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New Community Theater Play Recommendations

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Play Suggestions
Forum Discription: Need help finding a show that's right for your theater? Ask here.
Printed Date: 6/22/24 at 1:09pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: New Community Theater Play Recommendations
Posted By: ChrissieB
Subject: New Community Theater Play Recommendations
Date Posted: 9/02/08 at 7:18pm
I'm trying to start a community theater. I have interest, but I really would like to get started in putting together some performances. I'm looking for a small-cast play, something simple and fun, with a limited amount of set work.

Any suggestions?

Posted By: tristanrobin
Date Posted: 9/03/08 at 3:18pm
Well, the smallest cast limited set plays I can come up with are "Travelin' Show" by Jane Martin and "Krapp's Last Tape" by Samuel Beckett (both have one male) and The Belle of Amherst (one female).

For a bit larger cast, LOL, "Driving Lessons" by Paula Vogel (3 Characters); "Doubt" (4 Characters); "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" by Christopher Durang (4 Characters).

Geesh - LOL - there are so many to choose from!

It might help if you gave us an idea of the genre or type play you're interested in.

Posted By: Lazy Bee
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 4:46am
To add to tristranrobin's questions, what sort of audience are you trying to attract? 
The following are "Family Shows" - aimed at a mixed audience of adults and kids, and on the light side - so not appropriate if your target audience is purely adult:- - Three Musketeers for a cast of three people (2M, 1F). Very little scenery as the conceit is that a travelling company has just arrived for the latest date of their tour. - Sherlock's Excellent Adventure a Holmes spoof for a cast of four (3M, 1F)

Lazy Bee Scripts - read complete play scripts on-line

Posted By: KEB54
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 11:34am
I'm involved with a newer CT. Year 1 they did a variety show. Year 2 they did 2 shows with all kid casts.  Year 3 they started doing  shows that had lots of kids as well as a few adults: Annie with lots of extra orphans;  then Joseph with a huge children chorus, then Oliver ...  After that they were "off to the races", ie they could do shows with mainly adults.
The thing is they built their base through kids.  Kids wanted to do shows.  The parents got involved. The community wanted to support it.  After a few years the parents were hooked and wanted to do shows of their own.
They still try to do a big musical every summer that has a lot of kids.  It brings in big crowds and develops future talent and supporters. 
So you might want to consider larger kid casts in your early years.  It is especially nice if you have a play that has the opportunity for many parts like townspeople, merry men, etc. so you can cast all the kids. 


Posted By: belle
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 2:28pm
We started with adults since our directors did not really want to work with children.  It takes special talents to work with kids.  I agree it can build a theatre, but it may not be the direction you want to take at the beginning.
We started with family-friendly shows--Bad Year for Tomatoes, Maid to Order (Tom Taggart), God's Favorite, Subject to Change, Play On, Soapy Murder Case, Exit the Body, Steel Magnolias, female Odd Couple, Love by the Bolt (Feydeau), June Groom, Rumors,  Love is Murder, The Butler Did it (and Did it Again), Greater Tuna (using several actors in 2 or 3 roles each) to name a few.  Anything by Pat Cook, Rick Abbot, Tim Kelly has well defined characters and easy sets. 
Lend me a Tenor, Moon Over Broadway, Inspecting Carol and Noises Off are wonderful but more challenging.  We grew into them.
Jack Sharkey writes good farce but his plays are a bit off color/sexual for kids in the audience.
You can't go wrong with Harvey and Arsenic and Old Lace.  They are both men heavy. (We've never done either You Can't Take it With You or The Man Who Came to Dinner--too silly and too dated respectively.)  Other men heavy shows are the See How They Run series--set in England so there are accents.  We did them and the big classic musicals eventually.
Early on we did some melodramas in a tent for the local fair.  These were one acts but silly fun.
Later we did some reviews and finally musicals, some with children and some without.  We now have a director who will work with children so we do more kids shows.  Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, One Foot in Heaven, and I Remember Mama are straight plays that had children and adults and led to some parents getting involved.   A Christmas Carol also has some children.  These have LARGE casts.  We tend to do shows with both kids and adults. 
We had (and continue to have) many more women than men so all along we have tried to choose shows that have lots of opportunities for women.
We have done some small musicals with both adults and children:  Country Christmas Carol (Dramatic or Dramatists) and Tom Sawyer.
We did dinner theatre in the beginning with a local church.  They got the crowd to come to the meal, and we provided the play for so much a person. They also paid for the performance space, advertising, and royalty. We also had them help with the set building at load in and with strike.  Our risk was low.   We didn't make much money, but performing has always been our goal rather than making money.
My story about working with another local group in dinner theatre is that when I proposed it to a group--rural fire fighters whose most recent fund raising activity--a garage sale--had made $100.  They agreed to work with us, but one of the guys asked if he could just come to the meal and skip the play if he paid full price for his ticket!  (He had never been to live theatre obviously and was sure he wouldn't like it.)  The happy ending is that he later became one of our biggest supporters.  We worked with the group for several years, and we both made good money each time.
Enjoy the ride.  If you make some missteps, just learn from them.

Posted By: ChrissieB
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 4:51pm
I come from a small town that is growing rapidly. There is plenty here to occupy children and I would love to incorporate them into group, but my main focus (and current active participants) are adults aged 20 and older. We're going to wait a little while for a musical but I think the general interest is in a comedy or something light. We've had requests for dinner shows and there is also a strong interest in murder mysteries.

Posted By: ChrissieB
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 5:02pm
Also, I should mention we've taken into consideration a play called They're None of them Perfect, by Sophie Kerr, since the author was born and raised (and her home is a landmark) right smack in the middle of my town. However, as amusing as the show may be (and being only 6 woman and the option of one man), I don't feel it will appeal to a very broad group. We do plan on performing it and keeping it practiced for special events, but I need something that could appeal to most ages.

Posted By: tristanrobin
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 8:30pm
Get a collection of Agatha Christie's plays - make yourself a pot of tea - and settle in for a weekend of wonderful mystery plays.

They're a tad dated - but even that adds to their fun...and the who-dunnit mystery aspects never weaken! You can also put together a very slick looking show with authentic period clothing and hairstyles...Christie shows almost always look good.

They tend to have smaller casts - and one set. And usually the titles are known to audiences.

Posted By: Ogreking4
Date Posted: 9/04/08 at 9:07pm
You might try "Star-spangled girl" by Neil Simon.  2M, 1W.  Quite funny and lesser known.  The ending is a bit flat, but the otherwise the comedy is very good.  Old Neil brings in people just with his name...

Good luck!


Posted By: jayzehr
Date Posted: 9/05/08 at 12:35am
Originally posted by ChrissieB

. We've had requests for dinner shows.

Which (as someone a lot more experienced than me once said) combines the worst of the restaurant business with the worst of the theater business.

Posted By: actor98
Date Posted: 9/07/08 at 1:55am
You may want to try The Dining Room by A. R. Gurney. Small cast 3 M 3 F, basically all you need is a dining room table. Very funny with some really touching scenes as well. We did it to great response.

Acting is the art of speaking in a loud clear voice and the avoidance of bumping into the furniture-Alfred Lunt

Posted By: Chris
Date Posted: 9/19/08 at 1:36pm
Originally posted by ChrissieB

I'm trying to start a community theater. I have interest, but I really would like to get started in putting together some performances. I'm looking for a small-cast play, something simple and fun, with a limited amount of set work.

Any suggestions?
What do you mean by small-cast?

The Dramatic Publishing Co. -

Posted By: mrlloyd23
Date Posted: 10/02/08 at 2:19pm
Our Town is a good choice.  Lots of parts and you can include teenagers, adults, and children.  Also since it's a simple set and all the props are pantomimed it keeps costs low.  It's always a crowd pleaser.
You could always consider writing your own script as well.  I worked with a community theatre a few years ago we wrote a three part soap opera- it included lots of local colour.  It was quite low on the scale of artisitic merit, but the community ate it up.

Posted By: John Luzaich
Date Posted: 4/09/09 at 12:17pm
ChrissyB, take a look at Death By Chocolate, by Paul Freed.


Posted By: Doc Theatre
Date Posted: 4/14/09 at 7:50am
Here is a great play suggestion for everyone - especially in these times! We did it and it paid for itself in the first three days! It even served to fund a rather expensive show now scheduled for October.  The Faery's Kiss is a romantic comedy, low budget, cast of eight (more if you want extras). The reviews and audience reactions were wonderful - many even saw it twice duing its two-week run.  We even may reprise it in a year or so as a fundraiser!
The royalties are low and it comes with lots of extras.  I've copied and pasted the synopsis below:
'The Faery's Kiss'  is a modern stageplay in the old folktale tradition!
Thomas is the new owner of a rural coastal cottage. He inherited the house from a grandfather he never knew. Everyone says the place is haunted.  He finds that the place in inhabited by a woman named Fay Sprite. She appears to Thomas as an attractive adult woman who is naturally mischievous, sexy and has a delightful personality... but she is not the girl of his dreams! She may look normal but she is a powerful Faery - and she doesn't want him there! Usually only he can see her. She keeps his head in a spin while he is trying to fit in with the townspeople of a new country. Also, she is trying to protect a secret that others are trying to steal - knowing this new owner may be duped by them. The story has been extremely well researched in Faery Lore and Legend. The tale has all the traditional elements of Celtic folktales: love, magic, elements of the bittersweet, mystery, humour and good triumphing over evil - all the things that have made storytelling so famous for a millennium!  Goto: -

Posted By: GoWithTheFlo
Date Posted: 6/13/09 at 7:49pm
You might consider this: -

Don Bledsoe
Go With The Flo Productions

Posted By: Jo Norland
Date Posted: 6/14/09 at 1:28am
Check out my one-act, 'Mothers Have Nine Lives', which can be viewed free on - .
Nine very different women explore the highs and lows of modern motherhood. Cast -- 3-12 (it works well with each actor taking on multiple roles and with adults playing the roles of children).   It premiered off Broadway, and has had a number of commercially successful productions since
Good luck making-theatre-happen!!

Posted By: WrenCharlie
Date Posted: 6/29/09 at 1:33pm
Trust me on this one:  Check into doing the show "Dearly Beloved."  It is written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.  It is a Southern comedy full of laughs and - other community theatres will echo this -- it is a box office it.  There are also two sequels, "Christmas Belles" and "Southern Hospitality." I've directed both and they were phenomenal hits.
Learn more about the shows at -

Posted By: Dough Boy
Date Posted: 6/29/09 at 2:58pm
To add to WrenCharlie,  Don't forget Dearly Departed which is the prequel...or original.  which ever one you want to call it to Dearly Beloved.  Fuuny too. 

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