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April 25, 2012
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I'm having an extremely hard time choosing a show this year. The shows we haven't done are Mulan, School House Rock, Fame, Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka...all Jr. versions. Any feedback on these shows would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
9 answers

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May 17, 2012
HI Connie! Bugsy JR is unique for alot of reasons. It has period historical roots...no better way to get kids interested in that 1929 period of history, as juicy as it was, than to give them age appropriate characters that are SO MUCH FUN. Reason #2, Paul Williams wrote the score...delicious! The 1973 film was such a hit, that The National Youth Music Theater in London performed the stage versionin 1999 and a JR version was released that year. A GREAT show for boys, but if you have the typical droves of girls, they love playing gangsters as much as Tallulah's girls. Great ensemble numbers, and the "splurge gimmik" is as fresh with audiences as it is with middle school kids. This show is a great contrast for many of the others in our collection and worth a look Connie. Trivia of the day? Jodie Foster was in the original film..ha!

May 16, 2012
Has anyone ever done Bugsy Malone Jr? I always need to look for musicals that I can "grow up" some because my actors are middle school and high school. Somehow we manage to do it with great sets, lots of great choreography, and great costuming. I'm wondering if Bugsy fits the bill for next year. Any comments?

May 15, 2012
Have you ever looked at DEAR EDWINA? We did it a couple years ago and although it's not one most people have heard of, it is absolutely adorable!! It also will work with large or small casts.

May 15, 2012
I agree whole-heartedly with Connie. Dear Edwina is a great choice for so many reasons. 1. The writing is clever, the humor is innocent and still current, and people will be singing the music right out the door - very entertaining! 2. The show is episodical whiich allows your cast to be a big as you need - everyone can do their bit - or several bits. 3. Easy and cheap to costume and set. It's about a girl putting on a show in her garage - the kitchier the better! Homemade is perfect!!! 4. The message of this show is so important for young people. Be who you are - that's what makes you great! I LOVE Dear Edwina!

May 7, 2012
We have been doing shows for 15 years now with our middle school--grades 6-8. We try to average about 50-60 kids and we like to have the chorus be in at least 4 numbers. We just did SUESSICAL JR and it was one of the best shows we have ever done. It is hard in that there are about 33 songs with very little dialogue. We also have done AlICE IN WONDERLAND JR, GUYS AND DOLLS JR. FIDDLER JR, WILLY WONKA JR, ANNIE JR, HONK JR, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR, as well as several others. HONK was a great show with a great message. Good luck!!

May 4, 2012
Pam, I also work with 6th-8th graders, and I've done Williy Wonka and School House Rock with them, and they loved both. Willy Wonka is a classic, and has plenty of opportunities to use as many kids as possible. I think we had 40 kids in that one. School House Rock is great, and my kids' parents loved that one, since they grew up on it. Honestly, a lot of my kids were not familiar with the songs. While the show is great, the only downside is that it is written for a small cast. We had 13 in our show, but I know you could do it with more. I've also done Mulan, but with K-8th graders as a summer camp show. It is probably the hardest MTI show I have done, but it is fanatastic and the kids really like it. One thing to keep in mind is that Mulan is a boy heavy show. Mulan dresses up as a man to fight in the army for her father, but I actually had to have my whole army played by girls, because I only had two boys in the summer camp! One boy was double cast as her father and the leader of the Huns and the other was Mulan's love interest. It worked out just fine, but some of the girls were disappointed since there were not many parts written for them. If you've got a hard working group of kids that are up for a challenge, I definitely recommend Mulan. I haven't done Fame or the MTI version of Alice in Wonderland, and I don't really know much about them. Hope that helps!

VIP Answer
May 1, 2012
HI Pamela! Do take another look at Schoolhgouse Rock Live. This show is having a big renaissance with the revival of the TV shows. I have just seen some middle school versions of it that were spectacular...classy, fun and clever. It allows for alot of creativity or a solid show that is very enjoyable without any frills..up to you. One of my SMASH Make a Musical Schools is doing it with HS kids. They are using their own school as scenic backdrop and the kids are having a great time. Mulan is one of the more difficult shows but worth every effort put into it. We just adjudicated a young group do it very simply and it was breathtaking. It is a great one for the size cast you have. Alice has a very Monty Python strand of humor through it and kids love the absurdity and it is fun to stage. Timing and delivery are key for the actors in this show. Willy Wonka is downright fun all over. Do take some perusals and read them "with your eyes only" as you may have simply seen performances that didn't sell you on the stories.You may have an entirely different vision with YOUR kids. The JR Theater Festival in Atlanta every Janurary is a wonderful venue to see all levels of performances of all the shows. (iTheatrics.com) Please feel free to give me a call to chat specifics about any of these shows Pamela! Cindy

April 25, 2012
What is your cast generally like? Big - bigger - biggish? Strictly Middle Schoolers? Or, is the age range a little wider? I have produced Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland - really liked both. Willy Wonka was great for a wider age-range cast. I had K-12 in that group. Alice in Wonderland was super episodical in nature which was great to feature lots of kids - but a tighter age range would be better for that show in my opinion. Say, 4th or 5th-8th would be best in my estimation. I'm planning on producing School House Rock in the near future with about 100 K-6th Graders. This is an awesome one for grade schoolers, because each group or grade can be responsible for a number or two, and then you can put it altogether for the show. I think that Fame would be best suited for a smaller, more mature group of good singer/dancers. Don't know much about Mulan, but I've heard it is a really beautiful show and the music is a bear. Break a leg! Love to hear more about what others think about these.....

April 25, 2012
Thanks for your comments, Christie! We are a middle school....grades 6 through 8, and we generally have a cast of about 55 or 60. I saw Willy Wonka and Alice a few years ago and wasn't real impressed with either one, but it could have been the direction or the particular cast I saw. Just to clarify, are you saying that the music for Mulan is difficult? I really like the script and the music is beautiful. I just haven't seen it done much, and was wondering if there was a reason that directors weren't choosing it. I think School House Rock looks tremendously fun, but may be better suited for an elementary cast. Have fun with it!