Sunday, September 14, 2008

High School Musicals, Part 1: The Most-Performed High School Musicals

According to the Educational Theatre Association, the most-performed high school musicals are (drum roll, please) . . .

Little Shop of Horrors
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Beauty and the Beast
High School Musical

Okay, so I don’t get the High School Musical thing since, I would think, many high school students would shy away from being in the show even if they love the movie, but I found this list fascinating considering the lack of the usual suspects—no Camelot, Grease, or King and I. No Annie, Oliver!, or Fiddler on the Roof. Yes, we have no No, No Nanette.

To me the biggest surprise is Thoroughly Modern Millie considering, though it is based on a well-known movie, of the list, it would not have the most instantly recognizable name for students.

I recently finally picked up the updated edition of Let’s Put on a Musical! (more on that later), and it got me thinking about what shows I would want to choose if I were directing a high school musical again (which, to be honest, I would so love to do).

When I left my first teaching job where I was also director, I had been contemplating Mame for the following year. Not only am I big fan of the movie (yeah, I know), but it was a show that highlighted my school’s strengths—actresses—and downplayed its weaknesses—having actors.

So, what shows would be high on my list to direct all these years later?

Bells are Ringing
Jane Eyre
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Side Show
Flower Drum Song

Of course, to appease kids and parents, there would need to be some better-loved titles in there—The Sound of Music, Oliver!, Guys and Dolls—but I probably would have continued the trend I started, picking a well-known musical one year (Hello, Dolly!) and a lesser-known play (Up the Down Staircase), then picking a lesser-known musical the next year (The Pajama Game) and a well-known play (The Diary of Anne Frank, Kesselman revision).

I picked The Pajama Game largely because of the number of female parts, but I also loved getting to do something people hadn’t seen ten times. Attendance was down, but we had a blast putting the show up (and the audience did laugh their butts off). Could you imagine the fun of introducing a whole new audience to Urinetown or The Scarlet Pimpernel?

the Broadway Mouth
September 14, 2008

Okay, so I would never expect a high school to produce No, No, Nanette. It was just a fun sentence to write.

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