90+ 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 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 negative thing. A few of the musicals below happen to be my favorite of all time!


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Obscure Jazz Age Musicals

Happy End

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

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Jumbo

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

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Life Begins at 8:40

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

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The Girl Friend

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

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Through the Years

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

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Treasure Girl

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Fred Thompson, Vincent Lawrence

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Obscure Golden Age Musicals

A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music: L Bernstein, J. Styne, A. Previn, S. Chaplin, R. Edens  Lyrics: B. Comden, A. Green

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By the Beautiful Sea

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

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Chrysanthemum

Music: Robb Stewart  Book: Neville Phillips, Robin Chancellor

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First Impressions

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

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Hans Christian Andersen

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

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Happy Hunting

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

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Lock Up Your Daughters

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

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Look Ma, I’m Dancin’!

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

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Magdalena: A Musical Adventure

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

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New Girl in Town

Music/Lyrics: Bob Merrill  Book: George Abbott

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Oh, Captain!

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

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Peter Pan (Bernstein)

Music/Lyrics: Leonard Bernstein

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Seventh Heaven

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

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Take Me Along

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

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The Body Beautiful

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

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The Day Before Spring

Music: Frederick Loewe  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

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The Nervous Set

Music/Lyrics: Jay Landesman, Theodore J. Flicker

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Obscure Post-Golden Age Musicals

Bajour

Music/Lyrics: Walter Marks  Book: Ernest Kinoy

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Baker Street

Music/Lyrics: Marian Grudeff, Raymond Jessel, Jerry Bock  Book: Jerome Coopersmith

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Golden Rainbow

Music/Lyrics: Walter Marks  Book: Ernest Kinoy

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I Had a Ball

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

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Jimmy

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

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Kean

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

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Let It Ride

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

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Now is the Time for All Good Men

Music: Nancy Ford  Lyrics/Book: Gretchen Cryer

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The Fig Leaves are Falling

Music: Albert Hague  Lyrics/Book: Allan Sherman

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The Likes of Us

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice  Book: Leslie Thomas

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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

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The Zulu and the Zayda

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

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Obscure 1970s Musicals

Ballroom

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

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Cyrano

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

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I Remember Mama

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

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Lorelei

Music: Jule Styne  Lyrics: Adolph Green, Betty Comden  Book: Solms, Parent

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Over Here!

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

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Philemon

Music: Harvey Schmidt  Lyrics/Book: Tom Jones

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The Grass Harp

Music: Claibe Richardson  Lyrics/Book: Kenward Elmslie

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Thomas and the King

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

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Obscure 1980s Musicals

A Doll’s Life

Music: Larry Grossman  Lyrics/Book: Betty Comden, Adolph Green

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Beehive: The 60s Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Larry Gallagher

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Diamonds

Music/Lyrics/Book: Various

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Doonesbury

Music: Elizabeth Swados  Lyrics/Book: Gary Trudeau

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Grind

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

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Is There Life After High School?

Music/Lyrics: Craig Carnelia  Book: Jeffrey Kindley

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Kuni-Leml

Music: Raphael Crystal  Lyrics: Richard Engquist  Book: Nahma Sandrow

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Late Nite Comic

Music/Lyrics: Brian Gari  Book: Allan Knee

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Legs Diamond

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

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My One and Only

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

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Sarafina!

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

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Sherlock Holmes: The Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book:  Leslie Bricusse

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Starmites

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

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Ten Percent Revue

Music/Lyrics: Tom Wilson Weinberg

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The Biograph Girl

Music/Lyrics/Book: David Heneker, Warner Brown

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What About Luv?

Music: Howard Marren  Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead  Book: Jeffrey Sweet

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Obscure 1990s Musicals

Boogie Nights

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Jon Conway

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Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk

Music: Waters, Mark, Duquesnay  Lyrics: Gaines, Wolfe, Duquesnay  Book: Gaines

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First Lady Suite

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

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Jolson

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

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Lucky in the Rain

Music: Jimmy McHugh  Lyrics: Dorothy Fields, Harold Adamson

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Moll Flanders

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

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Play On!

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

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Spend Spend Spend

Music/Lyrics/Book: Steve Brown, Justin Greene

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The Fields of Ambrosia

Music: Martin Silvestri  Lyrics/Book: Joel Higgins

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The Fix

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

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The Last Session

Music: Steve Schalchlin  Lyrics: Schalchlin, John Bettis, Marie Cain  Book: Jim Brochu

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Triumph of Love

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

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Wings

Music: Jeffrey Lunden  Lyrics/Book: Arthur Perlman

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Obscure 2000s Musicals

All the Fun of the Fair

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Jon Conway

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Bernarda Alba

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

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Breast Wishes

Music/Lyrics: Bruce Brown  Book: Various

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Bubble Boy

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

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Captain Louie

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz  Book: Anthony Stein

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Desperate Measures

Music: David Friedman  Lyrics/Book: Peter Kellogg

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Everyday Rapture

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

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Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge

Music/Lyrics: Peter Mills  Book: Mills, Cara Reichel

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Happy Days

Music/Lyrics: Paul Williams  Book: Garry Marshall

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Harlem Song

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: George C. Wolfe

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Judy’s Scary Little Christmas

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

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My Life with Albertine

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

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SHOUT! The Mod Musical

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

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The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Music/Lyrics: David Nehls  Book: Betsy Kelso

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The Immigrant

Music: Steven M. Alper  Lyrics: Sarah Knapp  Book: Mark Harelik

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The Lord of the Rings

Music: Rahman, Nightingale, Värttinä  Lyrics/Book: Matthew Warchus, Shaun McKenna

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The Thing About Men

Music: Jimmy Roberts  Lyrics/Book: Joe DiPietro

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Urban Cowboy

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Others  Book: Latham, Oesterman

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Obscure 2010s Musicals

A Minister’s Wife

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

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A Night with Janis Joplin

Music/Lyrics: Janis Joplin  Book: Randy Johnson

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Brooklyn Crush

Music/Lyrics/Book: David Eric Davis  Book: Sam Forman

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Cagney

Music/Lyrics: Robert Creighton, Cristopher McGovern  Book: Peter Colley

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Lend Me a Tenor

Music: Brad Carroll  Lyrics/Book: Peter Sham

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Love Birds

Music/Lyrics/Book: Robert J. Sherman

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Nevermore

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Christenson

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Placebo

Music/Lyrics: Danny Abosch  Book: Joshua Borths

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Queen of the Mist

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

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See Rock City & Other Destinations

Music: Brad Alexander  Lyrics/Book: Adam Mathias

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The Dolls of New Albion

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Shapera

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Venice

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

Musical Info ➝


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 has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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