Conventional wisdom holds that the golden age of the Hollywood musical, 1927 – 1932, was as much a product of the public trying to escape drab lives and a dreadful economy as it was a divine convergence of the talent involved.

Fast forward to 2009 and the worst economy since the Great Depression and conditions appear ripe for a new crop of movie musicals – or at least the studios are betting they are.

Variety reports that Cher has signed on to star in “Burlesque,” her first major movie role since 1999’s “Tea with Mussolini” and the first time she’ll sing on the big screen since 1967’s “Good Times,” the William Friedkin-directed Sonny & Cher vehicle that also featured veteran British heavy George Sanders.

Christina Aguilera will join the Oscar-winner in the tale of “a small-town Iowa girl with a big voice who comes of age in a neo-burlesque club on Sunset Boulevard.”

While no release date has been slated for the picture, production is scheduled to begin in November.

Also reportedly hitting the big screen to sing and dance her heart out is former “Dancing with the Stars” hoofer and rising country singer Julianne Hough, who will step into the sensible shoes of Lori Singer as Ariel, the headstrong daughter of the conservative Reverend Shaw Moore.

According to Variety, if scheduling conflicts can be worked out Hough will join Chace Crawford, who landed the role of rebel Ren McCormack after “HSM” star Zac Efron opted to stay away from musicals for awhile, to begin filming in March.

Other musicals on deck for release over the next few months include an updated version of “Fame,” with Debbie Allen, Megan Mullally and Bebe Neuwirth; Disney’s ani-musical “The Princess and the Frog,” starring “Dreamgirls” co-star Anika Noni Rose and featuring music by Randy Newman and “Nine,” which is based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical version of Federico Fellini’s seminal film “8 ½” and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson and Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie).

Song and dance epics reportedly in development include “Ruby Tuesday,” an animated film that will feature the music of The Rolling Stones;” a remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” starring jack-of-all-trades Hugh Jackman and a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical version of “Sunset Boulevard,” with Glen Close, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli rumored as possible candidates for the scenery-chewing role of Norma Desmond.

Read Variety’s coverage of “Burlesque” here and “Footloose” here.