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Musicals: High school Musicals

Thanks to all who have made suggestions for resources on picking high
school musicals. I now have plenty to go on! Several have requested a
compilation, so here it is:

I don't know if this is the book you are looking for, but it does have
Summaries, which publisher holds the rights, instrumentation and a
of the cast and singing/acting requirements.
"Guide to Broadway Musical Theatre"
Tom Tumbusch
Richard Rosen Press, Inc.
New York, NY 10010


Not sure if it is still in print or available but check with your local
dealer, or check with Wingert-Jones Music (they have an 800 phone
number) in
Kansas City. The title is:

"A Practical Handbook for Musical Theatre"
by Larry Mitchell
Copyright 1984 by Larry Mitchell
Second Edition - 1985
I think there is a third or fourth edition by now
[yes, there is a fourth edition, published this year]

[recommended by two others]


Perhaps you are referring to Peter Filichia's Let's Put on a Musical
(Watson-Guptill, paperbound, 1997); while it has some unintentionally
hilarious ideas for publicity, it topically lists all major musicals,
gives strengths and weaknesses of each show, identifies cast
by lead and gender, etc. It's accurate, not too biased, and even fun to
read. If you're interested in a website bibliography on the American
musical, you could browse

[book recommended by two others]


The musical licensing groups' web sites can be helpful.
Music Theater International -
Rogers and Hammerstein Library -


Alexa Doebele
Ranum HS, Denver, CO

Thank you to all those who responded to my HS Musical query !! I
received many great suggestions. We decided on Once Upon a Mattress.
(We are going to save Damn Yankees, my choice, until next year, when we
have a new auditorium and can do it all-out !!)

Thank you to Jonathan Veenker, Lyn Schramm, Jerri Shuman, Joel Pressman,
TGrisby, Brandon Adams,Tiffany, Philm54, Jen Bowler, Ben Allaway, David
Bohn, Elizabeth Hanger, Mark Martin,Greg A. Lapp,
Kelley E. Squires, Judith Higbee, Carlton Kilpatrick, Barbara
Pinto-Choate, Derek Weston,Kathy Blumer, Debbie Coleman, Daniel
Tennille, Andy Thomas, Gene Morlan, Lara Baker, Nina Doxey, Karen
Meiring, Steven Parker, and Joshua Nannestad.

Compilation (long):

It's been a very long time but I seem to remember a similar situation
and we did Pajama Game. We also took
one of the lead male roles and turned it into a female. I think it was
the overbearing bos
once upon a mattress might work. has some of the criteria you are
for and i think can be done with a minimal sets. have done it twice
used the castle for both inside and outside in the scenes with different

lighting. at least it is worth a look see. and is a great ploy on the

princess and the pea. we did it with a girl who was not the stereotype
princess and it was great.
40 people is a lot for a small stage. You7 should consider expanding the
playing area with a stage extension (can
be done simply with industrial scaffolding and plywood for a floor, or
with 4x8 platforms bolted on 4x4 legs).

A show like Anything Goes can be done with a pretty flat set - doors are
needed at times, and its good but not
necessary to have stairs to an upper level. the ensemble can be as big
or small as needed, since many dances are
group tap and not partner related.

Once On This Island has an expandable ensemble, and there is lots of
music to go around.

In another direction, Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) can have very simple
sets, freeing up most of
your stage for your ensemble (and there are no royalties)

Grease - obviously great for HS age, and they will love the music.
the boy friend !!!!!
Grease (unit set)
Into the Woods (unit set)
Pacific Overtures
Pippin (unit set) - 20 actors only
Godspell (unit set)- great with 3 instruments
a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.
We just did Guys and Dolls Jr. at our middle school with limited
resources. You may want to look at the regular version. (I haven't seen
but it may meet the criteria you have.) We even doubled some girls as
Makin' It: The Musical, book by Cynthia Mercati, music by Ben Allaway,
pub. by Baker's Plays. Fits your criteria
perfectly. Fun show, has a serious
side, too... A cross between Grease and A Chorus Line. See more info
You could probably do "The Boy Friend". I think there are no more than
three sets. It might be a little hard to do it with only 10-15 males;
ideally it should be about 50-50, although most of the speaking roles
are female IIRC. The pit requires about 12 musicians as written (it is
written for a 1920's dance band).
Having done Damn Yankees with an all female cast, I would urge you to do
the following:
cast the Devil as a girl
Have a mostly female ball team.
Cut the dance numbers down a bit, and just suggest the nightclub with a
few small tables, the ball locker room
with a few lockers and benches, and Old Joe's home with a couch and a
coffee table. No fancy sets are needed!

Lolita conspiring with the Devil takes on a whole other hilarious
dimension when cast this way. The voicings
work out perfectly for Ya Gotta Have Heart as a female nonet....or dirty
I would advise you to contact my supplier Shattinger Music Company at
1-888-621-2408 and ask for Dick Boyd. He can help you with all of your
Once on This Island - don't worry that it was written for a black cast.
works well with any color cast.
Little Mary Sunshine - silly but fun.
Weird Romance - weird but fun. Alen Menken
Lucky Stiff - weird but fun.
A musical that seems to be neglected is FIORELLO the story of Fiorello
LaGuardia, mayor of NY. The music is charming and the storyline follows
his career as mayor when "the party
machine" though they had ensure the success of the "good ol boy"
candidate. There are some fun scenes of the
"backroom"political machinations including songs like "politics and
poker," and "the bum won!" There are
also several street scenes -- one where he is campaigning and mixes
successively with several ethnic groups.
This is a big fun crowd scene of singing and dancing. Another street
scene involves a strike by seamstresses at a
garment factory. There are also 2 love storys -- Fiorello marries one
gal and late she dies. His loyal lifetime
secretary has been carrying a torch for him all these years and finally
he proposes to her.
In light of Sept. 11 -- this look back at NYC during the immigration
might be especially interesting. VOCAL DEMANDS: at least 4 strong male
singers for the 'backroom cronies" need basically a barbershop quartet
including a strong HIGH tenor or a guy with a good falsetto. I saw Tom
Bosley play Fiorello and he is not much of a singer -- acting is more
important with that role. You need several strong females including one

with almost operatic style to play the first wife.
As I recall the show is by Bock and Harnick.
We are currently doing Oklahoma- using only 2 sets. The only thing that
is complex about it is the extensive
dancing. I'm lucky to have a student
choreographer who has taken charge of that. We also considered Lil'Abner
and Bye Bye Birdie. Birdie has quite a
few set changes, but Lil' Abner can be done on one set.
Anything Goes would be my choice. It's lively, fun and you could make a
cast of the size you discribed, quite
I would reccomend "Little Shop of Horrors" for your HS musical. The
show meets all of your criteria. If you
have several women that you want to cast in leading roles, you can
double up the "doo-wop" girls roles. I did
this musical with a semi-pro theatre company in the Chicago area and I
am certain that it would work for high
school. In fact, my wife teaches at a very small high school and they
are performing it this year. The pit
orchestra is comprised of piano, drums, and keyboard with optional
guitar and bass. All of the parts are covered
in the piano score, so anything beyond the piano is icing on the cake.
The rental fees and royalites are not very
high on this musical either. One thing to remember, if you are not
familiar with the musical version of the show, is that the musical is
very much different from the movie.
Once Upon A Mattress
How To Eat Like A Child - kind of silly
Quilters - very difficult musically, mature - 5 women
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Have you thought about "Working"? We have a very small stage and even
less men. It worked out beatifully.
Maybe... Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?
Best of Luck and Happy Holidays!
One of the best musicals to do is "110 degrees in the shade". I think
you might find it to be a perfect selection. Very accessible!
You may have gotten all the help you need by now, but, if not here is a
suggestion or two. Our church puts on a Broadway musical every other
year and have been doing so for about
twenty years. I contacted our production team for their input.

You have a couple of restraints that make it rather difficult--a large
but small stage a limited sets. As you know most of the best known
musicals have a variety of sets. However, there are two or three that
might lend themselves to your resources. During the 70's when
productions had to start downsizing a lot of
creativity went into "suggested scenery only"-- using a basic set and
then adding bits of scenery to suggest a
change from one scene to another.

It was our opinion that the three shows which might best be dealt with
this way would be "Pajama Game"--"Bye, Bye Birdie"-- and "Carousel."
We are doing You're a Good Man Charlie Brown this year.....6 main leads
(4 male, 2 female) and we are
doing the revised version, not the older one.
Twelve Dancing Princesses. Our school just did a version of "Twelve
Dancing Princesses" that was very
successful. Music is great, and the script on the familiar fairy tale
was clever including a little spoof on
Monty Python's Holy Grail. If you are interested our contact was Laura
Bedore at 272 South Main. Salt
Lake City, UT 84101 Phone 801-982-9625 and 801-860-2837. I am still
gathering our music and scripts up.
Check out "Babes in Arms" It has 4 female leads and chorus.
How about Godspell. 10 cast members. Single stage set, uses standard
rhythm section accompaniment.
Hi there- it sounds like "Little Shop of Horrors" might meet your
We did it last year, down here in Milford. Good luck!

Original posting;

This is a bit off-topic, but...

I need to choose a high school musical for this year, but my school has
limitations (due to a renovation).

I need a musical which meets the following criteria (or comes close):

•limited set or sets,
•somewhat small stage,
•10-15 males in the cast,
•unlimited females (of course!),
•small pit orchestra (a rhythm section is ideal -- piano, drums, bass)
•a cast of 40 students

[I was considering Damn Yankees, for example, but it calls for more men
that I have, and it has several sets...]

Any help you could provide would be great !
Thanks !

Lynda Maccini Pavloff
Choral Director
Walpole High School
275 Common Street
Walpole, MA 02081
(508) 660-7257 phone
(508) 850-7958 fax

on November 21, 2002 10:00pm
You can also check

John Fohner
Uniontown, Ohio