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Q: Forgotten Broadway Musicals ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Forgotten Broadway Musicals
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: supersj-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 19 Apr 2002 12:09 PDT
Expires: 26 Apr 2002 12:09 PDT
Question ID: 2104
What are some of the overlooked musicals of the 40s, 50s, and 60s that are 
appropriate for a small cast (up to 15 people)?
Subject: Re: Forgotten Broadway Musicals
Answered By: waggawa-ga on 19 Apr 2002 13:38 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
A good starting place is the Musical Theatre International online database 
( You can browse Production 
Specifications by Production, and choose Small (2-10) or Medium (11-20) from 
the Cast Size pulldown menu. Click the Add to Production button, add on any 
other parameters you want, then click Start Search. It includes musicals from 
the 1920's through the present.

Some of the musicals noted for small casts include the following (for the 
longer synopses, see the Web site):

 “All in Love”  (Opened 1961)On holiday in Bath, England, a mismatched 
collection of blue-blooded 18th century Brits swap affections and misdirected 
love letters in this hilarious musical setting of Sheridan's “The Rivals,” one 
of the funniest comedy of manners ever written. 

"The Apple Tree" (Opened 10/18/1966) A unique evening of three one-act musicals 
about men, women and a little thing called temptation. 

"archy & mehitabel" (Opened 4/13/1957)This bizarre, highly original musical 
takes us into the streets of the big city as [cockaroach] archy tries 
hopelessly to bring the “toujours gai” [alley cat] mehitabel off the back fence 
and into a respectable home as a housecat.

“Ernest In Love”(Opened 5/5/1960)A faithful adaptation of Wilde’s comic 
masterpiece, “Ernest In Love” features all of its much-beloved characters and 
most of the same production demands, with the addition of a small band. The 
clever, tuneful score is the perfect complement to Wilde’s incomparable 
wordplay and immortal witticisms in this delightful reworking of what has been 
called “the funniest play in the English language.”  

"I Do! I Do" (Opened 12/5/1966)The story of a marriage is at the center of this 
intimate and nostalgic work by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, the authors 
of “The Fantasticks.” “I Do! I Do!” delivers Broadway quality and universal 
appeal with minimal production requirements.

“The Fantasticks” (Opened 5/3/1960)is the longest-running musical in the 
world.  Its moving tale of young lovers who become disillusioned, only to 
discover a more mature, meaningful love is punctuated by a bountiful series of 
catchy, memorable songs, many of which have become standards.  

"Riverwind" (Opened 12/12/1962) A tender, humorous book and a fresh, well-
crafted, witty and eclectic score made this very human drama one of the most 
successful off-Broadway shows of the 1960s.  

“The No-Frills Revue” takes its cue from the brilliantly sardonic topical 
revues of the 1950s, employing original songs, sketches, a small cast and trio 
of musicians in an hilarious all-out assault on the world as we know it

"A Pocketful of Rhymes" (Opened 1968)Classic nursery rhymes are set to a catchy 
contemporary score that covers the range of 20th century music. Enormously 
popular, the original production – staged with only a chair and six blocks – 
played limited engagements on Broadway and even inspired a CBS television 

"She Loves Me" (Opened 4/23/1963) It is the rare musical theatre aficionado who 
doesn’t have a soft spot in his heart for this intimate show, considered by 
many the most charming musical ever written.

“Where’s Charley” (Opened October 11, 1948)A tuneful and hysterically funny 
classic that’s non-stop entertainment. 

You can also check out these Web sites:

Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

Moderate Length and Short Small Cast Plays for Touring

You can also do a search using the terms "small cast musical music theater OR 

Clarification of Answer by waggawa-ga on 22 Apr 2002 10:00 PDT
Also try searching using the terms: forgotten OR lost musicals.

Has a very useful catalog of musicals by composer's last name. Search under any 
of the names you know, for example those listed below (Hart, Kern, Porter, etc.)

You'll find listings like
- Lady in the Dark, (Moss Hart& Ira Gershwin, 1941)
- The Cat and the Fiddle (Jerome Kern & Otto Harbach, 1931)
- Sweet Adeline (Kern, 1929)
- The Cabaret Girl (Kern, 1922)
- Music in the Air (Kern, 1932)
- Fifty Million frenchmen (Porter, 1929)

* If you have RealPlayer installed on your computer, you can download the 
following multimedia files from the fynsworth alley broadway radio archives 

- Forgotten Musicals of the 1950s
- More Forgotten Musicals of the 1950s
- Forgotten Musicals of the 1960s

Rational Magic, an online magazine, suggests looking for forgotten musicals in 
the book "Broadway Musicals Show by Show, 5th ed." by Hal Leonard (ISBN 0-7935-
7750-0). While the book isn't lauded as a whole, it does "provide information 
about many mostly forgotten musicals and musical performers, successful in 
their heyday but sadly neglected now" 

The site also recommends
- The Streets of New York (Music by Richard B. Chodosh, lyrics and book by 
Barry Alan Grael), "one of the great forgotten musicals of the 1960s"

* The 1998 "Discover The Lost Musicals" series at the Barbican Theatre in 
London features
- Irving Berlin and Moss Hart's "As Thousands Cheer" (193Os)
- Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" (1965)
- "Hollywood Pinafore" (1946) George S Kaufman's adaptation of Gilbert & 
SUllivan's "HMS Pinafore"
- "Strike Up The Band" (1927)

* A Website about British actress, singer, & puppeteer Louise Gold 
mentions her work

- Love Life (Alan Jay Lerner, 1948)
- By Jupiter (Rodgers & Hart, 1942)
- One Touch Of Venus (1943)
- Du Barry Was A Lady (Cole Porter, 1939)
- New Girl In Town (George Abbot & Bob Merrill, 1957)
- Red Hot and Blue (Cole Porter, 1936)
- Something For The Boys (Cole Porter, 1943)
- Of Thee I Sing (Kaufman & Gershwin, 1931) 
- Panama Hattie (Cole Porter, 1940)
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
- Oh Kay (Gershwin, 1926)
- 110 In The Shade (Richard Nash, 1964)

The Rodgers & Hammeerstein Organization sells a catalogue of musicals available 
for licensing:
R&H Theatre Library at 229 West 28 Street, 11th floor, New York, New York 10001
Phone (212) 564-4000 or 1-800-400-8160; Fax: (212) 268-1245.

"42nd Street Moon" ( is a troupe that performs many 
of their lost/forgotten musicals
- Mr. President (1962)
- A Connecticut Yankee (1943)
- I Married an Angel (1938) 
- America's Sweetheart (1931) 
- Pipe Dream (1955)
- Three Sisters (1934)
- Very Warm for May (1939)
- Allegro (1947)
- Peggy Ann (1926)

* You can write to the

The Lost Musicalsä Charitable Trust 
35 Clevedon
Lissenden Gardens
* And you can search the Lost Musicals web site ( 
for more musicals (though mostly those that flopped)
I hope that suits your search better.
supersj-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
There are a couple of big problems with this answer.  First off, in asking for 
the forgotten musicals of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, I certainly wasn't looking for 
something like The Fantastiks, which is one of the longest running and best 
loved musicals of all time.  Also, shows like She Loves Me include a chorus 
which takes the cast size up to almost 30 people, clearly out of the range of 
what I asked for.  The website given in this answer is a licensing company, 
which, while their search option is easy to use, only searches for the musicals 
in their catalogue, a very small number.  Overall, this answer gave me a couple 
of new ideas, but it really only gave me a surface overview of one company's 
catalogue (as opposed to a comprehensive look at the musicals of a bygone era).

Subject: Re: Forgotten Broadway Musicals
From: maddog-ga on 19 Apr 2002 12:50 PDT
Try Peter Pan, not forgotten but a wonderful musical with a relatively small 

Here is a url for a website that may help you on your way:
Subject: Re: Forgotten Broadway Musicals
From: joemturner-ga on 21 Jun 2002 08:28 PDT
If you are more interested in "small cast gems" than you are in "50s
or 60s" then you might also check out:

- Romance, Romance
- Baby
- The Ark

I wrote BankNote$, a small cast one-act musical in college that still
gets produced from time to time:

Hope this helps.

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