Most Popular High School Plays and Musicals of 2020-21 Revealed!

The most produced musicals include The Addams Family, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Theory of Relativity, Little Women and more!

By: Oct. 26, 2021
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Most Popular High School Plays and Musicals of 2020-21 Revealed!

According to Educational Theatre Association's annual high school play survey, The Addams Family, Clue, and Check Please received top billing for the most-produced musical, full-length play, and short play, respectively, during the 2020-2021 school year.

Conducted every year since 1938, EdTA's annual survey of the plays and musicals most frequently produced in America's high schools shows what resonates with teens, their teachers, families, and communities. And in the 2020-2021 school year, COVID-19 and related public health protocols clearly influenced which works were staged.

"This year's play survey reflects the challenges teachers faced early during the pandemic and the varied ways they were able to produce theatre, which largely changed district-to-district," said Matt Curtis, EdTA's content and marketing director. "While some shows popular in recent pre-COVID years still appeared among the top 10 spots, we're seeing small-cast musicals and titles that are easily adaptable for virtual and streaming formats rise in popularity."

In EdTA's recent COVID-19 survey, 53% of member teachers reported that student participation in productions fell by half or more during the 2020-2021 school year. "That's likely a reason for the shift toward smaller productions," Curtis said.

The Addams Family retained its number-one slot for most-produced musical, followed this year by You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Charlie and the gang knocked Mamma Mia! out of its last-year-debut spot all the way out of the top 10.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has placed in the top 10 for 31 years, appeared again at number 4 in the most-produced plays category. While Our Town, which remains a perennial favorite since the dawn of this survey, came in at number 10 in the full-length play category, tying with 5 other titles including Peter and the Starcatcher and Puffs.

Playwrights Don Zolidis and Jonathan Rand continue to dominate the top 10 short plays. Rand's Check Please consistently tops the list and ranked number one again with this survey.

High school theatre adapted to pandemic protocols in 2020. Many schools produced and performed entirely virtual experiences for family, friends, and other theatre lovers in their communities.

Here are the complete top 10 results for each category surveyed:

Most-Produced Musicals 2020-2021

1. The Addams Family - book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (TRW)

2. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz; book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner; additional dialogue by Michael Mayer; additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Concord Theatricals)

3. The Theory of Relativity - music and lyrics by Neil Bartram, book by Brian Hill (MTI)

4. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - conceived by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss, music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin (MTI)

5. Little Women - music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, book by Allan Knee, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott (MTI)

6. Godspell - book by John Michael Tebelak, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, conceived and originally directed by John Michael Tebelak, based on The Gospel According to St. Matthew (MTI)

7. (tie) Disney's High School Musical - book by David Simpatico; songs by Bryan Louiselle, Faye Greenberg, David N. Lawrence, Greg Cham, Matthew Gerrard, Robbie Nevil, Ray Cham, Andrew Seeley, Randy Petersen, Kevin Quinn, Adam Watts, Jamie Houston, and Andy Dodd; music adapted, arranged, and produced by Bryan Louiselle; based on a Disney Channel Original Movie written by Peter Barsocchini (MTI)

7. (tie) Little Shop of Horrors - book by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith (MTI)

9. (tie) Bright Star - music, book, and story by Steve Martin; music, lyrics, and story by Edie Brickell (TRW)

9. (tie) Into the Woods - book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (MTI)

9. (tie) Disney's The Little Mermaid - music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film produced by Howard Ashman and John Musker and written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements (MTI)

Most-Produced Plays 2020-2021

1. Clue - adapted from the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, written by Sandy Rustin, additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price, based on the Paramount Pictures motion picture based on the Hasbro board game Clue (Broadway Licensing)

2. Almost, Maine - by John Cariani (DPS)

3. It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play - based on the story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, adapted by Joe Landry (Playscripts)

4. A Midsummer Night's Dream - by William Shakespeare (public domain)

5. She Kills Monsters - by Qui Nguyen (Concord Theatricals)

6. A Christmas Carol - various authors (various licensing agencies)

7. The Laramie Project - by Moises Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project (DPS)

8. The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

9. Alice in Wonderland - various authors (various licensing agencies)

10. (tie) Our Town - by Thornton Wilder (Concord Theatricals)

10. (tie) Peter and the Starcatcher - a play by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (MTI)

10. (tie) Puffs - by Matt cox (Concord Theatricals)

10. (tie) Radium Girls - by D.W. Gregory (Dramatic Publishing)

10. (tie) Twelfth Night - by William Shakespeare (public domain)

10. (tie) Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play - by Joe Landry (Playscripts)

Most-Produced Short Plays 2020-2021

1. Check Please - by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts)

2. Help Desk: A Stay-at-Home Play - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

3. (tie) 10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine (One-Act): A Stay-at-Home Play - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

3. (tie) The Internet is Distract-Oh Look a Kitten! - by Ian McWethy (Playscripts)

5. Bad Auditions by Bad Actors - by Ian McWethy (Playscripts)

6. The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (One-Act) - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

7. (tie) Game of Tiaras (One-Act) - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

7. (tie) Our Place - by Terry Wayne Gabbard (Dramatic Publishing)

7. (tie) Scenes from a Quarantine - by Lindsay Price (Theatrefolk)

7. (tie) The Audition - by Don Zolidis (Playscripts)

7. (tie) This Is a Test - by Stephen Gregg (Dramatic Publishing)