21 Most Popular Good Musicals for High School To Perform, Full Show, Ranked

If you’re a drama teacher or a student in charge of choosing the next school production, you know that selecting the right show is crucial.

It needs to be entertaining, appropriate for young audiences, and showcase the talents of your students.

We’ve compiled a list of fantastic musicals that check all those boxes and more.

So grab your notebooks and get ready to take some notes – because these shows will indeed have your whole school singing and dancing along!

1. The Sound of Music

“The Sound of Music” is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of audiences for decades.

This beloved musical tells the heartwarming story of Maria, a young woman who becomes a governess to seven children and falls in love with their widowed father, Captain von Trapp.

Set against the backdrop of pre-World War II Austria, the musical features iconic songs such as “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” and “Edelweiss.”

The show is entertaining and carries important messages about family, love, and standing up for what you believe in.

2. Bye Bye Birdie

“Bye Bye Birdie” is a classic musical that has remained popular since its debut in 1960. It tells the story of rockstar Conrad Birdie, who gets drafted into the army.

His manager comes up with a plan to give one lucky fan a goodbye kiss on live television before he leaves.

The show is filled with catchy songs and hilarious moments, making it a perfect choice for high schools to perform.

The characters are relatable, and the plot is easy to follow, making it enjoyable for both performers and audiences.

3. Hairspray

“Hairspray” is a high-energy, feel-good musical that has become a staple for many high schools worldwide.

Based on the 1988 John Waters film, it follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, an optimistic and determined teenager who dreams of dancing on her favorite TV show.

Set against racial tension and body image issues in 1960s Baltimore, “Hairspray” tackles important themes while still being entertaining.

4. Annie

“Annie” is one of the best musicals for high schools to perform. This classic show captures the hearts of audiences with its heartwarming story and catchy songs.

The characters are relatable and endearing, making it easy for students to connect with them.

In addition, the production offers a diverse range of roles, giving every student a chance to shine on stage.

The music is fun and upbeat, allowing energetic performances to keep the audience engaged.

5. Mamma Mia!

“Mamma Mia!” is a fantastic musical that would be perfect for high schools to perform.

This upbeat and feel-good show has catchy songs, a heartwarming story, and plenty of opportunities for students to showcase their singing and dancing talents.

The relatable characters make it easy for young performers to connect with them. Plus, the colorful costumes and lively set design will excite any stage.

6. Fame the Musical

“Fame the Musical” is a well-known and beloved musical that has captured the hearts of audiences for decades.

It follows the story of a group of talented students at a performing arts high school as they navigate their way through the challenges of fame, success, and heartbreak.

The music is upbeat and catchy, with powerful lyrics that resonate with all ages.

With its relatable themes and diverse characters, “Fame” is an excellent choice for high schools looking to put on an exciting and meaningful production.

7. Carrie: The Musical

Carrie: The Musical” is a powerful and emotionally charged adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic horror novel.

Set in a high school in the 1970s, the musical tells the story of Carrie White, a shy and outcast teenager who discovers she has telekinetic powers.

While it may seem like a dark subject matter for a high school production, “Carrie: The Musical” provides essential lessons on empathy and understanding for both performers and audience members.

8. Little Shop of Horrors

“Little Shop of Horrors” is a popular musical staple in high school theater programs.

This comedy follows the story of a meek flower shop employee, Seymour, who discovers a strange and unusual plant that feeds on human blood.

As the plant grows and becomes increasingly demanding, Seymour must decide whether to feed it or risk losing everything he’s worked for.

With catchy songs, clever humor, and unforgettable characters, “Little Shop of Horrors” offers students an opportunity to showcase their acting talents and vocal abilities.

9. Beauty and the Beast

“Beauty and the Beast” is a fantastic choice for high schools to perform.

This classic tale of love and inner beauty has captivated audiences for decades.

The show offers a variety of solid roles for both male and female actors and an ensemble that can showcase their talents through dancing and singing.

The catchy songs and dazzling costumes will entertain the audience while allowing them to reflect on important themes such as acceptance and kindness.

10. Ruthless!

“Ruthless!” is a fantastic musical option for high schools looking to create an exciting and engaging production.

This dark and hilarious show tells the story of a young girl, Tina, who will stop at nothing to get the lead role in her school’s talent show.

With catchy songs, witty dialogue, and dynamic characters, “Ruthless!” provides a perfect opportunity for students to showcase their talent and comedic chops.

11. Little Women

“Little Women” is a beloved classic that has captivated readers and theater-goers for generations.

It tells the heartwarming story of the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – as they navigate through life’s challenges and joys amid the Civil War.

With its strong female leads, timeless themes of love, family, and sisterhood, and catchy tunes that will have audiences humming, it’s no wonder “Little Women” is a popular choice for high school musicals.

12. Into the Woods

“Into the Woods” is a classic and beloved musical that offers high schools the perfect opportunity to showcase their talent and creativity.

This timeless story intertwines several well-known fairy tales and adds a unique twist, making it both familiar and exciting for audiences of all ages.

With its catchy tunes, witty dialogue, and memorable characters, “Into the Woods” provides ample opportunities for students to showcase their singing, dancing, and acting skills.

From the playful Little Red Riding Hood to the charming Cinderella and brave Jack, each character brings something unique to the stage.

13. Matilda

“Matilda” is an enchanting musical that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, and now, high schools have the opportunity to bring this captivating story to life on stage.

Based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl, this musical follows the story of a brilliant young girl with extraordinary powers who uses her wit and cleverness to overcome challenging circumstances.

With catchy songs and lively dance numbers, “Matilda” is an ideal choice for high school productions as it perfectly balances humor, heart, and meaningful messages.

14. Cinderella

High school musicals are a beloved tradition that brings students, parents, and the community together.

When selecting the perfect show for high school performers, “Cinderella” is a timeless classic that never fails to captivate audiences.

This enchanting fairy tale follows the journey of a kind-hearted young woman who overcomes adversity and captures the heart of a prince.

The story’s themes of love, perseverance, and kindness are not only relatable but also serve as valuable lessons for teenagers.

15. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a beloved musical that has captivated audiences for generations.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, this timeless story, follows the adventures of Dorothy and her dog Toto as they find themselves in the magical Land of Oz after a tornado carries them away from their home in Kansas.

Along the way, they meet iconic characters such as the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, who join them on their journey to seek help from the mighty Wizard of Oz.

16. Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins has been a beloved character and a household name for many generations.

This enchanting story of a magical nanny has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

And now, high schools can bring this heartwarming tale to life on stage with their production of Mary Poppins!

This musical is perfect for high school performers as it features an array of captivating songs and dance numbers that will dazzle the cast and the audience.

The story is full of humor, fantasy, and valuable lessons that will resonate with students.

17. Seussical

“Seussical” is an energetic and whimsical musical that high schools will love to perform.

The story follows Horton the Elephant as he tries to protect a tiny world called Whoville while navigating his friendship with the mischievous Cat in the Hat.

With its strong themes of acceptance, loyalty, and imagination, “Seussical” offers essential life lessons for students.

The music ranges from upbeat and sassy numbers to emotional ballads, making it an excellent opportunity for young performers to showcase their singing and dancing talents.

18. The Addams Family

“The Addams Family” musical is a perfect choice for high schools to perform due to its humor, catchy songs, and eclectic characters.

Based on the beloved cartoon and TV series, this show follows the eccentric and spooky Addams family facing a new challenge.

With iconic characters like Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, and Lurch, students will have the opportunity to bring these beloved characters to life on stage.

The music is fun and unique, incorporating elements of tango and rock n’ roll, making it challenging and enjoyable for young performers.

19. Peter Pan

“Peter Pan” is a beloved musical that has captured the hearts and imaginations of audiences for generations.

The story follows the adventures of Peter Pan, a boy who can fly and never grows up, and his encounters with Wendy Darling and her siblings in the magical world of Neverland.

With catchy songs, colorful characters, and unforgettable moments like flying over London’s rooftops, “Peter Pan” is a perfect choice for high schools to perform.

The show offers opportunities for outstanding talent to shine, from lead roles such as Peter Pan and Captain Hook to supporting characters like Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys.

Beyond its fun and whimsical nature, “Peter Pan” also explores themes of friendship, bravery, and the power of imagination.

20. Shrek the Musical

“Shrek the Musical” is a fun and lively show that has become increasingly popular for high schools to perform.

Based on the beloved DreamWorks animated film, this musical follows the story of an unlikely hero, Shrek, who embarks on a journey to rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower.

With his wise-cracking sidekick Donkey and a band of fairy tale misfits, Shrek must battle against the evil Lord Farquaad to save Fiona and ultimately find acceptance and love.

21. The Little Mermaid

“The Little Mermaid” is a popular musical choice for high schools to perform, and it’s not hard to see why.

Based on the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this magical production is full of vibrant costumes, catchy songs, and heartwarming characters that students of all ages can relate to.

From the adventurous and curious mermaid Ariel to the villainous sea witch Ursula, there are plenty of exciting and challenging roles for students to sink their teeth into.


Is it OK to go to a musical alone?

Going to a musical alone might seem daunting initially, but rest assured, it is perfectly acceptable and enjoyable.

While it’s natural to think that a musical should be experienced in the company of others, going solo has its unique benefits.

You can choose your preferred seats without worrying about someone else’s preferences and fully immerse yourself in the performance without any distractions.

Plus, solo attendance allows you to focus solely on enjoying and appreciating the show.

So yes, it’s okay to go to a musical alone! Don’t let fear hold you back from experiencing the magic of live theater. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

What is the most played musical?

The most-played musical of all time is, without a doubt, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

This iconic show has been wowing audiences worldwide for over three decades and has become a staple in the musical theatre scene.

It first premiered in London’s West End in 1986, and since then, it has been staged in over 30 countries, translated into multiple languages, and seen by millions of theatergoers.

Is it OK to sing along at musicals?

In my opinion, it is absolutely OK to sing along at musicals!

Musical theatre is about experiencing the magic of live performance and being transported into a different world.

And what better way to immerse yourself in that world than by singing along with the actors on stage?

It’s a way to show your appreciation for the music and lyrics, and it adds to the overall energy and atmosphere of the show.

Do people sing live in musicals?

Yes, people do sing live in musicals! Unlike prerecorded music played during a movie or TV show, musicals are performed live on stage.

This means the actors and actresses sing and dance in real-time without pre-recorded vocals.

It takes great talent and skill to perform in a musical, as the performers must act, sing, and dance simultaneously.

This creates an immersive experience for the audience, as they witness an authentic performance different from each show.

Singing live in musicals also allows for spontaneity and improvisation, making each production unique and special.

Can you be in a musical and not sing?

Yes, absolutely! Being in a musical does not necessarily mean that one has to sing.

While singing is a crucial element of most musicals, many roles and responsibilities are involved in creating a successful show.

Depending on the production, there are opportunities for actors to play non-singing roles, such as dancers, ensemble members, or even lead actors who do not have solos.

Additionally, various behind-the-scenes roles are involved in creating a musical, such as directing, choreography, set design, and more.


There are countless good musicals for high schools to perform, each with its own unique story, characters, and songs.

No matter which musical you choose, it is essential to have a dedicated and talented group of students who are passionate about performing.

With hard work and determination, your high school musical can indeed be an unforgettable experience for all involved. Happy performing!

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