Season planning can seem like an insurmountable task. How does an Artistic Director or programming committee juggle budgets, casting requirements and content, all while searching for shows that exhilarate audiences? We’ve assembled an index of collections to help you narrow down your show search. Whether your company is looking for highly producible plays or musicals calling for a small handful of actors, one of these collections is sure to suit your season planning needs.
Big Fun, Small Cast: Plays & Musicals (US & UK)
Sometimes, all it takes is a single soaring actor to captivate an audience. This list in Breaking Character is bursting with fast-paced shows that tell a rich and humorous story with very few performers. The collection features hits like Will Eno’s Gnit (US/UK), a five-character play rife with one-liners chronicling one so-so specimen of humanity’s search for his True Self; and, The Mamalogues (US/UK), a three-character comedy by Lisa B. Thompson that tenderly and playfully captures the experiences parenting while Black, unmarried and middle class in the age of anxiety. Check out the article for more.
Looking for a showstopping musical for your small group? Look no further! This category on the Concord Theatricals site houses award-winning shows with tuneful scores like the meta-musical [title of show] (US/UK), the tender two-hander Barbara’s Blue Kitchen (US/UK) and the classic musical adaptation of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (US/UK).
Spooky Plays & Musicals (US & UK)
Planning a play for fall? Perhaps October? Pick a show for the pumpkin spice season from this list of spine-chilling musicals and suspenseful thrillers. For titles like Agatha Christie’s tightly-constructed and timeless tension-builder And Then There Were None (US/UK) or Monstersongs (US/UK), a keyhole peek into the psyches of often misunderstood creatures, check out the article in Breaking Character.
Stretch your cast with a title from this category of musicals made for performing groups of varying sizes. Titles from this collection are malleable — so whether you’ve got a small cast or a big crowd, you’re sure to find a show that works for your group. Titles like the electrically popular young adult novel-turned-musical The Lightning Thief (US/UK) and the colorful The SpongeBob Musical (US/UK) are highlights of this collection.
When flexibility is key, and you’re looking for a text that your actors can sink their teeth into, check out this collection of plays with variable casting requirements. For exciting new plays like Madeleine George’s incisive piece about the blind eye turned towards climate change, Hurricane Diane (US/UK), or classic works like the swashbuckling adventure Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers (US/UK), look no further.
Looking for shows where you could pull costumes from the closet? Here’s a set of contemporary plays where minimalist design is effective — all you need are actors who are ready to put the human experience front and center. This collection features easy-to-costume plays like Rajiv Joseph’s rom-com wrestling with stereotypes, Huck & Holden (US). Also featured are Yoga Play (US), Dipika Guha’s uproarious exploration of cultural appropriation, and Heroes of the Fourth Turning (US/UK), a play that speaks to the heart of a country at war with itself.
When all you’ve got is a bare stage, and you want to build a play out of light and language, check out these plays with minimal set requirements. Featuring Sarah Ruhl’s retelling of the timeless myth of Eurydice (US/UK), Caryl Churchill’s cyclonic meditation on relationships, Love and Information (US/UK), and Adrienne Kennedy’s tapestry of mid-20th century America, Diary of Lights: New York About 1955 (US/UK), this collection of plays is perfect for the director looking to produce a play on a budget.
Searching for fresh titles that recently premiered in global theatrical hotspots? Check out these plays, available for licensing, that are sure to spice up your season. Charles Busch’s Cleopatra (US/UK) — an outrageously comic take on the life of Cleopatra — is highlighted in this collection, along with Kirsten Greenidge’s fast-talking New York debut, Milk Like Sugar (US/UK), and Tin Cat Shoes (US/UK), Trish Harnetiaux’s madcap odyssey through the wilderness of corporate bureaucracy.
Header Image: 2019 Manhattan Theatre Club Production of The Cake (Joan Marcus).