Frank Wildhorn (born November 29, 1958) is an American composer known for both his musicals and popular songs. He is most known for his musical Jekyll & Hyde, which ran four years on Broadway, and for writing the #1 International hit song "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" for Whitney Houston.
|Born||November 29, 1958|
Harlem, New York
|Occupation(s)||Composer, songwriter, playwright|
Wildhorn was born in Harlem and spent his childhood in Queens before moving to Hollywood, Florida at age 14. Soon after he taught himself how to play the piano, Wildhorn realized he wanted to compose music. During high school, he played in and wrote for various bands, ranging from rock and roll to Rhythm and blues to jazz. He attended Miami-Dade College for two years before transferring to the University of Southern California, where he studied history and philosophy. He started writing Jekyll & Hyde with Steve Cuden, who was working at USC when Frank was a student.
In the popular music arena, Wildhorn has worked with such artists as Stacy Lattisaw, Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers, Trisha Yearwood, Tracy Lawrence, Trace Adkins, Patti LaBelle, Dennis DeYoung and Linda Eder, to whom he was married. His "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" was an international number one hit for Whitney Houston in 1988. Wildhorn is Creative Director of Atlantic Theatre, an Atlantic Records division that develops new American musicals. In 2005, he co-founded GlobalVision Records with long-time collaborator Jeremy Roberts. GlobalVision releases include a new concept recording of Dracula, the Musical and a new studio recording of Jekyll & Hyde: Resurrection
In 1999, Wildhorn became the first American composer in 22 years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde at the Plymouth Theatre, The Scarlet Pimpernel at the Minskoff Theatre, and The Civil War at the St. James Theatre; however, all three shows closed without making a profit, for a total loss approaching $20 million. In 2004, he collaborated with Don Black and Christopher Hampton on a musical based on Dracula.
Wildhorn has become a prominent composer globally, with many productions in Europe and Asia having long runs. Jekyll & Hyde is one of the longest running musicals of all time in South Korea. The musical Carmen, with music by Wildhorn and lyrics by Jack Murphy, premiered in Prague in October 2008. The musical Count of Monte Cristo, music by Wildhorn with book and lyrics by Jack Murphy, received a workshop reading in November 2008, and opened at the Theatre of St. Gallen, Switzerland in March 2009. Another musical, with music by Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black, Bonnie and Clyde, received an industry reading in February 2009 and premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in California in November 2009. Also in November 2009, another new musical, Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure premiered at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Art in Tampa, Florida, with another production following at the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas, in January 2010.
Other musicals include Camille Claudel, which ran in 2003 at the Goodspeed Opera House and a short developmental run at the NYMT Festival in 2004, and Waiting for the Moon starring Lauren Kennedy and Jarrod Emmick in New Jersey in 2005, with the musical being renamed Zelda for a run at Flatrock Playhouse in 2012. In 2015, Wildhorn created a musical based off the popular manga series Death Note. In 2018, he debuted The Man Who Laughs in South Korea, based on Victor Hugo's novel.. The Man Who Laughs won three awards at the 2019 Korean Musical Awards, including Best Musical.
Wildhorn announced he was working on Havana, and a song cycle titled Huberman: A Song for My Father, based on the life of Bronislaw Huberman.
Wildhorn was engaged to Brandi Burkhardt, best known for playing the role of Crickett on Hart of DixieHe also wrote the roles of Alice in Wonderland, and Bonnie in Bonnie & Clyde for her.. They separated in late 2010.
In 2014, he announced his engagement to Yoka Wao, a former Takarazuka male-role top star who played the lead role in Never Say Goodbye and the Japanese production of Dracula. They were married on July 26, 2015 in Maui, Hawaii.
- Jekyll & Hyde (1990) – Broke Plymouth Theater Record For Most Performances; World Premiere: Alley Theatre, May 1990. (Pre-B'way National Tour 1995-6; Broadway 1997–2001; Tour: 1999–2003)
- Svengali (1991) – World Premiere: Alley Theatre, April 1991. (Houston, TX & Sarasota, FL)
- Two songs in Victor/Victoria (1995) – World Premiere: (Minneapolis, MN)
- The Scarlet Pimpernel (1997) – World Premiere: Minskoff Theatre (Broadway), October 1997. Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Music (Broadway: 1997–2000 (split run(s)), Tour: 2000–2002)
- The Civil War (1998) – World Premiere: Alley Theatre, September 1998. Tony Nomination for Best Original Score and Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Music (Broadway: 1999, Tour: 1999–2000)
- Camille Claudel (2003) – World Premiere: Norma Terris Theatre/Goodspeed Theatre, August 2003. (Goodspeed CT: 2003; NYMF: 2004)
- Dracula, the Musical (2004) – World Premiere: La Jolla Playhouse, October 2001. (Also: San Diego 2001, St. Gallen 2005, Graz 2007)
- Waiting for the Moon (2005) – lyrics by: Jack Murphy – World Premiere: Lenape Performing Arts Center, July 2005. Revived in 2012 as Zelda – An American Love Story at the Flat Rock Playhouse, then as Scott & Zelda in 2015 at Tokyo, Japan.
- Cyrano de Bergerac The Musical (2006) Workshops; World Premiere: Japan, May 2009
- Rudolf – The Last Kiss (2006) – World Premiere: Budapest Operetta Theater, May 2006.
- Never Say Goodbye (2006) – World Premiere: Takarazuka Grand Theater, March 2006.
- Carmen (2008) – lyrics by: Jack Murphy; Premiere in Prague, Czech Republic.
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2009) – lyrics by: Jack Murphy – World Premiere: Theater St. Gallen, March 2009.
- Bonnie & Clyde (2009) – lyrics by Don Black; World Premiere: La Jolla Playhouse, November 2009.
- Wonderland (2009) – World Premiere: The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, December 2009; Broadway, 2011.
- Tears of Heaven (2011) – lyrics by Robin Lerner; opened in Seoul, South Korea.
- Mitsuko (2011) – written with Jack Murphy and Shuichiro Koike as a musical concert, Vienna in 2005; Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in 2011.
- Excalibur (2014) – lyrics by Robin Lerner – World Premiere: Theater St. Gallen, March 2014.
- Death Note: The Musical (2015) – lyrics by Jack Murphy, Japan and South Korea.
- Mata Hari (2016) - lyrics by Jack Murphy, South Korea and Japan.
- The Passage to the Light - The Revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre (2017) - World Premiere: Takarazuka Grand Theater, November 2017
- The Man Who Laughs (2018) - lyrics by Jack Murphy, Art Hall Opera Theater, Seoul, July 10.
- Havana (TBA) – lyrics by Jack Murphy, Pasadena Playhouse production cancelled.
Wildhorn produced (& composed) a majority of Linda Eder's solo albums, and is widely recognized for his ability to release a score before the show opens and selling very well. Below are the Major-concept and cast recordings he has made over his career that have been released, or were planned to at some point in the United States.
- Jekyll & Hyde – Romantic Highlights (1990); Starring: Linda Eder & Colm Wilkinson
- The Scarlet Pimpernel – A New Musical (1992); Linda Eder, Chuck Wagner and Dave Clemmons
- Jekyll & Hyde – The Gothic Musical Thriller: The Complete Work[a] (1995); Linda Eder, Anthony Warlow and Carolee Carmello
- Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical: Original Broadway Cast Recording (1997); Linda Eder, Robert Cuccioli and Christiane Noll
- The Scarlet Pimpernel: Broadway's New Musical Adventure (1998); Douglas Sills, Christine Andreas and Terrence Mann
- The Civil War – Concept Album (1998); Hootie and the Blowfish, Maya Angelou, Trisha Yearwood, Linda Eder, Betty Buckley, Michael Lanning, etc.
- The Civil War – The Nashville Sessions (1998); Blend of Celebrities
- The Scarlet Pimpernel – Encore! (1999); Douglas Sills, Christine Andreas, Terrence Mann, Linda Eder, Rex Smith and Rachel York
- Jekyll & Hyde – Resurrection (2006); Rob Evan, Kate Shindle and Brandi Burkhardt
- Cyrano de Bergerac – The Musical: Concept Album[b] (2006); Douglas Sills, Rob Evan and Linda Eder
- DRACULA, das Musical (2008); Lyn Liechty, Uwe Kroger and Thomas Borchert
- Count of Monte Cristo – The Musical (Highlights)[c] (2009); Brandi Burkhardt and Thomas Borchert
- Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure – The Concept Album (2008); Brandi Burkhardt, Andy Señor, Cheryl Freeman and Tracy Miller
- Tears of Heaven (2011); Linda Eder, Christiane Noll, James Barbour, Rob Evan, Jackie Burns, Morgan James
- Wonderland: Alice Through A Whole New Looking Glass – Original Broadway Cast Recording (2011) – Janet Dacal, Darren Ritchie, Kate Shindle
- Dracula, The Musical – New Concept Album (2011); James Stacy Barbour, Lauren Kennedy, Norm Lewis and Kate Shindle (under Global Vision Records)
- Bonnie & Clyde – Original Broadway Cast Recording (2012) – Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes
- Jekyll & Hyde – New Concept Recording (2012) – Constantine Maroulis, Deborah Cox
- Grammy Nominated
- Unreleased, all plans are on hold.
|1998||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theatre Album||Jekyll & Hyde: Original Broadway Cast Recording||Nominated|
|1998||Drama Desk||Outstanding Music||The Scarlet Pimpernel||Nominated|
|1999||Tony Award||Best Original Score||The Civil War||Nominated|
|1999||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Music||The Civil War||Nominated|
|2012||Tony Award||Best Original Score||Bonnie & Clyde||Nominated|
|2012||Drama Desk||Outstanding Music||Bonnie & Clyde||Nominated|
|2012||Outer Critics Circle||Outstanding Score||Bonnie & Clyde||Nominated|
Additionally, Wildhorn's musicals The Civil War and The Scarlet Pimpernel were nominated for Best Musical at the Tony Awards, and The Civil War and Bonnie & Clyde earned Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Broadway Musical. Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Civil War, and Bonnie & Clyde also received nominations for Outstanding Musical by the Outer Critics Circle.
- Wildhorn biography, accessed February 4, 2009
- McKinley, Jeffrey (November 10, 2000). "ON STAGE AND OFF; 'Jekyll and Hyde' Among Closings". The New York Times.
- "Carmen" information Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine frankwildhorn.com
- Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth."Tale of Two Cities' Barbour and Burkhardt Cast in Monte Cristo Workshop" Archived February 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com, November 6, 2008
- Gans, Andrew.Borchert to Star in World Premiere of Wildhorn's Count of Monte Cristo" Archived October 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, February 18, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth.Stark Sands and Laura Osnes are Bonnie and Clyde in NYC Reading of Wildhorn Musical" Archived February 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com, February 4, 2009
- Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth."Wildhorn and Murphy's Wonderland Makes Houston Bow Jan. 15" Archived April 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, January 10, 2010
- "VIDEO: Frank Wildhorn Teases THE MAN WHO LAUGHS in Seoul". BroadwayWorld. February 28, 2018.
- "Weddings: Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn". The New York Times. May 3, 1998.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Frank Wildhorn and Linda Eder, Couple Who Made Music on Stage and in Studio, Split Up" Archived September 6, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com, July 28, 2004
- Kaye, Kimberly. Fresh Face: Brandi Burkhardt, broadway.com, September 18, 2008
- Osnes, Laura. , Instagram.com, July 26, 2015
- Zelda Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine flatrockplayhouse.org
- "Frank Wildhorn Biography" Archived April 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine frankwildhorn.com, accessed March 27, 2012.
- "First Listen- Jeremy Jordan and Jarrod Spector Sing New Frank Wildhorn Tune From DEATH NOTE". BroadwayWorld. February 1, 2015.
- "News from Takarazuka Official Website". Archived from the original on October 8, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.