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'Beauty and the Beast,' presented by Troupe 2980 of Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. (Photo: R. Bruhn/Educational Theatre Association)

‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Almost, Maine’ Top EdTA’s High School Play Survey

EdTA’s 80th annual survey reports on the most-produced high school shows in the 2017-18 school year.

CINCINNATI: The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) has announced the results of its 80th annual high school play survey, which pooled its results from nearly 4,000 schools across the United States. The list reveals the most-produced musicals and plays during the 2017-18 season. Beauty and the Beast was the top musical, Almost, Maine was the top full-length play, and Check Please was the top short play.

Gregory Bossler, EdTA’s director of publications said the annual survey largely confirmed each category’s recent main contenders, while also noting some shifts. “Directors of school theatre programs make choices that reflect a complex balance of their budgets, facilities, talent, and the interests of their communities,” he said in a statement.

Some notable shifts include Beauty and the Beast’s ranking as top musical, as it overtook The Addams Family, the top musical for the past three years. Peter and the Starcatcher made its top 10 debut on the full-length play list just last year and rose to number three this year. Two of the top three short plays were written by Jonathan Rand, Check Please and Check Please: Take 2, the latter of which moved from 10th place last year to third this year.

Statistics found by EdTA from the 2017-18 season of high school theatre performances. (Photo courtesy of EdTA)

The survey also included information about play attendance and theatre programs during the 2017-18 school year. The current average number of U.S. high schools with a theatre programs is 26,154. From the 4,000 high schools who participated in the survey, it found that the schools had an average number of 10 performances, with 37,576 performances in total. It also found that the total average audience was about 1,770 people, which makes the potential audience for high school theatre performances 46.3 million people.

The full lists are below.


  1. Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton)
  2. The Addams Family (Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice)
  3. The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater, Doug Wright)
  4. Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine)
  5. Cinderella (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Douglas Carter Beane)
  6. Shrek (David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori)
  7. Seussical (Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens)
  8. Little Shop of Horrors (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman)
  9. The Wizard of Oz (various)
  10. Annie (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, Thomas Meehan)


  1. Almost, Maine (John Cariani)
  2. Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)
  3. Peter and the Starcatcher (Wayne Barker, Rick Elice)
  4. Alice in Wonderland (various)
  5. Our Town (Thornton Wilder)
  6. 12 Angry Jurors (Reginald Rose)
  7. The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
  8. Arsenic and Old Lace (Joseph Kesselring)
  9. A Christmas Carol (various)
  10. Radium Girls (D.W. Gregory)


  1. Check Please (Jonathan Rand)
  2. 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (Don Zolidis)
  3. Check Please: Take 2 (Jonathan Rand)
  4. This Is a Test (Stephen Gregg)
  5. All in the Timing (David Ives)
  6. The Actor’s Nightmare (Christopher Durang)
  7. The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet (Peter Bloedel)
  8. 15 Reasons Not to Be in a Play (Alan Haehnel)
  9. Aladdin (various)
  10. A Sure Thing (David Ives)

The Educational Theatre Association (edTA) is based in Cincinnati and is an international association with more than 135,000 active members. Its mission is to shape lives through theatre education and it is the home of the International Thespian Society.

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