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October 15, 2021

Plays & Musicals for Spooky Season


A chill runs through the air. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. Rejoice, theatre makers, it’s Spooky Season!

From frightful plays to haunted musicals, the Concord catalog is sure to have something that will keep you and your audience up at night. Check out these titles to find the perfect Halloween show.

American Psycho by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Duncan Sheik and Bret Easton Ellis (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 8w, 8m)
This musical adaptation about the original designer serial-killer combines horror with incisive commentary on Wall Street. 80s music introduces Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome banker with impeccable taste, designer clothes, and dark, unquenchable desires. After murdering his co-worker, Patrick’s mask of sanity begins to slip as he spirals out of control and into a world of sex and slashing.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 16 and up
Bottom Line: A graphic, campy, and ultimately funny musical perfect for fans of true crime and Hannibal Lecter. Great star vehicle for a leading man.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3w, 8m)
An Agatha Christie masterpiece. Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island, and all that they have in common is a dark and wicked past. Each has been marked for murder, and as the group is cut off from the mainland by a storm, the bloodbath begins. One by one, the ten strangers are murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme. This classic thriller has unfaltering tension sure to keep you guessing to the very end. For added fun, two endings of the story are available for licensing, so you can choose the tale you want to tell.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: With expert structure and dark material, this thriller is a sure-fire hit… chilling, but still appropriate for the whole family.

Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 5w, 2m)
In Noël Coward’s side-splitting farce, the re-married, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine is haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, after visiting the “happy medium” Madame Arcati. As the living and dead clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed, and joins Elvira on the other side, haunting the hapless Charles in perpetuity as two “blithe spirits.” This beloved comedy is a much-revived hit of Broadway and the West End and is sure to be no less loved on your stage.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 10 and up
Bottom Line: With ghosts and mediums, this play offers the occult themes you crave while offering a lighter take on the afterlife. An excellent star vehicle for a leading actress.

Blood Play by Oliver Butler, Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 3w, 3m)
This dark, comedic thriller, takes aim at post-WWII verve and pre-adolescent disquiet. On a tranquil suburban evening in the early 1950s, the kids are away on a camping trip and a string of coincidences leads to a spontaneous grown-up party in the basement of a new ranch house. Cocktails are served, raucous games are played, new friends are made, and yet something is stirring underground.
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: This disquieting play with a deft sense of dread leaves a lot to be explored thematically. An excellent ensemble piece, perfect for an off-beat theatre company.

Carrie: The Musical by Michael Gore, Dean Pitchford, Lawrence D. Cohen and Stephen King (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 5w, 2m +Ensemble)
Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she’s an outcast who’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s at the mercy of her loving but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it. Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, Carrie the musical is a thrilling take on teenage angst.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: Perfect for fans of classic horror, Carrie is a cult-classic musical ready for your latest recipe for fake blood.

Dial M for Murder (Hatcher) by Frederick Knott and Jeffrey Hatcher (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2w, 3m )
Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the classic suspense thriller is a smart, tight, compelling update of Knott’s tale of jealousy, deception and homicide. Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her for a fee of one thousand pounds, and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself. Unfortunately…the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives.
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: This thrilling update of the classic suspense play is tightly constructed – a perfect show for theaters who want to revisit classic works.

Die, Mommie, Die! by Charles Busch (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Melodrama / 3w, 3m)
This comic melodrama evokes the 1960s movie thrillers that featured such aging cinematic icons as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Lana Turner. Ex-pop singer Angela Andrews is trapped in a hateful marriage. Desperate to find happiness with her younger lover, Angela murders her husband with the aid of a poisoned suppository. In a very Greek turn of fate, Angela’s children plot to murder their mother in revenge. Die, Mommie, Die! Is a perfect blend of nostalgia and sharp humor, perfect for fans of Mommie Dearest and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: This parody of 1960s thrillers is a unique way to spice up your Halloween line-up. Campy and witty, it’s easily produced on a shoestring budget.

Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 3m )
Ever wondered what would happen if you took Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale and put in into a blender with the comedic influences of Mel Brooks, Monty Python and The 39 Steps? That’s just what happens in this lightning-fast, laugh-out-loud 90-minute gender-bending, quick-change magical romp. Famed female vampire hunter Jean Van Helsing and her motley company chase Count Dracula from the English countryside to Transylvania to “other frightening places.”
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: This hilarious adaptation of the classic horror story brims with enough tongue-in-cheek mayhem to fill your cup of giggles.

Feeding Beatrice by Kirsten Greenidge (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2w, 2m)
Kirsten Greenidge’s spine-chilling gothic tale, about a contemporary Black couple haunted by the ghost of a young white girl, deftly explores questions of race, class and the American Dream. It starts with the sound of a spoon scraping against glass and the wet noise of lips smacking together. June and Lurie have a haunting new houseguest – and she’s ravenously hungry. They do their best to keep her fed and happy, but Beatrice always demands more. As she burrows deeper and deeper into their lives, the couple faces a horrific question: What will it cost to exorcise Beatrice forever?
Run Time: 105 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: This contemporary thriller will chill the spines of your audience while raising important questions about race, class and America

Gargoyles by Chris Mathews (US)
(Short Play, Drama / 7w, 7m)
Based on a real school incident – written from the viewpoint of the gargoyles perched in the architecture of a local church – Gargoyles is the story of a high school drama group forbidden from performing an innocuous Halloween comedy because of superstitious beliefs and the resulting outpouring of community love which conquers fears.
Run Time: 40 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: A powerful and effective drama, this short play is an ideal Halloween show for schools and youth groups.

Heathers The Musical by Kevin Murphy, Laurence O’Keefe and Daniel Waters (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 9w, 8m)
Heathers The Musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers. But before she can get comfortable atop the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerously sexy new kid J.D. When Heather Chandler, the Almighty, kicks her out of the group, Veronica decides to bite the bullet and kiss Heather’s aerobicized ass… but J.D. has another plan for that bullet.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: Adapted from the cult-classic film, Heathers the Musical is a hit among teens and audiences alike. Heathers the Musical: Teen Edition (US/UK) is also available for licensing.

Hookman by Lauren Yee (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 5w, 1m)
This compelling, existential slasher-comedy by Lauren Yee gives you everything you want from classics like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street with universal themes of growing up. Hookman follows Lexi, a college freshman, as she deals with a weird roommate, homesickness, oh and a hook-handed serial killer slashing girls’ throats. But if Lexi can discover what really happened to her high school best friend on that car ride to the movies, everything will be okay.
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: A bloody, fun time that explores the fears of young women as they adjust to the adult world in the structure of a campy slasher. Appropriate for audiences 14 and up.

I’ll Be Back Before Midnight by Peter Colley (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 2w, 2m)
In this spine-tingling comedic thriller, a young husband and wife encounter a spate of frightening events in an old country farmhouse. Peter Colley’s hit suspense play is filled with witty dialogue, huge laughs and heart-thumping scares. The most successful play ever staged in Canada, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight has been performed in over 31 countries and was adapted into a major motion picture.
Run Time: 2 hours
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: A terrifying and hilarious ghost story, this spine-tingler will have audiences laughing and screaming.

Let the Right One In by Jack Thorne (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3w, 6m)
An enchanting, one-of-a-kind play that is at once a brutal vampire myth and a touching coming-of-age love story. Adapted from the best-selling novel and award-winning film of the same name, Jack Thorne’s Let the Right One In follows Oskar, a lonely, bullied teenage boy living with his mother on a housing estate at the edge of town. The town itself is rocked by a spate of sinister killings occurring in the woods, but this doesn’t stop Oskar from wanting to play outside. Eli is the young girl who has just moved in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. Sensing in each other a kindred spirit, the two become devoted friends. What Oskar doesn’t know is that Eli has been a teenager for a very long time.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: This play is not for the faint of heart. It’s a touching exploration of human emotion contrasted with truly horrifying moments of brutality. If you really want to scare your audience, this is the title for you.

Monstersongs by Rob Rokicki (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 7 any gender)
Something wicked this way rocks! Monstersongs puts audiences in a synthesized world of graphic novels, rock musicals, live performance and new technology. Following the journey of a child who opens a portal into the psyches of often misunderstood creatures, Monstersongs flips the switch on the monster narrative, inviting audiences to explore the humanity that binds us all.
Run Time: 60 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: Designed to showcase a diverse scalable cast, Monstersongs works best as an immersive experience. Scary, silly and heartfelt, Monstersongs is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

Night of the Living Dead™ Live by George A Romero, Christopher Bond, Dale Boyer, Trevor Martin, Christopher Harrison and Phil Pattison (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 2w, 4m)
Six strangers in a lonely farmhouse, surrounded by brain-eating zombies – what could go wrong? Night of the Living Dead™ Live is a fun and hilarious reimagining of George A. Romero’s legendary cult classic. Set in 1968 and presented in all black and white, this stage adaptation brings the legendary film to life. The play lovingly examines the movie itself, the period in which it was made, and the film’s undying influence on the horror genre.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: More than just a recreation of the story, Night of the Living Dead™ Live! celebrates the history and influence of the cult movie. This hilarious and terrifying classic is sure to be a crowd-pleaser any time of the year.

Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4w, 1m, 1 girl)
A gang of teenage girls gathers in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of Pablo Escobar. Are they messing with the actual spirit of the infamous cartel kingpin? Or are they really just messing with each other? A roller coaster ride through the danger and damage of girlhood – the teenage wasteland – has never been so much twisted fun.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: This séance thriller is funny, violent and dark, complete with a chilling twist at the end. This spooky play will haunt your audience while excavating conversations about female adolescence.

Reefer Madness by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Satire/Political Satire / 4w, 4m)
Inspired by the original 1936 film of the same name, this raucous musical comedy takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the hysteria caused when clean-cut kids fall prey to marijuana, leading them on a hysterical downward spiral filled with evil jazz music, sex and violence. You won’t be able to resist the spoofy fun of Reefer Madness.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: 14 and up
Bottom Line: With addictive, clever musical numbers, this pointed political satire will go straight to your head!

Ruthless! by Joel Paley and Marvin Laird (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 7w)
This spoof musical about a child star brings the innocence of Shirley Temple to the deviousness of Damien. Eight-year-old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she will do anything to win the part in her school musical. But “anything” includes murdering the leading lady.
Run Time: 105 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 11 and up
Bottom Line: Poking fun at the “idyllic” 50s lifestyle for women and girls, this hilarious musical features a classic Broadway sound, enhancing its witty undercurrent. A wonderful star vehicle for several actresses.

She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 6w, 3m)
If, instead of tricking an audience, you and your performing crew want to don fantastic costumes and engage in high-octane combat in a dramatic comedy, Qui Nguyen’s comic-book fantasy play is for you. She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: This comedy, laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

The Grinning Man by Carl Grose, Tom Morris, Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 5w, 7m)
Based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Man Who Laughs, this macabre musical is a fairy-tale love story streaked with pitch-black humor, lashings of Gothic horror, and swashbuckling adventure. A strange new act has arrived at Trafalgar Fair’s freakshow: who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile?
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: This musical premiered at the Bristol Old Vic and has since achieved cult status. The Grinning Man mixes the comical, the grim, and the shimmeringly romantic in a fanciful adaptation of Hugo’s novel.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by John Heimbuch and Jon Ferguson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 10 any gender)
This dynamic, ensemble-based retelling of the famous Washington Irving story is a captivating twist on a classic. In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: A clever, funny and spooky retelling of the classic tale, this play offers the best of Gothic fiction with contemporary commentary. Perfect for a strong ensemble of players.

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Melodrama / 3w, 5m)
Another incredibly tight and suspenseful Agatha Christie thriller. A group of strangers are stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm when someone is murdered. The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage. Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He no sooner arrives when another is killed. Two down, and one to go. To get to the rationale of the murderer’s pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: Agatha Christie spins a wickedly thrilling tale. The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play, and with good reason. A hair-raising, suspenseful night of theatre.

The Passion of Dracula by Bob Hall and David Richmond (US)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2w, 7m)
This off-Broadway hit, which the New York Daily News called “a genuine old fashioned horror thriller,” spices up the thrills and chills of the Bram Stoker novel with comedy and romance. The play is set in the English countryside in 1911, where several village girls have died under mysterious circumstances. Dr. Seward presides over a nearby mental hospital, which has acquired a new resident – Count Dracula! A trio of doctors, a young reporter, and a stouthearted English lord battle the Count for possession of the lovely heroine.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: Combining elements of comedy, romance, mystery and thriller, this high-spirited play has something for everyone. The country setting gives the chiller a Holmesian air, making it the perfect show for lovers of comedy, mystery and suspense!

The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe and Gaston Leroux (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 4w, 6m +Ensemble)
This spooky season, revisit Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterwork: a timeless story of seduction and despair. A masked figure lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: Complete with arresting songs like “Think of Me” and “Angel of Music,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most successful pieces of entertainment of all time. If you’re interested in a haunting mega-musical full of smoke, mirrors and an unsettling undercurrent of desire, this is piece for you.

The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 3w, 6m)
You can’t go wrong with the quintessential Halloween classic The Rocky Horror Show. Sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.”
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: Hundreds of theatre groups gather every year to put on their annual production of The Rocky Horror Show complete with audience sass. With cult hits like “Damnit, Janet” and “Time Warp,” you’re sure to leave your audience shivering with antici…pation.

The Thin Place by Lucas Hnath (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3w, 1m)
Linda communicates, professionally, with the dead, who are still here, just in a different part of here, in the “thin place.” She can make those who believe hear them, offering them peace and closure and meaning. Originally from rural England, she’s reestablished herself in the U.S.—birthplace of spiritualism—where she has continued to build a career out of her gift. Hilda, a keen listener and observer who’s grappling with loss, takes a great interest in Linda’s abilities. She befriends the veteran medium, seeking answers that lie across the fragile boundary between our world and the other one.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: With acuity and relentless curiosity, Lucas Hnath’s play transforms the theater into an intimate séance, crafting an unnerving testament to the power of the mind. If you want to hone in on some spiritual energy this spooky season, check out The Thin Place.

The Woman in Black by Stephen Mallatratt and Susan Hill (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2m, 1 any gender)
The framework of this spine tingler is unusual: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of the woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood where her illegitimate child was accidentally killed. Anyone who sees her dies!
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up
Bottom Line: This classic of the genre is sure to put a lurch in the pit of your stomach. If you’re looking for a tightly constructed thriller that highlights a small, dynamic cast, this is the perfect play for you.

Trey Parker’s Cannibal: The Musical by Trey Parker (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2w, 10m)
From the co-creator of South Park and The Book of Mormon comes a horrifyingly true Colorado musical. Cannibal! traces the story of the real-life American cannibal Alfred Packer. The sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, Alfred tells us his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Pry as he awaits his execution. Full of funny, toe-tapping numbers, this is a twistedly hilarious musical about a true American crime story.
Run Time: 105 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up
Bottom Line: This spoof musical is easy to produce on a shoestring budget and perfect for late-night viewings. Includes intense adult themes and strong language.

Zombie Prom by John Dempsey, Dana P. Rowe, Mac Tumminelli and Hugh M. Murphy (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5w, 5m)
If you ever wanted a zombie romance set in the 1950s, this hilarious and touching musical is the perfect fit. Set at Enrico Fermi High, where the law is laid down by a zany, tyrannical principal, pretty senior Toffee has fallen for the class bad boy. Family pressure forces her to end the romance, and he charges off on his motorcycle to the nuclear waste dump. He returns glowing and determined to reclaim Toffee’s heart. He still wants to graduate, but most of all he wants to take Toffee to the prom. The principal orders him to drop dead while a scandal reporter seizes on him as the freak du jour. History comes to his rescue while a tuneful selection of original songs in the style of 50s hits keeps the action rocking across the stage.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages
Bottom Line: For fans of ’50s musicals and all things undead, Zombie Prom cannot be beat. It also comes in the Atomic Edition (US/UK), so it’s perfect for a variety of performers. Nuclear existentialism meets ’50s beats for a guaranteed Halloween hit.

For more ideas, check out Concord Theatricals’ collections of Plays for Spooky Season (US/UK) and Musicals for Spooky Season (US/UK).

Header Image: 2014 West End production of Let the Right One In (Tristram Kenton).