Frank Wildhorn

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Frank Wildhorn
Born (1958-11-29) November 29, 1958 (age 65)
Harlem, New York
Occupation(s)Composer, songwriter, playwright
Years active1977–present

Frank Wildhorn (born November 29, 1958) is an American composer of both musicals and popular songs. His musical Jekyll & Hyde ran for four years on Broadway. He also wrote the #1 International hit song "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" for Whitney Houston.

Early years[edit]

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. He is Jewish.[1]


Popular music[edit]

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 had 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5] Another musical, with music by Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black, Bonnie and Clyde, received an industry reading in February 2009[6] 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.[7]

Wildhorn is also the first Broadway musician to work with the Takarazuka Revue on the Cosmos Troupe's production of the musical Never Say Goodbye.

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 on the popular Japanese manga series Death Note (this would lead to more manga adaptations, such as Fist of the North Star in 2021 and Your Lie In April in 2022). In 2018, he debuted The Man Who Laughs in South Korea, based on Victor Hugo's novel.[8][9][10] The Man Who Laughs won three awards at the 2019 Korean Musical Awards, including Best Musical.

Other compositions[edit]

Wildhorn composed a full-length commissioned symphonic piece, Danube Symphony, which was recorded by the 96-piece Vienna Symphony. A CD of the work was released on December 10, 2021. The premiere took place on 3rd November 2022 in Wiener Musikverein.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Wildhorn married Linda Eder on May 3, 1998. They have a son, and he has another son from an earlier marriage.[12][13] He and Eder divorced in 2004.

Wildhorn was engaged to Brandi Burkhardt, best known for playing the role of Crickett on Hart of Dixie. He also wrote the roles of Alice in Wonderland and Bonnie in Bonnie & Clyde for her.[14] 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.[15]


  • 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; Tour: 2012–2013; Broadway revival: 2013)
  • 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; Washington, DC: 2020)
  • 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,[16] then as Scott & Zelda in 2015 at Tokyo, Japan.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (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; Alley Theatre 2010; Broadway 2011; Japan 2012; UK National Tour 2017)[17]
  • Tears of Heaven (2011) – lyrics by Robin Lerner; opened in Seoul, South Korea.[18]
  • Mitsuko (2011) – written with Jack Murphy and Shuichiro Koike as a musical concert, Vienna in 2005; Tokyo and Osaka, Japan in 2011.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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[20]
  • The Man Who Laughs (2018) - lyrics by Jack Murphy, Art Hall Opera Theater, Seoul, July 10.
  • Fist of the North Star (2021) - World Premiere: Nissay Theatre, Tokyo, December 8, 2021
  • No Longer Human (2021) - lyrics by Tracy Miller and Carly Robyn Green - World Premiere: Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai, December 10, 2021
  • Your Lie in April (musical) (2022) - lyrics by Tracy Miller and Carly Robyn Green - World Premiere: Nissay Theatre, Tokyo, May 7, 2022
  • Peter I (2022) - World Premiere: Theatre of Musical comedy, Saint-Petersburg, December 2, 2022
  • The Song of Bernadette - lyrics by Robin Lerner & book by Rinne Groff, In Development

Cast recordings[edit]

Wildhorn produced and 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 have it sell really well. Below are the major concept and cast recordings he has made over his career that have been released in the United States.

  1. ^ Grammy Nominated
  2. ^ Certified Platinum

The following concept albums were announced, but were never released.

Other songs[edit]

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominated Work Result
1998 Grammy Award Best Musical Theatre Album Jekyll & Hyde: Original Broadway Cast Recording Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music The Scarlet Pimpernel Nominated
1999 Tony Award Best Original Score The Civil War Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Nominated
2012 Tony Award Best Original Score Bonnie & Clyde Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Score 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.


  1. ^ Schleier, Curt (December 1, 2014). "The Broadway Composer Critics Love To Hate". Forward. Retrieved May 30, 2022. Wildhorn: 'My parents met at a Jewish dance at a Y on the [Grand] Concourse, I think.'
  2. ^ McKinley, Jeffrey (November 10, 2000). "ON STAGE AND OFF; 'Jekyll and Hyde' Among Closings". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Carmen" information Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth. "Tale of Two Cities' Barbour and Burkhardt Cast in Monte Cristo Workshop", November 6, 2008
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Borchert to Star in World Premiere of Wildhorn's Count of Monte Cristo", February 18, 2009
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Stark Sands and Laura Osnes are Bonnie and Clyde in NYC Reading of Wildhorn Musical", February 4, 2009
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. "Wildhorn and Murphy's Wonderland Makes Houston Bow Jan. 15", January 10, 2010
  8. ^ Henry, Alan (February 28, 2018). "VIDEO: Frank Wildhorn Teases THE MAN WHO LAUGHS in Seoul". BroadwayWorld.
  9. ^ Loo, Egan (July 15, 2021). "Fist of the North Star Manga Gets Stage Musical in December". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  10. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (May 9, 2022). "Fist of the North Star Musical Returns With New Cast". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  11. ^ Video: Watch the Vienna Symphony Orchestra Rehearse Frank Wildhorn's 'Danube Symphony'
  12. ^ "Weddings: Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn". The New York Times. May 3, 1998.
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Frank Wildhorn and Linda Eder, Couple Who Made Music on Stage and in Studio, Split Up", July 28, 2004
  14. ^ Kaye, Kimberly. "Fresh Face: Brandi Burkhardt",, September 18, 2008
  15. ^ Osnes, Laura [@lauraosnes] (July 26, 2015). "Married in Maui!!! #aloha #frankwildhorn #YokaWao" – via Instagram.
  16. ^ Zelda Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "UK tour announced for Wonderland musical | WhatsOnStage". March 18, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "Frank Wildhorn Biography" Archived April 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 27, 2012.
  19. ^ Henry Fuller, Sally (February 1, 2015). "First Listen- Jeremy Jordan and Jarrod Spector Sing New Frank Wildhorn Tune From DEATH NOTE". BroadwayWorld.
  20. ^ "News from Takarazuka Official Website". Archived from the original on October 8, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.

External links[edit]