The play survey
Seussical, the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty romp through children's literature, leapt to the top of the school theatre repertory in its first full year of general release, making its debut on the International Thespian Society's 2004-05 survey of most-produced titles in North American high schools at number one.
Also new on the musicals chart for the last school year was the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which broke into the list at number five. Both titles were first licensed for school productions during 2004.
This year's list of the top ten (actually eleven, because of ties) non-musical full-length plays is filled for the most part with the usual suspects. The top five, in fact, consists of the same five titles as last year's survey, arranged in a slightly different order. The one fresh entry on the full-length chart is The Laramie Project, a documentary theatre piece that takes an unblinking look at the murder of a young gay man and a Wyoming town's response to it.
The big story on the list of most-produced short plays is the popularity of Jonathan Rand, with three plays in the top five. (Rand is, let us just mention here, a Thespian Playworks alumnus, and Hard Candy, the number three short play, is his original 1998 Playworks submission.) Four of the top ten short plays were originally published in Dramatics magazine.
About seven hundred and fifty of the Thespian Society's 3,740 affiliated schools participated in the 2004-05 production survey. While not comprehensive, the survey is the best available index of the most popular plays and musicals in North American high schools.
The top ten musicals
1. Seussical, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (MTI)
2. Grease, by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey (Samuel French)
3. Once Upon a Mattress, by Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Jay Thompson, and Dean Fuller (Rodgers and Hammerstein)
4. Little Shop of Horrors, by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (MTI)
5 (tie). Disney's Beauty and the Beast, by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Linda Woolverton (MTI)
5 (tie). Into the Woods, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (MTI)
5 (tie). Oklahoma!, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (Rodgers and Hammerstein)
8 (tie). Anything Goes, by Cole Porter, Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse (Tams-Witmark)
8 (tie). Bye Bye Birdie, by Charles Strouse, Lee Adams, and Michael Stewart (Tams-Witmark)
8 (tie). The Music Man, by Meredith Willson (MTI)
The top ten full-length plays
1. A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare (PD)
2 (tie). The Crucible, by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)
2 (tie). You Can't Take It with You, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (Dramatists Play Service)
4. Our Town, by Thornton Wilder (Samuel French)
5. Rumors, by Neil Simon (Samuel French)
6. Arsenic and Old Lace, by Joseph Kesselring (Dramatists Play Service)
7 (tie). The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (Dramatists Play Service)
7 (tie). The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde (PD)
9 (tie). Fools, by Neil Simon (Samuel French)
9 (tie). The Laramie Project, by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project (Dramatists Play Service)
9 (tie). Noises Off, by Michael Frayn (Samuel French)
The top ten short plays
1. Check Please, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
2. This Is a Test, by Stephen Gregg (Dramatic Publishing)
3. Hard Candy, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
4. Bang, Bang, You're Dead, by William Mastrosimone (bangbangyouredead.com)
5. The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
6. The Actor's Nightmare, by Christopher Durang (Dramatists Play Service)
7. Sure Thing, by David Ives (Dramatists Play Service)
8 (tie). I Never Saw Another Butterfly, by Celeste Raspanti (Dramatic Publishing)
8 (tie). Impromptu, by Tad Mosel (Dramatists Play Service)
10. S.P.A.R., by Stephen Gregg (Dramatic Publishing)
Compiled by Jhon Marshall