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When Rock Stars Take On Broadway

The Great White Way welcomes Sting to an exclusive club that also includes Elton John, Phil Collins, and The Who, among others.

With The Last Ship, 16-time Grammy-winning music icon Sting makes his Broadway debut as a composer and lyricist. It's not the first time a rock or pop star has found his or her way to New York's stages. Sometimes, they win big (Cyndi Lauper took home the Tony for Best Score for Kinky Boots, for example). Other times, they have less successful results (Elton John, despite winning a Tony for Aida and getting nominated for Billy Elliot, still has the major flop Lestat under his belt). Here are 5 examples of how rock stars fared on Broadway.


The Green Goblin battles Spider-Man in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.
(© 8 Legged Productions, LLC.)

SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK
Music and Lyrics: Bono and The Edge (U2)
Synopsis: The origin story of how high school student Peter Parker became the superhero known as Spider-Man and ended up saving New York City from the evil Green Goblin.
Inspired by: the Marvel comic book series
Principal Original Cast Members: Reeve Carney as Peter Parker, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, Patrick Page as The Green Gobiln
Notable Song: "The Boy Falls From the Sky"
Years: 2011-2014
Number of Performances: 182 previews, 1,066 performances at the Foxwoods Theatre


Jenn Gambatese and Josh Strickland fall in love in Tarzan.
(© Joan Marcus)

TARZAN
Music and Lyrics: Phil Collins (Genesis)
Synopsis: A young man orphaned in a shipwreck is raised in the jungle by gorillas and must reconcile his upbringing when he falls in love with a woman.
Inspired by: the 1999 Disney animated feature film of the same title
Principal Original Cast Members: Josh Strickland as Tarzan, Jennifer Gambatese as Jane, Shuler Hensley as Kerchak, Merle Dandridge as Kala
Notable Song: "You'll Be in My Heart"
Years: 2006-2007
Number of Performances: 35 previews, 486 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre


Chad Kimball and Montego Glover as Huey and Felicia in Memphis.
(© Joan Marcus)

MEMPHIS
Music and Lyrics: David Bryan (Bon Jovi) and Joe DiPietro
Synopsis: A white disc jockey falls in love with a black singer and must overcome the racial prejudices of 1950s Tennessee.
Inspired by: the life of disc jockey Dewey Phillips
Principal Original Cast Members: Chad Kimball as Huey Calhoun, Montego Glover as Felicia Farrell
Notable Song: "Memphis Lives in Me"
Years: 2009-2012
Number of Performances: 30 previews, 1,165 performances at the Shubert Theatre


Drinking some blood in Dance of the Vampires.

DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES
Music and Lyrics: Jim Steinman (Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell)
Synopsis: Vampires will take over the world if the Count von Krolock can seduce virginal Sarah by midnight on Halloween. Can he be stopped by Professor Abronsius, who's on the hunt to prove the existence of Transylvanian vampires?
Inspired by: Roman Polanski's 1967 film, The Fearless Vampire Killers
Principal Original Cast Members: Michael Crawford as Count von Krolock, René Auberjonois as Professor Abronsius, Mandy Gonzalez as Sarah
Notable Song: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (billed as "Vampires in Love")
Years: 2002-2003
Number of Performances: 61 previews, 56 performances at the Minskoff Theatre


Michael Cerveris is the Pinball Wizard in Tommy.

THE WHO'S TOMMY
Music and Lyrics: Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Synopsis: After witnessing his father murder his mother's lover, Tommy loses his ability to speak, see, and hear. After suffering abuse by relatives and neighbors, Tommy falls in love with pinball and becomes an international legend.
Inspired by: the 1967 album Tommy, by The Who
Principal Original Cast Members: Michael Cerveris as Tommy, Sherie Rene Scott, Alice Ripley, Norm Lewis
Notable Song: "Pinball Wizard"
Years: 1993-1995
Number of Performances: 27 previews and 899 performances at the St. James Theatre

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