Open Forum

Spring Play input requested

  • 1.  Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-25-2018 16:22
    Good afternoon,

    I'm in the process of choosing a spring play and am having an unreasonably difficult time. I took over the theatre dept at my school this fall, and last year we graduated 12 very talented seniors. I view this as a rebuilding year, so I want to be able to cast everyone who auditions. Our musical this fall was Once Upon A Mattress, and it was very successful. Now I have many students telling me they're going to audition for the play, but of course we know that doesn't mean they'll actually audition for the play! However, I'd like to choose something that accommodate a large cast/ensemble if necessary.

    I read Game of Tiaras and think it's really funny. However, is it too much like Once Upon with the whole princess/medieval times thing?

    I'm intrigued by Up The Down Staircase, but  the script reads a little dated. For those of you who've done it, do you update some of the language? "dame" "blackboard" "teach" etc?

    Our school did Almost, Maine last year. Would A Delightful Quarantine be too similar?

    Can you think of any large-cast murder mysteries?  Is You Could Die Laughing  expandable?

    As for interested parties, I would say I have probably a dozen of both males and females--none exceptionally talented but several of each gender with solid experience and potential. Thanks in advance for any guidance!

    Tamala Szyman
    Oostburg WI

  • 2.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-26-2018 12:45

    Journey to the World's Edge: A Folk Tale in the Irish Tradition - from Dramatic Publishing. We had great fun with it. You can make a dragon puppet that can incorporate students who don't want to be seen on stage.  There are many plays of folktales that are good for all ages.  Aesop's (oh so slightly) Updated Fables - dramatic publishing is fun and can be geared for a variety of audiences. 

    Cathy Archer
    Rutland VT

  • 3.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-26-2018 12:55
    Up the Down Staircase was the first show I directed at the high school level. I would not have chosen it based on the script (I thought it was too cheesy), but it was chosen by my predecessor, and half cast ahead of time (long story) so I was stuck with it.  In the end, It actually ended up being pretty fun. The kids enjoyed it, it had a very large cast, and did serve the function of building for the future. That year's freshman class ended up being a very strong senior class. As far as the language goes, we didn't change or update anything, but rather leaned into it (we kept the setting as written). The kids had a great time.

    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kennewick WA

  • 4.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-26-2018 17:50
    Consider Peter and the Starcatchers. It has a gender flexible and expandable cast. Even the Black Stache could be played by a woman.

    Shakespeare is always and option. A Midsummer Night's Dream (13 men, 8 women, including 4 fairies) is somewhat flexible. Puck could be played by a woman and the fairies could be expanded. In the Mechanicals, Robin Starvling is first cast as Thisby's mother, then gets dragooned into playing Moonshine. It doesn't make sense to have too many women among the Mechanicals, otherwise why would Flute need to play a girl's role? But then not much the Mechanicals do makes sense.

    Also You Can't Take It With You is a larger cast (9m, 7w) with a lot of great roles.

    James Van Leishout
    Olympia WA

  • 5.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-26-2018 21:13
    Stardust by Walter Kerr is a play that has an expandable student ensemble.  It calls for 7 men and 11 women, but I added several female students to the ensemble.  

    Dramatic Publishing has the rights.  

    Kerr was a Broadway theatre critic as well as writer, and this is his send-up of Stanislavski as mangled by Americans. 

  • 6.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-26-2018 21:22
    Peter and the Starcatcher is a great show. You can't take it with you is fun and has a lot of roles.

    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School

  • 7.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-27-2018 08:05
    I loved directing Stardust but my students, unfortunately, did not like it. Much of the humor that resonated with me (a theater major who has been directing for a while) did not translate to high school kids who did not have a strong theatre background. We did While the Lights Were Out by Jack Sharkey and Done to Death by Fred Carmichael- both large cast murder mysteries. Students also enjoyed The Canterville Ghost by Tim Kelly. We are also building and looking at large cast shows. Although, at this point I am ready for something a bit smaller. Good luck finding a show that works!

    Lindsey Fifield
    Thespian Advisor
    Canton NY

  • 8.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-27-2018 10:15
    I would like to second the recommendation of Stardust by Walter Kerr. My kids had a blast with that play, and it is one of my favorite productions I've ever directed. Large cast, expandable, and lots for your actors to do, even in the smaller roles. So much fun.

    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kennewick WA

  • 9.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 11-29-2018 11:36
    why not survey your community or potential performers?
    There are hundreds of great shows out there to do.   YOu mostly need to start out by taking stock on what talent and interest you have though.  What sort of things will attract vs repel certain kids/parents/audience??? What is yiur interest and experience?  What are you more comfortable with drama? tragedy? comedy? literature?

    You may want to start out close to home with something you are comfortable with so as to make sure you have a hit!

    I've found good material from just about every publishing house at some point.  Sam French, Dramatists, Playscripts, yourstagepartners (newer group with lots of good material)

    who Am I leaving off you guys???

    break legs and have fun!

    [Drama] [Dan] []
    [Drama Teacher/Director]
    [Dublin Coffman HS]
    [Dublin] [Ohio]

  • 10.  RE: Spring Play input requested

    Posted 12-02-2018 23:23
    I third Peter and the Starcatcher!!!

    Arden Thomas
    Sequoyah High School
    Pasadena CA