Charles Hart (lyricist)

Charles Hart (born 3 June 1961) is a British lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for writing the lyrics to, and contributing to the book of, Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical The Phantom of the Opera and for writing the lyrics to Bend It Like Beckham the Musical. He also co-wrote (with Don Black) the lyrics to Lloyd Webber's 1989 musical Aspects of Love. Hart also re-wrote Glenn Slater's lyrics for Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom.



Born in London, Hart was educated at Desborough School, Maidenhead, Robinson College, Cambridge and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Career as lyricist

In an interview with The Times, Hart stated that he began writing lyrics as a child, some of which were "dark and contemplative – precociously murderous and quite, quite feisty";[1] he was motivated to do so professionally in the 1970s when his grandmother, actress Angela Baddeley, starred in a London stage production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music:[1]

When I was at the Guildhall I sent a tape to Sondheim, fully expecting a reply hailing the next true genius of the West End... All I got was a note saying that I had 'rhyming poison' which got in the way of my characters and plot, and of course he was entirely right. But my ambition was to be an English Sondheim. Being a lyricist is the ideal job for a university-educated dilettante, because it uses up all the rubbish in your education.[1]

Hart attracted the attention of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, who were judges of the Vivian Ellis Awards for music theatre writers in which Hart was a finalist with an entry based on Moll Flanders. Webber hired him as a lyricist for The Phantom of the Opera a year later.

He also wrote lyrics for The Kissing-Dance and The Dreaming (both with music by Howard Goodall), also for The Vampyr: A Soap Opera (BBC TV). In 2015 he collaborated with Howard Goodall again on Bend It Like Beckham the Musical, a new musical production of the film Bend It Like Beckham. He has written miscellaneous songs, as well as both words and music for television, (Watching, Split Ends for Granada TV) and Love Songs (BBC Radio). His Two Studies for String Quartet premiered in February 2005 at London’s Purcell Room, performed by the Sacconi Quartet. His English lyrics for the opera Benvenuto Cellini were part of a new production directed by Terry Gilliam at the English National Opera on 5 June 2014.

He has received two Ivor Novello Awards and has been nominated twice for a Tony Award. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for writing the lyrics to a new song "Learn to be Lonely" which was sung by Minnie Driver over the final credits to the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.[2]


Hart's photography has appeared on posters and in playbills, as well as publications ranging from Attitude to The Daily Telegraph. In 2003, he was one of three photographers to feature in an exhibition organized by UNICEF to celebrate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Hart was a long-standing trustee and supporter of the UK charity ratings agency, Intelligent Giving. He is represented by Berlin Associates.


  1. Morley, Sheridan, Interview with Charles Hart, The Times, 8 October 1986
  2. "Nominees & Winners for the 77th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
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