Broadway Jr. Recommendations?
October 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm #14065
I’m trying to pick out a musical for this year’s spring middle school musical. Last year, I did Annie Jr. from Broadway Jr. It was the first musical my school has done in quite a few years, and it was a huge success! I know that I will have a shortage of boys for this year’s show, so I’m looking for recommendations. I was thinking that Little Mermaid Jr. would be a great choice, but since I’m very new to directing musicals, I thought I would ask to see if anyone could offer some ideas. Thanks for your input!October 22, 2012 at 9:38 am #14075
I’ve never done a middle school musical, so take this for what it’s worth. If you think you will have a shortage of boys, changing that for this year or for the future will not happen by choosing the Little Mermaid. I took a look through the list and thought that Seussical, Bugsy Malone, or HONK! (though I don’t know anything about this one) might be a little more gender-neutral while still having more limited male roles. It’s great that you can build on your success from last year, and hopefully you have more boys interested than you think!October 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm #14128
Pioneer Drama also has a lot of choices for middle school level musicals — http://www.pioneerdrama.com/Musical-All.asp — not maybe the famous name musicals like Broadway Jr. has, but a lot of them are designed to have more flexible casts. You can always change the names of some of the characters, if the plot isn’t dependent on their being male. When I used to do the music direction for our middle school musical, and we did Alice in Wonderland (not Broadway Jr., just a children’s musical), many of the minor characters (Caterpillar, Dormouse, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee/Dum, etc.) were played by girls. We did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory my first year (the director used a straight play version of it, and we added some songs to it to turn it into a musical–probably not kosher w/copyright laws, but I wasn’t in charge.) and we cast Charlie as a girl, even though we had quite a few boys involved (she wasn’t a girl pretending to be a boy; the director just added a a line of to the script to explain that Charlie was short for Charlene or something like that. We just felt that she’d be stronger in the role than any of the younger boys who auditioned would have been–since there were a lot of “grownups” in the play, we didn’t want Charlie to be too big….). The year before I was there, they did a version of the Wizard of Oz and I think they used girls as quite a few of the characters. I am pretty sure that our current middle school teacher frequently changes some of the names of characters in the plays she picks, in case there are more girls than there are female roles. You just need to get creative, change names/pronouns where needed–having a lot of girls involved doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use a “girly” play.
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