Resources for the Best Youth Theater Productions-The Most Successful Ones, My List

Ursula in Bye Bye Birdie 2014
Ursula in Bye Bye Birdie 2014

As I wait to proof the interior of my book, Bumbling Bea, I have been busy selecting this school year’s musicals.  I co-teach four musical theater classes with students ages fourth through twelfth. Yes, you read that correctly–four.  (Well, actually 6 in total but we won’t talk about that…) What can I say?  It’s the job

We see the students once a week for two hours.  We begin rehearsing in October and generally produce the shows in April and May.  Each year, I remember very little about the months of February through April (Did it snow? Did we have friends visit? Did we see any movies? Visit our family?  Did I exercise at all? You know, that sort of stuff.)

For over thirty years, I have directed youth theater directing over 200  plays and musicals .  Sometimes I can’t remember if I have directed a particular show, performed in it myself or merely read it!  But I do know one thing:  I know what works and what doesn’t most of the time.  I say most of the time, because I am always surprised by a certain production and its success or lack thereof.  So, here is a list of shows that I have directed that I deem “successful”.  I have placed a number by the title  so you know how many times  I have directed them, too!


The Secret Garden  May 2016

Music Theatre International Junior Musicals

The first group are MTI’s junior musicals. If you are seeking a musical for a large cast with varied ages, I suggest these the most to directors who ask for recommendations from me.

  • Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr. (5)
  • Disney’s Lil Mermaid, Jr. (2)
  • Disney’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Jr. (3)
  • Seussical, Jr. (4)
  • Music Man, Jr. (4)
  • Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. (3)
  • Beauty and the Beast –I co-directed this with my daughter because it was such a monster
  • Aladdin, Jr.

Music Theatre International Kids Musicals

The MTI Kids are good, too:

  • Annie, Kids
  • Jungle Book, Kids
  • 101 Dalmations, Kids
  • Aristocats, Kids
  • “Dress As Your Favorite Animal Day” June 2013

Tams Witmark Publishing Company

Another company that has several musicals appropriate for students is Tams Witmark.  They are NOT an easy company to work with and they are just now (after about twenty years of prodding, I’m sure) getting their act together and offering condensed versions of some of their shows typically performed by adults.

  • Oklahoma!
  • Bye Bye Birdie (2)
  • The Wizard of Oz (I must say, I was pleasantly pleased by the newest version that they offer. I had never directed the musical before, mostly because everyone does their version of the movie.  That’s not me.  See my blog on set design concerning this.)

Dramatic Publishing

I also like Dramatic Publishing’s musical version of Charlotte’s Web (2).

As far as plays are concerned….

  • The Giver
  • Miracle Worker (2)
  • Diary of  Anne Frank (2)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (4)
  • It’s a  Howl! (2)
  • Tom Sawyer (2)
  • Anne of Green Gables

So if you are needing advice about a particular production, post a message here and I’ll be sure to reply. Thanks!

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