Musicals Set in the 1950s – A Full List

Whether you’re auditioning for musicals, setting up your rep book, or simply looking for some new musicals to get into, it’s good to get familiar with what’s out there. And that’s why we’ve put together this list for you! The most notable musicals set in the 1950s are included below.

The following list is broken down into three categories – “Musicals Fully Set in the 1950s”, “Musicals Partially Set in the 1950s”, and “Musicals Set Around the 1950s”. Each category is sorted alphabetically.


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Musicals Fully Set in the 1950s

A Catered Affair

Music/Lyrics: John Bucchino  Book: Harvey Fierstein

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Musical Info ➝


All Shook Up

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2005)

Musical Info ➝


Bells Are Ringing

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics/Book: Betty Comden, Adolph Green

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)

Musical Info ➝


Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

Music/Lyrics: Buddy Holly, Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1989)

Musical Info ➝


Bye Bye Birdie

Music: Charles Strouse  Lyrics: Lee Adams  Book: Michael Stewart

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1960)

Musical Info ➝


Coco

Music:  André Previn  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)

Musical Info ➝


Cry-Baby

Music: Adam Schlesinger  Lyrics: David Javerbaum  Book: Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Musical Info ➝


Curtains

Music/Lyrics: John Kander  Lyrics: Fred Ebb  Lyrics/Book: Rupert Holmes

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Musical Info ➝


Far From Heaven

Music: Scott Frankel  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: Richard Greenberg

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Musical Info ➝


Flower Drum Song

Music: Rodgers  Book/Lyrics: Hammerstein  Book: Joseph Fields, David Henry Hwang

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)

Musical Info ➝


Flying Over Sunset

Music: Tom Kitt  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

Musical Info ➝


Forever Plaid

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Stuart Ross

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1989)

Musical Info ➝


Grease

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1971)

Musical Info ➝


Grits

Music/Lyrics/Book: Erica Allen McGee

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

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Happy Days

Music/Lyrics: Paul Williams  Book: Garry Marshall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

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Irma La Douce

Music: Marguerite Monnot  Lyrics/Book: Alexandre Breffort

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)

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Jamaica

Music: Harold Arlen  Lyrics/Book: E.Y. Harburg

Musical Type: Golden Age (1957)

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Judy’s Scary Little Christmas

Music/Lyrics: Joe Patrick Ward  Book: David Church, Jim Webber

Musical Type: Contemporary (2002)

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Kat and the Kings

Music: Taliep Petersen  Lyrics/Book: David Kramer

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)

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Li’l Abner

Music: Gene De Paul  Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)

Musical Info ➝


Me and Juliet

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics/Book: Oscar Hammerstein II

Musical Type: Golden Age (1953)

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Memphis

Music: David Bryan  Lyrics: David Bryan, Joe DiPietro  Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary (2002)

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Million Dollar Quartet

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Colin Escott, Floyd Mutrux

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2006)

Musical Info ➝


My Favorite Year

Music: Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens  Book: Joseph Dougherty

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

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Oh, Captain!

Music/Lyrics: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans  Book: Al Morgan, José Ferrer

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)

Musical Info ➝


Out of This World

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter  Book: Dwight Taylor, Reginald Lawrence

Musical Type: Golden Age (1950)

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Pipe Dream

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics/Book: Oscar Hammerstein II

Musical Type: Golden Age (1955)

Musical Info ➝


Raisin

Music: Judd Woldin  Lyrics: Robert Brittan  Book: Robert B. Nemiroff, Charlotte Zaltzberg

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1973)

Musical Info ➝


Salad Days

Music: Julian Slade  Lyrics: Slade, Dorothy Reynolds

Musical Type: Golden Age (1954)

Musical Info ➝


Say, Darling

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Betty Comden, Adolph Green  Book: Abe Burrows, Marian & Richard Bissell

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)

Musical Info ➝


Silk Stockings

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter  Book: Kaufman, MacGrath, Burrows

Musical Type: Golden Age (1955)

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Smokey Joe’s Cafe

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1994)

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Sweet Smell of Success

Music: Marvin Hamlisch  Lyrics: Craig Carnelia  Book: John Guare

Musical Type: Contemporary (2002)

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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Music: Alan Menken  Lyrics/Book: David Spencer

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Contemporary (1984/2015)

Musical Info ➝


The Light in the Piazza

Music/Lyrics: Adam Guettel  Book: Craig Lucas

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

Musical Info ➝


The Marvelous Wonderettes

Music: Various  Book: Roger Bean

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1999)

Musical Info ➝


The Producers

Music/Lyrics: Mel Brooks  Book: Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan

Musical Type: 1967 Film/Contemporary Musical (2001)

Musical Info ➝


Top Banana

Music/Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: Hy Kraft

Musical Type: Golden Age (1951)

Musical Info ➝


West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein  Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: Arthur Laurents

Musical Type: Golden Age (1957)

Musical Info ➝


White Christmas

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: David Ives, Paul Blake

Musical Type: Golden Age Film/Contemporary Musical (1954/2000)

Musical Info ➝


Zombie Prom

Music: Dana P. Rowe  Lyrics/Book: John Dempsey

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)

Musical Info ➝


Musicals Partially Set in the 1950s

A Class Act

Music/Lyrics: Edward Kleban  Book: Linda Kline, Lonny Price

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

Musical Info ➝


Allegiance

Music/Lyrics: Jay Kuo  Book: Marc Acito, Jay Kuo

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Musical Info ➝


Aspects of Love

Music/Book: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black, Charles Hart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)

Musical Info ➝


Chaplin

Music/Lyrics: Christopher Curtis  Book: Thomas Meehan, Curtis

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Musical Info ➝


Chess

Music: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus  Lyrics: Tim Rice, Ulvaeus  Book: Richard Nelson, Rice

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)

Musical Info ➝


Evita

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Musical Info ➝


Giant

Music/Lyrics: Michael John LaChiusa  Book: Sybille Pearson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)

Musical Info ➝


Grey Gardens

Music: Scott Frankel  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: Doug Wright

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

Musical Info ➝


Hallelujah, Baby!

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Adolph Green, Betty Comden  Book: Arthur Laurents

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1967)

Musical Info ➝


John & Jen

Music/Book: Andrew Lippa  Lyrics/Book: Tom Greenwald

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1995)

Musical Info ➝


Little Me

Music: Cy Coleman  Lyrics: Carolyn Leigh  Book: Neil Simon

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1962)

Musical Info ➝


LoveMusik

Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics: Various  Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

Musical Info ➝


Merrily We Roll Along

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: George Furth

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)

Musical Info ➝


Miss Littlewood

Music/Lyrics/Book: Sam Kenyon

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

Musical Info ➝


Motown: The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Berry Gordy

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2013)

Musical Info ➝


Space Dogs

Music/Lyrics/Book: Nick Blaemire, Van Hughes

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

Musical Info ➝


Spies Are Forever

Music/Lyrics: Clark Baxtresser, Pierce Siebers  Book: Corey Lubowich, Joey Richter, Brian Rosenthal

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

Musical Info ➝


Sunset Boulevard

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics/Book: Don Black, Christopher Hampton

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1991)

Musical Info ➝


The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns

Music: Various  Book: Roger Bean

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1999)

Musical Info ➝


The Who’s Tommy

Music/Lyrics/Book: Pete Townshend  Book: Des McAnuff

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

Musical Info ➝


Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, Kees Prins

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2018)

Musical Info ➝


War Paint

Music: Scott Frankel  Lyrics: Michael Korie  Book: Doug Wright

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

Musical Info ➝


Musicals Set Around the 1950s

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Music/Lyrics: Frank Loesser  Book: Burrows, Weinstock, Gilbert

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1961)

Musical Info ➝


Ruthless!

Music: Marvin Laird  Lyrics/Book: Joel Paley

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

Musical Info ➝


Related Posts:

Musicals set in the 1910s

 Musicals set in the 1920s

Musicals set in the 1930s

Musicals set in the 1940s

Musicals set in the 1950s → You are here!

Musicals set in the 1960s

Musicals set in the 1970s

Musicals set in the 1980s

Musicals set in the 1990s


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Which of these musicals set in the 1950s is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above musicals set in the 1950s? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, author of Musicals Set in the 1950s.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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