The 2011-2012 annual play survey
Two contemporary plays bookended our annual survey of the most-produced full-length plays in American high schools for the 2011-12 school year, with John Cariani’s episodic comedy Almost, Maine in the number one spot and the hard-hitting Laramie Project in tenth. In between, it was pretty much the usual suspects.
Shakespeare’s popularity slipped a bit after he landed three plays in the top ten in 2010-11. This year A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the third spot, was the only Shakespeare title on the top end of the survey.
Besides Laramie, the only other full-length plays that were not returnees from last year’s survey were Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and the frantic Michael Frayn farce Noises Off.
Among musicals, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast returned to the top spot for the fifth consecutive year. The Drowsy Chaperone made its play survey debut at number nine.
Zany comedy—particularly zany comedy by Jonathan Rand and other writers from the Playscripts Inc. stable—continues to dominate the short plays list.
Dramatics has conducted the production survey among schools affiliated with the International Thespian Society since 1938. (In recent years, selected unaffiliated schools have been invited to participate as well.) About six hundred theatre programs responded to the 2011-12 survey.
Here are the top ten titles in each category.
1. Almost, Maine, by John Cariani (Dramatists Play Service)
2. Twelve Angry Jurors, by Reginald Rose (Dramatic Publishing Co.)1
3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare (public domain)
4. Own Town, by Thornton Wilder (Samuel French)
5. You Can’t Take It With You, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (Dramatists Play Service)
6 (tie). The Crucible, by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)
6 (tie). Noises Off, by Michael Frayn (Samuel French)
8 (tie). Arsenic and Old Lace, by Joseph Kesselring (Dramatists Play Service)
8 (tie). The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde (public domain)
10. The Laramie Project, by Moises Kaufman/Tectonic Theater Project (Dramatists Play Service)
1. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Linda Woolverton (MTI)
2 (tie). Grease, by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey (Samuel French)
2 (tie). The Wizard of Oz (Royal Shakespeare Company version), adapted by John Kane from the film by Frank Baum, Harold Arlen, and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (Tams-Witmark)
4 (tie). Hairspray, by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O’Donnell, and Thomas Meehan, adapted from the film by John Waters (MTI)
4 (tie). Into the Woods, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (MTI)2
6 (tie). Footloose, by Dean Pitchford, Walter Bobbie, and Tom Snow (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
6 (tie). Guys and Dolls, by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Jo Swerling (MTI)
6 (tie). Seussical, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (MTI)2
9. The Drowsy Chaperone, by Bob Martin, Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison, and Don McKellar (MTI)
10 (tie). Anything Goes, by Cole Porter, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse (Tams-Witmark)
10 (tie). Little Shop of Horrors, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (MTI)
10 (tie). The Music Man, by Meredith Willson (MTI)
10 (tie). Once Upon a Mattress, by Mary Rodgers, Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
1. Check Please, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts Inc.)
2 (tie). The Actor’s Nightmare, by Christopher Durang (Dramatists Play Service)
2 (tie). How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts Inc.)
4 (tie).The Grimm Brothers Spectaculathon, by Don Zolidis (Playscripts Inc.)
4 (tie). Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts Inc.)
4 (tie). This Is a Test, by Stephen Gregg (Dramatic Publishing Co.)
7 (tie). 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview, by Ian McWethy (Playscripts Inc.)
7 (tie). It’s Not You, It’s Me, by Don Zolidis(Playscripts Inc.)
9 (tie). The Audition, by Don Zolidis (Playscripts Inc.)
9 (tie). Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, by Ian McWethy (Playscripts Inc.)
9 (tie). The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet, by Peter Bloedel (Playscripts Inc.)
1. Includes productions under the title Twelve Angry Men.
2. Includes productions of MTI Junior versions of this title.
—Compiled by Jhon Marshall