Easy musicals to put on: The Art of Staging Accessible Performances

The art of a musical, known as a “musical performance,” offers a realm of allure and intrigue where emotions harmoniously pair with melodies, and words weave into notes, creating unforgettable scenes of moving poetry.

The craft of producing a musical revolves around its ability to encompass emotional narratives within memorable stories and songs. It may seem initially daunting to bring such creations to life, but, in reality, even the most intricate symphonies spring from basic note combinations!

Indeed, the world of musicals is not strictly composed of complex melodic labyrinths and highly structured content. The charm of this art form also resides in its flexibility and, its glowing potential to embrace both simplicity and complexity alike.

In this article, we’ll explore the process of staging not just authentic and engaging musicals, but those that don’t necessarily require extensive resources. Specifically, we’ll focus on some of the simpler musicals you can put together.

Key Points to Successfully Producing a Musical

A musical production can be a rewarding and enriching experience for all participants, regardless of their age. From the thrill of musical discovery for the younger ones to the creative challenges adults face, a musical provides numerous unforgettable moments for everyone involved, beginning right from the planning stages.

Here are some practical tips to begin staging a musical without encountering excessive difficulties:

Selection of Musical: Choose a musical with a linear plot, clearly defined and recognizable characters, and a limited number of lead roles.

Customization: As mentioned earlier, a musical is an art form that can easily be tailored to your resources. You can simplify the set, use less elaborate costumes, and streamline certain parts to make the structure smoother and more manageable, both in vocals and instrumental performances.

Organizing Rehearsals: Rehearsals also need to be managed pragmatically and efficiently. You can immediately draft a schedule to share with everyone involved in the staging, this way defining the goals to be reached during various project stages and keeping track of the progress. It’s crucial for every participant to have access to both a script and a score. Roles of performers should be assigned based on individual capabilities.

6 examples of easy musicals to stage

  1. “The Lion King”: Although it may seem like a considerably complex work, “The Lion King” lends itself to simplification due to the adaptability of its scenes and costumes. Rather than being an obstacle, the African setting provides a creative opportunity to stage symbolic elements in a simplified, yet impressive manner. The soundtrack is filled with familiar melodies like “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” that have gained universal popularity. Composed by notable musicians such as Elton John and Hans Zimmer, these songs form the heartbeat of the unforgettable ambiance of “The Lion King”.
  1. “La La Land”: Ideal for those looking to stage a simple, more modern, and less theatrical musical. This urban musical requires a limited number of characters, and its settings can be easily adapted to any context. This is a romantic musical from 2016, written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Set in Los Angeles, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, respectively playing a struggling jazz pianist and an aspiring actress. With its catchy melodies and contemporary costumes, “La La Land” offers numerous opportunities for an innovative and modern performance.
  1. “Mamma Mia!”: This bubbly romantic comedy is one of the world’s most beloved musicals. Since its debut in London in 1999, this energetic and engaging show has won the hearts of over 60 million viewers in more than 440 cities, and it has sold out on every continent. Set on an idyllic Greek island, the plot follows an independent single mother, Donna, and her daughter Sophie, who is preparing for her wedding. Not knowing who her father is, Sophie sends wedding invitations to three men from Donna’s past in hopes of uncovering the truth. Filled with a repertoire of ABBA songs and a harmonious blend of affection, laughter, and warmth, the musical “Mamma Mia!” allows creative expression in the choreography, costumes, and set design, and it’s fairly easy to stage even with limited resources.
  1. “The Phantom of the Opera”: Although it may seem intimidating, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a classic in the musical genre and can be carefully adapted for a simplified production. This musical, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is based on the namesake French novel written by Gaston Leroux in 1910. First staged in London in 1986, the musical has been performed continually ever since, save for the pandemic period. The plot follows the unrequited love of a genius but disfigured musician living in the catacombs of the Paris Opera. The cast isn’t extensive, and the plot is clear and engaging. Even with costumes and sets creatively stripped back to the bare essentials, the essence and spirit of the original work can be preserved. The music plays an essencial role in creating a dramatic and romantic atmosphere throughout this show, featuring complex pieces such as “Think of Me“, “The Music of the Night“, and “All I Ask of You” which underscore this musical’s operatic setting.
  1. “Godspell”: This is a simple-to-stage musical that delivers profound and emotive messages. Drawing primarily from the Gospel of Matthew, the structure of the musical intertwines a sequence of parables with captivating music pieces. Most of these are renditions of traditional hymns, echoing themes of brotherhood and Christian fellowship. The near-minimalist staging offered by “Godspell” provides each cast member with a chance for distinctive and moving performances, removing the necessity for elaborate sets or complex costumes.
  1. “Grease”: Set in the 1950s, this beloved musical created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey features a captivating storyline and universally adored characters. “Grease” tells the tale of teenage lovebirds Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, who unexpectedly reunite for the school year at Rydell High after sharing a summer romance. The musical delves into themes of love and friendship against the backdrop of the era’s distinctive social cliques, primarily the ‘greasers’ and the ‘Pink Ladies’. Since its premiere in 1971, “Grease” has enjoyed significant popularity, securing its status as a Broadway and West End classic. The 1978 film adaptation, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the lead roles, achieved global success, making “Grease” one of the most cherished and easy-to-produce musicals of all time.

Each of these musicals allows for boundless creative opportunities while presenting the possibility of streamlined production. Ultimately, the most crucial factor when putting on a musical is making sure all involved, regardless of age, are having a great time and expressing their imagination!

A large budget isn’t always a prerequisite for a successful show. Instead, with enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment, a musical production can evolve into an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression on both the cast and the audience!