On This Day

Events in Music in 1951

  • Jan 6 "Pardon Our French" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 100 performances

Musical Finale

Jan 27 Leonard Bernstein's musical "Peter Pan", starring Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff, closes at Imperial Theater, NYC, after 320 performances

  • Jan 29 "Where's Charley?" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 56 performances

Television Debut

Feb 3 "Victor Borge Show" debuts on NBC TV

  • Feb 10 "John and Marsha" by Stan Freberg, a parody of daytime soap operas which had only two voices repeating each other's names, peaks at #21 in the USA
  • Feb 24 "Bless You All" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 84 performances
  • Feb 25 "Michael Todd's Peep Show" closes at Winter Garden, NYC, after 278 performances
  • Mar 10 "Where's Charley?" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 56 performances
  • Mar 25 5th Tony Awards: "Guys & Dolls" (musical) and "The Rose Tattoo" (play) win

Music Recording

Mar 27 Frank Sinatra records "I'm a Fool to Want You"

Theater Premiere

Mar 29 Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "The King and I", based on the novel "Anna and the King of Siam", opens at St James Theater, NYC; runs for1 246 performances, winning 5 Tony Awards; Star Yul Brynner would lead the cast of the 1956 film version, and play the role over 4,200 times

Music Premiere

Mar 30 1st performance of Walter Piston's 4th Symphony commissioned to mark the University of Minnesota's centennial, debuts by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Antal Doráti conducting

  • Apr 18 "Make a Wish" opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 102 performances
  • Apr 19 "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 267 performances
  • May 5 "Out of This World" closes at New Century Theater NYC after 157 performances
  • May 14 Sammy Fain and Yip Harburg's musical "Flahooley" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 40 performances
  • Jun 14 "Courtin' Time" opens at National Theater NYC for 37 performances
  • Jun 17 "Flahooley" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 40 performances
  • Jun 21 "17" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 180 performances
  • Jun 30 "Victor Borge Show" last airs on NBC-TV
  • Jul 14 "Courtin' Time" closes at National Theater NYC after 37 performances
  • Jul 14 "Make a Wish" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 102 performances
  • Jul 19 "2 in the Aisle" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 276 performances

Musical Finale

Jul 28 Cole Porter's musical "Kiss Me, Kate", an adaptation of Shakespeare's " The Taming of the Shrew", closes at New Century Theater NYC after 1077 performances

Film Release

Jul 28 Walt Disney's animated musical film "Alice In Wonderland" released

Film Premiere

Aug 26 Film "An American In Paris" with music by George Gershwin, directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron premieres in London (Academy Awards Best Picture, 1952)

Music Premiere

Sep 11 Igor Stravinsky's opera "The Rake's Progress", with libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, premieres at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy

  • Sep 15 "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" closes at Ziegfeld NYC after 740 performances
  • Sep 17 "Borscht Capades" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 90 performances
  • Oct 8 "Music in the Air" opens at Ziegfeld Theater NYC for 56 performances

Music History

Nov 1 Johnny Mercer's "Top Banana" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 356 performances

  • Nov 12 "Paint Your Wagon" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 289 performances
  • Nov 13 Janet Collins is the first 1st African-American dancer to appear at the Metropolitan Opera, in a production of Aida
  • Nov 24 "17" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 180 performances
  • Nov 24 "Music in the Air" closes at Ziegfeld Theater NYC after 56 performances

Music Premiere

Dec 1 Benjamin Britten's opera "Billy Budd" premieres in London

  • Dec 2 "Borscht Capades" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 90 performances
  • Dec 8 "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 267 performances
  • Dec 11 "The Wild Side of Life" single recorded by Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys (Billboard Song of the Year, 1952)
  • Dec 24 1st opera commissioned for television - "Amahl and the Night Visitors" by Gian Carlo Menotti premieres on NBC with the NBC Opera Theater