Suitable Musicals

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Things to Consider

There are many elements that can help shape your choice for which production is best for your school at this time. Here are some of the main elements.


  • Gender of school population. If you are in an all male school there is no point at looking at shows that have a heavy female contingent like "Annie". Likewise if you are in an all female school "West Side Story" is probably not for you. Though there is no problem with bringing in the required other side of the cast from the local brother or sister school. 

  • Where do your students talents lie? Is there a large number of students doing dance? Do you have a really strong performer who could confidently carry a show? Is there a class of strong actors? Do you have any boys who can sing?

  • Probable audience. While in schools this is not a huge concern as most of your audience will be coming to support the students and it doesn't necessarily matter what show you are doing. However it is still a good idea to find something that will excite them rather than bore them. After all attending a musical should be a fun event, not a chore. 

  • Budget. There is no point trying to mount a production of "Les Miserable" if you can't afford to build a workable set, or hire enough musicians to fill the gaps in your student players for the lush orchestration that the show really needs in order to work properly.

  • Check the neighbours. Do a touch of research to see what the other schools and community groups in your area are doing and have been doing. A friendly phone call to the closest school or have a look at the Stage Whispers magazine and web site are a good place to start. Sometimes it's useful to do similar shows so you can try to attract their audience and cast but usually its an idea to give a show a few years grace before trying the same production that has been done 6 times in the last 2 years.

  • Is there something that can be taught through the show? Many musicals are rooted in history or at least give a nod to some important elements of other school subjects ie "Hello Dolly" touches on the history of the 1890's and early attempts at urban social reform in New York City. "Into the Woods" can inspire examinations of fairy tales as literature, the feudal system and fantasy as social commentary. "Les Miserables" can inspire discussion on the original text and possibly even get your students interested in literature.

  • Are the school staff willing to work together? If this is the case it is possible to find shows that can be used in many areas of study across the school.  

  • Does your school have a religious ethos? Some musicals have a religious subject matter or elements. It is worth being aware of this and how it may effect you school community. You may be in a christian school but that doesn't necessarily mean that "Jesus Christ Super Star" is appropriate for your school.



Always make sure you are familiar with the material before you get the rights as many shows can appear like a good choice on the surface but on closer inspection they may present challenges that your school simply isn't able to get around. 

Shows to Start you Thinking

Some of the following shows do have a "Schools Edition" available, but not all.
  • 13
  • 42nd Street
  • Annie
  • Anything Goes
  • Bells Are Ringing
  • Big River
  • Bye Bye Birdie
  • Camp Rock
  • Chicago
  • Children Of Eden
  • Copacabana
  • Curtains
  • Dames At Sea
  • Damn Yankees
  • Do I Hear A Waltz
  • Do Re Mi
  • The Drowsy Chaperone
  • Fame
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
  • Godspell
  • Guys & Dolls
  • Hello Dolly
  • High School Musical
  • Hot Mikado
  • How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Into The Woods
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Little Me
  • Little Shop Of Horrors
  • Lucky Stiff
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • Man of La Mancha
  • The Music Man
  • My Favourite Year
  • Oliver
  • On The Town
  • Once On This Island
  • Pal Joey
  • Paris
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Seussical
  • She Loves Me
  • Side Show
  • Snoopy
  • South Pacific
  • Sweet Charity
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Urinetown
  • Wonderful Town
  • Working
  • You're A Good Man Charlie Brown

Schools Editions
Some of the following shows are still not entirely appropriate for some school communities due to their innate subject matter. However they have schools editions for those brave enough to tackle the subject matter.
  • Les Miserables
  • Rent
  • Sweeney Todd


While there are "School Editions" available for a great number of shows, it is important to get perusal copies of the shows you are interested in so that you know exactly what you are committing your school and students to.

Need further help on show selection?