Providing space for your students to perform benefits them in multiple ways. Performance art takes discipline, patience, and confidence. Because of this, children who are active in musical theatre often become highly adaptable quick thinkers. Children who sing, dance, and act are actually four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement when compared to their non-performing friends. Knowing this, studio directors are always searching for the best musicals for kids to perform. From movie musicals for kids to Broadway classics, this post covers 12 of your best options.
How to Choose the Right Musicals for Kids to Perform
When you’re searching for musicals for kids to perform, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. After all, a children’s show is much different than what you’ll find at a high school or on a community theatre stage.
First, consider the length of a show. A full-length musical usually clocks in at about three hours or more! This is much too long for kids. The best musicals for kids to perform last anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour. As you browse, take note of this key difference: shows labeled with “Jr.” are usually one hour, while shows labeled with “kids” are about 30 minutes.
Further, it’s important to find productions that showcase students of all ages and abilities with plenty of roles. Rather than having a couple of large lead roles, look for shows with a lot of small roles that give everyone a chance to shine. Large chorus numbers with opportunities for fun choreography and props also make for a big hit!
The Best Broadway Musicals for Kids
When you’re searching for musicals, there is no better place to start than Broadway! Fortunately, many of the classics have been adapted for younger actors. From shorter run times to simplified lines, these Broadway musicals for kids provide a strong musical theatre foundation.
1. Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man Jr.
The Music Man is a classic musical that shaped the early days of Broadway. Introducing students to this classic is important, especially for those who plan to pursue musical theatre for years to come. This toe-tapping favorite provides warmth, old-fashioned romance, and a touch of comedy!
2. Seussical Jr.
Join the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and all of your Dr. Seuss favorites for a musical full of fun and mischief. With plenty of Whos and creatures in the Jungle of Nool, there’s a role for everyone in this show. Plus, it’s arguably the most creative and colorful costume opportunity among all of the musicals for kids to perform.
3. Hairspray Jr.
You can’t stop the beat! Boasting 30 different roles, Hairspray Jr. is an opportunity to showcase your students in a big way. In addition to contagious tunes and hilarious lines, your students and their families will appreciate the positive underlying message as Tracy Turnblad brings her wildest dreams to life.
4. Annie Jr.
With classic tunes like “It’s The Hard Knock Life,” your students will love diving into this musical favorite. There are plenty of lines for everyone due to the orphan scenes, as well as opportunities to hone their budding acting skills.
5. The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a perfect choice for directors juggling various ages in one cast. The von Trapp children range in age between 5 and 16, making it a great option. Because of its beloved songs, this musical will have parents and grandparents singing along with a smile.
The Best Movie Musicals for Kids
Kids love watching movies and often become deeply attached to their favorite characters and story lines. This familiarity is why movie musicals for kids are a popular choice! Our list includes a few modern favorites, as well as traditional classics.
6. Disney’s Moana Jr.
Follow Moana as she sets sail to save her village and learn more about her heritage. The modern-day Disney favorite has captured the hearts of families everywhere, which makes it a great musical adaptation. With famous songs like “How Far I’ll Go,” your audience and students will love every moment of this empowering musical.
7. Disney’s Aladdin Jr.
Let your students discover “a whole new world” with Aladdin, Jasmine, and everyone’s favorite Genie. Between catchy songs and flashy costumes, your cast will embark on a journey they’re sure to remember!
8. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins Jr.
Everyone’s favorite nanny takes the stage in this “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” adventure. But beyond the main character, there are 25 roles up for grabs that will help your students showcase their song and dance skills.
9. DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.
Based on the hit animated movie, your students will “Move It, Move It!” as a bunch of wild animals. From Alex the Lion to Melman the Giraffe, and all of the penguins in between, there are 26 captivating roles. Follow the animals on an adventure as they break free from the zoo to explore the outside world!
10. Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr.
This book turned movie is now delighting audiences as a musical. The quirky storyline of a boy riding across the ocean on a giant peach presents endless opportunities for creativity. From costumes to puppets, don’t be afraid to think outside the box for the 30 roles that are available!
The Best Christmas Musicals for Kids
The most wonderful time of the year calls for a special showcase. Parents, friends, and loved ones will enjoy seeing their kids all decked out for the holidays. Here are two Christmas musicals for kids that are sure to be a hit!
11. Elf The Musical Jr.
While it may be a modern-day movie, Elf has become an instant Christmas classic. Join Buddy the Elf as he embarks on a memorable journey to New York City in search of his father. With hilarious one-liners and large chorus numbers, it’s no wonder this Christmas musical is an annual tradition for many studios.
12. A Christmas Carol
Looking for a more traditional Christmas show? This Dickens classic tale has everything you could want! Combine a little Christmas cheer with the suspense of Scrooge’s story line to pull off a musical that is sure to delight your audience.
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