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The Ultimate Musical Guide for Back-to-School Planning

It’s here: The Ultimate Musical Guide for Back-to-School Planning! Discover Broadway hits, familiar favorites, and hidden gems that will fit your needs. 

You can find everything you’re looking for here:

Large Cast 

Looking for the perfect musical that gives more performers opportunities to be on stage? These shows fit the bill! With large ensembles, numerous leading roles, and expansive casting options, here are our recommendations for your next great Large Cast production. 

A Bronx Tale, The Musical (High School Edition)Bold gold letters on a green wood background reads A Bronx Tale, Broadway's New Hit Musical. High School Edition is stamped in white next to the title.. 

Book by Chazz Palminteri, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater 

Based on the critically acclaimed play that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical will take you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s—where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Featuring a book by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award® winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award® nominee Glenn Slater, A Bronx Tale is a story about respect, loyalty, love, and above all else: family. 

Casting: 2W, 5M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: This large-scale musical will transform your theater into the streets of New York. With strong male leads, show-stopping numbers, and an Italian-American/African-American cast, showcase your strongest singers and dancers in this wildly entertaining show. 

Book and Lyrics by Jahnna Beecham, Music and Lyrics by Malcolm Hillgartner, Based on the Play by Barbara Robinson 

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world–so when they crash Sunday school and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, the whole town panics. There’s not supposed to be biting or cigar-smoking in Bethlehem, and while these kids have never even heard the Christmas story, they definitely have rewrites! Soon everyone is calling for reluctant director Grace Bradley to cancel the whole thing. It’s up to the Bradleys and the Reverend to help their community see the Christmas story and the Herdman kids through new eyes in this buoyant musical adaptation of the funny and touching holiday classic. 

Casting: 10W, 9M 

Why you should do it at your school: One of our most produced holiday shows, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical is a whirlwind of holiday spirit and cynicism.  Let the hijinks ensue with these chaotic kids! 

By Matthew Webster and Taylor Ferrera, Musical Arrangements and Orchestrations by David Austin and David Abbinanti 

After the death of their father, two sisters, Claudia and DJ Stratford, return home to deal with their inheritance: a massive and beloved county fair in rural Georgia. Thinking that this could be the cash windfall that they desperately seek, the sisters plan to sell off the fair land to the highest bidder, then high tail it back to civilization. But when Claudia starts to fall in love with the fair, the townsfolk, and an over-apologetic board member, her heart leads her away from her sister and down a path she’s unprepared for. Needing the money to pay off a large, secret gambling debt, DJ must do whatever it takes to sell the fair – even if that means sabotaging her sister’s new romantic relationship. Betrayals, imposters, and mistaken identity lead to sister battling sister in a winner-take-all Messina County Dixie Derby competition to save the fair. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and full of all your favorite country hits like “Chicken Fried,” “Hey Good Lookin’,” “The House That Built Me,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and so many others, County Fair is a new musical comedy about sisters, community, and being proud of where you come from. 

Casting: 6W, 5M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Get your dancing boots ready! This feel-good hoedown is sure to have you tapping your toes and singing along! County Fair’s large cast, classic story, and recognizable song list will appeal to the country music fan in all of us. 

By Jeremy Desmon 

Cyrano is king of the local Burger Shack, but he can’t seem to win the love of his best friend, Roxanne. When Roxanne confesses her crush on the new burger-flipper, Christian, Cyrano decides that playing Cupid is better than sitting out of the game. An updated, modern-day version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, this rollicking musical features hit contemporary pop songs that will have audiences cheering. 

Casting: 12W, 7M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Cyrano is perfect for an ensemble of all skills and experience levels. With songs that are familiar to everyone and a story that has lived on for centuries, this is a great first musical for those looking to start performing. 

By Eric Price 

Emma, a senior at Highbury Prep, is certain she knows what’s best for her classmates’ love lives, and is determined to find the perfect boyfriend for shy sophomore Harriet by the end of the school year. But will Emma’s relentless matchmaking get in the way of finding her own happiness? Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, this sparkling new musical features the hit songs of legendary girl groups and iconic female singers from The Supremes to Katy Perry. Girl power has never sounded so good! 

Casting: 9W, 5M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: A high-energy production with a twist on a classic romance, familiar pop soundtrack, and large ensemble opportunities, great for a strong leading woman. No wonder this is one of our most produced shows!  

Book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett 

Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville is a musical comedy featuring the most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” and many more. With a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl, Raising Hope) and Emmy nominee Mike O’Malley (Survivor’s Remorse, Shameless), this hilarious, heartwarming musical is the party you’ve been waiting for! 

Casting: 3W, 3M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: The high school edition of this musical party that debuted at ITF 2022 will be available Fall 2022. This version turns the heat down a few notches with language adjustments and PG-13 references omitted. Don’t fret, this show is still sure to bring out the inner Parrothead in everyone! 

Book, Music, and Lyrics by PigPen Theatre Co. 

The Old Man has kept his post as the sole caretaker of the moon for as long as he (or his wife, the Old Woman) can remember. When she is drawn away by a mysterious melody sparking memories of their shared past, the Old Man must decide between duty (and routine) and love (and adventure). Luckily for audiences everywhere, he chooses the latter, and what follows is an imaginative sea-faring epic, encompassing apocalyptic storms, civil wars, leviathans of the deep, and cantankerous ghosts, as well as the fiercest obstacle of all: change. 

Casting: Unlimited 

Why you should do it at your school: This large cast version of PigPen Theatre Co.’s fantastical show is one of the rare musicals that is built for an unlimited cast. Think the unlimited magic you can create! 

Based on the Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn, Adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks, North American version written by Sean Cercone & David Abbinanti, Featuring songs by The Bee Gees 

In this beloved ’70s throwback, Tony Manero, a nineteen-year-old Brooklynite paint store clerk, spends his weekends at a local disco, where he moonlights as the king of the dance floor. When he and mesmerizing dancer Stephanie enter a dance competition, the pair’s professional partnership blossoms into a deep friendship, and challenges both to reflect on what’s important in life amidst rising social tensions and disillusionment. Featuring the timeless hits of the Bee Gees, classic disco tracks, and new original songs, this reimagined version of Saturday Night Fever transports you back to the era of disco balls, platform boots, and white suits. Burn, baby, burn! 

Casting: 6W, 7M, 1 Any, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Ever wanted to turn your theater into a disco? Now’s your chance! This stage adaptation of the iconic movie is nonstop fun for dance lovers.  

Minimal Set 

Don’t worry about breaking your budget on the set, these musicals allow for scenic flexibility! Let the compelling narratives and catchy songs draw your audience into the story. 

Songs by The Go-Go’s, Based on The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney, Conceived and Original Book by Jeff Whitty, Adapted by James Magruder  

Head Over Heels is the bold new musical comedy from the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening. This laugh-out-loud love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980’s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, including the hit songs, “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.” A hilarious, exuberant celebration of love, Head Over Heels follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction—only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts. 

Why you should do it at your school: One of the most popular musicals in recent Broadway history, Head Over Heels is a rollicking adventure with some of the catchiest pop hits of the 80s. It also calls to have “attention paid to the full spectrum of gender identification” when casting specific roles. 

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino, Developed with Fiely Matias 

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. The original storybook heroines are none-too-happy with the way they’ve been portrayed in today’s pop culture so they’ve tossed their tiaras and have come to life to set the record straight. Forget the princesses you think you know – these royal renegades are here to comically belt out the truth. 

Casting: 6-10W, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Luckily, these princesses are iconic enough to set the scene, no scenic elements required! With these electric leading ladies, you’re in for a hilarious night of girl power. 

Developed for the stage by Stageworks Productions and Annerin Productions 

A celebration of the music of The Beatles, Let It Be is a story set during the civil unrest of the 1960’s. It follows the journey of two families, long-time next door neighbors, the Martins and the Joneses. Bill Martin is at odds with his three daughters as they grieve the passing of their wife/mother and learn how to be a new family unit: Loretta rebels, Rita begins a romance with the Jones’ son Jude, and Lucy has completely stopped speaking. When Jude is drafted, the Jones family is torn apart and struggles in the wake of his loss. As the two fractured families lean on each other more and more, in the end, they begin to find peace and rediscover love. Let It Be features such iconic songs as, “Hey Jude,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Help!,” “Yesterday,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Twist and Shout,” and many more! 

Casting: 6W, 4M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: This new musical is perfect for The Beatles fans who are still anxiously awaiting the stage adaptation of Across the Universe. The Beatles’ music lives on because it transports us to the 1960’s with its sound, message, and cultural impact.  

Book by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek, Music and Lyrics by Barbara Damashek 

Ostensibly the story of a pioneer woman and her six daughters, Quilters blends a series of interrelated scenes into a rich mosaic which captures the sweep and beauty, the terror and joy, the harsh challenge and abiding rewards of frontier life. Illuminating stories contained in various patches or “blocks” with music, dance and drama, the action depicts the lot of women on the frontier: girlhood, marriage, childbirth, spinsterhood, twisters, fire, illness and death. But, with this, there is also love, warmth, rich and lively humor and the moving spectacle of simple human dignity and steadfastness in the face of adversity. In the end, when the various patches are assembled into one glorious, brilliantly colorful quilt, the effect is both breathtaking and magical—and a theatrical masterstroke which will linger in the mind and memory long after the house lights have dimmed. 

Casting: 7W, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Quilters is a female-led collage of stories about family, growing up, and overcoming obstacles. With a flowing narrative and rapidly changing settings, a minimal set allows for imaginative solutions to tell this heartwarming story. 

Conceived by Jack Viertel 

Welcome back to that electrifying time when Harlem’s Cotton Club was the place to be. Winner of the 2014 Tony®, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Astaire Awards for Best Choreography, After Midnight is the smash-hit musical that celebrates Duke Ellington’s years at the famed club. Combining the big-band songs of Duke Ellington, Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and Harold Arlen, this musical revue is framed by the poetry of Langston Hughes. 

Casting: 5W, 5M, Ensemble 

Why you should do it at your school: Bringing the key figures of the Harlem Renaissance to life requires exquisite performers but minimal set. A jazz-fueled history lesson in the soul and art that flourished in the African American community of New York in the 1920s. 

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