elementary musical suggestions

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October 23, 2012
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I am really stressing over choosing my musical this year. I am looking for something appropriate for 3rd-5th grade for up to 40 students. The last two years we have done Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Willy Wonka, Kids. I perused Jungle Book Kids (too easy), Once on this Island Jr. (too hard), Aladdin Kids (a possibility) and the Little Mermaid, Jr. (my favorite so far). People have also suggested Seussical and the Phantom Tollbooth which I don't know anything about. I am blessed with a lot of strong boys this year in 5th grade and I want to find something that features them all. The Little Mermaid seems to have a lot of parts, but looks difficult, especially the part singing. Aladdin Kids looks more doable, but wouldn't feature all my "stars" and might not challenge them enough. Any suggestions or insights are appreciated!
8 Answers

April 10, 2017
I'm surprised you didn't consider Lion King. We're doing it this year with our drama club (grades 4&5), and it's perfect! Best wishes on whatever you choose to perform.

November 6, 2012
We did Seussical Jr. last year and our audiences LOVED IT!! It is a wonderful show full of fantastic possibilities!!

November 6, 2012
Our elementary kids rose to the occasion!

November 5, 2012
I've posted this before, (and will probably do it again), but I think one of the most "overlooked" in the Junior series is "Dear Edwina Junior". I had passed by it many times when perusing for a show, but something made me stop one day (and I am so thankful that I did). Almost vignette based, it provides lots (LOTS) of character roles. Everyone got a chance to appear in several songs/dances. A fun show, some "lessons to be learned", and a hint of a love story. Great fun by everyone involved. http://www.mtishowspace.com/shows/188/dear-edwina-jr Also.. Honk! Jr. was our crossover show (from "Kids" to Junior series). Another funtastic one, with roles for old and young. (Our current groups goes from age 7 to 17). The "lead roles" in Honk!, are certainly "leads". Whereas in Edwina, it felt more like an entire cast of Supporting Actors. The "Lead" roles were only a little bit larger. http://www.mtishowspace.com/shows/189/honk-jr Wish you all the best... and break a leg! (or beak ;o) )

November 3, 2012
What about Aladdin kids compared to Jungle Book kids? I have previously created costumes and sets and props for each. I guess it's between these two at this point. I am SO appreciative of your knowledgeable perspective!!

VIP Answer
October 26, 2012
There are definitely more parts and more music in Aladdin JR. The length of the JR show is about 60-70 minutes and the KIDS version is approximately 30 minutes. Iago sings with Jafar in "Why Me" in the JR version and only has to act in the KIDS version. The Sultan only has to act in the shorter version. Guards and ensemble are the best places to augment cast in both versions. The KIDS version has Junior Djinn (room for many!) which are spirits of the cave and add the mystery to the show. Peruse both Alicia. The length will determine your decision, both can use many kids in the cast.

October 25, 2012
I read someone's post about the differences between Aladdin Kids and Aladdin Jr... Are there more parts and more songs in Aladdin Jr? Could you give me some suggestions for expanding the cast? I am planning on taking a closer look at the Jungle Book as well.

VIP Answer
October 24, 2012
How great that you have a crew of strong boys in grades 3-5! You definitely want to cultivate that and Aladdin Kids is up their alley, funny, fast paced and a good story. The music is challenging enough because of quick tempos and diction, but also familiar. There is a myriad of places to expand this cast and feature more boys and girls. Jungle Book Kids is familiar, but is a hit with casts and audiences. The humor, the timing, the hilarious characters. Does work perfectly with your age group. I agree the OOTI is difficult for this age level and Seussical JR also because they are both musically challenging and "sung through" shows, (mainly music and very little scene work). This also makes them a little more difficult to rehearse. Quite honestly, Little Mermaid JR is in the same category. LOTS of music and more complex and ideally designed for older kids than grade 3-5. HOWEVER, no one knows your kids better than you and what they can perform well and tell the story. Guys and Dolls JR is fantastic and fun for boys Alicia. We just finished the revised showkit on that one, so take a look. It has some challenges, but nothing insurmountable. Happy to compare in depth your final contestants! Sounds like a classic would fit beautifully in your line up!