I'm trying to decide how to schedule/slot my shows for the Fall/Winter and would love some insights. It's a rather complicated question, so if you have the time/patience to read the details, I hope you'll respond.
First, here is the context:-This is a rebuilding year for me, so my core group of returning students is small and almost entirely female-identifying. I'm hoping to rebuild.-It's only my 2nd year at this school and we only did one show before COVID hit, so the kids don't know me as well yet. We did some smaller projects during COVID, so again...I'm not as well known around the school yet.-My first show slot would be at the end of October (it's our festival/competition piece, dates not negotiable).-2nd Show would need to be in early January after winter break.For the shows, I'm looking at The Outsiders (mostly male-identifying cast) and to balance that, I'd like to do Men on Boats (mostly women/trans/nonbinary cast)So here are the factors I'm wrestling with:1) My core group of strongest, most consistent returning students is mostly female, so I'd like to give them a good opportunity (I think Men on Boats would be a great vehicle for that)2) I would like to use the Outsiders, a more known title, as a way to recruit new students, particularly male-identifying, and to be able to show it to our feeder schools....the kids read the book in middle school.3) I think Men on Boats would be a better festival piece, as it would showcase our stronger, more experienced actors and because I have a better idea of who will audition for it....but I'm concerned that if I do The Outsiders later in the year, I will miss out on being able to recruit new students right out of the gate before they get tied up in other activities.So the question boils down to:- Should i just do The Outsiders as the first slot festival piece, for recruitment purposes, even though I'm taking more of a gamble on it in terms of casting?- Or should I do Men on Boats as the festival piece to capitalize on the stronger actors?...and just take the risk of doing The Outsiders as my January show, knowing that it may complicate recruiting somewhat....and it would also mean that no male actors would be participating in the festival show.Would love to hear thoughts. Thanks for reading. (I'm also open to doing other shows., but these are the ones I'm looking at most strongly).
------------------------------Blake WilsonTheatre Arts DirectorOrange High School------------------------------
Hi Jean- Thank you for your insights and feedback. I'll provide a little bit more context in case you have additional thoughts: A musical, as some have suggested to me, is not really an option for us right now for a variety of reasons, so the piece(s) need to be non-musical.My reasons for looking at The Outsiders are as follows:-Our feeder middle school students read the novel, so the title will be well known to many of our students and we would have an easy tie-in to invite middle school students to attend the show.-The play deals with class and other issues....so it has a social relevance while still being a known title.- The cast calls for 18 named roles and has room for expanding to add extras, which is a good size for us.- As I mentioned, I'm trying to recruit male-identifying actors ..and I'd like a show that they can easily see themselves in, especially since I am trying to reach out to many students who don't always do theatre. Not simply shows that have a few male parts, but something where the content will more directly appeal to them.But, yes, I do have some concern that the bulk of significant roles in The Outsiders are typically cast as male (although I'm open to casting flexibly and inclusively if I can get permission from the publisher to change some pronouns). So the idea for Men on Boats as a companion piece would be to offer some balance by having roles explicitly defined by the writer as NOT for cis-males. I think content-wise, with some minor language tweaks, it would be appropriate for our community.I'm open to considering other shows, or even just one large cast non-musical, but it's important to me to choose shows that provide some challenge and/or have some meaning. I really try not to just do shows just because they check some boxes. That said, it doesn't all need to be heavy drama, though.Anyway, with that additional context, let me know if you have additional thoughtsThanks!