In the 1950s the economy was booming and so was Broadway. It was also a big time for film and studios, led by head studio MGM. Technicolor was introduced to the public and musicals were transported to the screen. It was considered to be the best time for Broadway with some of the most entertaining shows came out of this decade. Peter Pan, West Side Story, and Flower Drum Song were just a few of the many captivating musicals created in the 1950’s. Below are four of the best shows to come out of those ten years.
Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls is a romantic musical comedy that premiered on Broadway in 1950. We are introduced to notorious con man Nathan Detroit. When his crap game home is located by the police he must quickly find a new spot. From there we are introduced to a unique cast of characters that includes a showgirl, a gambler, an evangelist, and a chorus full of talent. With its unique backdrops ranging from NYC to Havana it’s a highly entertaining show. With tunes like “Luck Be a Lady,” “I’ll Know,” “Sit Down,” “You’re Rocking the Boat,” and “A Bushel and A Peck,” you can’t help but feel like you are right in that time period with them. Guys and Dolls was awarded numerous Tony Awards, and has been adored by audiences since its premiere.
The King and I
Set in the 1860s, Anna Leonowens, who is newly widowed, sets sail along with her son to Siam where she takes a role as a schoolteacher. Still grieving, her work provides a good distraction for her. The King of Siam wants to modernize his country and hopes her Western teaching can help. Underneath their disagreements and different ways is a fond understanding and love between them. With a heartwarming story line and enchanting music The King and I is one of the most unique love stories set on stage. This charming show is sure to warm your heart with beautiful songs like “Getting To Know You” and “Shall We Dance.“ This was the talented Rodgers and Hammerstein’s fifth show and it was awarded the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1952. They would continue to collaborate until 1959 with their final show South Pacific. Hammerstein passed away in August of 1960.