What is it about the final frontier that pairs so well with the musical? Whatever the cause, Star Trek is filled with actors who are also known for their musical abilities and careers. Here are 11 musical Star Trek actors from across the Franchise. This list is far from comprehensive, so be sure and let us know if we forgot your favorite.
When it comes to boldly going where no musician has gone before, one must start with the seminal Starfleet captain, James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner. The multi-talented Shatner released his first album, The Transformed Man, in 1968, and has released many albums since. He is best known for his spoken-word covers of pop songs, including many space-themed numbers.
Looking to incorporate more Kirk around the Trekmas Tree? Shatner’s oeuvre even includes the 2018 holiday album Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album. Truly… a man and musician for all seasons.
Where Captain Kirk goes, so too goes Spock (Leonard Nimoy)! Like Shatner, Nimoy also released several albums. Several, like Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space and Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, even featured sci-fi songs told from the perspective of Spock. Also like Shatner, Nimoy’s albums included tracklists that mixed cover songs with spoken-word tracks. In fact, Shatner and Nimoy even released an album together: Spaced Out: The Very Best of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner.
Nimoy’s musical career also led to one of the greatest franchise crossovers in history. In “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” The Hobbit protagonist meets the Enterprise‘s science officer in a song that’s sure to take you there and back again.
Perhaps it is only natural that the Enterprise‘s communications officer would have her musical hailing frequencies open. Nichelle Nichols released two albums. The first, Down to Earth, was released during the tenure of Star Trek: The Original Series and was a collection of covers.
Several decades later, in 1991, Nichols released a second album, Out of This World. The disco-informed tracklist featured several sci-fi songs, including the lyrical version of the TOS theme song.
It isn’t just the cast of “Those Old Scientists” that featured actors overflowing with musical talent. As you might imagine, the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation also featured some very musically talented individuals. It will not surprise TNG fans to learn that these include Brent Spiner (Data). The tracklist for Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back, Spiner’s 1991 album of covers, includes “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” featuring Spiner singing with fellow TNG stars LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, and Patrick Stewart.
Spiner has stated he’s especially proud of the 2008 follow-up album, Dreamland, which also features performances by Maude Maggart and Mark Hamill. Spiner also appeared as John Adams in the 1997 Broadway revival of the musical 1776.
Speaking of Frakes, the Enterprise-D‘s First Officer played trombone on “Riker’s Mailbox,” a track from the 1994 Phish album Hoist. This isn’t the only Phish connection to Star Trek. According to Memory Alpha, the band also wrote and performed a song called “Spock’s Brain,” based on the episode and named by audience demand.
Before he appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the sentient hologram Vic Fontaine, James Darren had already enjoyed musical success. When he appeared in the 1959 surf movie Gidget, he also performed the soundtrack’s title song. This led to a series of pop hits, including “Goodbye Cruel World,” which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Over the intervening years, Darren released several studio albums. And more recently, in 2019, Darren released his first live album.
Because Fontaine is such a larger-than-life character, Trekkies can be forgiven for thinking he appeared earlier in DS9‘s run than in the penultimate season. However, Star Trek: Lower Decks confirms that just like Darren in real life, Fontaine enjoyed ongoing musical success after the conclusion of the series.
The Kelvin timeline features musically talented Trek actors, too! Chris Pine made his debut as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek (2009). Half a decade later, in 2014, Pine appeared in the big-screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods.
Pine’s association with musical characters continues to the present day. In 2023’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Pine played a bard. While the movie is not a musical, Pine performs several memorable songs before the credits roll.
The cast of Star Trek: Discovery includes none other than Anthony Rapp, a member of the original Broadway cast of Rent. Rapp reprised his role in Rent several times, including for the 2005 movie adaptation. Rent isn’t Rapp’s only Broadway experience, either. In 1999, he played the eponymous role in the Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
This musical Star Trek actor has had little chance to show off his singing chops on Discovery. However, while Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets may not be much of a singer, there’s always a chance the Disco crew will get possessed by an energy being and give the scientist a chance to break out his vocal cords.
Celia Rose Gooding
Speaking of being possessed by an energy being, Celia Rose Gooding got to show off some of her musical theater theatricality in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode “The Elysian Kingdom.” In that episode, an extraterrestrial entity turned the crew into storybook characters. As the villainous Queen Neve, Gooding delivered a performance that would have been perfectly at home on a musical theater stage.
This makes sense, considering Gooding appeared in the rock musical Jagged Little Pill. Gooding also appeared on Philip David Stern’s 2021 concept album Stone Crossed alongside other Broadway stars.
Another actor on the set of Strange New Worlds with musical experience is Christina Chong (La’An Noonien-Singh). After graduation from theater school, Chong appeared in the Berlin production of the Elton John musical Aida. However, her participation was cut short due to an injury.
While La’An may not be much for signing, the aforementioned episode “The Elysian Kingdom” did give Chong the chance to show off her singing abilities. Sort of (see the “An Epic Song” video above). Nevertheless, with multiple musical Star Trek actors on the set of Strange New Worlds, perhaps the much-anticipated Trek musical episode is finally in the offing.
Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) is an amateur scatting enthusiast on Lower Decks, but Lewis herself is a trained musician. Lewis began singing at age 4 and graduated with a musical theater degree. In addition to appearing in musicals like Sister Act: the Musical, many of the acting performances Lewis has delivered include singing, like her many guest-starring roles on The Simpsons and Futurama.
Lewis also has an album, 2001’s Worth Waiting For. In addition, she has appeared as a guest performer on other albums, including The Right Stuff by Vanessa Williams.
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