x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

When musicians take to the theatre stage

Take Five theatre productions penned by famous musicians

The former Blur frontman Damon Albarn's rock opera, which made its debut in Manchester last week, brings to mind five other stage productions penned by famous musicians.

Take Five... American Pie by Green Day (2004)

An angst-ridden teenager meets a freedom fighter and an apathetic female and they go on a rebellious spree. Spawned by the hit punk album American Idiot, it went on to be adapted for Broadway with the Green Day lead singer and songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong also playing the lead role.

Take Four... Frank Wild Years by Tom Waits (1987)

Inspired by a song from Waits's album Swordfishtrombones, the two-act play follows an old has-been who heads out in search of adventure. The song Way Down in the Hole has been recently popularised by the TV drama The Wire.

Take Three... The Wall by Pink Floyd (1979)

Regarded as one of the best rock albums ever made, the Pink Floyd classic follows the emotional breakdown of a rockstar. The Wall has been performed by all sorts, from major theatre companies globally to local high schools.

Take Two... The Boy Who Heard Music by Pete Townsend (2007)

Originally intended as an internet novella by The Who guitarist, the project grew to become an album and eventually a stage show. Narrated by a fictitious musician in a mental asylum in the year 2035, the story covers the friendship between three British children from various ethnic backgrounds.

Take One... Chess by Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice (1984)

A mega-successful production, the success of which probably contributed to ABBA never reforming again. ABBA's Andersson and Ulvaeus teamed up with the lyricist Rice to write a musical about American and Russian chess-masters and a woman who manages one player, and falls for the other.