ACCORDING TO EdTA’s annual school play survey, The Addams Family, Clue, and Check Please received top billing for the most produced musical, full-length play, and short play, respectively, during the 2019-20 school year cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year since 1938, EdTA’s play survey provides a snapshot of what resonates with teens, their teachers, families, and communities. This year’s survey will always have an asterisk indicating the incomplete theatre season following school closures in March. The survey took that into account, asking about both performed shows and the impact of cancellations on theatre programs.

The Addams Family retained its number one slot for most-produced musical, followed by Mamma Mia!, which debuted at second place in the 2019 survey. Joining the top 10 for the first time was Matilda.

In its second year of amateur licensing, Clue: On Stage became the most-produced full-length play, shifting Almost, Maine — which ranked first for five years — to second place. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has placed in the top 10 for 31 years, retained third place. New to the list were Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The works of Jonathan Rand and Don Zolidis continue to dominate the short play category with Rand’s Check Please once again topping the list, joined by Check Please: Take 2 and Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit. Two works by Zolidis also stayed on the list: 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse and The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon. The top 10 also included a new entry: The Internet Is Distract — Oh Look a Kitten! by Ian McWethy.

This year, nearly 3,300 schools responded to the survey. Since 2015, National Public Radio has kept an interactive database incorporating all the EdTA Play Survey results, which can be found at

The Spring Woods (Houston, Texas) High School production of The Addams Family.
The Spring Woods (Houston, Texas) High School production of The Addams Family. Photo by Susan Doremus.

Full-length musicals

1. The Addams Family (Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice), TRW
2. Mamma Mia! (Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Catherine Johnson), MTI
3. Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton), MTI
4. Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine), MTI
5. The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater, Doug Wright), MTI
6. Seussical (Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Eric Idle), MTI
7. (tie.) Little Shop of Horrors (Howard Ashman, Alan Menken), MTI
7. (tie.) Matilda (Dennis Kelly, Tim Minchin), MTI
9. The Wizard of Oz (various), Concord Theatricals
10. Cinderella (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Douglas Carter Beane), Concord Theatricals

The North Penn (Lansdale, Pennsylvania) High School production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The North Penn (Lansdale, Pennsylvania) High School production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Susan Doremus.

Full-length plays

1. Clue: On Stage (Jonathan Lynn, Sandy Rustin, Hunter Foster, Eric Price), Playscripts
2. Almost, Maine (John Cariani), Dramatists Play Service
3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare), public domain
4. Peter and the Starcatcher (Wayne Barker, Rick Elice), MTI
5. Radium Girls (D.W. Gregory), Dramatic Publishing
6. 12 Angry Jurors (Sherman L. Sergel, Reginald Rose), Dramatic Publishing
7. She Kills Monsters (Qui Nguyen), Concord Theatricals
8. Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic (Matt Cox), Concord Theatricals
9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Simon Stephens, Mark Haddon), Dramatists Play Service
10. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare), public domain


1. Check Please (Jonathan Rand), Playscripts
2. 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (Don Zolidis), Playscripts
3. Tracks (Peter Tarsi), Dramatic Publishing
4. (tie.) Check Please: Take 2 (Jonathan Rand), Playscripts
4. (tie.) The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (Don Zolidis), Playscripts
6. (tie.) The Actor’s Nightmare (Christopher Durang), Dramatists Play Service
6. (tie.) Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit (Jonathan Rand), Playscripts
6. (tie.) The Internet Is Distract — Oh Look a Kitten! (Ian McWethy), Playscripts
9. Our Place (Terry Wayne Gabbard), Dramatic Publishing
10. The Lottery (Brainerd Duffield, Shirley Jackson), Dramatic Publishing

View the 2019 annual play survey results.

Out of 3,297 responding schools: 85% of schools canceled performances, 32% canceled 5 or more performances with an estimated total audience lost of 2,614,115. 28% lost more than 50% of their total budget. 38% will have to scale back productions for 2020-21
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