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A jukebox musical is a musical film or stage presentation featuring the songs of popular music acts. The term is used to describe films starring famous popular music acts showcasing their own recorded songs, not necessarily as part of a traditional musical score, though they are sometimes augmented with scored background music. Use of the term has also grown to encompass musical films and theatrical presentations that celebrate past or present music acts or personalities, usually played by professional actors singing new renditions of the real artists' previously-recorded songs and other material, done in a manner more akin to a typical Broadway musical, where songs are incorporated into a formal musical score and accompanied by choreography. The songs in jukebox musicals (of both kinds) are often contextualized into a dramatic plot, and particularly in the case of the later kind, a biographical story about the featured performer(s). In some instances plots do not revolve around the musical act(s) making appearances.

Jukebox musical films of the first kind often feature famous pop stars and rock groups playing themselves, such as the Beatles in their narrative films, or in other cases playing as alter egos. Some films star one well-known act, but others include a variety of acts. Some jukebox musicals include previously recorded songs, but others introduce unreleased material, such the Beatles did in their first film, A Hard Day's Night, which Andrew Sarris described as "the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals", as well as in their second and third features, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour (their fourth film, the animated Yellow Submarine, featured mostly previously released songs). Prior to the Beatles, Elvis Presley's movies sometimes contained previously unreleased music. In the 1980s, Prince's Purple Rain, in which he played a fictional character called the Kid, also featured new songs.

Other films described as jukebox musicals take all their songs from a single concept album featuring an integrated song cycle with a story arc, sometimes labeled a rock opera. Both the movies of The Who's Tommy and of Pink Floyd's The Wall adapted the entire song cycle of a single album which already revolved around a fictional character.

Although jukebox musicals had achieved success for years (for instance Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, the musical about the life of Buddy Holly which ran in the West End for 13 years from 1989 to 2003), a surge in popularity was led by the success of Mamma Mia!, built around the music of ABBA.[1]

Reception of jukebox musicals has been divided, with the most common criticism being that there is too much focus on how many songs can be fit into the musical. Some jukebox musicals, like Lennon and Good Vibrations have been critical and financial flops. Others, like Jersey Boys and All Shook Up have been popular with both fans and critics.

The term "jukebox musical" dates at least to 1962,[2] following Jukebox (1939), though the general genre—motion pictures consisting largely of hit recordings—dates to the 1940s and 1950s.[citation needed] Examples are Jam Session, An American in Paris (1951), Rock, Rock, Rock (1956); Rock Around the Clock (1956) and Juke Box Rhythm (1959).

List of stage jukebox musicalsEdit


Year Title Based on the music of
1975 The Night That Made America Famous Harry Chapin
1977 Beatlemania (revue) The Beatles
1977 Elvis Elvis Presley
1978 Ain't Misbehavin' the Harlem Renaissance/Fats Waller


Year Title Based on the music of
1983 Abbacadabra ABBA
1984 Leader of the Pack Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector
1988 Always ... Patsy Cline Patsy Cline
1989 Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Buddy Holly, including many early rock "standards"
1989 Return to the Forbidden Planet 1960s rock and roll


Year Title Based on the music of
1990 Forever Plaid male vocal harmony groups of the 1950s
1990 Five Guys Named Moe Louis Jordan
1995 Smokey Joe's Cafe Leiber and Stoller
1997 Boogie Nights the 70s
1998 Saturday Night Fever Bee Gees
1999 Disco Inferno 1970s disco
1999 Mamma Mia! ABBA
1999 The Marvelous Wonderettes female vocal harmony groups of the 1950s and 1960s
1999 It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues 5 Tony Nominations


Year Title Based on the music of
2001 Love, Janis Janis Joplin
2001 Shout! The Legend of The Wild One Johnny O'Keefe
2002 We Will Rock You Queen
2002 Our House Madness
2002 Movin' Out Billy Joel
2003 The Boy from Oz Peter Allen
2003 Hank Williams: Lost Highway Hank Williams
2003 Tonight's The Night Rod Stewart
2003 Belles belles belles Claude François
2003 Winter Wonderettes holiday music, 1960s
2004 On the Record the Walt Disney Company
2004 Beyond the Sea a biopic of Bobby Darin
2005 Back to the 80's! various 80s pop artists
2005 Lennon John Lennon
2005 Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
2005 All Shook Up Elvis Presley
2005 Honky Tonk Laundry country music made famous by female country stars
2005 Jersey Boys Frankie Valli and Four Seasons
2005 Hoy no me puedo levantar Spanish group Mecano
2005 Bésame Mucho Mexican and Cuba Boleros Various Artists
2006 Dusty – The Original Pop Diva Dusty Springfield
2006 Hot Feet Earth, Wind & Fire
2006 Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical Various Artists, based on the movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
2006 Daddy Cool Boney M
2006 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
2006 Rock of Ages Glam metal of the 1980s
2006 Thriller - Live Michael Jackson
2006 The Times They Are A-Changin' Bob Dylan
2006 The Onion Cellar The Dresden Dolls
2006 Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Hits of the 1960s in various artists
2007 Desperately Seeking Susan Blondie
2007 Never Forget Take That
2007 Ich war noch niemals in New York [de] Udo Jürgens
2007 Xanadu Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John
2007 Sunshine on Leith The Proclaimers
2007 The Slide The Beautiful South
2008 All the Fun of the Fair David Essex
2008 Je m'voyais déjà : Le musical [fr] Charles Aznavour
2009 Dreamboats and Petticoats based on the album featuring music of the 1960s
2009 Mentiras el musical Mexican songs from 1980s era Various Artists
2009 Fela! Fela Kuti
2009 Life Could Be a Dream Doo-wop music circa 1960


Year Title Based on the music of
2010 Perfect Harmony Various Artists (ranging from The Jackson 5, to Pat Benatar)
2010 Everyday Rapture Various Artists (ranging from Judy Garland and The Supremes, to Mr. Rogers)
2010 Come Fly Away Frank Sinatra
2010 Million Dollar Quartet Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash
2010 American Idiot Green Day
2010 Padam Padam : Le spectacle musical [fr] Norbert Glanzberg
2011 Waiting for a Train Jimmie Rodgers
2011 Baby It's You! The Shirelles
2011 Si nos dejan Mexican songs from 1930s-1950s era Various Artists
2011 Hinterm Horizont [de] Udo Lindenberg
2012 I Dreamed a Dream various artists, songs covered by Susan Boyle
2012 Raiding the Rock Vault[3] Various classic rock songs
2012 Viva Forever! Spice Girls
2012 Soul Sister Tina Turner
2012 Disaster! Popular songs from the 1970s
2012 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots The Flaming Lips
2013 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Carole King
2013 Soul Doctor Shlomo Carlebach and Nina Simone
2013 Sunshine on Leith The Proclaimers
2013 After Midnight Duke Ellington
2013 Motown: The Musical Motown
2014 Holler If Ya Hear Me Tupac Shakur
2014 Cyrano De Burger Shack Various Artists (ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen, to Smash Mouth)
2014 Sunny Afternoon The Kinks
2015 On Your Feet! Emilio Estefan and Gloria Estefan
2015 Résiste [fr] France Gall
2015 Cruel Intentions: The Musical Popular songs from the 1990s, based on the movie Cruel Intentions
2016 Lazarus David Bowie
2016 Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Musical Bobby Darin
2017 Bat Out of Hell The Musical Jim Steinman
2017 The Band Take That
2017 Part of the Plan Dan Fogelberg
2017 Girl from the North Country Bob Dylan
2017 Hit Parade : Le Musical [fr] Claude François, Dalida, Mike Brant and Sacha Distel
2017 Summer: The Donna Summer Musical Donna Summer
2018 Jukebox Hero Foreigner
2018 Escape to Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett
2018 Tina: The Musical Tina Turner
2018 Jagged Little Pill Alanis Morissette
2018 Head Over Heels The Go-Go's
2018 The Cher Show Cher
2018 Clueless, The Musical Popular songs from the 1990s, based on the movie Clueless
2018 All Out of Love: The Musical[4][5][6][7][8] Air Supply
2018 Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations The Temptations
2018 Moulin Rouge! The Musical Various artists
2019 Standing at the Sky's Edge (musical) Richard Hawley
2019 Once Upon a One More Time Britney Spears
2019 & Juliet Max Martin

List of jukebox musical filmsEdit

List of jukebox musical TV showsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mamma Mia! and the Rise of the Jukebox Musical". Cheap Theater Tickets. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  2. ^ Guide to the Performing Arts: 3460, Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1962, p. 204, "—Kanin, Garson; his jukebox musical with Phil Silvers, Nancy Walker".
  3. ^ Jeff Giles (October 21, 2016). "Cheap Trick, Journey and Foreigner vets lead new 'Rock Pack' concert experience". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  4. ^ "All Out of Love: The Musical". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew (28 February 2018). "All Out of Love, New Air Supply Musical, Will Debut in Manila". Playbill. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Photo Flash: First Look At The Air Supply Musical ALL OUT OF LOVE in Manila". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. 19 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  7. ^ Katigbak, Fran (23 June 2018). "All Out of Love: Here it is, an Air Supply jukebox musical!". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  8. ^ Lo, Ricky (October 25, 2018). "Air Supply takes a bow with cast at gala show". The Philippine Star. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

External linksEdit