Musicals from the 1950s


In the 1950s, show tunes were a major part of American popular music. Every season saw new stage musicals send songs to the top of the charts. Public demand, a booming economy and abundant creative talent kept Broadway and Movie Musicals hopping. To this day, the shows of the 1950s form the core of the musical theatre repertory.

The 1950s offered a combination of sounds - for everyone. Rock 'n roll, rhythm and blues, love songs, jazz, calypso, and musicals were all popular.  Records rather than air play began to determine the popularity of a song.  Broadway and movie musicals played an important part during this decade. 



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1.  Royal Wedding (1951 - Color) – Fred Astaire and Jane Powell:

Brother and sister dancing duo Tom and Ellen Bowen (Fred Astaire and Jane Powell) travel to merry old England. There, against the backdrop of the impending wedding of royals, they go about the usual comedic pursuit of love. 
This film is probably most memorable for Astaire's dream sequence that has him dancing on the ceiling.

2.  Mr. Imperium (1951 - Color) – Lana Turner

Lana Turner plays the sexy nightclub singer that a European prince (Ezio Pinza) falls in love with, and although she's already got a boyfriend, she slowly falls for the prince. They begin a love affair that will prove to be short-lived.

3.  Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955) - All Star Cast

Musical variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City featuring a cast of popular African-American performers: Willie Bryant, Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Herb Jeffries, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Nat 'King' Cole, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway and Ruth Brown.


4.  Fresh From Paris (1955)  Forrest Tucker:

Movie is about the opening night of a musical spectacular in a restaurant called the Moulin Rouge. The lead actress is essentially there because she's in love with the director, but he's off seeing the art director on the side. Meanwhile, the lead actress's kid sister is looking for her big break too.


5.  Rock, Rock, Rock (1956)  Alan Freed:

A young teenage girl desperately tries to earn enough money to buy a dress for a school rock and roll dance. This early rock and roll feature includes an appearance by disc jockey Alan Freed, and performances by artists including Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

They're trying to stop rock and roll! Some squares need to be enlightened about this new music that they say will ruin the young people of our country! Can the kids do it? Stars Fats Domino, Joe Turner, Mike "Touch" Connors, Margaret DuMont and Lisa Gaye. Also starring Sterling Holloway.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957 - Color) – Van Johnson

The singing, rhyming citizens of Hamelin hope to win a competition with rival towns for royal recognition. To this end, the mayor outlaws play (which is a bit hard on the children) and refuses to help a rival town when it's flooded. But rats (seen only as shadows), fleeing the flood, invade Hamelin in droves; a magical piper (Van Johnson), whose music only children (and rats) can hear, strikes a bargain...which, once the rats are gone, the Mayor and council renege on, to their subsequent regret.