Musical Lists

70+ Obscure Musicals That You Might Not Know

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 of the most obscure musicals for you below, sorted by time period.

There are of course some other unknown or forgotten musicals out there that are even more obscure. But I’ve only included ones that also have easily available music samples available and/or licensing options online for your convenience.

Also, obscure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A few of the musicals below happen to be my favorites!


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Contents:

Obscure Jazz Age Musicals

Obscure Golden Age Musicals

Obscure 1960s Musicals

Obscure 1970s Musicals

Obscure 1980s Musicals

Obscure 1990s Musicals

Obscure 2000s Musicals

Obscure 2010s Musicals


Obscure Jazz Age Musicals

Happy End

Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht  Book: Elisabeth Hauptmann

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1929)


Jumbo

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Lorenz Hart  Book: Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1935)


Kitty’s Kisses

Music: Con Conrad  Lyrics: Gus Kahn  Book: Philip Bartholomae, Otto Harbach

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1926)


Life Begins at 8:40

Music: Harold Arlen  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1934)


The Girl Friend

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Lorenz Hart  Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1926)


Through the Years

Music: Vincent Youmans  Lyrics: Edward Heyman  Book: Brian Hooker

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1932)


Obscure Golden Age Musicals

A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Lyrics/Book: Betty Comden, Adolph Green  Music: Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, André Previn, Saul Chaplin, Roger Edens, Morton Gould

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)


Bloomer Girl

Music: Harold Arlen  Lyrics: E.Y. Harburg  Book: Sig Herzig, Fred Saidy

Musical Type: Golden Age (1944)


By the Beautiful Sea

Music: Arthur Schwartz  Lyrics/Book: Dorothy Fields  Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Type: Golden Age (1954)


Chrysanthemum

Music: Robb Stewart  Book: Neville Phillips, Robin Chancellor

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)


First Impressions

Music/Lyrics: George Weiss, Robert Goldman, Glenn Paxton  Book: Abe Burrows

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)


Hans Christian Andersen

Music/Lyrics: Frank Loesser  Book: John Fearnley, Beverly Cross, Tommy Steele

Musical Type: Golden Age (1952)


Happy Hunting

Music: Harold Karr  Lyrics: Matt Dubey  Book: Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)


Lock Up Your Daughters

Music: Laurie Johnson  Lyrics: Lionel Bart  Book: Bernard Miles

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)


Look Ma, I’m Dancin’!

Music/Lyrics: Hugh Martin  Book: Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee

Musical Type: Golden Age (1948)


Magdalena

Music: Heitor Villa-Lobos  Lyrics: Robert Wright, George Forrest  Book: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Homer Curran

Musical Type: Golden Age (1948)


New Faces of 1952

Music/Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Golden Age (1952)


New Girl in Town

Music/Lyrics: Bob Merrill  Book: George Abbott

Musical Type: Golden Age (1957)


Oh, Captain!

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

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)


Seventh Heaven

Music: Victor Young  Lyrics/Book: Stella Unger  Book: Victor Wolfson

Musical Type: Golden Age (1955)


Simply Heavenly

Music: David Martin  Lyrics/Book: Langston Hughes

Musical Type: Golden Age (1957)


Take Me Along

Music/Lyrics: Bob Merrill  Book: Joseph Stein, Robert Russell

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)


Texas, Li’l Darlin’

Music: Robert Emmett Dolan  Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: John Whedon, Sam Moore

Musical Type: Golden Age (1949)


The Body Beautiful

Music: Jerry Bock  Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick  Book: Joseph Stein, Will Glickman

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)


The Nervous Set

Music: Tommy Wolf  Lyrics: Fran Landesman  Book: Jay Landesman, Theodore J. Flicker

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)


Valmouth

Music/Lyrics/Book: Sandy Wilson

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)


Whoop-Up

Music: Mark Charlap  Lyrics: Norman Gimbel  Book: Cy Feuer, Ernest Martin

Musical Type: Golden Age (1958)


Obscure 1960s Musicals

Bajour

Music/Lyrics: Walter Marks  Book: Ernest Kinoy

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)


Baker Street

Music/Lyrics: Marian Grudeff, Raymond Jessel  Book: Jerome Coopersmith  Additional Songs: Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1965)


Golden Rainbow

Music/Lyrics: Walter Marks  Book: Ernest Kinoy

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1968)


I Had a Ball

Music/Lyrics: Jack Lawrence, Stan Freeman  Book: Jerome Chodorov

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)


Illya Darling

Music: Manos Hadjidakis  Lyrics: Joe Darion  Book: Jules Dassin

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1967)


Jimmy

Music/Lyrics: Bill Jacob, Patti Jacob  Book: Melville Shavelson

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)


Kean

Music/Lyrics: Robert Wright, George Forrest  Book: Peter Stone

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1961)


Let It Ride!

Music/Lyrics: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans  Book: Abram S. Ginnes

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1961)


Now is the Time for All Good Men

Music: Nancy Ford  Lyrics/Book: Gretchen Cryer

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1967)


The Fig Leaves Are Falling

Music: Albert Hague  Lyrics/Book: Allan Sherman

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)


The Likes of Us

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age/Contemporary (1965/2005)


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Music: Leon Carr  Lyrics: Earl Shuman  Book: Joe Manchester

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)


The Zulu and the Zayda

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome  Book: Howard Da Silva, Felix Leon

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1965)


Tovarich

Music: Lee Pockriss  Lyrics: Anne Croswell  Book: David Shaw

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1963)


What Makes Sammy Run?

Music/Lyrics: Ervin Drake  Book: Budd Schulberg, Stuart Schulberg

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)


Obscure 1970s Musicals

Ballroom

Music: Billy Goldenberg  Lyrics: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman  Book: Jerome Kass

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1978)


Cyrano

Music: Michael J. Lewis  Lyrics/Book: Anthony Burgess

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1973)


I Remember Mama

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Martin Charnin, Raymond Jessel  Book: Thomas Meehan

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)


Lorelei

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Leo Robin, Adolph Green, Betty Comden  Book: Anita Loos, Joseph Fields, Kenny Solms, Gail Parent

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)


Over Here!

Music/Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman  Book: Will Holt

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1974)


Philemon

Music: Harvey Schmidt  Lyrics/Book: Tom Jones

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1975)


Prettybelle

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics/Book: Bob Merrill

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1971)


The Grass Harp

Music: Claibe Richardson  Lyrics/Book: Kenward Elmslie

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1971)


Thomas and the King

Music: John Williams  Lyrics: James Harbert  Book: Edward Anhalt

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1975)


Obscure 1980s Musicals

Beehive: The 60’s Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Larry Gallagher

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Charlotte Sweet

Music: Gerald Jay Markoe  Lyrics: Michael Colby

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


Doonesbury

Music: Elizabeth Swados  Lyrics/Book: Garry Trudeau

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Grind

Music: Larry Grossman  Lyrics: Ellen Fitzhugh  Book: Fay Kanin

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Late Nite Comic

Music/Lyrics: Brian Gari  Book: Allan Knee

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Legs Diamond

Music/Lyrics: Peter Allen  Book: Harvey Fierstein, Charles Suppon

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)


Mayor

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


My One and Only

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Peter Stone, Timothy S. Mayer

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Sarafina!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Mbongeni Ngema  Music/Lyrics: Hugh Masekela

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Sherlock Holmes: The Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book: Leslie Bricusse

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Starmites

Music/Lyrics/Book: Barry Keating  Book: Stuart Ross

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


The Biograph Girl

Music/Lyrics: David Heneker  Lyrics/Book: Warner Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Obscure 1990s Musicals

A Grand Night for Singing

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II  Concept: Walter Bobbie

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)


First Lady Suite

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)


Jolson

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Francis Essex, Rob Bettinson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1995)


Lucky in the Rain

Music: Jimmy McHugh  Lyrics: Dorothy Fields, Harold Adamson  Book: Sherman Yellen

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)


Moll Flanders

Music: George Stiles  Lyrics: Paul Leigh  Book: Claire Luckham

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)


Play On!

Music/Lyrics: Duke Ellington, Various  Book: Cheryl L. West

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)


Spend Spend Spend

Music/Lyrics/Book: Steve Brown  Lyrics/Book: Justin Greene

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)


The Fields of Ambrosia

Music: Martin Silvestri  Lyrics/Book: Joel Higgins

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)


The Fix

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)


Triumph of Love

Music: Jeffrey Stock  Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead  Book: James Magruder

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)


Wings

Music: Jeffrey Lunden  Lyrics/Book: Arthur Perlman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)


Obscure 2000s Musicals

All the Fun of the Fair

Music/Lyrics: David Essex  Book: Jon Conway

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)


Bernarda Alba

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)


Bubble Boy

Music/Lyrics/Book: Cinco Paul  Book: Ken Daurio

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)


Captain Louie

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz  Book: Anthony Stein

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)


Desperate Measures

Music: David Friedman  Lyrics/Book: Peter Kellogg

Musical Type: Contemporary (2004)


Everyday Rapture

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Dick Scanlan, Sherie Rene Scott

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)


Happy Days

Music/Lyrics: Paul Williams  Book: Garry Marshall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)


My Life with Albertine

Music/Lyrics: Ricky Ian Gordon  Lyrics/Book: Richard Nelson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2003)


SHOUT! The Mod Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Phillip George, David Lowenstein

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)


The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Music/Lyrics: David Nehls  Book: Betsy Kelso

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)


The Lord of the Rings

Music: A.R. Rahman, Christopher Nightingale, Värttinä  Lyrics/Book: Matthew Warchus, Shaun McKenna

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)


The Thing About Men

Music: Jimmy Roberts  Lyrics/Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary (2003)


Obscure 2010s Musicals

A Minister’s Wife

Music: Joshua Schmidt  Lyrics: Jan Levy Tranen  Book: Austin Pendleton

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)


A Night With Janis Joplin

Music/Lyrics: Janis Joplin, Various  Book: Randy Johnson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)


Flowers for Mrs Harris

Music/Lyrics: Richard Taylor  Book: Rachel Wagstaff

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)


Lend Me a Tenor

Music: Brad Carroll  Lyrics/Book: Peter Sham

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)


Love Birds

Music/Lyrics/Book: Robert J. Sherman

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)


Placebo

Music/Lyrics: Danny Abosch  Book: Joshua Borths

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)


Queen of the Mist

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)


Venice

Music/Lyrics: Matt Sax  Lyrics/Book: Eric Rosen

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)


Other blog posts you might like:

Classic Musicals

Popular Musicals

• Musicals Based on Books

• Musicals Based on Movies

• Musicals Based on True Stories


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Which of these obscure musicals is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above obscure musicals? 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 Obscure Musicals.
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 holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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