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To the Drawing Board: 10 Musicals you Should Consider this Fall

By On The Stage

With the autumn season upon us, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas for your upcoming productions. There are a variety of components to consider when planning your theatre program, including the talents of your potential cast, your budget, and your overall bandwidth. But after the nuts and bolts have been contemplated, On The Stage has a few ideas for fall musicals to try.

Beauty and the Beast

Plot: Based on the beloved Disney film and the 18th century fairytale, Beauty and the Beast follows the intelligent bookworm Belle who lives in a provincial French village, where she feels out of place. After her father is imprisoned in a mysterious castle, Belle comes to his rescue, only to be captured instead by the castle’s owner, the Beast. The only way for the Beast to transform back into his human form? To love, and be loved in return.

Themes: Romance, self-acceptance, fantasy/fairytale, inner beauty, family ties

Type: Drama/romance

Perfect for: Large casts, strong female and male leads, talented ensemble for both singing and dancing 

Urinetown

Plot: A water shortage and decades-long drought has led to a government ban on private bathrooms. That’s right – you’ve got to pay to pee, as a major business called the Urine Good Company owns and operates all paid public toilets. What’s worse, if people don’t obey the laws around urination, they’ll be sent to the titular ‘Urinetown.’ Everyman Bobby Strong, however, has had enough of the megalomaniac Caldwell Cladwell (CEO of Urine Good Co.) and stages a revolution. 

Themes: Satirization of the legal system and capitalism, satirization of municipal politics, social irresponsibility, class divides, populism

Type: Satirical comedy 

Perfect for: Large casts, strong male leads, minimal dancing, talented vocalists

The Addams Family

Plot: Following the kooky Addams Family, this musical centers around macabre daughter, Wednesday, as she wades through something truly frightening: her first love. When Wednesday invites her boyfriend, Lucas, and his family over for dinner at the Addams residence, comedy, drama, and hijinks ensue. 

Themes: Young love, family ties, gothic and off-beat humor 

Type: Dark comedy

Perfect for: Medium to large casts, minimal dancing, strong female lead, talented acting ensemble, heavily male ensemble

Once Upon a Mattress

Plot: In a kingdom of the past, King Sextimus has ceded control of the land to his dreadful wife, Queen Aggravian, as a curse has rendered him unable to speak. In an attempt to keep power for herself, Queen Aggravian makes finding a wife for her son, Prince Dauntless, nearly impossible. In fact, she’s decreed that to marry her son, a princess must pass her (incredibly difficult) test. Enter Winnifred the Woebegone, a strong and determined princess who has caught Dauntless’ eye.

Themes: Love and marriage, family versus romance, fairytale/fantasy

Type: Comedy, romance, fairytale 

Perfect for: Large casts, strong female leads, minimal dance numbers

Into the Woods

Plot: Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine come together and take inspiration from the Brothers Grimm for this legendary musical. The show follows a variety of characters, including the Baker and his wife; Cinderella; Jack; a mysterious witch; Little Red; the Wolf; and Rapunzel, among others. A meandering tale of wishes and consequences, Into the Woods sees a variety of iconic fairytale characters come together to save a kingdom. 

Themes: Fantasy, magic, folktales, desire and its consequences

Type: Fantasy drama 

Perfect for: Large casts, talented vocalists, no dancing, strong female leads 

The Pirate Queen

Plot: The musical follows Grace O’Malley, who represents the personification of Ireland. She is the heir to the O’Malley Clan, and although she’s expected to stay at home and become a good wife, she defies her father’s expectations to earn the titular name of the Pirate Queen. When England attacks Ireland, the Pirate Queen steps in to negotiate peace and protect her country. 

Themes: Honor, monarchy, feminism, war, epic romance 

Type: Historical drama 

Perfect for: Small to medium-sized casts, vocally talented casts, strong dancers, strong female leads

Heathers the Musical

Plot: Set at Westerberg High and following senior Veronica Sawyer, Heathers revolves around a powerful but cruel clique – The Heathers. Once Veronica earns her spot in the exclusive crew after helping the girls get out of detention, she realizes that being on top isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Themes: Bullying, cliques, high school peer pressure, suicide, the woes of adolescence 

Type: Dark comedy 

Perfect for: Medium-sized casts, strong female ensemble, high school or older (mature themes), minimal dancing

Hairspray

Plot: Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray follows lead Tracy Turnblad, a student who wants to be on a popular local dancing program, The Corny Collins Show. After learning dance moves from some of the African American students at her school, Tracy earns a spot on the show. But instead of staying in line, Tracy uses her influence to push for racial integration on the show. 

Themes: Civil rights, racism, segregation and integration, body positivity, social justice, romance 

Type: Comedy 

Perfect for: Medium-sized casts, strong dancers, strong female ensembles and leads, diverse casts

Bright Star

Plot: Set in two time periods but following one woman, Bright Star tells the tale of Alice Murphy – both as a young woman in North Carolina and again as a magazine editor, 22 years in the future. As a younger woman, Alice falls in love, but due to overbearing parents, is separated from her partner, Jimmy Ray, as well as the infant son they conceived together. In the future, Alice’s story is woven in with a secondary character named Billy, with whom she shares a connection that is slowly revealed. 

Themes: True love, ambition versus romance, family influence, a mother’s love 

Type: Romance, comedy

Perfect for: Moderately-sized casts, strong female leads, heavy male ensembles

Little Shop of Horrors

Plot: Mixing science fiction, horror and rockin’ 1960s music, Little Shop of Horrors follows Seymour Krelborn, a down-on-his-luck assistant at a floral shop. When he happens upon a strange plant he names Aubrey II (after his shop crush), he soon comes to realize the plant is carnivorous – thirsting for human blood. 

Themes: Romance, tragedy, satire, mature themes, rock music

Type: Dark comedy, satire

Perfect for: Small to medium-sized casts, strong female leads, moderate dancing 

 

If you aren’t sure exactly where to start when picking your season’s titles, On The Stage can help. Presenting a full suite of tools to empower your theatre, OTS can also jumpstart marketing efforts, help increase and streamline ticket sales, assist with streaming options, and even simplify merchandising efforts. Book a personalized demo to get started. Cheers to a successful fall season! 


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Tags: school theatre, production, musical

On The Stage

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