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October 20, 2023

Great TYA Shows: Dynamic Theatre for Young Audiences


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Theatre should be enjoyed by audiences of all ages, so here’s a curated list of Concord Theatricals plays and musicals designed specifically for young audiences. From classic fairy tales and literary adaptations to charming contemporary stories, these TYA shows are sure to inspire the next generation of theatre lovers!

For those who like to skim, we’ve organized the titles into these categories:

  • From the Comics
  • Classic Literature
  • Modern Literature
  • Fairy Tales & Myths
  • History/Biography
  • Contemporary Stories

From the Comics

Big Nate by Jason Loewith, Lincoln Peirce and Christopher Youstra (US/UK)
(75-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 4m)
Nate Wright, a detention-riddled sixth grader (and drummer) hopes to capture beautiful Jenny’s heart by winning “The Nicholodeon”, the first prize in his school’s Battle of the Bands. But when Artur and Jenny team up with Nate’s arch-rival Gina to form the sap-pop band Rainbows and Ponies, he’s to take his game to an all-star level. Based on the cartoons and books by Lincoln Peirce.

GARFIELD, The Musical with Cattitude by Jim Davis, Michael J. Bobbitt and John L. Cornelius II (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 1f, 4m)
Garfield, a chubby and sarcastic tabby cat, fantasizes about having the most amazing birthday in the history of birthdays… he deserves it for being the best cat ever! Unfortunately, all of his friends – Arlene, Odie, Jon, and even his nemesis, Nermal – seem to have forgotten. Feeling rejected, Garfield ventures out to find excitement, but he soon realizes that home is where the heart (and the food) is.

Luann – Scenes in a Teen’s Life by Greg Evans (US/UK)
(90-Minute Musical, Comedy / 5f, 5m)
Luann and her school mates are stoked – it’s the last day of school! Summer vacation’s here! But will the high expectations soar or crash? A series of hilarious scenes and songs explore the joys and agonies of teenhood. This upbeat musical based on the popular comic strip is a high-energy show full of funny situations and songs that teens relate to. Nearly 80% of the scenes use the entire ensemble, so everyone gets into the fun. With female leads, an expandable cast and easy production, it’s ideal for school and community theaters.

Snoopy!!! (Original) by Charles M. Schulz, Larry Grossman, Hal Hackady, Warren Lockhart, Arthur Whitelaw and Michael L. Grace (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 1 any gender)
Based on the beloved Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz, Snoopy!!! sparkles with wit and warmth as it depicts life as seen through the eyes of Schulz’s unforgettable characters. Musical numbers include “Just One Person,” “Poor Sweet Baby” and “Don’t Be Anything Less (Than Everything You Can Be).” Also available: The World According to Snoopy (US/UK) and Snoopy!!! (London Version) (US/UK)

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised) by Charles M. Schulz, Clark Gesner, Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m +Ensemble)
Happiness is great musical theatre! With charm, wit, and heart, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his friends in the Peanuts gang. Note: You are not required to perform the entire show! You may, at your option, perform your choice of scenes from the show, provided that the total running time for your performance (without intermission) is no less than 45 minutes. Also available: You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Original) (US/UK).

Classic Literature

Big River: Theatre for Young Audiences Edition by Roger Miller, William Hauptman and Mark Twain (US/UK)
(75-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 5m, Expandable Casting)
Adapted for a smaller cast performing for today’s young audiences, this version of Twain’s timeless classic, propelled by Roger Miller’s award-winning score, sweeps down the mighty Mississippi in a brilliantly theatrical celebration of friendship against all odds. Created with the support of over 100 consensus organizers (individuals and organizations serving the Black community), this revision of the Tony-winning musical will undoubtedly lift your spirit.

Bridge To Terabithia by Steve Liebman, Katherine Paterson and Stephanie S. Tolan (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 1m, 5 girls, 4 boys, 3 any gender)
This powerful adaptation, supported by a lyrical score, captures the humor, warmth and emotional intensity of Katherine Paterson’s Newbery Award-winning novel. In rural Virginia, Jesse and Leslie create Terabithia, a fantasy kingdom where they are safe from those who don’t understand them. When tragedy strikes, the strength gained in Terabithia takes Jesse forward and lets him share the magic of his dreams.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by David Wood and Roald Dahl (US/UK)
(60-Minute Play, Comedy / 2f, 5m)
Roald Dahl’s much-loved story follows the vain attempts of three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, one fat, one short, one lean, to get rid of the fox who regularly steals food from their farms. They try to kill him by any means possible. Outwitted at every turn, the farmer’s ploys backfire. Fantastic Mr. Fox devises a plan which will ensure full stomachs for not only his family, but all his friends, who celebrate with a sumptuous feast.

The BFG by Roald Dahl and David Wood (US/UK)
(60-Minute Play, Comedy / 4f, 4m)
This stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book about the 24-feet-tall Big Friendly Giant and a little orphan called Sophie brings some of Dahl’s most memorable characters to life. The BFG and Sophie team up to save the children of England from the child-eating giants Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater, Bonecruncher, Meatdripper, Childchewer and Gizzardgulper. They are assisted by the Queen of England and the Heads of the Army and Airforce.

The Selfish Giant (Perkins) by Caroline Dooley, David Perkins and Oscar Wilde (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Drama / 11 any gender)
From the composer of the popular Shake, Ripple and Roll and other works for children, here is an enchanting sung-through musical written for a large cast of young people. A giant builds a high wall around his beautiful garden to prevent the children from playing in it. However, he is taught a valuable lesson when spring does not return, and the garden remains in winter all year round. One morning the unusual sound of a birdsong and the sight of a small, frail child trying to climb a tree remind the Giant how selfish he has been.

The Selfish Giant (Walter) by Larisa Bryski, Kristin Walter and Oscar Wilde (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 5f, 4m)
When four bored children decide to play in the Giant’s garden, they are in for a nasty surprise. The Giant builds a fence to keep them out, and threatens anyone who tries to come in. But when winter comes and sees that no one is having any fun, it decides to stay forever. It’s up to the new girl in town to take down the fence and teach the Giant a lesson in friendship.

The Tales of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash, Brad Ross, Danny Whitman and Mary Hall Surface (US)
(50-Minute Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
Based on the whimsical stories by Ogden Nash, this delightful family musical, commissioned and originally produced by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, is a musical journey in which a most unlikely hero finds true courage. The show follows the exploits of young Belinda and her three boastfully brave pets, Mustard the Dog, Ink the Cat and Blink the Mouse, along with one not-so-brave dragon, Custard. Yet when Belinda is confronted by a fearsome pirate and a wicked knight, it’s Cowardly Custard who comes to the rescue.

The Witches by David Wood and Roald Dahl (US/UK)
(60-Minute Play, Dramatic Comedy / 6f, 4m)
In this faithful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story, Boy and his Grandmother defeat the Grand High Witch and her followers, who are holding a Conference in an English seaside hotel. The adaptation’s magic and sly humor will entertain audiences of all ages.

Tuck Everlasting by Claudia Shear, Tim Federle, Chris Miller, Nathan Tysen and Natalie Babbitt (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 6m, 1 girl +Ensemble)
Eleven-year-old Winnie Foster is torn between going on an infinite adventure with the magical Tuck family and rejecting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to possess eternal youth. Based on the bestselling children’s classic by Natalie Babbitt and adapted for the stage by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, Tuck Everlasting features a soaring score from Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. Alternate edition for young audiences is also available (US/UK).

Tuck Everlasting: Theatre for Young Audiences Edition by Claudia Shear, Tim Federle, Chris Miller, Nathan Tysen and Natalie Babbitt (US/UK)
(70-Minute Musical, Comedy / 2f, 6m, 1 girl)
Based on the best-selling children’s classic by Natalie Babbitt, adapted for the stage by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, and featuring a soaring score from Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, the TYA edition of Tuck Everlasting is a condensed 70-minute version of the Broadway production, re-conceived by the authors to be performed by nine actors.

Modern Literature

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley and Michael J. Bobbitt (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
A jammin’ musical featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Bob Marley and based on the children’s book by his daughter Cedella, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds shares the legendary reggae artist’s message of peace and love with a new generation of songbirds.

Fashion Academy by Sheryl Berk, Sabrina Chap and Carrie Berk (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 4f, 1m)
Mackenzie “Mickey” Williams is the new student at The Fashion Academy of Brooklyn (FAB) Middle School, a training ground for future fashion designers. But Mickey’s out-of-the-box thinking and colorful style make her a walking “Fashion Don’t.” So, in order to fit in, Mickey decides it’s time for a major makeover. As the new, trendy “Kenzie,” she’s able to blend in like a true fashionista. But will gaining acceptance come at the price of losing herself?

The Lightning Thief by Joe Tracz, Rob Rokicki and Rick Riordan (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 7 any gender +Ensemble)
This dynamic musical adaptation of Rick Riordan’s bestselling book is a guaranteed audience pleaser! When teenager Percy Jackson discovers he’s a demigod, he and his friends embark on an epic journey to find Zeus’ missing lightning bolt and prevent a war among the gods. The kinetic and hilarious tuner, which opened on Broadway in 2019, features a thrilling, energetic pop-rock score.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks (Iconis) by Joe Iconis and Nancy McArthur (US)
(75-Minute Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
Michael’s closet has exploded! At least, that’s what it looks like, with all the baseball cards, crumpled paper, clothes and piles of smelly, dirty socks everywhere. His younger brother (and roommate) Norman fights to protect his spotless territory from the invasion of Michael’s mess. But when pet plants appear, Michael’s pile of stinky socks disappears faster than you can say “My goodness, what an enormous plant!” A fun-filled musical, based on the popular book series, celebrating individuality, brothers working together, and the most disgusting plant food ever!

Yo, Vikings! by Sam Willmott and Marcus Stevens (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 8m +Ensemble)
Adapted from Judith Byron Schachner’s acclaimed book of the same name, Yo, Vikings! is the mini-saga of 10-year-old Emma Katz, the fiercest Viking in Swarthmore, PA, and her quest for real adventure. Yo, Vikings! combines sweeping melodies, thrilling Viking chants, and funky rock ’n’ roll with a beautiful, heart-warming story to engage and excite every member of the family.

Fairy Tales & Myths

Beanstalk! The Musical! by Ross Mihalko, Donna Swift and Linda Berg (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 3girls, 3boys, 10 adults any gender, 10 kids any gender)
Beanstalk! The Musical! is exactly like nothing you’ve ever seen before, not even in a book! This fun family show follows the adventures of Jack, a young boy with his head in the clouds and his nose in a book of fairytales. Filled with hilarious characters, toe-tapping tunes and more twists than a climbing vine, Beanstalk! The Musical! is one show that’s guaranteed to grow and grow and grow right into your heart.

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Flea and the Professor by Jordan Harrison, Richard Gray and Hans Christian Andersen (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 4m)
A young professor loses just about everything in the world – everything, that is, except for the flea who lives in his vest. Starting over again, the professor and the flea become the best of friends, start a circus act, and set off to tour the world. Together they must overcome shipwrecks, cannibals, and tickling. Adapted by Jordan Harrison and Richard Gray from the last tale by master storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, this new musical odyssey celebrates friendship, whimsy, and the excitement of the unknown.

Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale (Original) by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 4f, 4m)
Hold on to your hair and prepare for a brand new magical musical retelling of the classic fairy tale! On the edge of glory, the evil Lady Za Za determines to rule the kingdom by keeping the beautiful Princess Rapunzel – with the long, long, long hair – trapped in a tower in the deep, dark, dank, dismal, dreary forest. It’ll be up to Sir Roderick, his hair-stylist friend Edgar (who is on a quest to find the perfect head of hair) and some colorful characters to rescue Princess Rapunzel and restore the kingdom.

Red Riding Hood by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
An uplifting story of brave Red who must journey through the forest to reunite her family and save Mother’s bakery from closing down. Will she reach Grandma’s house in time? Or will the charming Big Bad Wolf distract here from her quest? Join Red on the adventure into the woods, where no one is what they seem!

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (US/UK)
(75-Minute Musical, Comedy / 5f, 5m)
The traditional Italian story of a wooden puppet yearning to be a real boy springs to life with inventive and awe-inspiring puppetry. Carved out of wood by the lonely toymaker Geppetto, Pinocchio tumbles from one disastrous situation to another in search of adventure – only to discover that, in the end, all he really needs is an unselfish heart and the love of his father. Based on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale, this family musical illuminates the bond between parents and children in a magical musical that is sure to enchant audiences of all ages!

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Alan Schmuckler and David Holstein (US/UK)
(75-Minute Musical, Comedy / 2f, 5m)
The frivolously fashionable Emperor and his opinionated daughter Sam just can’t get along. But with the help of some colorful characters and not-so-colorful threads, the two come to see themselves – and appreciate each other – for the first time. This family musical based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale promises to warm the hearts of children and adults alike!

The Magical Adventures of Merlin by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 5f, 8m)
This re-imagined tale shares how a young Merlin meets a young, soon-to-be-king Arthur in mythical, medieval England. Will Merlin choose ultimate magical power – his lifelong dream – or friendship with Arthur and Guinevere? Will Arthur pull the sword from the stone and defeat the bewitching Morgana? Can Merlin become the greatest wizard of the land? Magical surprises provide the answers in this enchanting musical adventure.

History/Biography

Play to Win by Carles Cleveland, James de Jongh and Jimi Foster (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 4m)
Play to Win
is a bright, snappy one-hour musical about the man who broke the color barrier in professional baseball. Although the show is aimed at young audiences, all ages will enjoy this portrayal of Jackie Robinson’s determination to be the best, despite seemingly insurmountable racism. Characters include Rachel, the girl Jackie met in college and later married; Branch Rickey, the owner of the Dodgers who dared to sign Robinson; and Satchel Paige, the great Black pitcher who acts as narrator and plays various other roles throughout the play.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Ben H. Winters and Stephen Sislen (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 1f, 4m)
In this engaging, tuneful and often humorous TYA musical, the humble silversmith Paul Revere bravely takes a stand against tyranny. From the halls of British Parliament, to the port of Boston and the “Tea Party” protest, to the Boston Massacre and the dangerous thrill of Revere’s now-legendary ride, this dynamic musical makes American history accessible and exciting by telling the inspirational, universal story of how ordinary people can make a difference. 

Contemporary Stories  

A (Tooth) Fairy Tale by Ben H. Winters and Rick Hip-Flores (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 4f, 4m)
In this hilarious adventure, a boy named Samuel and the Tooth Fairy arrange to swap lives. Soon Samuel is zipping around the night sky, revolutionizing the tooth biz, while the Fairy joyfully takes in the glories of the Upper West Side, and everyone is happy… for a little while. A (Tooth) Fairy Tale is a musical comedy filled with fairy dust, bright shiny quarters, and maybe just a small molar – sorry, moral – about being true to who you really are.

Free to Be… You and Me by Marlo Thomas and and Friends (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / Flexible cast of any gender)
This charming musical revue, based on Marlo Thomas’ beloved children’s book, opens kids up to the possibilities of who they can be. In songs and sketches, life-enhancing themes are imaginatively blended with music and humor to expand children’s personal horizons, enabling them to invent their own futures without limitation.

Mad Libs Live! by Mark Thomson and Robin Rothstein (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 2f, 2m, 1 any gender)
It’s the finals of Teen Superstars, the live TV show that will determine the most popular singing group at Blankville Central High. Virtuosa, Gogo, Geyser and Merrily seem to have nothing in common – until just before airtime, when they realize that their songs are missing words! In the spirit of the “World’s Greatest Word Game,” our gang fills in the blanks with words from the audience. This truly interactive musical changes at every performance – thanks to you!

Puffs by Matt Cox (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 5f, 5m, 1 any gender)
For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world. Puffs is not authorized, sanctioned, licensed or endorsed by J.K Rowling, Warner Bros. or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play.

Really Rosie by Carole King and Maurice Sendak (US)
(60-Minute Musical / 2f, 4m + Ensemble)
Rosie, the sassiest kid on her block of Brooklyn’s Avenue P, entertains herself and her friends by acting out showbiz fantasies, notably directing and starring in an Oscar-winning movie. From the brilliant minds of Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Carole King, Really Rosie is a jewel for children and adults.

The Magic Pebble by Nancy Kierspe Carlson and Betsy Chapman (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 4f, 11m)
Four bored youths discover a magic pebble and hang on for dear life as it takes them to a pirate ship crewed by the irascible Captain Crimson and his sidekick, Seaweed. They inadvertently bring Crimson and Seaweed back to the present, where they have amusing confrontations with the miraculous creatures vacuum sweeper and radio and with the concept of a round world. From the opening song to the closing duet, there is plenty of adventure and exciting fun for children and adults.

Super Sidekick: The Musical! by Michael Gordon Shapiro and Gregory Crafts (US/UK)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 1f, 3m, 3 any gender )
When famous superhero Blackjack the Bold is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer, it’s up to his assistant Inky to step up and save the day! Little does he know that he’ll also have to contend with Ninja Koalas, dark caves, secret weapons, and an abducted princess who’s considerably braver than he is. Colorful characters, witty humor, and an upbeat catchy score make Super Sidekick: The Musical a treat for young audiences, and an engaging project for thespians of all ages.

Uncle Pirate by Ben H. Winters and Drew Fornarola (US)
(60-Minute Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
Wilson is just your average kid. Then one day he finds out his uncle is a pirate… like, a REAL pirate! With help from Uncle Pirate and his faithful talking penguin, maybe, just maybe, Wilson can survive the fourth grade. Grab yer eye patches and pirate hats, mateys! The adventure begins now!


For more great shows for young audiences, visit Concord Theatricals in the US or UK.