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Play Survey

ITF 2017 Main Stage actors performing Heathers

Top High School Musicals and Plays

As the leading organization for educational theatre — we’re present in roughly 5,000 schools — EdTA member schools set the standard for what’s popular in high school theatre. Since 1938, our annual Play Survey has identified the most-produced musicals and plays on high school stages.  

Over the decades, the Play Survey has both highlighted the enduring popularity of classic works and reflected issues in the wider world. That’s been especially evident during the pandemic, as health protocols affected which productions got staged – and schools drove demand for virtual productions.  

Explore Play Survey results from the most recent school year and beyond. 

Top 10 High School Musicals, 2020-21

Credits: 

  • book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice 
  • music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa  

Licensing: TRW

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Credits:

  • 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 

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

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Credits:

  • music and lyrics by Neil Bartram 
  • book by Brian Hill 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • conceived by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss 
  • music and lyrics by William Finn 
  • book by Rachel Sheinkin 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • music by Jason Howland 
  • lyrics by Mindi Dickstein 
  • book by Allan Knee 
  • based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • book by John Michael Tebelak 
  • music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz 
  • conceived by John Michael Tebelak 
  • based on The Gospel According to St. Matthew 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • 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 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits: 

  • book by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken 
  • lyrics by Howard Ashman 
  • based on the film by Roger Corman 
  • screenplay by Charles Griffith 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits: 

  • music, book, and story by Steve Martin 
  • music, lyrics, and story by Edie Brickell 

Licensing: TRW

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Credits: 

  • book by James Lapine 
  • music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • 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 

Licensing: MTI

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Top 10 High School Full-Length Plays, 2020-21

Credits: 

  • adapted from the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn 
  • written by Sandy Rusti,  
  • additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price 
  • based on the Paramount Pictures motion picture based on the Hasbro board game Clue 

Licensing: Broadway Licensing

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Credits:

  • by John Cariani

Licensing: DPS

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Credits:

  • based on the story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern 
  • adapted by Joe Landry 

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by William Shakespeare

Licensing: public domain

Credits:

  • by Qui Nguyen

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

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Credits:

  • various authors

Licensing: various licensing agencies

Credits:

  • by Moises Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project 

Licensing: DPS

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Credits: 

  • by Don Zolidis

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits: 

  • various authors

Licensing: various licensing agencies

Credits: 

  • by Thornton Wilder

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

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Credits:

  • play by Rick Elice 
  • music by Wayne Barker 
  • based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson 

Licensing: MTI

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Credits:

  • by Matt Cox

Licensing: Concord Theatricals

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Credits:

  • by D.W. Gregory

Licensing: Dramatic Publishing

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Credits:

  • by William Shakespeare

Licensing: public domain

Credits:

  • by Joe Landry

Licensing: Playscrits

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Top 10 High School Short Plays, 2020-21

Credits: 

  • by Jonathan Rand

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Don Zolidis

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Ian McWethy

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Ian McWethy

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Don Zolidis

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Don Zolidis 

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits: 

  • by Terry Wayne Gabbard

Licensing: Dramatic Publishing

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Credits: 

  • by Lindsay Price

Licensing: Theatrefolk

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Credits: 

  • by Don Zolidis

Licensing: Playscripts

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Credits:

  • by Stephen Gregg

Licensing: Dramatic Publishing

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More Play Survey Results

The High School Theatre Market

Based on pre-COVID Play Survey data, high school productions attract roughly the same size audience as Broadway touring companies and regional theatres combined. 

Performances by Respondent Schools
26,534 performances
Average Audience per School
1,806 people
Total Audience for Surveyed Schools
0
Million
Total Estimated School Theatre Audience
0
Million
Total Audience Lost in Spring 2020 to COVID-19 Show Cancellations
0
Million

Decades of Data

Want to dig deeper? NPR analyzed and compiled decades of EdTA’s Play Survey results originally published in Dramatics magazine 

Play Survey News

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