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Small Cast, Big Production: 10 Great Shows for Just a Few Actors

By On The Stage

Whether you're staging your show in a traditional theatre space or producing online for a remote audience, there can be many benefits to working with a smaller cast. From more focused rehearsals to simplified social distancing, reduced production costs to increased character development, here are 10 shows featuring small or flexible cast sizes that can shrink or expand based on your needs.

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A/Version of Events

AVersion_of_EventsCategory: Play

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 1F, 1M 

Other details:75-minute run time. Themes includeGrief, Relationships, Memory, Marriage, Death, Honesty, Mormonism.

Playwright: Matthew Ivan Bennett

Synopsis: A road trip may be just what Hannah and Cooper need to salvage their marriage from the wreckage of a recent tragedy. While Hannah is content to play car games, Cooper is determined to confront the details of the traumatic event that has led them on this journey to reconnect. As they fight through the traffic and the secrets between them, Hannah and Cooper travel in and out of their memories and must both question whether they can trust each other—or themselves. At once humorous and heartbreaking, A Version of Events masterfully explores the choice between truth and peace in a marriage.


All My Distances Are Far

All_My_DistancesCategory: Play

Genre: High School Drama

Cast Size: 4F, 3M

Other details: 1hr 30min run time. Themes include Depression, Therapy, Abuse, Addiction, Bullying, Autism, Catfishing. Presented through a series of monologues.

Playwright/composer/lyricist: Leda Siskind

Synopsis: Over the course of a school year, six inner-city high school students are forced to speak with the new school counselor. Through a series of monologues, we meet a diverse group of students including: Ruby, a foster kid who struggles with sobriety as she ages out of the system; Wade, whose Asperger’s poses a unique problem for him when he develops his first crush; and overweight Marcy, an aspiring poet devastated by a cruel prank. Their struggles challenge the experience of the school counselor, who discusses her work in therapy sessions of her own. Beautifully drawn, funny, and heartbreakingly poignant, All My Distances Are Far turns the audience into a silent confidant as each character struggles to make it to the end of the school year.


Dating: Adults Embracing Failure

Dating_Adults_FailureCategory: Play

Genre: Comedy

Cast Size: 1F, 1M (can switch up characters)

Other details: 1hr run time. Themes include Dating, Relationships, Love, Flirtation, Hope, Regret, Sketch Comedy.

Playwrights: Josh Lanzet & Lindy Voeltner

Synopsis:The same combination of humor and heart that made ​I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change​ a regional hit will have audiences falling head-over-heels for this sketch comedy concoction. In a series of vignettes, eight couples ‘Bumble’ through the frenzied world of dating in search of ‘eHarmony’ and a ‘Match’ that lasts. With all of the pickups and hiccups that come with first impressions and final goodbyes, Dating: Adults Embracing Failure ‘Tinder-ly’ proves that love can conquer even the world’s worst one-liners.


The Ebony Frame

ebony frameCategory: Play

Genre: Horror/Wicked Lit

Cast Size: 3F, 2M

Other details: 42min run time. Themes include Vows, Marriage, Curses, Relationships, Bad Relationships, Love. PG-13. 

Playwright: Susannah Myrvold, adapted from a short story by Edith Nesbit

Synopsis: Henry Devigne is reunited with his lover from a past life, through the dark magic of an enchanted portrait. The only catch is: he has to give up his soul to keep her. He's more than happy to do it, but their satanic wedding doesn't go as planned.




RevCategory: Play

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 3F

Other details: 1hr 45min run time. Themes include Themes: Middle Class, Strength, Family History, Vulnerability, American Women, American Dream. 

Playwright: Rachel Bykowski

Synopsis: Camaro Gibson loves only three things in this life: strawberry glazed donuts, her daddy, and Route 66. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Camaro keeps her daddy’s heart in their family’s repair shop: a 1967 Chevy Camaro engine. Since her daddy passed away five years ago, she has been trying to get that baby to rev and hear its heartbeat one last time before she lets him go.


From Beyond

From BeyondCategory: Play

Genre: Horror/Wicked Lit

Cast Size: 1F, 3M or 2F, 3M

Other details: 45min run time. Themes include Insanity, SciFi, Truth, Reality, Perception. PG-13.

Synopsis:When a great discovery turns deadly, a highly regarded scientist is forced to choose between trusting his eyes or following his brain in order to survive. H.P. Lovecraft’s tale of insanity and science gone awry comes to life in this chilling adaptation.





Friends Like These

friends like theseCategory: Play

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 2F, 3M

Other details: 1hr 30min run time. Themes include School Shootings, Adolescence, Bullying, Angst, Breaking Stereotypes, Outcasts, Nerd Culture.

Playwright: Gregory Crafts

Synopsis: In this honest and poignant look at adolescence, Garrett, an outsider, navigates the tumultuous halls of his school with his best friend Diz, a self-proclaimed freak. They escape the day-to-day tortures of high school in a game-world called Haven, where they slay monsters and save maidens. When Garrett catches the attention of Nicole, a popular cheerleader with an honest heart, it upsets the status quo. Jealousy and betrayal force Garrett to confront past mistakes and question who his real friends are. This gut-wrenching new play unswervingly explores the tragic consequences of bullying that have left us staggering as a nation time and time again. 


The Marvelous Wonderettes

wonderettesCategory: Musical

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 4F (Flexible) 

Other details: 1hr 45min run time. Themes include Friendship, Fun, Nostalgia, High School, Reunion, Jealousy, Adulthood.

Playwright & Creator: Roger Bean

Synopsis: This smash Off-Broadway hit takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School prom, where we meet Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy, and Suzy: four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts! As we learn about their lives and loves, the girls serenade us with classic ‘50s hits including “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid,” and “Lipstick on Your Collar.”  In Act II, the Wonderettes reunite to take the stage and perform at their ten-year reunion. We learn about the highs and lows the girls have experienced in the past decade and are charmed to find that no matter what life throws their way, they will conquer it together. Featuring over 30 classic ’50s and ’60s hits, The Marvelous Wonderettes will keep you smiling in this must-take musical trip down memory lane!

A One-Act Version (Wonderettes '58) of this show is also available! Make it home by curfew in this delightful prom-only version of the smash Off-Broadway hit.


The Value of Moscow

moscowCategory: Play

Genre: Dark Comedy

Cast Size: 3F, 2M 

Other details: 70min run time. Themes include Family, Sibling Rivalry, Broken Dreams, Disappointment.

Playwright: Amy Dellagiarino

Synopsis: Three sisters move back into a New York City apartment together after their lives have taken turns for the worse. Before they can even finish unpacking, their first night together becomes a comedy of Chekhovian proportions. Armed with nothing but a dwindling bottle of vodka, some pizza, and a loaded gun, these siblings must set aside their grievances and work together to save themselves from an ever-escalating series of events.


Red Bull Shorts

red bullCategory: Plays

Genre: Shorts

Cast Size: Varies by play

Other details: 

Playwrights: Various up-and-coming and established playwrights for Red Bull Theater in New York City.

Synopsis: In the hands of great playwrights, the 10-minute play is a highly entertaining dramatic form. 

The Red Bull Theater's Short New Play Festival features short plays of heightened language and classical themes­­—some downright silly, and others powerfully moving—by today’s hottest writers, including commissions by established playwrights such as John Guare, David Ives, Regina Taylor, and Anne Washburn, and winning entries by writers such as Mike Anderson, Sam Lahne, Lynn Rosen, and Jen Silverman.



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On The Stage

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