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Middle School Play Recommendations?

  • 1.  Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 08-31-2019 20:00
    Hello, In previous years I have directed Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Shrek the Musical Jr. at our middle school. They were both a success, but I feel like I want to try a straight play this year instead of another musical. I have about 30 students to cast from: 26 girls and 4 boys (some of those kids will become techs). I would really like to do a comedy. Obviously, the hard part is it has to be appropriate for middle schoolers and relevant(nothing too old fashioned). Besides performing at night for parents and the community, we would also like to perform it at an assembly for 6th graders. So given all that - do you have any recommendations? I would appreciate any suggestions.
    Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone


  • 2.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 09-01-2019 06:58
    The Phantom Tollbooth? We had great fun with that one.

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    Melanie Pittner
    Director, Theater Department
    New Hope-Solebury School District
    New Hope PA
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  • 3.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 09-01-2019 09:20
    I can't remember how many students are in these plays, but here are a few I have loved: (There are straight play versions of all of these!)
    Tom Sawyer
    Mystery at Shady Acres
    Miss Nelson Is Missing
    The Little Princess
    The Secret Garden
    A midsummer Night's Midterm ( super clever version!)
    The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf
    A Wrinkle in Time

    Break a Leg!

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    Suzanne "Mama" Craig
    MS/HS Theatre/Speech
    Lipscomb Academy
    Nashville, TN
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  • 4.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 09-02-2019 15:29
    Have a look at Romeo and Juliet Together (and Alive!) at Last by Sandra Fenichel Asher, based on the book by Avi, through Dramatic Publishing.  It's about a bunch of eighth graders, completely middle school appropriate, and very funny.  I love a lot of things about it, but particularly love that the characters are not all stereotypes.  We've done it twice.  Large, and expandable, cast.  I think you can get away with just four boys (some male roles could easily be played by females).

    Very short synopsis to give the idea: in act 1 a bunch of eighth graders decide to produce R&J in order to matchmake for two shy friends; there is a dream sequence, which is a very short (but done well) version of R&J.  Act 2 has a hallway sequence (lots of room for creativity) with characters discussing rehearsals, then complete farce as they put on the play.

    In a completely different vein, our sixth through eighth graders also all loved doing Charlotte's Web (straight play).

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    Kristin Hall
    Drama Director
    Lincoln Public Schools
    Lincoln MA
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  • 5.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 9 days ago
    Dear Suzanne,,

    Hello.
    Can you tell me what version of Midsummer Nights Dream you did? That's our next show and I m looking for the right version for my middle school thespians.

    Thank you,

    Laura

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    Laura Rizzo
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Miami Country Day School
    Miami FL
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  • 6.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Laura,

    i've done this version in the past and have really liked it....it's always on my list of repeat contenders but I'm lacking the guys to do it right now.

    https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-night-missed-fo


    ------------------------------
    Lynda Gibson
    Director
    Troupe 2829
    Flushing High School
    Junior Troupe 88305
    Flushing Middle School
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 9 days ago
    It was called "A Midsummer's Night Midterm," and I thought it was extremely clever!! You've got 4 students studying for the test, and the play comes to life when they need clarification. It's got humor and stays true to the original Shakespeare as well! It was one of my favorites!!

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    Suzanne "Mama" Craig
    MS/HS Theatre/Speech
    Lipscomb Academy
    Nashville, TN
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  • 8.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 09-03-2019 11:04
    Edited by Crit Fisher 09-03-2019 11:04
    Great show Melanie. The Phantom Tollbooth is a fun one. It's been a while but you might want to look up The Just So stories.

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    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
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  • 9.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 11 days ago
    I recommend Ian McWethy's "The Internet is a Distract- OH LOOK A KITTEN!". So funny and clever and easy to stage. Genuinely enjoyable for teens and adults too. Highly relatable. In fact, I just reread it with my 11th grade English class following our reading of Gatsby and they laughed a lot just doing a class reading. Briefly, it is about a girl trying to finish her Gatsby essay before leaving for school. On either side of her desk are two pools of light called the 'distraction zones'. These represent her online life. As she tries to work, she gets constantly distracted and derailed by her friends, a personified Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, video games, memes, click bait, etc. Everyone faces out and she gives verbal commands ias she mimes typing. There is a 60 min version, but we did the shorter one-act paired with another internet themed show called "Brief Interviews with Internet Cats", sort of a late night talk show with a series of meme cats (aka Grumpy Cat). Both of those shows were clever and my middle schoolers felt like they were not doing something babyish.

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    Steven Slaughter
    English/Theatre
    Rosslyn Academy
    Nairobi, Kenya

    "Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts." - W Berry
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  • 10.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Julie,

    I've been doing MS theatre for 23 years and have a LOT of suggestions.  Like you, I've had very few boys interested in the program over the past....oh, 10 years...so, consider the more recent plays from this list.

    https://www.flushingschools.org/Page/1215

    The link is to the "production history" for my middle school.

    Some of my favorites (although, you can probably figure some of them out if you look at the "production history" since I've done them more than once):
    1. Once Upon a Wolf by Steph DeFeries
    2. Monster in the Closet by Angela Stewart
      School Daze by Lindsey Price
    3. Ten Actors in Search of a Cell Phone by James Rayfield (this one is about 20 minutes, so I've paired it with another one-act as the "opener" since the premise works well.)
    4. Just Another High School Play by Bryan Starchman
    5. 30 Reasons Not To Be in a Play by Alan Haehnel
    6. Homework Eats Dog and Other Woeful Tales by Alan Haehnel


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    Lynda Gibson
    Director
    Troupe 2829
    Flushing High School
    Junior Troupe 88305
    Flushing Middle School
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 8 days ago
    Second vote for the Midsummer adaptation "...or the Night They Missed the Forest for the Trees." You can add fairies galore, if you need to expand the cast. https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-night-missed-fo

    Other faves:
    Cinderella: The Untold Story
    Bedtime Stories as Told by Our Father Who Messed Them Up
    The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza

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    Dianne Rowe
    Theatre Arts Teacher
    Junior Thespian Troupe 88177
    Berry Middle School
    bit.ly/BerryDrama
    Birmingham, AL
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  • 12.  RE: Middle School Play Recommendations?

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hello!  There are a lot of really good suggestions here!  I've been teaching Theater at the Elementary and Middle School level for 18 years.  Here is a list of shows that I have done with my middle school students:
    Fairy Tale Courtroom, Alice in Wonderland, The Baseball Show, Cinderella in New York, Romeo and Juliet (Together and Alive at Last!), Nick Tickle, Fairy Tale Detective, The Princess and the Pauper, Krazy Kamp, Law & Order; Nursery Rhyme, Not-So-Grimm Tales, Parents Just Don't Understand, Wizard of Oz, Midsummer Night's Dream, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Willy Wonka, Charlotte's Web and What Happened After Once Upon a Time.
    All great scripts for Middle school students.  I typically have a cast of 35 plus so I need to add extra fairies or Oompa Loompas, etc...but shows like The Baseball Show and Parents Just Don't Understand were great b/c they are vignette pieces and had a large flexible cast.  Also, it made rehearsals easy b/c I didn't need a lot kids at rehearsal at one time.
    Most of the titles listed I have found on (Eldridge Plays) histage.com, Pioneer Drama, and Dramatic Publishing.  This year we are doing When Bad Things Happen to Good Actors from Your Stage Partners.  Very funny piece.  Best of luck to you!

    Bridget DeVivo
    Director of Drama Program
    Oak Hill Academy, NJ
    Jr. Troupe ​

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    Bridget DeVivo
    Director of Drama Program
    Lincroft NJ
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