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Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

  • 1.  Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-06-2021 12:50
    Hello All!
    I'm sure this question has come up a bunch of times, but I was looking for some help as I start to think about next year. As of right now, I will have 4 boys.. total. Any suggestions on Musicals with that little number of male rolls, or that can be gender bent? ANd while I'm here, the same for plays.. I really wanted to do a dramatic piece next year, but I'm not quite sure what I will be able to get together with my limited male students.

    Cori Bott

  • 2.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-07-2021 07:31

    We did Freaky Friday a few years ago - you could pull that off with just a few boys - hopefully a tenor or two, though.

    For a play, you could consider Twelve Angry Jurors.  (You license Twelve Angry Men/Women - and then you are permitted to pull lines from either script based on how you end up casting the roles.)  That gives you flexibility in casting.  We ended up with 7M/ 5 W for our group, but most roles can easily go either way.
    Our men were Juror #s: 1-2-3-5-6-10-12
    Our women were Juror #s: 4-7-8-9-11

    If you want more details about how we combined scripts, please feel free to email me.   We had to be creative so that our stage manager could call cues without flipping between two script books - and I'm happy to share ​the tips that worked for us.

    Melissa Mintzer
    Penn Manor High School

  • 3.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-07-2021 09:02
    We are in a similar boat as we only have two guys that can sing and one that we pull up from the junior high to play minor male roles.

    We are doing Annie this spring because it is mostly a female cast. We are using our two singing guys as Warbucks and Rooster and our junior high guy for Drake the Butler. The other male characters (Bert Healy, FDR, Officer Ward, etc) we are using our female/non-binary students dressed in male costumes.

    A great plays to do is The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis it's a lot of fun and very flexible! It remains my student's favorite show we have ever done. The few guys I had at that time played all the male roles and it made the show better because it is supposed to be crazy and mixed up. Don Zolidis has several plays that are very flexible so I recommend checking them out on

    Another play with a flexible cast that can be mostly female is A Wicked Christmas Carol by Bobby Keniston (also on Playscripts). It is a mash up of A Christmas Carol with  Wizard of Oz characters. We just finished this play and we did it with our three guys and a couple of younger boys for the "kid" parts that I recruited from our Theater Camp fundraiser we did last summer for our K-8 students.

    I'm interested in seeing what others suggest because I think this is a common issue for many school districts!

    Amy Williams
    District Librarian/Theater Teacher
    Thespian Troupe #8881
    Auburn High School
    Auburn, IL

  • 4.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-08-2021 05:42
    Check out 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. We did it with only two boys and the rest all girls. It was so much fun and the kids and audience loved it.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 5.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-07-2021 09:08
    Cori -- for your straight play, how many girls do you need to find roles for? You may want to look at Triangle by Laurie Brooks or The Good Fight by Anne Bertram. I did both with only about four guys each.

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 6.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-07-2021 09:35
    Musicals: Lucky StiffThe Mystery of Edwin Drood (I put some girls in pants roles, and they had so much fun!), 57th Annual Mathlete SUM-itWanda's World, Like You Like It, Sing Down the Moon

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 7.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-08-2021 11:52

    I highly recommend Letters to Sala by Arlene Hutton. We did it with 4 males and a large group of females. A wonderful script with lots of meaty roles. Based on a true story so there's lots of research opportunities for your actors. Arlene Hutton is very available if you have any questions about the play. And the book that it's based on, Sala's Gift, by Ann Kirschner, is easily accessible.  Working in this was one of the best experiences that my students had. I would do this play again in a heartbeat.

  • 8.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-07-2021 10:32
    For musicals- what about Sesussical?  Horton and Mr Mayor could be male but the rest can be gender fluid.  Little Women?

    Plays- Radium Girls, What I Did Last Summer, A Voice of My Own (all female cast)

    Christina Myatt
    Director of Theatre
    Pleasant Valley High School

  • 9.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-08-2021 14:19

    My group just did the 57th National Mathlete Sum-it Large cast version, all of my group loved it! Each lead has an amazing opportunity to showcase their skills! The show is filled with a wonderful message and some great humor, including a " Freaks and Geeks" reference. Each of my leads were crying at the end of the show because of how much fun they had and how much the show meant to them. The songs are catchy and fun, "In Defense of Math" may be the only song about math that can make you cry if done correctly, the last show my 5 mathletes were all fighting back tears during the song! Can't recommend this show enough, small or large cast!

    Bruce Udell
    St. Mary Cathedral Players
    Troupe 1283

    Bruce Udell
    St. Mary Cathedral School

  • 10.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-09-2021 08:59
    Hello! A Simpler Time from Playscripts has a lot of flexibility, and you have the freedom to skip sections. You could select the parts that are best for your group. It is a full-length play made up of what are essentially one-acts woven together by time travelers. I did it with 4-12 graders, and they all loved it! I was able to cast students of similar ages together in different sections and rehearse groups individually, too.

    Laura Butchy
    BASIS Independent McLean

  • 11.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-10-2021 08:33
    Hi there!  This is always an issue for me -- in the past I've had 3-5 boys in a good year, and right now I have ZERO for straight theater.  Luckily for straight plays you can have a lot of fun with gender bending, and it's less of an issue, since you don't need to worry about actors being able to sing TB parts.  

    We just did Little Women, which went really well even with no cisgendered boys -- and there are a lot of versions out there, which helped me pick the one that was right for my group.  (We did Marisha Chamberlain's.)  In a past year with just 3-4 strong boys we did Radium Girls -- there are a few strong male parts, and the casting is fully flexible; it's designed for most actors to play multiple roles.  The same was true for Kate Hamill's Sense and Sensibility -- 3 male actors and a little gender bending took care of it.  Sherlock Holmes is fun to gender bend.  Anything Shakespeare is bendable, including changing the gender of the character, which can lead to some fun new interpretations.  

    Good luck -- I'm following this thread too for ideas!   

  • 12.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-10-2021 08:05
    Dear Edwina is a fun musical, and you really only need one boy who can sing. My kids LOVED it.
    The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza by Don Zolidis can be cast mostly gender neutrally and is a really fun show to do.

    Dianne Rowe
    Theatre Arts Teacher
    Junior Thespian Troupe 88177
    Berry Middle School
    Birmingham, AL

  • 13.  RE: Musicals/Plays with Limited Boys

    Posted 12-10-2021 09:25
    For your drama next year, various versions of Antigone and Medea would work. My favorite Antigone version is Too Much Memory, but it has some language that might be problematic for some groups. For Medea, playcscripts has  a good version by Nelly Cuellar-Garcia. It's shorter, though - maybe 45 minutes. Women of Lockerbie could work, though it has only 2 male roles. Wit could also work if you have a very strong female actor.

    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA

    Theater kills ignorance