The “Choosing Your High School’s Musical” series is a series of blog posts designed to introduce you to shows that we know are fantastic in a high school setting. Of course, it’s up to you to determine if the shows are best-suited to your community, so make sure to order a perusal copy of the script to read before making your selection. The following shows are some of MTI’s Golden Era Musicals or Period Pieces that have proven time and time again to foster wonderful memories and delight audiences!
Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, and featuring a sparkling score by Stephen Schwartz, GODSPELL boasts a string of well-loved songs, including the international hit, “Day By Day.” The parables of Jesus Christ come humanly and thoughtfully to life as the cast performs “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All For The Best,” “All Good Gifts,” “Turn Back, O Man” and “By My Side,” .
GODSPELL is very undemanding in terms of costumes and sets, making it a great choice for a low budget. Additionally, the show is not dance heavy, but instead, draws from various theatrical traditions, such as clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics and vaudeville. GODSPELL is a groundbreaking and unique reflection on the life of Jesus, with a message of kindness, tolerance and love that is sure to be meaningful to any high school community.
SHE LOVES ME
SHE LOVES ME showcases a small but strong ensemble cast playing a range of vivid, memorable characters of all ages. Georg and Amalia are two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930′s who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, little knowing their respective correspondents are none other than each other. Based on the Hungarian play Parfumerie, this show is one of many adaptations (including the movies The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summertime, and You’ve Got Mail) of this classic story. Dance is minimal, while clever, often comical character-driven songs drive the show. An ideal Christmas or Valentine’s Day piece, this heart-warming score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) and book by Joe Masteroff is as much a pleasure to perform as it is to watch!
SHE LOVES ME is a true ensemble piece, requiring each member of the cast to bring their talents to the table. Sure to delight audiences of all ages, SHE LOVES ME is a captivating show whose story will be familiar to many. Community involvement will abound in period costume design and set building. Any high school would have a blast performing it.
Based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers, WORKING paints a vivid portrait of the men and women the world so often takes for granted: the schoolteacher, the parking lot attendant, the waitress, the millworker, the mason, the trucker, the fireman, the housewife, just to name a few. It’s a highly original look at the American landscape that’s simply impossible to forget. With extremely modest set and orchestra requirements, universal subject matter, and featuring a multi-ethnic ensemble cast of variable size, WORKING is one of the most accessible, relevant and substantive musicals ever created. The show is a collaborative effort stemming all the way down to the creators, consisting of Stephen Schwartz, Nina Faso, Micki Grant, Craig Carnelia, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead and James Taylor.
Given the current economic climate, WORKING is an incredibly meaningful and relevant piece to perform. High School students on the verge of college and careers, as well as any working adults who sees the show, will feel a strong sense of ownership of this musical. Portraying the lives of actual office workers, truck drivers, housewives, waitresses, and many others, WORKING performers an opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes in a highly personal way. Audience members and performers alike will leave this musical with a new found and profound respect towards careers and society.
- Look at Part I and Part II of MTI ShowSpace’s video regarding the 2010 International Thespian Festival production.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
“Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!” This hilarious farce from Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart is a fast-paced, witty escape from life’s troubles. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM takes comedy all the way back to its ancient roots, using situations from the 2000 year old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus, and throwing in some classic vaudeville humor. The result is a non-stop laugh-fest in which a clever slave named Pseudolus struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan (Philia) for his young master (Hero), in exchange for freedom.
Though an excellent ensemble piece that will showcase a cast filled with talented men. The show is not dance-heavy, but there are more advanced dance opportunities for some of the female cast members. This show also ties in well with any History or Literature curriculum at your High School, providing the community with an opportunity to study Roman theatre and playwrights, as well as ancient Roman culture. Combine all of that with the exciting options for costume and set design, and you have found a musical that is sure to be a rip-roaring good time for everyone involved!
- Here’s a preview from Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2011 production. Click here to watch the video!
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
1920′s Hollywood is the setting for this zany, light-hearted romantic comedy about the early days of sound film, when many a movie studio found itself scrambling to salvage the career of its chipmunk-voiced silent picture star. Based on their original screenplay, Broadway legends Betty Comden and Adolph Green have meticulously adapted this Musical Theatre Masterpiece. Neither scene nor song nor dance remains unaccounted for. The showstopping title number, and other classics like “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “Good Morning” remain vibrantly intact! Comical situations, fast-paced dialogue, and a hit-parade of Hollywood standards make SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN the perfect entertainment for any fan of the golden age of movie musicals.
This musical is a guaranteed blockbuster and would be a fantastic choice for any high school with a big budget (for extensive period costumes and sets), large cast, excellent dancers and comedians, and a few extremely talented male performers. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is sure to be hailed as a monumental production at your high school for years to come. Mix the history of “talkies” and Hollywood into the curriculum, and students and teachers alike will be enthralled with this musical both in and out of the classroom!
- Check out these video clips from Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production!
GUYS AND DOLLS
Based on author and journalist Damon Runyon’s fictional New York City gangster tales, this romantic comedy – considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy – overflows with the spirit of Broadway. GUYS AND DOLLS contains a cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the musical theatre canon: Sarah Brown, the upright and uptight “mission doll,”; Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler who woos her on a bet and winds up falling in love; Adelaide, the chronically ill nightclub performer whose condition is caused by her 14-year marriage engagement; and Nathan Detroit, her devoted but distracted fiance, ever desperate to find a spot for his infamous floating crap game.
GUYS AND DOLLS is the pinnacle of musical comedy, and is a must-do for any high school. With the ability to accommodate a large cast, this show provides countless opportunities for moments in the spotlight. GUYS AND DOLLS is the ultimate showcase piece for a well-rounded cast. Catchy Frank Loesser songs like “If I Were A Bell”, “Luck Be A Lady”, and “Guys and Dolls” will ring through the air the entire rehearsal process and beyond.