August 21, 2006

Christian High School Play ideas (Safe but not Shallow)

Shows that work for High School (even some Christian High Schools)

I’ve decided to make a sort of clearinghouse of ideas for plays for high schoolers. This is the hardest part of my job. Finding shows that work for my small talent pool and my conservative audiences. My goal is to have this be a place where we can share shows that are “Safe but not Shallow.”

I strongly prefer works of actually literature, not overly cutesy or overly churchy stuff. But I recognize that too much profanity or certain subjects will alienate my audiences.

Please give ideas in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. If you know cast size, quick comments on how elaborate the set is, and a mention of “hot buttons” that may make your show inappropriate for someone else’s theatre mention them.

If you just want to list shows you’ve done or seen done that worked, let me know.

The List

All My Sons - Arthur Miller
5M, 4W, 1m (8-11 yrs old ) Some mild profanity (GD’s, D’s and H’s), a suicide. Very powerful drama about truthfulness.

Harvey -
Mary Chase

6M, 4W one or two very mild profanities – hysterical and meaningful comedy.

Dial M For Murder -
Fredrick Knott
4M, 1W (one extra M) – no profanity, but a murder is attempted on stage and someone dies in the attempt, the bad guy “gets it” in the end

The Foreigner
- Larry Shue
5M, 2W – The funniest play ever made.
A few very mild profanities, one female is pregnant before being married (she and others recognize its not the “best” situation).

Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand
many M (12-15), 5-7 W – A great show with a huge cast. The themes are PERFECT for high school or even Jr. High, Language is clean, but may be over some audiences’/casts’ heads.

Judgment at Nuremberg -
Aimee Mann
15 M, 3W – Super powerful courtroom drama about the trials of Nazi War Criminals. No profanity, but discussion of holocaust issues (and footage of it if you choose to show it).

Others with further descriptions coming:
God’s Favorite – Neil Simon
Steel Magnolias – Robert Harling
Cyrano de Bergerac – Edmond Rostand
The Last Nights at Ballyhoo
Antigone – Jean Anouhl
Afternoon of the Elves
Anne of Green Gables
Welcome to Justice – Dan Buck (write me) J
Talley’s Folley
Arsenic & Old Lace
Fools – Neil Simon
The Nerd – Larry Shue
The Diviners
Our Country’s Good
Beau Jest


Jennifer Schuchmann said...

Dan -

Jennifer Schuchmann here. We met briefly at Art Within last year. I have been writing and directing musicals for my son's school for the past seven years. The past three years I've hired Sean Gaffney to write the scripts which include original music.

While they are written for a small main cast of high school actors with limited sets and lighting, we include an unlimited number of students in the chorus.

The scripts (while not "Christian" per se) are really clean as our school goes from K-12 and the younger ones participate in the show so it has to be appropriate for their age group.

Even so, we still include some meaty issues for the students to deal with.

If you're interested in knowing more about these, email Sean or I.

~Jennifer Schuchmann

Steven Broyles said...

Hey, Dan. i would add these plays to your HS list.

12 Angry Jurors 13 m/f. The play was re-written so you can cast it according to your available genders. Awesome flexibility. Issues of prejudice/justice/mercy are still relevant.

Mayfair Affair 5m/5f. Hilarious play by Joseph Frost. A crowd pleaser and fun for the whole cast.