Top 5 Pop Stars in Frock Flicks


Singer / actor crossovers don’t always work out for the best. Add historical costumes, and results may vary even more. Here are five pretty decent attempts…


Madonna as Eva Peron in Evita (1996)

Madonna, Evita (1996)

The Material Girl’s early attempt at 1930s in Shanghai Surprise was awful (and frankly, most of her acting has been crap), but somehow she brought both the character of Peron and the Andrew Lloyd Weber music to life on screen.


Sting as Dr. Frankenstein in The Bride (1985)

Sting, The Bride (1985)

Mr. Sumner does a little scenery-chewing in this version of The Bride of Frankenstein. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a pretty diversion.


Diana Ross as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

Diva Ross delivers a gut-wrenching performance showing Holiday’s rise to fame and fall to drug addiction. This film practically created the template for all music biopics.


Cher as Elsa Morganthal Strauss-Armistan in Tea With Mussolini (1999)

Cher, Tea With Mussolini (1999)

This pop diva totally holds her own alongside theater and film divas Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith. Plus, Cher, playing a wealthy Jewish-American ex-pat, gets a fabulous wardrobe.


David Bowie in anything historical

David Bowie, The Hunger (1983)

I only wish there had been more! He was the ultimate, the alpha and omega of pop stars in frock flicks, aw hell, the best of everything! David Bowie held he world together…




Who are your favorite musicians who’ve showed up in historical costume movies and TV shows?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

16 Responses

  1. crypticmirror

    It is true about Bowie. After he left to return to his home dimension, our reality started to crumble at an exponential rate.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Bowie could do it all. The world is a sadder place without him and Freddy. Cher is amazing in Tea with Mussolini and Madonna was Evita. Only wished Me LuPone could have done the movie.

  3. SarahV

    Cher’s wardrobe in Tea with Mussolini deserves to be up there in the Cinematic Sartorial Wardrobe Pantheon Rosalind Russell’s Mame, Vivien Leigh Scarlet O’Hara and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. It’s just that good.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      If I could get the movie on digital, I’d screencap it & do a full review! I can find it on DVD but I don’t currently have a player I can connect to my computer (just moved & lost some tech tools I had access to in my old house).

  4. Melanie

    Wasn’t David Bowie also in The Prestige? Fantastical I know, but very much a period film. It wasn’t a flashy role, though.

    • Melanie

      And now I see you weren’t just naming one movie, but ALL of his historical movies. My bad…

  5. Sam Marchiony

    I’m still sitting here waiting for when Lady Gaga eventually does something set in the 40’s. Given her collaborations with Tony Bennett, I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time.

  6. Rowen G.

    I didn’t recognize which film the David Bowie picture was from (and I want to hunt it down.)

  7. Carmen Beaudry

    I refuse to believe David Bowie is dead. He is a vampire, and he had to fake his death so as not to break the Masquerade….😉

  8. Emily

    I actually REALLY like Madonna in Evita. I think she did a better job than the actress who just headlined the Broadway revival a few years back!