Saturday, March 21, 2009

ETA's annual play survey of high school performances

Every year, the Educational Theatre Association takes a look at which plays are playing on high school stages all across America.

For playwrights, it's an interesting list--it lets us see how much modern work is filtering its way down into the mainstream educational world. In terms of full-length plays, the answer is not much. I'm glad that they also offer a list of the top ten short plays performed by high schools (most are large-cast, half-hour comedies)--here you'll see work by various contemporary writers. Jonathan Rand's Hard Candy and Check, Please routinely occupy the top slots. Allison Williams' play Drop Dead, Juliet! is new to the list and shows that Lindsay Price's TheatreFolk publishing company is doing a good job marketing work by its playwrights. Notice that Playscripts publishes half of the plays on this top ten list.

I'll paste in the top ten short plays list here:

The top ten short plays
1. Check, Please, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
2. Hard Candy, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
3. (tie) The Actor’s Nightmare, by Christopher Durang (Dramatists Play Service)
3. (tie) 15 Reasons Not to Be in a Play, by Alan Haehnel (Playscripts, Inc.)
5. Check, Please: Take 2, by Jonathan Rand (Playscripts, Inc.)
6. This Is a Test, by Stephen Gregg (Dramatic Publishing)
7. Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, by William Mastrosimone (
8. The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet, by Peter Bloedel (Playscripts, Inc.)
9. (tie) Drop Dead, Juliet!, by Allison Williams (Theatrefolk)
9. (tie) Words, Words, Words, by David Ives (Dramatists Play Service)

I have quite a few scripts published for use by high school students, but most are short duets. None have cracked this list, but I wouldn't mind if it happened someday, that's for sure.

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