Even if you can believe it, 2022 is halfway over, and a lot of great theatre has been produced along the way. On The Stage has helped numerous community theatres, school programs, and independent producers create showcases this year, and we thought we’d share our customers’ top 10 picks.
Remember, theatre trends come and go, but there is a goldmine of tried-and-true choices that will surely create an uptick in audience engagement and ensure people are in seats for your next showcase. So, before you choose your summer or fall performance, check out the most popular productions on our platform for the year thus far. And don’t forget to partner with us to make the magic happen!
10. Mamma Mia!
A jukebox musical, Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of ABBA – composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. The title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper of the same name.
The story follows Sophie on the eve of her wedding, who is on a quest to discover the true identity of her father, whom she’s never met. After she invites three men from her mother's past back to the island for her nuptials, love, laughter, hijinks and friendship ensue.
9. Disney's Frozen JR.
Perfect for a younger cast, Disney’s Frozen JR. is based on the 2018 Broadway musical Disney’s Frozen, and brings back the beloved characters Elsa and Anna as they navigate the magical world of Arendelle. All songs from the movie are included, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production.
Themes explored include the importance of family, sisterly bonds, and self-acceptance, as the pair faces danger and conquers it together with magic and adventure at every turn.
8. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
A musical comedy perfect for community theatres and school programs, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee centers on a – you guessed it – spelling bee at the fictitious Putnam Valley Middle School.
The cast includes six adolescents as well as three grown-ups running the bee. A common theme throughout is the pressure of living up to expectations – whether your own or your family’s.
7. Seussical JR.
Another show ideal for a younger cast, Seussical JR. dives into the world of the beloved Dr. Seuss. While you’re there, you’ll discover well-known Seuss characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and JoJo.
The group goes on an array of adventures within the musical’s run, and themes include the importance of being yourself, and standing up for what you believe in.
A musical comedy again based on the many children’s stories of Dr. Seuss, Seussical takes the majority of its plot from Horton Hears a Who!, Gertrude McFuzz, and Horton Hatches the Egg, while incorporating a few other stories and characters along the way.
While the show was originally panned by critics after its Broadway debut in 2000, it has developed a passionate following, with two U.S. national tours, a West End production and, of course, plenty of school and regional theatre productions to boot!
5. Into the Woods
Created by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into the Woods intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The many narratives explore the consequences of the characters’ decisions as they navigate through various trials and tribulations.
Familiar characters including Little Red Riding Hood and ensemble, plus Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.
4. Disney's Beauty and the Beast
If you don’t know the story of the Beauty and the Beast, we’re only judging you a little. Based upon the Walt Disney Pictures’ Academy-award winning 1991 animated film of the same name, Beauty and the Beast follows the story of an unkind prince who is turned into a beast as punishment for his ways.
Enter Belle, a kind and intelligent young woman who is imprisoned in his castle. There, the prince must learn to love her, and Belle must love him in return, before time runs out or he will be stuck as a beast forever. Overarching themes include redemption, patience, and self-love and acceptance.
3. The Wizard of Oz
Plenty of inspiration went into creating The Wizard of Oz musical; it is based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the iconic 1939 film with Judy Garland.
When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away to the magical land of Oz. After following the Yellow Brick Road, they encounter new friends and some foes along the way. Heartwarming, silly, and a little chaotic, The Wizard of Oz is a true theatrical classic.
2. Shrek The Musical
Shrek the Musical is based upon The 2001 DreamWorks Animation film Shrek, along with its sequels: Shrek 2, and Shrek Forever After; as well as William Steig’s 1990 book Shrek!
The musical follows protagonist Shrek – an intimidating green ogre who is more than happy to live out his days alone in his swamp. But when a variety of fairy tale creatures are dumped into his swamp against his will, he goes on a journey to confront the land’s ruler, Lord Farquaad. If he wants the creatures gone, he must save one Princess Fiona … with his (not so) trusty sidekick, Donkey. An instant classic that evokes great memories, Shrek the Musical is perfect for casts of all ages.
Aaaaand, drumroll please! On The Stage’s No. 1 musical for the first half of 2022 is …
1. Little Shop of Horrors
On The Stage clients were ultimate fans of one musical: Little Shop of Horrors! A horror comedy rock show, the plot follows an out-of-luck florist who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh.
Loosely based on a 1960 comedy film of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors is part love story, part cautionary tale, but 100% entertaining!
We hope this list has helped inspire you to start planning your next show. If you don’t currently use On The Stage, we’d love to chat! Book a demo with us today to get started.