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Musicals that are or aren't appropriate for high schools 
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Whether or not we agree, LOTS of schools put Oklahoma on they're NO list. My high school was one. My director wanted to do it my senior year...we did Music Man. I was Mayor Shinn. :D

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Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:51 pm
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High-baritonne wrote:
The problem with classifying a show as appropriate or not is that US morals differ so much from so many other countries morals that it's almost funny.

We are doing Rent next year without much censoring, we recently did Hair with all the Marihuana and Sex references, and we have no problems with letting two 16-year-old-girls make out centre-stage.

I would say that NO show is inappropriate per se, but many shows are to difficult to be done by High-School students and should only be done by schools specializing in the Performing Arts.

I also think that High School students should never play above mid-twenties, seeing anything above thirties would always be unbelievable. I believe that actors never should try to grow into shoes that they won't be fit for until they have some years under their skin.

A teenager portraying a believable Tony, no problem! A teenager portraying a believable Professor Higgins, no way!

Too me it just seems pointless doing any other shows than those containing teenagers or young adults, like for example Rent.


While I do agree with you to a point, if high schools only did shows that had ONLY characters of teenage/young adult range their choices would be pretty limited. While I do agree a high school doing My Fair Lady is a risky choice because it relies so heavily on Higgins, I see no problem with Oklahoma!, as most of the main characters are young adults and I would say the acting difficulty is on par with West Side Story. Also, American morals ARE extremely different, especially in the midwest. My high school had to cut out pretty much all drug/alcohol references in Bye Bye Birdie, and my director almost cut the infamous "Let's have an orgy!" line (thankfully she didn't). There is no way they could get away with Hair or even Grease (which my director said many times she wouldn't do because of the drug/sex/alcohol references). On the other hand, when my summer theater did Les Mis a couple years ago and left all the swearing and Lovely Ladies intact, but our audiences were pitiful because no one wanted to risk seeing a "depressing" show, although it has been said by many it was the best production in the history of the theater company.

So content is pretty important when it comes to show selection in the more conserative areas of the US. I wish it wasn't, but there are still so many incredibly closed minded people out there, especially when it comes to theater.

FYI: Some of the best high school performances I've seen have come from actors playing older roles, normally because directors take note of their advanced acting skills and leave the ingenue-y and younger roles to the less talented actors (but most of the time, better singers). My friend played both Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie and Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and stole the show with both roles.


Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:52 pm
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My school's done a fair amount of these, lol.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (I'm not starring this because the edited "clean" version isn't cheesy at all and still captures the essence of the show)
Aida
All Shook Up
Cabaret* (this one's debatable...stuff like "Two Ladies" can't go over well for some schools)
Camelot
Chicago* (debatable as well)
A Chorus Line
Company* (come on...high schoolers doing this justice? Can't see it.)
Damn Yankees
Evita
Footloose
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Gypsy
Hair* (HAHA)
Hairspray
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Into the Woods
Jekyll and Hyde
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kiss Me Kate
Les Miserables
Little Shop of Horrors
My Fair Lady
Oklahoma!
Oliver!
Once Upon a Mattress
The Producers*
Ragtime
Rent*
South Pacific
Sweeney Todd* (I'm not sure about this one...my school's done it, but I'm not familiar with the clean version)
Urinetown* (although it seems to be a frontrunner for my school at this point)
West Side Story

Hrm. I'm not confident on any of these choices.

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Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:18 pm
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Going by what Maggie said, Would Sweet Charity be appropriate for HS?
IT has it's pluses, lots of roles for girls, the ensemble has quite a bit of involvement and can be in more numbers if necessary, cheap to produce and a range of featured roles.
BUT Charity's a whore.

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Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:35 pm
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High-baritonne wrote:
The problem with classifying a show as appropriate or not is that US morals differ so much from so many other countries morals that it's almost funny.


I agree!

Apart from believeing a few of them are probably is too difficult, I don't see any reason why most of these shows should be inappropriate. It seems hypertense and bizarre.

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:18 am
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Hans wrote:
High-baritonne wrote:
The problem with classifying a show as appropriate or not is that US morals differ so much from so many other countries morals that it's almost funny.


I agree!

Apart from believeing a few of them are probably is too difficult, I don't see any reason why most of these shows should be inappropriate. It seems hypertense and bizarre.


My thoughts exactly. Are these shows 'inappropriate' because of the content or difficulty? We did Spelling Bee last year and there's nothing really inappropriate about it.

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:12 am
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I am surprised that no one has put Cats on theyre list, Ive seen youtube clips from countless off highschool production (and some even younger) doing this musical.

Another one is Joseph and the amazing technicollor dreamcoat (if I got the title right) that countless off uk kids been involved in, somehow.

And the most obvious on the miss list is the High School Musical series, if high schools cant do a musical that has theyre name in it, who can they do? :wink:

Last I am not sure about but Mamma Mia might be doable to, a lot off great and popular music anyway.

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:14 am
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Last time I checked Mamma Mia! is impossible to get your hans on! We wanted to do it at a professional theatre here in Norway, but were declined the rights due to the owners thinking that we couldn't "afford to make the quality production it deserves to be".

So there is no chance for any High School to get the rights to do Mamma Mia!


Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:45 am
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[quote="High-baritonne"]I would say that NO show is inappropriate per se, but many shows are to difficult to be done by High-School students and should only be done by schools specializing in the Performing Arts.
quote]

Wow. If this were the case, I'd find that really sad. And seeing as I didn't go to a high school that was for the performing arts, I take that as an offense towards schools that can't afford to have a big program. Rather than comparing a high school show to the professional world, it should be considered that high school theater is a place to gain skills and confidence and have fun rather being compared.

That said, I'm not saying a school should do any show it feels like--for example, if you wanted to do Gypsy and you don't have anyone to play Mama Rose, pick another show. But I don't think there should be an automatic, "you can't even consider this show" stance without looking at the deciding factors. But as far as "doing a show justice..." that attitude puts me off slightly.

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:57 am
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But what is more important, the work or the actors? Or the experience the audience gets?

Without an audience theatre can't exist. So, why not produce a good production of Grease or Fame instead of a mediocre production of My Fair Lady or Gypsy.

I don't mean that High Schools should not perform, but they should put on shows which gives the audience something actually worth seeing. Because I would rather see a good High School Production of High School Musical any day before seeing a bad production of Sweeney Todd.


Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:28 pm
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High-baritonne wrote:
But what is more important, the work or the actors? Or the experience the audience gets?

Without an audience theatre can't exist. So, why not produce a good production of Grease or Fame instead of a mediocre production of My Fair Lady or Gypsy.

I don't mean that High Schools should not perform, but they should put on shows which gives the audience something actually worth seeing. Because I would rather see a good High School Production of High School Musical any day before seeing a bad production of Sweeney Todd.


=D> My sentiments exactly. Have you ever seen a horrific version of Sweeney Todd? I left after the first act, even though it's one of my favorite musicals.

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:33 pm
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Here are my thoughts, as a high schooler myself:

Obviously, it would be impossible to live on shows which are just appropriate age group wise. That would eliminate SO many, and that's just not possible. I think the most important criteria in picking high school shows is just giving students the best learning experience possible and picking a show that they will learn from. My camp did "Working" last summer, and though it was obviously too old for us in terms of material (we didn't end up cutting that much, mainly just some language), it really stretched us as a whole-even me, since I was also in the play and thus was only in a few ensemble numbers-and it also really got us to think about the "average" workers of America who we might have never appreciated before. Was it the best production of "Working" ever? No. But it really got us to dig inside of ourselves and to stretch, which is what art is all about. And you know what? Since I watched most of it from the audience, I can say objectively that it was actually a pretty darn good production. It was enjoyable, the energy was there, and most importantly, so was the heart.

That being said, I'm certainly not suggesting the impossible! As High-baritonne said, the AUDIENCE is important too, and having people sit through, I don't know, A Little Night Music (haha, I had to use another Sondheim example!), would really not be fair. Also, the music is very difficult for high schoolers to do-especially most of whom probably have not received much, if any, vocal training-and trying to conquer it would mostly be frustrating. I mean, I definitely think what high school students can handle vocally is very, very important to consider, perhaps above anything. And what if there are five lines of harmony to learn for the girls alone, the sopranos in particular are struggling to sustain high C's and D's? Sure it would be impressive if it was done right, but when it all comes down to it (to quote High-baritonne, yet again) sizing things can be for the better sometimes.

But at the same time, even if you do, say, have a brilliant girl belter who could be a great Eva Peron or Mama Rose, or a bunch of boys who can jazz dance and would make great Sharks and Jets in West Side Story, there needs to be more of a reason in choosing the musical than simply saying, "Oh, wow, our show will be great with her as the lead!" When picking shows, drama teachers need to think of how EVERYone involved will gain a positive experience, not just the leads. In high school especially, that is overlooked, as I believe in high school theatre, putting on a good production is important, and so is the valuable learning experience-not just with the theatre. Not every single person in the cast of a high school musical will ever pursue theatre professionally. But the most important thing in high school theatre in my opinion, yet the thing so often overlooked, is getting students involved in something they might not have before, and teaching them valuable things about community, working hard, and life, through the arts.

Wow, major ramble/rant there! But in short, I don't think I can * any of the list. I'd have to first see what the school in question was capable of. [/b]

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Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:20 pm
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