January 16, 2016 by morningcamequickly
You just wrapped up your musical and a student comes up to you and says, “So, what are we doing next year?” This happened at the cast party last year. I smiled and said that I didn’t want to think about it. Well, eventually the time comes and you have to think about it! Let’s face it, this music is going to go through your head every time you wake up at night, so you better pick wisely!
Here are 5 tips that will help you pick the best musical for you and your students.
- Pick something you like! This might sound obvious, but there can be a lot of outside pressure and suggestions offered as you look through things. Some people might like The Wizard of Oz, but I can tell you I will never do it. Ugh. That would be like a year sentence. If the thought of the musical you picked doesn’t make you smile, it isn’t the right choice.
- Cast for the students you have…to a certain extent. Of course you need to see what skill level your students are at and pick appropriately. But, keep your options open. Don’t have every role cast. You need to leave room for the unexpected surprises that show up at your audition door.
- Decide if there is an audience for the show you want to do. Check out what other schools and community theatres are doing in the area. If you do this, you will avoid doing a duplicate of a popular show. You don’t want people to be Hello Dolly’d out! And, think if the show is something the clientele in your school and community will rally behind and be excited about.
- Only ask for thoughts on the musical you want to do from people you trust. I don’t believe this should be a committee decision, but the producer, choreographer, and principal should be able to express an opinion. They know the ins and outs of the school and students too. Respect their opinion.
- Keep it a secret! Don’t let the cat out of the hat before you want to. If that means having scripts sent to your house or whiting out the title on certain paperwork that gets turned in, do it. The element of surprise will keep everyone on their toes and the anticipation will make it fun to let some teasers out.
If you keep these 5 things in you mind you will pick out the right musical for your school and students. It doesn’t matter what age the students are, you need to begin with the end in mind. If you can’t imagine the applause for your students at the end of the show you pick, keep on looking!
I went through these steps to pick out the musical for my students. I teach in a small private school, so students in grades 4-12 can be a part, simply because there aren’t enough high schoolers. Building for the future is part of my plan. The biggest thing I had to keep in mind was student potential. Who did I have that could carry a part, both boys and girls. Even though we are girl strong, if I don’t have good roles for boys, boys will never be a part of the musical scene.
After all was said and done, and consulting with my drama director, choreographer, and principal, we selected Aladdin Jr. It’s the perfect fit because there are a lot of good roles, the music is fantastic (yes, it is already the first thing that goes through my head when I wake up in the middle of the night), and the benefit of having canned music is a plus as the kids need to do the songs the same way every time – and we don’t really have the budget to pay musicians.
Yes, I kept it a secret as best I could. Kids had to visit me at back to school night to find out what it was. That was when I unveiled my bulletin board with all the audition info on it. And so the excitement began!
Here is a freebie checklist to help you select the best musical for your students. Checklist for Selecting a Musical Part 1
If you have another tip you find helps you pick out a musical, be sure to comment below!