21 Horror Musicals: Dark Shows for Halloween

actors in a horror musical

Halloween is the perfect time to do a musical — you don’t have to worry about summer interfering with rehearsals. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about stepping into the theater on a crisp fall evening. Horror musicals are a great way to play up the spooky mood (and maybe give your audience a chance to dress up).

When it comes to Halloween musicals, there’s something for everyone. Keep it light with a funny show, or go dark with a true horror story. And of course, you can always go for cult classics (see #2).

Top image courtesy of Eva Rinaldi under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Image courtesy of WestConn under CC BY-ND 2.0

Are you looking to boost ticket sales and play to sold-out houses? Popular horror musicals are the way to go. They’re well-known, so your theater marketing people will breathe a sigh of relief. More importantly, these shows have solid scores, so they’ll satisfy even the most demanding theatergoer.

1. Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd is one of the most popular Halloween musicals of all time, and for good reason — does it get any creepier than a murderous barber? From the special meat pies to the macabre humor, this show is…well, killer. Plus, since the music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim, you know they’re going to be amazing.

Licensing: MTI 

2. Rocky Horror Picture Show

If you’re looking for a horror musical that’s almost certain to sell out, Rocky Horror is it. This weird little cult classic got a modest start as a stage show in 1973, but it really took off when the movie was released in 1975. Encourage your audience members to dress up — and choose performance dates right around Halloween — and you’ll be rolling in that sweet box-office dough in no time. Never seen the full stage show? Watch it here.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

3. Heathers: The Musical 

Someone once said that there’s no one more terrifying than a teenage girl. Heathers: The Musical proves that they were right! This black comedy explores the chaos that happens when someone tries to give the mean girls what they deserve. It’s fun and peppy, with a serious dark side. (Plus, great songs like “Candy Store” and “Freeze Your Brain.”)

Licensing: Concord Theatricals (high school edition)

4. Into the Woods

Is there anything more fun than Into the Woods for Halloween? Us theater nerds have been fans forever, but thanks to Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and Emily Blount, this beloved musical is now a household name. That means one thing — butts in seats, and plenty of profits! If you’re going for a darker show, we suggest playing up the conflicts: trapped in a marriage, eaten by a giant, losing your parents, etc. This show has it all, plus lots of laughs.

Licensing: MTI

5. The Addams Family

The Addams Family looks like a dark musical, but it’s actually an adorable and funny show. Put on this play if you’re planning a family friendly Halloween production; it’s beautiful to look at and so much fun to watch. Plus, the costumes are a blast to put together. If you’ve only ever seen the old TV show, you can watch the full musical here. The music is contemporary and relatively easy to perform, so this is a good musical for high school or community theater groups.

Licensing: Theatrical Rights Worldwide

6. Dracula the Musical

We know — it’s a little on the nose to do Dracula the Musical at Halloween, but come on. It’s perfect! Break out that mist machine and turn the theater into a creepy, spooky place. This musical, which has music by Frank Wildhorn, follows several people as they fall under the thrall of the legendary vampire. Plus, since the show is set in Victorian times, you can go wild with the costumes. This is a great musical if you have a strong soprano/mezzo and a few powerful male singers.

Licensing: MTI

7. Carrie the Musical

Carrie the Musical is a Broadway legend; the original 1988 production closed after just 5 official performances. Based on Stephen King’s horror novel of the same name, this musical tells the story of Carrie, a misfit who is tortured at the high school prom. Her telekinetic powers are unleashed, and she exacts revenge in the most terrifying way possible. Haven’t seen it? You can see the entire musical here or here. Click through to the end; it’s seriously scary.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

8. Cabaret

Cabaret might not be the first Halloween musical you think of, but give it another look. It’s got wacky costumes, Nazis, and some of the most depressing storylines in all of musical theater. Sally Bowles is one of the most tragic characters in the canon; make sure to find an actress who can portray her deep emotion (and the terror of her situation) at the end of the show. Also. Watch the video above, and tell us that’s not a horror musical!.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

9. Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde has that delicious 1980s schmaltziness that’s so common in shows of the era (hello, Chess), but that’s what makes it great — the music is so indulgent that your actors will be able to dig in with gusto. Take “Someone Like You”; listen to the melody Lucy sings on, “suddenly, nothing will ever be the same,” and tell us that’s not satisfying. It’s fun for the audience, too. (One of our favorite moments is the unison section in “In His Eyes.” Gold.) Plus, the story is a classic, and it’s perfect for Halloween.

Licensing: MTI

Funny Halloween Musicals

Image courtesy of Larry Lamsa under CC BY 2.0 (cropped)

Bring a little levity to the spooky season with Halloween musicals that are focused on fun. Some shows play up the humor or horror, especially when it comes to tropes that just refuse to die. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) After the past few years, everyone can use a few more laughs.

10. Ruthless! The Musical!

Ruthless! The Musical! is another all-female musical that’s perfect for Halloween. It seems innocent enough — a little girl named Tina is dying to be a star. However, she’s so serious about it that she’s willing to resort to murder. There’s more than one murder, but don’t worry; the dark subject matter comes with a big dose of humor. (It is a spoof, after all.)

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

11. Evil Dead: The Musical

Are you looking for a hilarious take on a horror musical? Look no further than Evil Dead: The Musical. In the tradition of spoofs everywhere, this musical takes on common horror-movie tropes and turns them on their head. It’s a niche show, but we guarantee people will love it. Adults, anyway; this one is not great for kids.  Watch the full New York production here.

Licensing: Dramatic Publishing

12. Young Frankenstein

A musical about Frankenstein — need we say more? Based on the Mel Brooks movie of the same name, this absurdist theatrical production is a crowd-pleaser of the highest order. You might not have Sutton Foster, but if you have some fearless actors, you’ll have people rolling in the aisles. If you love The Producers, you’ll love this musical. And really, you can’t go wrong with tap dancing.

Licensing: MTI

13. Beetlejuice

Licensing: MTI (Currently unavailable)

14. Texas Chainsaw Musical

Licensing: Independent

Offbeat Horror Musicals

Male actor on a foggy stage in a dark horror musical
Image courtesy of Ryan J. Reilly under CC BY 2.0 (cropped)

So. You’re ready to go all in on the Halloween horror theme. These musicals deliver — whether you’re looking for subtle social commentary, an in-your-face romp, or a dark musical that makes you think, there’s an option for every theater. (We even managed to squeeze a little Andrew Lloyd Webber in there.)

15. Jasper in Deadland

Here’s a horror musical your audience has almost certainly never seen. Written by Ryan Scott Oliver and Hunter Foster (yes, that Hunter Foster), it’s a small show that came out in 2014. It follows the story of high school student Jasper, who ends up in the underworld-style Deadland and encounters a range of creepy characters. The music isn’t exactly groundbreaking — Jasper’s songs, in particular, have that bland pop-rock vibe — but it’s pleasant to listen to and easy to sing.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals


LMNOP isn’t exactly a horror musical, but it’s definitely dark. The story, which is based on the book Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, covers everything from government censorship to the stocks as punishment. It’s an uncomfortably timely piece that’s sure to make your theatergoers squirm in their seats. The cast is relatively big, and there are two kid roles.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

17. Eating Raoul

Eating Raoul was originally a camp horror film released in 1982; it became a musical in 1992. Racy and dark, the story follows a family who resorts to killing to raise the money they need for a restaurant. It’s a little bit kinky and definitely not for kids. We’re imagining a cabaret evening with plenty of cocktails and lots of laughs.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

18. Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Lights, Big City isn’t a run-of-the-mill horror musical. It’s more real than you’d like it to be — maybe a little too real for comfort. It’s the 80s in New York City, and writer Jamie is trying to make it big. He gets lost along the way, eventually landing in the cocaine-packed club scene. It’s dark, but the ending gives you a light at the end of the tunnel.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

19. LIZZIE: The Musical 

Forget every Lizzie Borden musical you’ve ever seen (it probably won’t take long). LIZZIE takes the famous horror story to a whole new level. It’s part musical, part rock concert. The all-female cast needs to have some serious pipes. If you can pull it off, this is a great Halloween musical to appeal to a wide range of people.

Licensing: Independent

20. American Psycho

Patrick Bateman is back in American Psycho, a musical that is, unsurprisingly, ideal for Halloween. On the surface, Bateman seems like he has it all. When the sun goes down, however, he lets his darker impulses fly. This isn’t a musical that will give you the warm fuzzies, but it’s a great choice when you want to spook everyone in the theater.

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

21. The Woman In White 

Licensing: Concord Theatricals