The Kax Herberger Center for Children + the Arts

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Theatre Units

Musical Theatre


Even though most theatre programs in the secondary schools produce one musical a year (which is often their only production), musical theatre is rarely studied in the classroom. This unit is intended to correct this oversight. Students use the skills associated with musical theatre in school productions, and these projects provide the academic reinforcement to develop those skills. The following projects and lesson plan can be taught by any teacher with basic movement and voice skills and successfully completed by any student regardless of her level of talent.

Skills and Understandings
Students will be able to:


*PBS has a series titled Broadway: The American Musical with excellent project ideas related to nonprofit and for profit theatre at



Projects & Assessments

Triple Threat


U.S. Musical Research


Movie Musicals


Musicals Based on Plays


Songs as Monologues


Song Lyric Scenes


Original Musical Theatre




Who’s who in Musical Theatre?


Description: The students will research the people and tasks necessary in producing a musical.

Objectives: Define the major roles of those involved in creating a musical

Length: Two 45 minute sessions

Materials: Prepared poster board puzzle pieces, research tools

National Theatre Standards: Grades 9-12

Content Standard: Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television and electronic media in the past and the present.

Achievement Standard: Students (b.) identify and compare the lives, works and influence of representative theatre artists in various cultures and historical periods


  1. Before class prepare the puzzle pieces so that each student in the class has one. Each puzzle (a poster board cut into pieces) should be color coded to represent a single musical (e.g., all the puzzle pieces for Wicked should be written in green, those for Into the Woods in red). Each puzzle should have a piece for the name of the musical (Rent), the theatre's name (Nederlander Theatre), the composer's name (Jonathan Larson), the lyricist's name (Jonathan Larson), the book writer's name (Jonathan Larson), the director (Michael Greif), the choreographer (Marlies Yearby), the musical director (Michael Greif), lead actor's names (Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel) plus additional pieces for designers, crew, tech, producers, etc. Decide if you want to write the names of original productions, current productions or a combination of the two.
  2. Pass out a puzzle piece to each student and have him or her find a group by matching the color.


  1. Students work in groups to research what their person did for the musical and what that job entails. They should add their research to their puzzle piece so that they have a complete collage of the musical and those involved.
  2. Share their work with the class.


  1. Create class definitions of each job.
  2. Evaluate group work and final collage.