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20 Plays & Musicals for Spooky Season

20 Plays & Musicals for Spooky Season

A chill runs through the air, the scent of cinnamon is everywhere, you sense someone (or something) is behind you, but no, that would be silly… wouldn’t it? Rejoice, theatre makers, it’s Spooky Season!

Concord Theatricals loves a good spooky story. From ghost tales to thrillers, to horror-comedy, we have everything you need to give your audience a restless sleep. Check out these 20 titles to find your perfect Halloween show.

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1) The 39 Steps

This fast-paced whodunit might not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of spooky stories, but The 39 Steps was adapted from the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. Hitchcock, a master of cinematic horror and suspense, created a masterpiece thriller in his original film. When Richard Hannay meets Annabella Smith, she tells him she is a spy. But when she is found murdered in his apartment, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” pursues him as he becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. In Patrick Barlow and John Buchan’s stage adaptation, this expert thriller is paired with physical comedy and wacky hijinks which makes this show the perfect Halloween treat for a wide audience.

Cast: 3m, 1f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audiences: Ages 12 and up

Bottom Line: An inviting introduction into the world of Alfred Hitchcock and a riotous comedy sure to delight your audiences and showcase the comedic chops of your theatre group.

2) American Psycho

This musical adaptation about the original designer serial-killer has enough horror to keep your audiences on the edge of their seat, while also considering the metaphorical hunting ground that is the world of Wall Street. The 80s musical style takes us through American Psycho’s story of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome banker with impeccable taste, designer clothes, and dark, unquenchable desires. After murdering his co-worker, Patrick’s mask of sanity begins to slip as he spirals out of control and into a world of sex and slashing.

Cast: 8m, 8f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 16 and up

Bottom Line: A graphic, campy, and ultimately funny musical perfect for fans of true crime and Hannibal Lecter. Great star-vehicle for a leading man.

3) And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie’s dark masterpiece And Then There Were None is a sure thing when it comes to Halloween shows. Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island, and all that they have in common is a dark and wicked past. Each has been marked for murder, and as the group is cut off from the mainland by a storm, the bloodbath begins. One by one, the ten strangers are murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme. This classic thriller has unfaltering tension sure to keep you guessing to the very end. For added fun, two endings of the story are available for licensing, so you can choose the tale you want to tell.

Cast: 8m, 3f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: With expert structure and dark material, this thriller is a sure-fire hit. While audiences are sure to feel a growing sense of dread throughout, this is still appropriate for the whole family.

4) Blithe Spirit

Can being haunted really be funny? Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward offers a side-splitting farce about being haunted by not one, but two wives. The re-married, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine is being haunted (literally) by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, after visiting the “happy medium” Madame Arcati. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed, and joins Elvira on the other side, haunting the hapless Charles in perpetuity as two “blithe spirits.” This beloved comedy is a much-revived hit of Broadway and the West End and is sure to be no less loved on your stage.

Cast: 2m, 5f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 10 and up

Bottom Line: With ghosts and mediums, this play offers the occult themes you crave while offering a lighter take on the afterlife. An excellent star vehicle for a leading actress.

5) Blood Play

The critically lauded writers of The Debate Society once again bring us a dark, comedic thriller, this time taking aim at post-WWII verve and pre-adolescent disquiet. On a tranquil suburban evening in the early 1950s, the kids are away on a camping trip and a string of coincidences leads to a spontaneous grown-up party in the basement of a new ranch house. Cocktails are served, raucous games are played, new friends are made, but there is much happening that no one is talking about. And something is stirring underground. Blood Play is an unsettling story that will leave your audiences stirred by its vulnerability.

Cast: 3m, 3f
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: This disquieting play with a deft sense of dread leaves a lot to be explored thematically. An excellent ensemble piece, perfect for an off-beat theatre company.

6) Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical

From the co-creator of South Park and The Book of Mormon comes a horrifyingly true Colorado musical. Cannibal! The Musical tells the true story of the only person to be convicted of cannibalism in the United States: Alfred Packer. The sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, Alfred tells us his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Pry as he awaits his execution. Full of funny, toe-tapping numbers, this is a twistedly hilarious musical about a true American crime story.

Cast: 10m, 2f
Run Time: 105 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: This spoof musical is an excellent choice for any fan of true crime and South Park. Easy to produce on a shoe-string budget and perfect for late-night viewings. Includes intense adult themes and strong language.

7) Clue: The Musical

The popular board game comes to life in this fun-filled musical that brings the world’s best-known suspects to life and invites the audience to help solve the mystery: who killed Mr. Boddy, in what room, and with what weapon? With 216 possibilities to choose from, Clue: The Musical is the fun of a murder-mystery party with tuneful numbers.

Cast: 5m, 3f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: A perfect Halloween show for the whole family, this is an interactive night of theatre with the intrigue of an Agatha Christie and the comedy of a Noël Coward.

8) Devil Boys From Beyond

This hilarious, all-male spoof of 1950s sci-fi B-movies is perfect for the company that wants to expand beyond ghosts and vampires this Halloween. Devil Boys From Beyond follows ace reporter Mattie Van Buren as she is dispatched to Florida in search of her next Pulitzer. She is accompanied by her ex-husband and staff photographer Gregory as they investigate the landing of a UFO. As old flames are reignited and family secrets revealed, Mattie discovers that the local matrons have taken up with Plutopian hunks and are now pregnant, and the fear of alien domination takes over. This drag extravaganza is a riotous night at the theatre.

Cast: 4m, 4f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: This Fringe and off-Broadway favorite is an excellent show for anyone looking to do something off the beaten path. A great way to incorporate your local drag queens and revel in some sci-fi.

9) Die, Mommie, Die!

This comic melodrama evokes the 1960s movie thrillers that featured such aging cinematic icons as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Lana Turner. Ex-pop singer, Angela Andrews, is trapped in a hateful marriage. Desperate the find happiness with her younger lover, Angela murders her husband with the aid of a poisoned suppository. But Angela’s children plot to murder their mother in revenge, but is Angela even their mother? Die, Mommie, Die! Is a perfect blend of nostalgia and sharp humor, perfect for fans of Mommie Dearest and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Cast: 3m, 3f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: This parody of 1960’s thrillers is a unique way to spice up your Halloween line-up. At once campy and witty, this is an easy play to produce with a shoestring budget.

10) Dracula

Based on the novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula is an all-time classic. Lucy Seward, whose father is the doctor in charge of an English sanitorium, has been attacked by some mysterious illness. Dr. Van Helsing, a specialist, believes that the girl is the victim of a vampire, a sort of ghost that goes about at night sucking blood from unsuspecting people. The vampire is at last found to be a certain Count Dracula, whose ghost is finally laid to rest in a striking and novel manner. A sure thing when it comes to Halloween: who doesn’t love a good vampire tale?

Cast: 6m, 2f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: This classic horror story retains its ability to thrill and terrify, all while remaining appropriate for all ages.

11) The Honeycomb Trilogy

Mac Rogers, a master of sci-fi thrillers like The Message and Steal the Stars brings you an electrifying trilogy of plays. The Honeycomb Trilogy, as suggested, is broken into three full-length parts: Advance Man, Blast Radius, and Sovereign. Though these plays are a part of the same universe, each play stands on its own. They can be performed alone or together for a repertory lineup, but each part is a thrilling and sincere sci-fi drama that indulges the want for the spectacular while grappling with the real human emotions that come with the end of the world.

Advance Man: Part One follows Astronaut Bill Cooke after he returns home from the first manned mission to Mars, bearing secret and illicit cargo. Now his wife and teenage children are all that stand between Bill and a shocking action that will alter not only their lives but also all of humanity.

Cast: 5m, 5f
Run Time: More than 120 minutes

Blast Radius: Part Two picks up twelve years after the events of Advance Man, and follows a sister and a brother at mortal odds in an Earth radically changed by an alien occupation. Ronnie leads a desperate human insurgency that might have finally found the weapon that will turn the tide – at a terrible cost. Abbie, who has allied himself with the conquering alien race, may have found a chilling solution that will end human resistance for good. Action-packed and emotionally charged, Blast Radius is the story of a family and a world at war with itself.

Cast: 5m, 7f
Run Time: More than 120 minutes

Sovereign: Part Three finally picks up eight years after the events of Blast Radius and completes the story of the sister and brother. The alien race that has ruled the Earth has fallen to Ronnie’s rebellion, with the few remaining survivors on the run. The human race is slowly rebuilding all over the world. Ronnie is now the battle-scarred governor of what used to be Florida; everyone’s hero and no one’s friend. Until one night, when Ronnie’s soldiers smuggle into her office the greatest war criminal in the world: her brother Abbie, the foremost human ally of the extraterrestrials. When dawn comes, the people of Ronnie’s settlement will certainly discover him and rip him to pieces. As Ronnie grapples with an awful decision about what to do with the man she hates and loves in equal measure, Abbie makes one last desperate move, forcing a confrontation that will forever change the future of the human race. Unfolding over two suspenseful real-time acts, Sovereign brings The Honeycomb Trilogy to a wrenching and unforgettable climax.

Cast: 5m, 4f
Run Time: 120 minutes

Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: These hard-hitting thrillers are perfect for those who want to explore the more serious side of sci-fi.

12) Hookman

This compelling, existential slasher-comedy by Lauren Yee gives you everything you want from classics like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street with universal themes of growing up. Hookman follows Lexi, a college freshman, as she deals with a weird roommate, homesickness, oh and a hook-handed serial killer slashing girls’ throats. But if Lexi can discover what really happened to her high school best friend on that car ride to the movies, everything will be okay.

Cast: 1m, 5f
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up

Bottom Line: A bloody, fun time that explores the fears of young women as they adjust to the adult world in the structure of a campy slasher. Appropriate for audiences 14 and up.

13) Let the Right One In

An enchanting, one-of-a-kind play that is at once a brutal vampire myth and a touching coming-of-age love story. Adapted from the best-selling novel and award-winning film of the same name, Jack Thorne’s Let the Right One In follows Oskar, a lonely, bullied teenage boy living with his mother on a housing estate at the edge of town. The town itself is rocked by a spate of sinister killings occurring in the woods, but this doesn’t stop Oskar from wanting to play outside. Eli is the young girl who has just moved in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. Sensing in each other a kindred spirit, the two become devoted friends. What Oskar doesn’t know is that Eli has been a teenager for a very long time.

Cast: 6m, 3f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: This incredible play, while masterfully adapted, is not for the faint of heart. The innocent, young love that permeates this story makes it a touching exploration of human emotion, but plays in tandem with truly horrifying moments of brutality. If you want to really scare your audience, this is the perfect play.

14) Marjorie Prime

Explore the future of technology with the Pulitzer Prize Finalist Marjorie Prime. It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 85-year-old Marjorie — a jumble of disparate, fading memories — has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance?

Cast: 2m, 2f
Run Time: 75 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: In this richly spare, wondrous play, Jordan Harrison explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits — if any — of what technology can replace. For those looking to be a little more philosophical this All Hallows’ Eve.

15) The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie does it again in this incredibly suspenseful thriller. A group of strangers are stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm when someone is murdered. The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage. Others are a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He no sooner arrives when the jurist is killed. Two down, and one to go. To get to the rationale of the murderer's pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons.

Cast: 5m, 3f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: Agatha Christie knows no ends to spinning a thrilling tale. The Mousetrap is the world’s longest running play, and with good reason. A hair-raising, suspenseful night of theatre that will delight your audiences and cast alike.

16) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

This dynamic, ensemble-based retelling of the famous Washington Irving story is a captivating twist on a classic. In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Cast: 2m, 1f, 7m or f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 14 and up

Bottom Line: A clever, funny, but ultimately spooky retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is sure to be a Halloween hit. This play offers the best of Gothic fiction, while also adding contemporary commentary. Perfect for a strong ensemble of players.

17) The Rocky Horror Show

You can’t go wrong with the quintessential Halloween classic The Rocky Horror Show. Sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."

Cast: 7m, 3f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 18 and up

Bottom Line: Hundreds of theatre groups gather every year to put on their annual production of The Rocky Horror Show complete with audience sass. With cult hits like “Damnit, Janet” and “Time Warp,” you are sure to leave your audience shivering with antici…………pation.

18) Ruthless!

This spoof musical about a child star brings the innocence of Shirley Temple to the deviousness of Damien. Eight-year-old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she will do anything to win the part in her school musical. But “anything” includes murdering the leading lady.

Cast: 1m, 6f
Run Time: 105 minutes
Target Audience: Ages 11 and up

Bottom Line: This hilarious musical will keep your audiences guessing, while delighting them with twisted humor. Poking fun at the “idyllic” 50s lifestyle for women and girls, Ruthless! Is scored with a classic Broadway sound which only enhances the witty undercurrent of this musical. Wonderful star vehicle for several actresses.

19) Starmites

A crowd-pleasing family musical is a sci-fi fantasy show with a big heart and big laughs. Shy teenager Eleanor has built a fantasy world around the sci-fi comic books she collects. To the distress of her mother, she has learned to avoid the pains of growing up by escaping into fantasy, imagining herself to be an unrecognized superhero. When she is mysteriously thrust into the Website World of her favorite comic book, Eleanor is drawn into the conflict between Shak Graa, Arch-Creep of Chaos, and the Starmites, guardian angels of Innerspace. She turns out to be the legendary Milady, teen superhero who must lead the Mites on their Quest to save the Galaxy. Standing in her way are a colorful assortment of Bowie-esque villains including the delightfully flamboyant Diva, Queen of Innerspace and her Banshee warriors - Destiny's Childish sirens with a ravenous hunger for Boy Bands. With the help of hip-hop heartthrob Space Punk, Eleanor learns to own up to the inner power she has always denied, defeating her foes and conquering the evil force of the "Cruelty."

Cast: 5m, 6f
Run Time: 120 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: This charming sci-fi musical comes in three versions: Pro, High School, and Lite, making it the perfect family-friendly science-fiction musical for an array of performers.

20) Zombie Prom

If you ever wanted a zombie romance set in the 1950s, this hilarious and touching musical is the perfect fit. Set at Enrico Fermi High, where the law is laid down by a zany, tyrannical principal, pretty senior Toffee has fallen for the class bad boy. Family pressure forces her to end the romance, and he charges off on his motorcycle to the nuclear waste dump. He returns glowing and determined to reclaim Toffee's heart. He still wants to graduate, but most of all he wants to take Toffee to the prom. The principal orders him to drop dead while a scandal reporter seizes on him as the freak du jour. History comes to his rescue while a tuneful selection of original songs in the style of 50s hits keeps the action rocking across the stage.

Cast: 5m, 5f
Run Time: 90 minutes
Target Audience: Appropriate for all ages

Bottom Line: For fans of 50s musicals and all things undead, Zombie Prom cannot be beat. It also comes in the Atomic Edition, so it’s perfect for a variety of performers. Nuclear existentialism meets 50s beats for a guaranteed Halloween hit.

 

To explore these and more Spooky Plays, click here. 

(photo credit)

 

 

 

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