After six consecutive years, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has relinquished its place as the top musical in our annual survey of most-produced titles in United States high school theatres, unseated by another adaptation of an animated anti-hero: Shrek the Musical. Returning to the list, and rounding out the top three, is Godspell, which has seen its popularity rise after a recent Broadway revival and subsequent national tour.
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has been trading places at the top of the full-length plays list with John Cariani’s Almost, Maine for the past several years, was once again number one among full-length plays. Not far behind those two comedies were another pair of perennial favorites: Our Town and You Can’t Take It with You, which has been on the top ten list every year since rights were made available to high schools in 1939. This survey reflects production activity during the 2013-14 school year.
The top spot on the list of short plays was shared between the comedies 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview, Ian McWethy’s illustration of academic disasters, and Check Please, Jonathan Rand’s illustration of dating disasters. Rand also managed to secure three other titles in the top ten, a feat matched by Don Zolidis, whose comedies 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse and The Audition tied for third place.
Dramatics magazine and the International Thespian Society have conducted the production survey annually since 1938. The Thespian Society’s approximately 4,500 member schools and, in recent years, selected unaffiliated schools are invited to participate. About 700 responses were received this year.
1. Shrek the Musical by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire (MTI)
2. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Linda Woolverton (MTI)1
3. (tie) Godspell by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak (MTI)
3. (tie) Hairspray by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O’Donnell, and Thomas Meehan (MTI)
3. (tie) Thoroughly Modern Millie by Jeanine Tesori, Dick Scanlan, and Richard Morris (MTI)
6. (tie) Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (MTI)1
6. (tie) Little Shop of Horrors by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (MTI)
8. (tie) Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey (Samuel French)
8. (tie) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (MTI)
8. (tie) The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen, and E.Y. Harburg (Tams-Witmark)
8. (tie) You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown by Clark Gesner (Tams-Witmark)
1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (public domain)
2. Almost, Maine by John Cariani (DPS)
3. Our Town by Thornton Wilder (Samuel French)
4. (tie) Twelve Angry Jurors by Reginald Rose (Dramatic Publishing)2
4. (tie) You Can’t Take It with You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (DPS)
6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (public domain)
7. The Crucible by Arthur Miller (DPS)
8. (tie) Harvey by Mary Chase (DPS)
8. (tie) The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde (public domain)
10. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (Broadway Play Publishing)
1. (tie) 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview by Ian McWethy (Playscripts)
1. (tie) Check Please by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts)
3. (tie) 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)
3. (tie) The Audition by Don Zolidis (Playsripts)
5. (tie) Check Please: Take 2 by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts)
5. (tie) It’s Not You, It’s Me by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)
7. (tie) The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)
7. (tie) How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts)
7. (tie) The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts)
7. (tie) Sure Thing by David Ives (DPS)
7. (tie) Words, Words, Words by David Ives (DPS)
—Compiled by Jhon Marshall
1. Includes productions of MTI Broadway Junior versions of this title.
2. Includes productions under the titles Twelve Angry Men
and Twelve Angry Women