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Michael Kunze

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Michael Kunze BIO

Michael Kunze is a lyricist and librettist of the musical theater. His hit shows ELISABETH, DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES, MOZART!, MARIE ANTOINETTE, REBECCA, MOSES, LADY BESS, DON CAMILLO & PEPPONE and MATTERHORN have reached an audience of more than 19 million people. The worldwide box office gross of his works has passed the 1 billion mark. As a lyricist he has created more than 200 chart songs and was honored with a Grammy and an Echo Lifetime Award. He also wrote several books.
His musicals are regarded the foundation of a new genre of the contemporary popular musical theatre, called the DramaMusical. It is characterized by an elaborate dramatic structure which integrates elements of the film structure into the classic two act drama form. Michael likes to describe himself as “an architect of the musical drama”.

Michael grew up in Munich, where he studied law, history and philosophy. In the late 1960s, he started to write pop songs, and soon became one of the best known songwriters of Germany. As a producer of international acts, he hit the top of both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in the US. Michael and his friend, composer Sylvester Levay, were the first Germans ever to win the coveted Grammy Award.
At the top of his success, Michael wrote a non-fiction book, "Highroad to the Stake", that was awarded the 1981 Faculty Prize by the Munich University Law School, was translated into several languages and highly praised by the New York Times Book Review.
In 1992, the first of his stage musicals opened in Vienna, a drama about the life of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (music: Sylvester Levay). It ran for almost six years and was soon exported to other countries, such as Japan, Hungary, Sweden, Holland and Germany.
Collaborating with Roman Polanski (director) and Jim Steinman (composer), Michael wrote his first English libretto and lyrics for the musical, DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES. A German version opened in October 1997 at the Viennese Raimund Theater to raving reviews and became an international hit.
Michael has written most of his shows with his close friend, Sylvester Levay. Their second show, MOZART!, also became an immediate success. In 2006 his REBECCA, based on Daphne Du Maurier's famous novel, premiered at Vienna's Raimund Theater. MARIE ANTOINETTE, a musical dramatizing the events of the French Revolution, had a grand opening in Tokyo's most prestigious Imperial Theatre on November 1, 2006, premiered in 2009 in Europe and in 2014 in Seoul/Korea. In 2012 Michael's musical MOSES (music: Dieter Falk) premiered in Switzerland where it ran for three years. Michael and Sylvester's LADY BESS, telling the story of the young Elizabeth of England, opened in April 2014 in Tokyo. In 2017 he created a pop oratory for 3000 voices celebrating the rebellious monk, Martin LUTHER. This huge event toured European concert halls. In 2018 Michael’s show about man’s destruction of nature, MATTERHORN (music by Albert Hammond), opened in Switzerland. Currently he is working on a new choir event titled BETHLEHEM, and on another musical scheduled to open in Seoul in 2022. He is also busy writing another book, a biography of the internationally known legal theorist Rudolf von Jhering (1818-1892).
In addition to his Grammy, Michael holds an Echo Lifetime Award, 79 Gold and Platinum Records, 3 Golden Europe Awards, 2 Best Musicals Awards (Image1996 and Image 1998), Musical Of The Year Award 2000 (Mozart!), 2001 (Elisabeth), 2003 (Dance Of The Vampires), 2007 (Rebecca) and 2009 (Marie Antoinette). For his non-fiction books he was honored by the Academic Society Of Göttingen with the prestigious Grimm Brothers Award (2018). Michael is a member of GEMA, Deutsche Dramatiker Union and The Dramatists Guild, Inc. New York. He and his wife, Roswitha, live in Hamburg / Germany.


Michael Kunze Productions

[West End, 2023]
Original Book and Lyrics
[Broadway, 2002]
Book Revisions



Michael Kunze News

Review Roundup: English-Language REBECCA Premieres at Charing Cross Theatre

Richard Carson, Lauren Jones and Kara Lane head the cast for the much anticipated English language premiere of the critically acclaimed musical Rebecca. Check out what the critic are saying about the new musical.

Review: REBECCA, Charing Cross Theatre

The project has been a top hit in its native Austria since it opened in 2006, garnering a steady following across the world and subsequent runs in Asia and Europe. The original is fabled to feature incredible sets and a sumptuous staging - it’s a shame those elements haven’t transferred.

Photos: First Look at the English Language Premiere of REBECCA

Richard Carson, Lauren Jones and Kara Lane head the cast for the eagerly anticipated English language premiere of the critically acclaimed musical ‘Rebecca’. Check out all new photos here!

Find Out How to Get Tickets to SPIRITED AWAY at the London Coliseum

The priority and general on sale dates have been announced for the European premiere of the stage adaptation of SPIRITED AWAY, which opens at the London Coliseum on 30 April 2024 where it will play until 20 July 2024.

EDINBURGH 2023: Review: CSI: CRIME SCENE IMPROVISATION, Underbelly, Bristo Square, Ermintrude

The concept of CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation is quite simple. A murder has taken place, and it is up to the audience to not only catch the killer but also to create the crime scene themselves, setting the scene for the actors. 

Video: Watch Lauren Jones and Kara Lane Sing 'Mrs. de Winter Is Here' from REBECCA

The English language premiere of Rebecca is coming soon to Charing Cross Theatre and we have a first look! In this video, watch as Lauren Jones (2nd Mrs. de Winter) and Kara Lane (Mrs. Danvers) record 'Mrs. de Winter Is Here' at The Umbrella Rooms.

Video: Richard Carson and Lauren Jones Perform 'Through the Night' From English-Language Premiere of REBECCA

An all new video has been released from the English language premiere  of REBECCA at Charing Cross Theatre. The video features Richard Carson as Maxim de Winter  and Lauren Jones as Second Mrs de Winter singing 'Through the Night', featuring Pianist Tom Knowles.

Photos: First Look at the Cast of REBECCA at Charing Cross Theatre

Richard Carson, Lauren Jones and Kara Lane  head the cast for the eagerly anticipated English language premiere of the critically acclaimed musical ‘Rebecca’. Check out all new photos of the cast here!

Stage Adaptation of Studio Ghibli's SPIRITED AWAY Makes European Debut in London in 2024

The European premiere of SPIRITED AWAY will open at the London Coliseum in April 2024.

Richard Carson, Lauren Jones and Kara Lane Will Lead English Language Premiere of REBECCA

Richard Carson, Lauren Jones and Kara Lane will lead the cast for the eagerly anticipated English language premiere of the critically acclaimed musical ‘Rebecca’. Performances run 4 September to 18 November at Charing Cross Theatre.

Review: ELISABETH IN CONCERT at Schönbrunn Castle

What did our critic think of ELISABETH IN CONCERT at Schönbrunn Castle? The dramatically touching story about Austria's famous Empress Elisabeth is back for a three-night Open Air Concert in Schönbrunn's grand forecourt.

TANZ DER VAMPIRE Kehrt Diesen Herbst Nach Hamburg Zurück

Bereits seit einem Vierteljahrhundert begeistert das Musical TANZ DER VAMPIRE aus der Feder von Michael Kunze (Buch und Lyrics) und Jim Steinman (Musik) Fans auf der ganzen Welt. Aufgrund der hohen Nachfrage bei Fans der Show in ganz Deutschland zeigt Stage Entertainment ab November 2023 TANZ DER VAMPIRE wieder in Hamburg, im Stage Operettenhaus.

Krolock Kevin Tarte Wird Seine Rolle Im Musical DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES

Seit einem Vierteljahrhundert tanzen die Vampire über die Musicalbühnen – das bedeutet 25 Jahre begeisterte Fans, schaurig-schöne Kulissen, rockige Musik, berühmte Balladen und absolute Kultstars in den Hauptrollen! Im Oktober 2022 zelebrierte TANZ DER VAMPIRE im Stuttgarter Stage Palladium Theater das große Jubiläum, aber die Party ist noch lange nicht vorbei: Dieses Frühjahr kehrt einer der am meisten gefeierten Darsteller zurück, den die Vampirshow je gesehen hat: Superstar Kevin Tarte lockt im Mai und Juni erneut als bissiger Graf von Krolock in sein Schloss!

LADY BESS is Now Playing at Theater St.Gallen

The young Princess Elizabeth 'Bess' Tudor, daughter of the legendary King Henry VIII and the notorious Anne Boleyn, grows up as an orphan in the care of her governess and her humanist tutor, while her half-sister as 'Bloody Mary' brutally rules over her subjects. Mary does everything she can to get rid of her hated little sister. But Bess, through integrity and with the help of her friends, manages to win the sympathy of the English people and finally ascends the throne as Elizabeth I.

Wake Up With BWW 12/13: Inside Opening of SOME LIKE IT HOT and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

Top stories include coverage from opening nights of Some Like It Hot and Merrily We Roll Along! Plus, Night at the Museum musical had its first workshop, and more!

REBECCA Musical Will Get English Premiere at London's Charing Cross Theatre

Following 12 hugely successful foreign language productions, critically acclaimed musical Rebecca by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay is to get its English language premiere in a new production at London’s Charing Cross Theatre in an English translation by Christopher Hampton.

Wake Up With BWW 9/27: TOPDOG/UNDERDOG Begins Previews Tonight, and More!

Top stories include Topdog/Underdog beginning previews tonight! Plus, watch a video of Gavin Creel and Joshua Henry singing 'Agony' from Into The Woods, full casting for the national tour of On Your Feet!, and more!

First Look: Willemijn Verkaik Returns to the Stage in REBECCA the Musical in Vienna

BroadwayWorld has a first look at Rebecca the Musical in Vienna at the Raimund Theater. Known for being 'the two most successful German-language musical authors,'  Michael Kunze & Sylvester Levay's Rebecca has already captivated more than 2 million people worldwide in 12 countries and 10 languages.

Review: REBECCA THE MUSICAL at Raimund Theatre

REBECCA, the musical about love and obsession reaching from beyond the grave, is back! Daphne Du Maurier's novel has been adapted several times successfully for stage and screen, like Alfred Hitchcock's Academy-Awarded Version or the late Netflix Adaption with Lily James and Armie Hammer. Silvester Levay (Music) and Michael Kunze (Book and Lyrics) brought up a Musical Version of Du Maurier's gothic thriller back in 2006.

Review: ELISABETH at Château Du Karreveld

After starting to educate the French-speaking audience of Brussels into the art of musical theater, with widely known titles such as The Sound of Music, Evita, Sunset Boulevard, and My Fair Lady, the Bruxellons! Festival has started venturing into lesser-known material with Blood Brother last year, which, despite being initially a big hit in London, had hardly been done since, let alone in a foreign language. This year's Elisabeth, originally commissioned by Vereinigte Bühnen Wien, had been seen over 10 million times throughout the world, becoming the most successful German musical of all time, but, despite having been translated 7 foreign languages, had yet to be done in either English or French.


Michael Kunze has written 2 shows including Dance of the Vampires (Bookwriter), Rebecca (Bookwriter).

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