The future of music

30 Best Musicals for High School (Top Picks)

July 5, 2023
musicals for high school

If you’re putting on a musical production at a high school and need some ideas for what to choose, you’ve come to the right place!

Musical theatre is a great way to raise the confidence of students and help them to bond, and these musicals will allow you to do just that.

From classic fairytales to fan-favorite films, these musicals will be sure to make the audience smile.

Enjoy our list of the best musicals for high school!

1. High School Musical

High School Musical is a musical movie that was created in 2006 by Kenny Ortega.

It has been recreated on West End and Broadway multiple times and remains one o the most popular musicals for high schoolers.

It has won fourteen awards since its release, including a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack Album of the Year, a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Children’s Program, and a Teen Choice Award for Comedy or Musical Show.

2. Mamma Mia! The Musical

Mamma Mia! The Musical is a jukebox musical that has a soundtrack based on songs by the Swedish group ABBA.

It first premiered in 1999, with the Musical movie version being released in 2008.

It was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002 for Best Musical Theatre Album but won two other awards including a Touring Broadway Award for Best Musical Score, which was received by writers Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

3. Beauty and the Beast

Alan Menken wrote the stage musical Beauty and the Beast, adapting it from the 1991 movie of the same name.

It was first produced in 1993, and the Original London Production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Beauty and the Beast began as a well-loved French fairytale and now continues its legacy as one of the most popular stage musicals of all time.

It is perfect for a high school performance!

4. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a 2011 musical that was adapted from a book and a 1939 film of the same name.

It uses the same songs from the film, by Harold Arlen.

It is a fan-favorite film and is sure to capture the audience’s hearts if you choose to adapt it to a high school performance.

The original London Production won the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Musical Revival in 2012, with many of the performers earning awards for their parts.

5. The Addams Family

The Addams Family is a 2009 musical comedy that we all know and love, based upon the characters created by Charles Addams.

The popular 2015 Chicago production won a Jeff Award in the category of Production – Musical – Midsize.

The stage musical consistently played to a sold-out audience, making it bound to be a popular choice for a performance in high school.

It is well-known, and the corny comedy will make it a fun evening for all.

6. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is a 1959 musical that is based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir, written in 1949.

Richard Rodgers arranged the music, while Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the lyrics.

The original Broadway production won seven awards, including Best Musical at the 1960 Tony Awards.

The Sound of Music is a great choice for a musical in high school since the songs are well-known and loved.

7. Into the Woods

Into the Woods is a Steven Sondheim musical, first produced in 1987.

The plots are taken from the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, putting a modern twist on several classic stories.

The original Broadway production won a total of eight awards, including a Tony Award in 1988 for Best Original Score.

The 2002 Broadway Revival went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

8. Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is a musical based on the well-known books and the 1964 Disney film of the same name.

The music comes from the film, with songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

It has become a very popular choice in community theatre and high school productions and has won many awards for its outstanding set design, costume, and music.

It’s a great choice for high school!

9. Annie

Annie is a stage musical that is based on the 1924 comic strip titled Little Orphan Annie.

The first original Broadway production was in 1977, and it continued to run around the world for years.

The original production won fifteen awards, including a Grammy Award in 1978 for Best Cast Shows Album and a Tony Award for Best Musical.

It is a great choice for a high school production due to its catchy music and strong message.

10. Cinderella

There are many musical theatre adaptions of the classic fairytale Cinderella, including a version by Rodgers and Hammerstein and a modern adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The many different versions give leeway for a great high school production due to the ability to make it your own!

Everyone knows this classic story, with excellent music by Richard Rodgers.

11. My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady is a musical with music by Frederick Loewe and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

It is based on the 1913 play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and debuted on Broadway in 1956.

The original Broadway production won seven awards, including Best Musical at the Tony Awards.

Many revivals and adaptations followed it, earning their own fair share of awards.

It is a great musical for high school and is sure to impress the audience.

12. The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance is a two-act comic opera by W. S. Gilbert.

It has been adapted into a stage musical multiple times and was even made into a movie in several different countries.

It is an interesting choice for a high school production and makes a change from the popular fairytales that are often chosen.

13. Grease

Grease is an extremely well-known musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

It is the perfect choice for a musical production in high school due to the fact that it is set at a fictional high school, so students can fit into the roles well.

It 1978 film made it even more popular, and it is now a story that everyone knows.

The classic songs and great dancing make for a fun and enjoyable performance!

14. The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks is a musical that was first produced in 1960 with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones.

It is the longest-running musical in history, with a run-time of forty-two years and over seventeen thousand performances.

It is one of the most famous musicals around the world and is a great choice for a high school musical production due to the premise of two children falling in love.

It receives two hundred and fifty high school performances each year, so it’s definitely worth a try!

15. The Robber Bridegroom

The Robber Bridegroom is a 1975 Broadway musical by Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman, based on a 1942 novella by Eudora Welty.

The revival came in 2016, winning the Oustanding Revival Award at the Lucille Lortel Awards.

It is a story full of danger and drama and makes for a great high school musical production.

16. Mean Girls

Mean Girls is a musical based on the 2004 movie of the same name by Tina Fey.

Jeff Richmond wrote the music and Nell Benjamin wrote the lyrics, and it premiered in Washington D.C. in 2017.

The original production won a Helen Hayes Award in 2018 for Outstanding Visiting Production, and the following Broadway productions won three other awards.

It is a great choice for a high school production because it is a fan-favorite movie among teens!

17. Disaster!

Seth Rudetsky created the jukebox musical comedy Disaster! in 2011.

It pays homage to what is known as the 1970s disaster films, with chaos as the main plot point, and uses many popular seventies tunes.

It is sure to be a fan favorite at a high school, especially with lots of parents in the audience!

18. Legally Blonde

Every teenager at a high school is sure to know this 2001 movie!

Legally Blonde was adapted into a musical in 2007 and is a good choice for a high school production due to its college setting and loved storyline.

The original Broadway production won an Actors’ Equity Association award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus, as well as receiving countless other nominations. 

19. Matilda the Musical

Matilda the Musical was created in 2010, based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel Matilda.

The movie that followed the book became well-loved when people fell in love with the main characters.

The original London production won a multitude of awards, including Best Musical at many different awards ceremonies.

Everyone knows this story, and it is sure to make an excellent musical for high school.

20. Disenchanted

Disenchanted is a musical fantasy comedy film that has now been adapted into a stage musical.

Based on Richard LaGravense’s story, it is a sequel to the earlier musical Enchanted.

Filled with fantasy, drama, and comedic hits, this musical is great for high school.

It contains some magic and is perfect if you want to go in a less realistic direction.

21. The SpongeBob Musical

The SpongeBob Musical, formerly titled SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, was directed by Tina Landau.

It is based on the well-loved children’s television show SpongeBob SquarePants and features all of the characters that we know and love.

The original Broadway production received twelve Tony nominations and remains one of the most popular musicals among children and teens.

It makes an excellent choice of a musical for high school and allows for fun to be had with the costume and set design!

22. Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can is a musical drama based on the 2002 film of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

It is a well-known story that is sure to be popular with all ages.

The plot is based on a con artist who follows his mischievous life.

It has received at least four Tony nominations for Best Musical and makes for a great high school production.

23. Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday was originally a 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers, and it has been turned into four movie adaptations in 1976, 1995, 2003, and 2008.

It was first produced as a musical in 2016 and features elements of each of the films.

Freaky Friday follows a mother and her teenage daughter who swap bodies and have to put things right before the former’s wedding.

It is a great choice for a high school production, and nearly everyone knows this story!

24. Shrek The Musical

Shrek The Musical is a musical production by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the popular movie Shrek.

The original production began running in 2008 and continued until it reached the United Kingdom in 2014.

The productions have won three awards in their time, namely for costume and set design.

This is an excellent choice of a musical for high school, and allows for some fun to be had with the costumes and character choices!

25. Oliver!

https://youtu.be/gP2vI-xJtg8

Oliver! is a stage musical that is based on Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel Oliver Twist.

It was first produced on the West End in 1960 and continues to run today, making it one of the longest-running Broadway musicals to date.

With awards for its music and set design, everyone in high school knows this story.

The music is catchy, and it’s a great history lesson!

26. Footloose

Footloose is a musical that was first produced in 1998, based on the well–known 1994 film.

It features great dancing, great drama, and great music.

It is a great opportunity for showing off your dancing skills and having some fun!

It contains some deeper themes that are educational for teens and will be sure to make for a great show.

27. Oklahoma!

The duo Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote Oklahoma! as their first-ever musical, and it debuted on Broadway in 1943.

It is based on the 1931 play Green Grow the Lilacs, written by Lynn Riggs.

It is set at the very beginning of the twentieth century and won a Special Tony Award on its 50th Anniversary, including several awards for the impressive music and set design. 

28. Newsies the Musical

Newsies the Musical is a production that began in 2011, based on the 1992 musical movie Newsies.

It is based on the 1899 New York City Newsboys Strike, which was a youthful campaign against the low pay of the paperboy industry.

It is a great choice for a high school production due to its educational and political themes, as well as its singing and choreography opportunities. 

29. The Music Man

The Music Man is a musical that debuted in 1957 on Broadway, written and composed solely by Meredith Willson.

It is an all-boys musical, apart from the lead love interest Marian.

The production won many awards, including Best Musical and the Theatre World Award. 

30. Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof is a well-known musical that is based on the tales of Sholem Aleichem, in particular, Tevye and his Daughters.

It was the first musical in Broadway history to run for over three thousand performances.

It also held the title of the musical with the longest run time for nearly ten years, before it was surpassed by Grease. Still, it was one of the best musicals of its time!

Best Musicals for High School – Final Thoughts

We hope you got some ideas from our list of the thirty best musicals for high school!

These are the top picks when you’re looking for the best choice for production, and there’s lots of variety to choose from.

These musicals will have the audience, laughing, crying, and singing along in no time.

You may also like: Best Broadway Songs of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

best social media platforms for musicians
Previous Story

7 Best Social Media Platforms for Musicians

Best Mariah Carey Songs
Next Story

15 Best Mariah Carey Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists