Ranking the top high school plays and musicals

Almost, Maine and The Addams Family are at the top of the list of most-produced plays and musicals in U.S. high schools, according to a survey by Dramatics magazine. Almost, Maine, a series of short plays by John Cariani, has topped the list of plays for the last five years, while The Addams Family, a musical based on the comic and television characters created by Charles Addams, has been in the top 10 for the last decade.

In its story about this year’s ranking, NPR also includes lists of the most popular high school plays, going back to the 1940s, when You Can’t Take It With You was the top play, a position it shared with Our Town across multiple decades. It remains a high school favorite, ranking as the sixth most produced play in the 2010s.

The list of musicals begins in the 1960s, with Oklahoma! at the top of the list. It remained in the top six through the 1990s. Other top-ranked musicals include Bye Bye Birdie (1980s, 1990s), Guys and Dolls (2000s), and Beauty and the Beast (2010s).

The NPR story allows readers to view how top plays have ranked over time. The popularity of new works is typically linked to licensing, with new plays and musicals appearing on the list soon after amateur rights become available.

Source: Nadworthy, E. (2019, July 31). The most popular high school plays and musicals. NPR Ed.

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