Musical Author - Michael Kunze

by chefkeem

Musical author Michael Kunze is the creator of the drama musical, a new genre of popular musical theatre now appearing on Broadway. Meet the man and his work on this page.

Michael Kunze - one of Europe's most successful lyricists and musical authors

Highlights of his life and career

Michael Kunze was born in Prague but grew up in Munich, Germany, where he studied history, law, and philosophy. His passionate interest in music, however, led to a career as a pop music lyricist. Within a few short years he became known as a "hit maker" in the German music scene, writing and producing for the biggest names on the European pop market: Julio Eglesias, Nana Mouskouri, Silver Convention (Grammy Award!), Sister Sledge, Udo Juergens, Gilbert name just a few.

Musical author Michael KunzeAfter a hiatus from the music scene--during which he wrote the international bestseller "Highroad To The Stake"--Michael pursued his passion for musical theatre. For a large part of the '80s, Kunze wrote the German librettos to many of the world's most popular musicals: Evita, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Lion King, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Follies, Mamma Mia!, and several more.  

A Musical Author Finds His Own Voice

For his first original drama musical, Michael chose the story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. His long-time collaborator from the '70s pop era, Sylvester Levay, composed the musical score. The show opened in September 1992 at the Viennese Theater and der Wien. From there it embarked on a 3-year run to sold-out houses with record attendances. New productions were subsequently developed in Hungary, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Japan.

Dance of the Vampires

In collaboration with Roman Polanski (director) and Jim Steinmann (music), Kunze wrote his first English libretto for this fun musical about love and mayhem in Transsylvania. In 1997, a German version premiered in Vienna and quickly became an international hit musical.


Mozart's life as a drama musical opened in Vienna (1999) and continued on to play in Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Japan and Korea. 

Rebecca Musical


A musical author's dream: Daphne du Maurier's novel about romance, intrigue, obsession and true love at the Cornish Estate Manderley. 

REBECCA opened in 2006 in Vienna, and it continues to play across Europe and Japan. A Broadway premiere of REBECCA The Musical is scheduled for April 22, 2012.

Marie Antoinette

This drama musical about the beautiful French Queen during the trying times of the French Revolution was first shown in Tokyo's prestigious Imperial Theater (2006) before it opened to the German audiences in 2009.


In addition, Michael Kunze wrote the opera "Raoul" (music by Gershon Kingsley), and the pop oratorio "The Ten Commandments" (music by Dieter Falk; cast of 2,555!).



Excerpt from the musical ELISABETH...

with English subtitles

More info on Michael Kunze and his works...

REBECCA, the European Hit Musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, will have its Broadway premiere October 30, 2012. Update: The show has been cancelled!
Watch the European hit-musical ELISABETH in videos with English subtitles. Read the amazing story of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.
Dr. Kunze is the most successful librettist in the history of German musical theater. His musical workshop is based on his unique structure of a dramatic story...

What Is A Drama Musical?

Our musical author explains...
Updated: 08/05/2011, chefkeem
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DerdriuMarriner on 10/16/2018

chefkeem, Thank you for the biography and links. Did you know that the video excerpt of Elisabeth is not available any more? It's a lovely ending to include the advice and observations of such a talented author and lyricist. It's interesting that he's from Prague because I see a resemblance to one of my favorite actors, Karel Roden.

Spook on 09/05/2011

Very enjoyable read and I have always loved talent.

ronpass on 08/11/2011

Impressive insight into musical author, Michael Kunze, from a close friend and former music producer. The YouTube excerpt of Elisabeth displays the greatness of this gifted musical dramatist. I was intrigued as I watch the music drama unfold.

ohcaroline on 08/07/2011

Very interesting read.

happynutritionist on 08/06/2011

It has been a long time since I've been to a play on Broadway, it sound like Rebecca will be something worth seeing. Interesting to learn more about Michael Kunze

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