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Small cast classic Broadway shows: Need help 
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 4:33 am
Posts: 450
Post Small cast classic Broadway shows: Need help
I'm the artistic director of a new student musical theatre organization I founded at a large US university. I started this organization back in January in order to provide students who weren't in the BFA program opportunities to classic Broadway musicals, which I felt and still feel is a niche not filled by other groups on campus, which mostly do modern, edgy shows that are popular, but not the kind of stuff I'm interested in doing. I acted in two very classic shows (Guys and Dolls and Bye Bye Birdie) in high school and music-directed another (Babes in Arms) for community theatre, and I'm really looking to do something closer to that realm again.

Anyway, we're currently planning our inaugural production (set to go on this spring), and I've run into something of an impasse with our other executive officers. They would really like to do something with a small cast (10-15 people tops), as we already tried to do a larger-cast show and had to cancel because we didn't get enough people to audition. Unfortunately, everything they're proposing so far is really recent stuff that's totally antithetical to the artistic vision I had in mind when I started the organization (so far, we've talked about Reefer Madness and I Love You...Change).

I've tried proposing some shows that were more to my liking (so far including Sweet Charity, Floyd Collins, and Threepenny Opera), but they've all been turned down because either they required too big of a cast or weren't well enough known among the student body. We've got an additional problem that, because of the current legal status of our organization, we can't do anything licensed by MTI in the United States, which rules out a lot of otherwise promising options. I'm really trying to find something we can compromise on, but I'm out of ideas. Here are our constraints:

--Needs to be something that can be done with a cast of 10 or so (15 max). We can consider doubling up roles to make that possible.
--Needs to be something super well-known so that people will come and try out for a first-time organization
--Can't be licensed by MTI. R&H and Tams-Witmark are both OK.

And within those constraints, I would like to find a show that meets the following additional criteria:

--Something with a real "Broadway" feel (preferably pre-1990).
--Something that's not hackneyed from overexposure in the community (e.g. no Godspell or Fantasticks)

Difficulty of music/dance and complexity of staging are not particularly important. We can do challenging stuff if need be, but we need a show that we can all be reasonably happy with. This is threatening to make our organization come apart (we've already had one board member threaten to resign over this), so we really need to find a compromise, but I don't want to give up the ideals I had in mind when I started the organization. We've already got other groups on campus that do the kinds of things my fellow executive officers want to do--I don't want to have come all this way only to turn into something that we already have on campus.

Can anybody help me with this? Any show suggestions that would make everybody happy?

I remember where the spots formerly were. -- Big Jule, Guys and Dolls

Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:01 pm
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