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80th Annual (2018) High School Play Survey Results Released

2018 Play Survey results infographic

Some communications channels come and go (think MySpace and Vine) but theatre–and the tradition of the high school play–are both alive and well. According to EdTA’s annual high school play survey, Beauty and the BeastAlmost, Maine; and Check Please clinched top billing for most produced musical, full-length play, and short play, respectively, during the 2017-18 school year.

Gregory Bossler, EdTA’s director of publications said the annual survey largely confirmed each category’s recent main contenders, while noting some shifts. Beauty and the Beast upset The Addams Family’s three-year hold atop the musicals list, and Peter and the Starcatcher rose to number three after making its top 10 debut last year on the full-length play list. Meanwhile, Jonathan Rand wrote two of the top three short plays, as Check Please: Take 2 moved up to third, from 10th last year. Bossler adds, “Directors of school theatre programs make choices that reflect a complex balance of their budgets, facilities, talent, and the interests of their communities.”

Communities partake of high school theatre on a regular basis. Last year EdTA expanded its exclusive play survey, now in its 80th consecutive year, to include not only data on which plays were produced in America’s high schools but also on how many people came to see them.  This year nearly 4,000 schools responded to the survey and reported presenting an average of 10 performances each last year, with a total average audience of 1,770. Extrapolating these averages to all schools with a theatre program yields a potential audience of 46.3 million for high school theatre across America, comparable to the combined audiences for Broadway touring companies and regional theatres.

Play Survey Infographic from 2017-2018 survey

John Cariani, the author of Almost, Maine, which has been the most-produced full-length play for four consecutive years, and who is currently in the cast of the Tony Award-winning play The Band’s Visit, will be giving a keynote address at the EdTA National Conference in Denver in September.

National Public Radio compiled seven decades’ worth of survey results into an interactive database, which can be found at This week they will again update the database to include the current results.



  1. Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton), Music Theatre International (MTI)
  2. The Addams Family (Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice), Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW)
  3. The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater, Doug Wright), MTI
  4. Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine), MTI
  5. Cinderella (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Douglas Carter Beane), Rodgers & Hammerstein
  6. Shrek (David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori), MTI
  7. Seussical (Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens), MTI
  8. Little Shop of Horrors (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman), MTI
  9. The Wizard of Oz Tams-Witmark
  10. Annie (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, Thomas Meehan), MTI



  1. Almost, Maine (John Cariani), Dramatists Play Service
  2. Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare), public domain
  3. Peter and the Starcatcher (Wayne Barker, Rick Elice), MTI
  4. Alice in Wonderland (various)
  5. Our Town (Thornton Wilder), Samuel French
  6. 12 Angry Jurors (Reginald Rose), Dramatic Publishing
  7. The Crucible (Arthur Miller), Dramatists Play Service
  8. Arsenic and Old Lace (Joseph Kesselring), Dramatists Play Service
  9. A Christmas Carol (various)
  10. Radium Girls (D.W. Gregory), Dramatic Publishing



  1. Check Please (Jonathan Rand), Playscripts
  2. 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (Don Zolidis), Playscripts
  3. Check Please: Take 2 (Jonathan Rand), Playscripts
  4. This Is a Test (Stephen Gregg), Dramatic Publishing
  5. All in the Timing (David Ives), Dramatists Play Service
  6. The Actor’s Nightmare (Christopher Durang), Dramatists Play Service
  7. The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet (Peter Bloedel), Playscripts
  8. 15 Reasons Not to Be in a Play (Alan Haehnel), Playscripts
  9. Aladdin (various)
  10. A Sure Thing (David Ives), Dramatists Play Service

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