003)

Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: John Weidman

Musical Info ➝


Gutenberg! The Musical! (2005)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Scott Brown, Anthony King

Musical Info ➝


Scandalous (2005)

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

Musical Info ➝


Chaplin (2006)

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

Musical Info ➝


LoveMusik (2007)

Music: Kurt Weill Lyrics: Various Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Info ➝


The Hatpin (2008)

Music: Peter Rutherford Lyrics/Book: James Miller

Musical Info ➝


Bonnie & Clyde (2009)

Music: Frank Wildhorn Lyrics: Don Black Book: Ivan Menchel

Musical Info ➝


2010s Musicals


Nevermore (2010)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Christensen

Musical Info ➝


The Scottsboro Boys (2010)

Music: John Kander Lyrics: Fred Ebb Book: David Thompson

Musical Info ➝


Queen of the Mist (2011)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Info ➝


Allegiance (2012)

Music/Lyrics: Jay Kuo Book: Marc Acito, Jay Kuo

Musical Info ➝


Amazing Grace (2012)

Music/Lyrics: Christopher Smith Book: Smith, Arthur Giron

Musical Info ➝


Clinton (2012)

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

Musical Info ➝


Come From Away (2013)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Irene Sankoff, David Hein

Musical Info ➝


Stephen Ward (2013)

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

Musical Info ➝


21 Chump Street (2014)

Music/Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Musical Info ➝


Witness Uganda (2014)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Matt Gould, Griffin Matthews

Musical Info ➝


Six (2017)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss

Musical Info ➝


The View UpStairs (2017)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Max Vernon

Musical Info ➝


Miss Littlewood (2018)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Sam Kenyon

Musical Info ➝


Diana (2019)

Music/Lyrics/Book: David Bryan, Joe DiPietro

Musical Info ➝


In the Green (2019)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Grace McLean

Musical Info ➝


Starry (2019)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Matt Dahan, Kelly Lynne D’Angelo

Musical Info ➝


The Hello Girls (2019)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Peter C. Mills Book: Cara Reichel

Musical Info ➝


2020s Musicals


We Won’t Sleep

Music/Lyrics: Ari Afsar Book: Lauren M. Gunderson

Musical Info ➝


Tokyo Rose

Music/Lyrics/Book: Maryhee Yoon, Cara Baldwin

Musical Info ➝


Want a weekly list of “stagey” surprises?


Do you know of any other great musicals based on true stories?

Or have you seen/listened to any of the musicals based on true stories above? We would love to hear all about your favorites in the comments below! In the meantime, you might enjoy our fully organized musical database.


Stacy Karyn, author of Musicals Based on True Stories.
Author: Stacy Karyn

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


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