History of American Musical Theatre: 1950 - 2010

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    History of American Musical Theatre

  • "South Pacific" wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

  • Lerner & Loewe's "Brigadoon" opens on Broadway

  • "Guys and Dolls" opens on Broadway

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The King and I" opens

  • "Wonderful Town," with score by Leonard Bernstein and Comden and Green, opens on Broadway

  • Julie Andrews makes her American stage debut in "The Boyfriend"

  • "Threepenny Opera" settles into Off-Broadway Theatre de Lys for six-year run

  • "My Fair Lady", by Lerner & Loewe, considered one of the most 'pefect' musicals ever, opens on Broadway starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews

  • "West Side Story", written by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, debuts on Broadway

  • "Gypsy", starring Ethel Merman, opens.

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's last Broadway musical, "The Sound of Music", opens on Broadway

  • "Fiorello!" Opens on Broadway

    This musical biography of NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia spawned several hit tunes, won several Tony Awards, and would eventually win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Jonathan Larson is born

    He will write music, lyrics and book for two shows, "Tick Tick Boom" and "Rent", only to die shortly before "Rent" opens on Broadway
  • "The Fantasticks", which will become the longest running musical production in the world, opens Off-Broadway

  • Oscar Hammerstein II dies

  • Lerner & Loewe's "Camelot", which would become symbolic of the Kennedy administration, opens

  • "No Strings", the only musical for which Richard Rodgers did both music and lyrics, debuts

  • "Hello Dolly", starring Carol Channing, opens on Broadway

  • "Fiddler on the Roof" Opens on Broadway

    This smash hit, drawn from the short stories of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, has been revived four times on Broadway, and is a constant staple of touring companies, community theaters and schools.
  • "Do I Hear a Waltz?". the only collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim, debuts

  • "Mame," starring Angela Lansbury, opens

  • Frank Loesser dies

    Composer of such classic hits as "Most Happy Fella," "Pal Joey," "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"
  • Duncan Sheik is born

    The rock musician will become a leading figure in the New Wave of sophisticated rock musicals of the 21st century, starting with "Spring Awakening"
  • "Company" opens, first in a chain of critically acclaimed Sondheim musicals

  • Sondheim's "Follies" opens

    Often revived, never commercially successful, it nevertheless gave Broadway standard classics like "I'm Still Here," Broadway Baby" and "Losing My Mind"
  • Sondheim's "A Little Night Music", featuring 'Send in the Clowns', opens

  • Lerner & Loewe's "Gigi" becomes first major film-to-stage musical transfer

    Although Loewe had retired after "Camelot" opened, he did collaborate with Lerner on a few new songs for this stage version - the last music he would ever publish
  • "The Rocky Horror Show" Opens on Broadway

    This highly unusual musical production would bomb on Broadway, as would the subsequent low budget film, until repeated midnight showings turned it into a major cult hit
  • Michael Bennett's highly influential "A Chorus Line" opens

  • "Chicago", Bob Fosse's last 'book' musical, opens on Broadway

    Although "Chicago" was overwhelmed at the box office and the Tony Awardsby "A Chorus Line", it would be successfully revived in 1996 - and is playing to this day. It also became an Oscar winning film in 2002
  • "Annie" Opens on Broadway

    The redheaded orphan girl from the comics pages stars in a smash hit 'family' musical that starts a number of moppet careers and turns the song "Tomorrow" into a staple of auditions and inspirational concerts.
  • Sondheim's 'grand guignol' "Sweeney Todd" opens

  • "Evita" Opens on Broadway

    This last collaboration of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice made stars of Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
  • Richard Rodgers dies

  • Michael Bennett's "Dreamgirls" becomes his last Broadway production

  • "La Cage Aux Folles" opens

  • Ethel Merman dies

  • Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George" Opens on Broadway

    Although this impressionistic musical only ran a little over a year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and received two critically acclaimed revivals.
  • Alan Jay Lerner dies

  • French import "Les Miserables" ushers in era of large scale 'blockbuster' musicals

  • "Les Miserables" Opens on Broadway

    This French transplant, an epic adaptation of Victor Hugo's even more epic novel, ushers in the era of the 'spectacle musical', and runs for 6680 performances.
  • Michael Bennett dies of AIDS

  • "Phantom of the Opera", to date the longest running play on Broadway, opens

  • Frederick Loewe dies

  • Leonard Bernstein dies

  • Sondheim's "Passion" Opens on Broadway

    Although critically successful, it lasts less than a year, becoming the Tony-winning "Best Musical" with the shortest run in the history of the awards. It is also the last Sondheim musical to date to have its original opening on Broadway
  • "Rent" Opens on Broadway

    This modern-rock adaptation of "La Boheme" won the Tony, the Drama Desk Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Tragically, it's composer/librettist/lyricist, Jonathan Larson, died of a brain embolism just before the opening.
  • "Lion King" opens on Broadway. Julie Taymor first woman to receive a Tony Award for directing a musical

  • "Mamma Mia", a London hit using the songs of ABBA as the score, opens on Broadway

    Still running, this is considered one of the most successful 'juke box' musicals, and has become an international and touring hit as well
  • "The Fantasticks", the world's longest-running musical, closes

    The Off-Broadway musical, which opened in 1960 and launched many careers, would re-open four years later and is still running
  • Fred Ebb, of the enduring composing team Kander & Ebb, dies

    Three musicals completed by the team before Ebb's death would be produced later: "The Visit", "Curtains," and "The Scottsboro Boys"
  • Monty Python's "Spamalot" opens on Broadway

  • "Spring Awakening" Opens on Broadway

    This musical, about teens dealing with their sexuality. was adapted from a nineteenth century German play. The acclaimed score, by rock musician Duncan Sheik, ushered in a new style of musical theater.
  • "Billy Elliot" Opens on Broadway

    The stage musical version of a non-musical film about an English boy's desire to be a ballet dancer nearly sweeps the Tony Awards, including trophies for Elton John and Tim Rice for their score.
  • "American Idiot" Begins Successful Broadway Run

    A one act, sung-through book musical, it is an adaptation of rock group Green Day's multiplatinum album of the same name
  • "Book of Mormon" Opens

    The creators of "South Park" are responsible for this cheerfully obscene - and Tony winning - exploration of faith, sexuality and human relations.