Other Shows with Music Written by Elton John
A big factor to a successful musical is unsurprisingly having good music. Shows such as Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys and We Will Rock You are largely so popular with the public because they use the back catalogue of some of the biggest groups in history – ABBA, The Four Seasons and Queen, and although The Lion King doesn’t use the pop hits of a classic band, the music is written by one of the most successful artists of all time, Sir Elton John.
Elton John collaborated with Tim Rice on Disney’s film version of The Lion King, composing the music whilst Rice created the lyrics. Elton wrote the music to classics such as Hakuna Matata and I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, and also created one of the best-loved Disney songs, The Circle of Life, which spawns the powerful opening to the film and musical. With a large back-catalogue of number one songs throughout his career which begun in 1969, Elton could easily have retired long ago if he wanted to, but he is often busy behind closed doors, writing the tunes for other successful musicals. So which musicals are they?
Other Elton John Shows
In 1999, Elton John collaborated again with lyricist Tim Rice for a new Disney musical, Aida, which opened on Broadway in 2000 and ran for almost five years until September 2004. The musical is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian opera of the same name and is a timeless love story. Aida was a hit, with John and Rice receiving the Tony Award for Best Original Score as well as a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Although Aida has been performed in countless countries throughout the world such as Brazil, China and Australia, it has never been staged in London’s West End, or anywhere else in the UK.
Hot off the successes from both The Lion King and Aida, it came as no surprise when Elton John returned to musical theatre in 2005 to compose the music for one of the biggest British successes in recent West End history, Billy Elliot the Musical. Billy Elliot has been one of the most successful Elton John shows. Collaborating with Sir Elton, the shows lyrics were written by Lee Hall (who also wrote the screenplay for the film) and both he and sir Elton were nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score, but unfortunately didn’t win. Billy Elliot itself has been a massive success, winning four Olivier Awards when it first opened in 2005 including the award for Best New Musical. It has played in New York, Melbourne and Toronto, and continues to play to audiences in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
With the scores of three hit musicals behind him, who knows if further Elton John shows will pop up? One can only hope that Sir Elton John will use his talents to create more music to move people in the same way as he has done with The Lion King, Aida and Billy Elliot? My guess is, probably!