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School Play

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"25 kids in food suits, forgetting their lines. I'll definitely be at work."
Calvin's Dad, Calvin and Hobbes

Amateur theater productions are the most realistic excuse to put characters in unusual costumes. If the play has any romantic overtones at all, the most important casting will not be arbitrary. For that matter, even if the play has no romantic overtones, the most important casting will not be arbitrary. Usually, people will get parts in the play that match their roles in the larger show, or this will be inverted and they will get parts that are horrible matches. The most hapless character will likely play an inanimate object. Either way, expect much Bad "Bad Acting" and Stylistic Suck.

In High School sitcoms and anime, the play is usually Romeo and Juliet, with the main characters cast in the lead roles. This is especially likely in a She Is Not My Girlfriend situation. The balcony scene is always shown, and the specific line "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" is always uttered. (Expect the writers not to realize that "wherefore" means "why" and not "where".) Once in a while, the main plot is a less-lethal parallel of the tragedy of the play. All this is probably because the general public knows only a handful of actual plays. Also, William Shakespeare plays are Public Domain and therefore are free to show.

The plot of these episodes usually revolves around the characters struggling to memorize their lines, trying to manoeuvre themselves into the lead roles, complaining/boasting about the roles they did get, or working up the confidence for a kiss scene. A common theme is One-Line Anxiety, where a character puts way too much importance on a comparatively minor role. This may be an egocentric character believing their bit part is the star of the show, or a less confident character dealing with Performance Anxiety about remembering a mere one or two lines. Sometimes there'll be drama if one actor is Out Sick and another one has to sub for them.

Also, despite real life high school plays generally being extracurricular activities rather than required participation (as grade and middle school plays usually are), you can expect every major character on the show to have some kind of role (even ones who wouldn't logically have any interest in theater whatsoever). Expect at least one big, meaty lunk to suddenly find some talent for acting and be especially memorable in his role. Meanwhile, a more theatrically inclined character will probably come off as a Large Ham.

A School Play featuring younger children will most likely be the Nativity. Common tropes include a central character being cast as a Bit Character like "third shepherd" or, worse, an inanimate object, and resent the fact that the Alpha Bitch and The Ace got the starring roles as always. The Cheerful Child may get a solo speech at some point which will leave the audience overcome with Cuteness Overload. There is of course generally No Budget, so parents may have to make the costume themselves; expect shoddy Rummage Sale Rejects if Mom does it and mortifying awfulness if it's left up to Dad. The kids will stumble through their lines awkwardly, and at least one will either (a) cry, (b) wet themselves, or (c) throw up. Corpsing is likely to ensue.

Often a play (school or otherwise) will be such a disaster that the audience, usually including an important patron or theatre critic, will mistake it for a comedy, resulting in an unexpected success. If the badness is intentional in an attempt to get (back) at something, you may end up with Springtime for Hitler. The Law of Conservation of Detail dictates that things that go according to plan don't merit much of a story, and Finagle's Law promises that something will fail anyway, so The Show Must Go Wrong. Sometimes parents expect it to be so bad that they don't even bother going — compare Missed the Recital.

An episode of a show with a school play often will contain behavior on the part of the actors that will be particularly aggravating to actual high school performers, or at least those in drama club. Actions such as spontaneously altering lines and blocking, breaking character on stage, and totally abandoning the script will be treated as humorous and acceptable. In reality, any decent director would have the heads of an actor who intentionally did this since it is likely to throw off the rest of the cast and cause great damage to the performance...of course, the joke is that they don't have a decent director.

More than not Real Life averts this trope. School plays are often staged with help from or by community theaters. Professional child adaptions are used and while the actors are children the stagecraft is handled by adults, often including their parents and grandparents. As an example of how far this can go, both Mary Poppins Jr. and Peter Pan Jr. include rental of a wired flying harness as part of the licensing with Disney.

Depending on the genre, look out for All Part of the Show. Compare Amateur Film-Making Plot, where the characters put on a different type of show. Contrast Set Behind the Scenes, for stories about the making of professional plays or movies. Compare and Contrast Prisoner Performance, where amateur live theater is performed by prison inmates. Might overlap with Hey, Let's Put on a Show if it's a fundraiser.

Subtrope of Show Within a Show.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A.I. Love You, the class performs a play of The Little Mermaid and Thirty thinks that the story of the mermaid, the human princess, and the prince is a parallel to the triangle relationship she is currently stuck in.
  • The Anthem of the Heart's main plot revolves around making one of these; specifically, a school musical. Takes an unplanned turn when Naruse has a depressive episode and runs away on the day of the show, but the class gets someone to replace her character, and she ultimately comes back and does an impromptu performance walking through the audience to the stage.
  • In Assassination Classroom chapter 125/episode 35, Class 3-E puts on their own take on Momotarō.
  • Bloom Into You has the student council put on an original play titled "I Only Know You," written by one of the main character's friends. The story is about an amnesiac high school girl who hears three very different people's perspectives on her (as a reliable honor student, an Aloof Big Sister or a secretly vulnerable individual), and must decide which facet of herself is the "real" her. The play itself is very significant on two different levels. Touko, the Student Council President, is desperate for the play to be a success, as part of her efforts to live up to her older sister Mio, who was also in the same position, but died in an accident before the play could put on, resulting in the school tradition being shelved. It also ties into Touko's struggle to keep up her façade as an ideal student like her sister was, especially after Touko meets one of Mio's colleagues on the student council, who has a very different perspective of Mio than Touko did.
  • The school play in the Blue Drop anime, featuring Hagino and Mari as the leads and written by Michi, seems to be so important to Hagino that she pretty much endangers the fate of the world as we know to it to perform it. You'd think that the rebellious commander of an alien battleship has more important things on her mind.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • Sakura's brother Touya's class perform in "Cinderella"... with the genders of actors and characters reversed, and a few other character tweaks. Touya is Cinderella, while his best friend Yukito is a "magical can of mackerel", and in the anime a girl named Youko is the Prince Charming. Sakura's class performs Sleeping Beauty with supposedly random casting that includes a fair amount of gender reversing with Sakura as the Prince Charming, Syaoran as the Princess, and Yamazaki as either the Evil Fairy (manga) or the Queen Mother (anime).
    • The trope is also invoked in the second movie (sans the crossdressing and gender reversion), when Naoko writes a short play for the School Festival. Sakura is cast as the Princess and Yamazaki is supposed to play her Prince Charming, but thanks to the Nothing messing around, Yamazaki is injured and Syaoran ends up as his replacement.
  • Case Closed: A good part of the Desperate Revival arc is centered on a play where Ran is cast as a princess who is rescued by a Black Knight who conceals his identity with a Cool Mask. This coincides with Conan temporarily recovering from his de-agement - and Shinichi now desperately wants to play the Black Knight, so he can both dispell Ran's suspicions about his Secret Identity as Conan and, more importantly, he can give her a proper Love Confession, if not a marriage proposal. Since Status Quo Is God and Shinichi and Ran are practically Star-Crossed Lovers, it ends in tears.
  • The final episode of Cat's Eye revolves around a play Ai wrote about the titular group of thieves for her school's drama club. Her older sisters use the play as an opportunity to steal a diamond from a famous actress that Ai convinced to take part in the production.
  • The first season of CLANNAD has the main characters helping Nagisa revive the Drama Club. At the end of the season, Nagisa does a one-woman play with the rest of the cast as her tech crew. The play itself is a connection to a set of scenes throughout the season that seemed to not have anything to do with the plot at all...
  • The end credits of the Daily Lives of High School Boys anime feature most of the characters participating in a bizarre, fantasy-inspired school play. Motoharu plays a prince who kills almost everyone with a sword, and is cheered on by his female love interest (played by a male student whose only costume item is a wig) and a bear. Like in any school play, the costumes vary in quality. Some students just wear their regular uniforms, but they also have a pretty high quality bear suit.
  • D.N.Angel has the characters putting on a play based on an fairytale unique to that world. It is a love story... but all the actors are the male students, providing a source of Ho Yay for Daisuke and Satoshi.
  • Doki Doki School Hours has Mika's students put on a version of "Snow White", with gay Kudo playing the lead and his oblivious crush Suetake as the prince. It goes surprisingly well, despite the fact that Cross Dresser Seki is very unhappy that he couldn't play the lead role.
  • In Fairy Tail, Team Natsu plays a stage play which doesn't even have a plot. The audience is first confused, but then they love the play when when Lucy's dress is burnt by Natsu and finally cut in pieces by Erza.
  • This trope is rather pivotal in Figure 17 Tsubasa & Hikaru. The play features Tsubasa and Hikaru as the leads, thus providing the shy Tsubasa with a way of expressing her feelings. Made even more poignant since Shou, Tsubasa's love interest, is the author of the script and dies shortly after it is enacted. It is also a little special as anime school plays go: one, because it is an original work, and two, because we get to see the whole play — albeit between performance and rehearsal, rather than all in one go... Plus we get to see Tsubasa playing a Dark Magical Girl, sort of.
  • Episode 3 of FLCL revolves around Naota getting dragged into playing the title character in his school's production of "Puss in Boots". It turns out the class president rigged the votes for casting because she has something of a crush on Naota.
  • In Fruits Basket, the main characters' homeroom class decides to put on a production of Cinderella for the School Festival. After some class voting, the roles of Cinderella and the Prince go to disinterested Goth Hanajima and violent tough-guy Kyo, respectively; meanwhile, Minami from the Prince Yuki Fanclub arranges it so that All-Loving Heroine Tohru is cast as the Evil Stepsister as revenge for being close to Yuki, and Yuki himself insists that he not be cast as the he ends up being the Fairy Godmother. Needless to say, the production quickly goes wildly (and hilariously) off the rails due to how miscast everyone is.
  • Glass Mask has several of these, although all are variations that don't quite match the trope. The first instance sparks Maya's acting dreams, and involves her playing a comic role tragically without changing the script at all. It is still a big hit with the audience, although the teacher in charge was not happy.
  • Here is Greenwood has a School Festival episode where Shun participates in a play we don't get to see except for a tiny snippet at the very end of the episode. The play? The Castle of Cagliostro, with Shun as Clarisse.
  • His and Her Circumstances features the production of a play based off a script written by one of the characters, titled "Steel Snow". The actual play itself is found only in the manga as the anime ended before these chapters could be animated.
  • Inuyasha plays the trope for all the comedy it's worth as part of the School Festival episode. Kagome and her clueless admirer Hojo-kun are cast as romantic leads... but Inu-Yasha, not grasping that it's a play, takes exception, forcing Kagome to ad-lib wildly. The whole thing gets thoroughly derailed when a monster shows up to get blown away (along with part of the school) by Inu-Yasha's BFS. The audience, naturally, assumes it's all special effects.
  • In chapter 24 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Kaguya and Fujiwara are revealed to be assisting the drama club with their production of "Women of Love and Hate". The actual play is never seen during the events of the main series (though Karen and Erika are shown watching it in their spin-off), but Kaguya takes the chance to spook Ishigami and Shirogane by coming into the Student Council room covered in stage blood and wielding a rubber knife.
  • In K-On!, the girly Mio plays Romeo and the tomboyish Ritsu plays Juliett (and Yui plays Tree G). That's Playing Against Type.
  • Love Hina does a very odd variation of Journey to the West.
  • Maburaho: Shikimori Kazuki has to take over the role of the male lead in a school play, after the special effects become a little too realistic. The female lead is his childhood friend with a crush on him.
  • Mahoraba: The characters are "actors" in the children's story written by Shiratori Ryuushi.
  • Maison Ikkoku has a version of this, where the Puppet Club puts on a puppet play for preschoolers, with everything going perfectly. Until Godai's love interest is drafted into helping out, and squeezes into the booth with him, prompting him to bungle all his lines. The kids enjoy it even more.
  • Marginal Prince has the main characters perform a play about the legend that lays behind the founder of their school for the island's cultural festival. Of course, since it's an all-boys school, female roles are played by the guys as well (in this case Mikhail, Henri eventually dropped out of his princess role). However, the play itself isn't really in focus anymore at some point when Joshua has an BSOD on stage and the attempted assassination of him begins to surface.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch does, fittingly, "The Little Mermaid" in Episode 29.
  • My Hero Academia: During the School Festival Arc, Class 1-B puts on a "completely original" play titled Romeo, Juliet and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Return of the Kingsnote . We only get to see a little of it, but the crowd's reaction implies that it was so wildly all over the place that it was hilarious.
  • My Love Story!!: In kindergarten, Takeo and Suna played the titular characters in The Blue Ogre and the Red Ogre. Suna doesn't remember it but Takeo does. Takeo's and Suna's characters are compared to the Blue Ogre and Red Ogre.
  • My Monster Secret has "Space Kaguya", a version of " Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" that's mostly a thinly-disguised autobiographical tale about the class's resident alien Nagisa Aizawa, which allows her to share her experiences on Earth without breaking The Masquerade. Since she's scheduled to return to her home planet in the near future, her classmates end up breaking down near the end of the play and say their goodbyes to her on stage, which only makes it look that much more realistic.
  • Nisekoi:
    • Tsundere Chitoge (forced into faking a relationship with male lead Raku as the premise of the whole story), pouting over dismissive words of her supposedly-fake boyfriend earlier, passes the natural offer of co-starring with him in the Romeo and Juliet play of their class and keeps her distance, but ultimately has to participate without any rehearsal. The play quickly becomes ad-libbed and spoofed, most of Nisekoi major characters get to make stage appearance in costumes, with fat justifications of their roles, bringing their off-stage feelings towards "Romeo" into the fray. Most of the set is destroyed by the end, but the play is well-received.
    • As consolation for the benched "Juliet"/Can't Spit It Out/mutual-love-interest-to-Raku, the two privately enact a scene from the play after the festival. And Raku botches his lines.
  • Otoboku - Maidens Are Falling For Me:
  • Pita-Ten has Kotarou's class perform Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, with Takashi and Mitarai fighting each other for the role of Kaguya-hime.
  • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon episode 93 revolves around Ash and his classmates being in a play where Lillie is the lead actress. Halfway through the episode, Jessie decides to join in because she wants to be a part of the play as well. The episode contains a lot of Shout Outs to other works including Revolutionary Girl Utena, Ranma 1/2, and Star Wars.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Futari wa Pretty Cure does Romeo and Juliet with the main characters. At least, that's what the play starts out as — between the director's edits and an attack by Juna during the performance that forces the Cures to transform and fight him, the end result is almost completely unrecognizable.
    • In Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star, the main characters and two schoolmates play a story with paper doll. The story is based of the friendship of one of those students with a kid who will move from the town, so the story is based of reality.
    • On the other side of things, a late episode of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has the main heroines put on a puppet play for a bunch of kindergartners... of the Pretty Cures. They end up dressing up their fairies as the Cures and use dinosaur puppets to represent a Monster of the Week... which eventually becomes the Monster of the Week.
    • The fifth episode of Smile Pretty Cure! has them doing a puppet show of "Snow White".
  • Ranma ˝ does a version of Romeo and Juliet with Akane as Juliet and just about every teenaged male in the cast (plus Dirty Old Man Panty Thief Happosai) battling it out on-stage to be Romeo... until Ranma gives up and goes out as an alternate Juliet. Akane (who had always played Romeo in grade-school and desperately wanted to be Juliet this time) is not amused.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: the Shadow Play Girls, who serve as the Greek Chorus of the series, put on a play that provides some vital and disturbing exposition.
  • In episode 56 of Sailor Moon, the girls volunteer to participate in a "Snow White" play alongside Mamoru, who is playing the prince. Each one of them, including the villain An, ends up wanting the title role for herself for one or another reason, so Hilarity Ensues. This episode is also the source of the Anime meme of "talent = big boobs", thanks to Bowdlerization.
  • School Rumble has the characters act in an original play although as most things in a comedy anime, not everything goes as planned. The play is a combination of Sleeping Beauty and Seven Samurai, with a Little Red Riding Hood thrown in (manga only).
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • Episode 29, features Natsumi and Koyuki starring in a production of Peter Pan. When Natsumi gets stage fright, it gives Keroro a chance to curry her favor by helping out (and an excuse to dress like Chigusa Tsukikage from Glass Mask).
    • Episode 184, does Romeo and Juliet in Natsumi's school play. At least, in a turn of events, Giroro lands the role of Juliet, with Natsumi taking on the part of Romeo.
  • Sweet Blue Flowers revolves around several plays (Wuthering Heights among them), which function as a linking pin between two all-girl high schools, since drama club members scout actors at each other's institutes.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, it's mentioned that Kaneki and Hide took part in one as children. When revisiting the memory during his torture, Kaneki notes that he was forced into the lead role against his will. Hide mentions the same play to Touka later on, explaining to her that Kaneki turned out to be an incredible actor capable of completely disappearing into a role.
  • Tomo-chan Is a Girl! sees the class putting on a performance of "Cinderella": Misuzu gets cast as Cinderella because she was out with a cold and couldn't protest, Tomo naturally ends up as the handsome prince, Carol plays the Wicked Stepmother, and Junichiro plays a tree. Despite the hilarious miscasting, the play ends up going quite well.
  • In Urusei Yatsura chapter 57, the play is Sugata Sanshirō at first, but then Ataru, in the role of Sun Wukong, intrudes into the play, and it becomes a Massive Multiplayer Crossover with Journey to the West.
  • In Wandering Son for the School Festivals the protagonists did school plays twice in a row. One was a genderbent version of Romeo and Juliet and the other was based on a previous manga by the mangaka where everyone suddenly switched sexes.
  • For a school festival in You and Me Masaki's class does a play of Cinderella. Masaki plays a mouse but ends up messing her lines. This results in Chizuru comforting her.

    Asian Animation 
  • Season 2 episode 7 of Happy Heroes is about the heroes performing a play for their school where a princess is turned into a swan by an evil owl wizard. Big M. attempts to sabotage the play by making a machine to scatter banana peels everywhere and make everyone trip.

    Comic Books 
  • Drama (Raina Telgemeier): The plot revolves around a middle school production of "Moon Over Mississippi", an Affectionate Parody of "Moonlight and Magnolias" fiction. While the full plot is never revealed, it’s clearly a Star-Crossed Lovers take between a southern belle and a Union soldier. However, it’s also quite a Troubled Production, from tensions between the cast and stage crew to a improperly functioning cannon.
  • One story in Sunnyville Stories has the Sunnyville Junior Theater Club put on a play of Cinderella for the town. Hilarity Ensues during the performance.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The jealous understudy locks the star of a Holliday College play in a closet on the night of the first performance.

    Fan Works 
  • A subplot of One Year involves Yu Narukami joining his old school's drama club. The club puts on Romeo and Juliet, and Yu befriends the Club President, Sayuri, as she struggles to balance her duties to the club, her personal desires, and her relationships with her best friend Satomi and her aunt (who happens to be the club advisor).
  • Family Guy Fanon had an episode in Season 11 called "A Play on Turds", where Meg and Chris' high school did the play Romeo And Juliet. And Chris gets the role of Romeo in the school play just so he can kiss Anna. Which becomes a problem when he finds out Anna ended up becoming the understudy of an ugly girl named Ellen.
  • In chapter 8 part 8 of SlifofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfic Having fun while you can (set after Gakuen Basara), Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura's son Masa's class hold a rendition of Peter Pan during Basara Academy's School Festival.

    Films — Animation 
  • Paranorman: Norman's class does a play about the hanging of a Witch Hunt victim.
  • In the Novelization of Turning Red, Mei borrows a megaphone from her teacher under the pretense that she needs it for a school play.
  • Zootopia opens with a young Judy Hopps performing in a play about how predator and prey evolve from their primal states.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family:
    • It's not really school, but Addams Family Values features a summer camp play about Thanksgiving in which Wednesday bashes racism on Native Americans and takes her revenge on the Alpha Bitch.
    • The first film has Wednesday and Pugsley's performance of a scene from Hamlet, which leaves the audience drenched in fake blood.
  • Almost Angels features the boys performing the operetta "Tales From Old Vienna." Things begin to go wrong when one of the lead boys has a voice break, preventing him from being able to sing his part. Because The Show Must Go On and because the boys don't want the choirmaster to know about the voice break (as it means leaving the choir) they attempt to dub his part. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Big Bird in Japan: Big Bird visits a school where an adaptation of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is being performed. Later in the film, it turns out that Big Bird's traveling companion is the princess from that legend, making the play an example of Crystal-Ball Scheduling.
  • In Big Daddy, the five-year-old boy Julian is given the role of Benjamin Franklin in a Founding Fathers school play. Sonny helps him rehearse the play during the montage scene.
  • In The Black Balloon (2007), Charlie's school puts on a play about Noah's Ark, with Charlie and his friend Russell as monkeys.
  • One of the central plot points in Carry On Teacher. The production is of Romeo and Juliet, but with musical incidental music. It becomes a complete disaster.
  • The end of Charlie Bartlett features a truly cheesy school play entitled "Hell Comes With Your Own Locker", written by a depressed student. The main purpose this seems to serve is to show Kat Dennings's character singing and to segue into a montage that appears to show what happens to the characters in the future.
  • In A Child Is Waiting, the kids act in a Thanksgiving play, with Reuben as one of the Indians. Reuben's father is in the audience. He was planning to transfer him to another school, but when he sees him reciting a poem and reacting positively to the audience's applause, he decides to leave him where he is.
  • Dead Poets Society: A community production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Neil wants to be in it more than anything.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid features the scene from the book where Greg is cast as a tree in a production of The Wizard of Oz. He finds the song he has to sing embarrassing, so he refuses to sing it, and throws apples at his bully Patty (who's playing Dorothy) instead.
  • The Gallows revolves around a play of the same name which ends with the main character being hanged. A 1993 performance resulted in the accidental death of the lead actor, who is now rumored to haunt the school. For some reason they decide to put the play on again 20 years later...
  • In Get Over It, they play A Midsummer Night's Dream, strangely mirroring the film's story itself. Oh, and that's a movie about students playing a play wherein a there is another play.
  • Hamlet 2 is about a school production of the eponymous play.
  • High School Musical: The franchise is focused on school plays. Much of the drama of the first film is due to the main characters wanting to sing in a play but feeling pressured not to because they're an athlete and an academic.
  • Hook opens at an elementary school's performance of Peter Pan, in which protagonist Peter Banning's daughter Maggie is playing Wendy. As the onstage Wendy and Peter have their first conversation, Banning can't bring himself to pay attention because he's just received another business call on his cell phone. This example averts several typical conventions of the trope: The kids are unpolished and obviously reciting dialogue, and there's a teacher nearby quietly reading it along with them in case they forget something. The sets are relatively simple, with Neverland a painted backdrop, and the only music is provided by a piano. Later in the film, after it's been established that Banning is the actual Peter Pan who chose to grow up and forgot his past in the process, he has a Flashback to his first meeting with Wendy, which uses almost exactly the same dialogue as the corresponding scene in the play did but plays much differently.
  • I Want You Back: Logan's middle-schoolers are putting on a production of Little Shop of Horrors, and Emma volunteers to help with rehearsals in order to seduce him. However, being forced to stand in for Audrey during the dress rehearsal proves to be cathartic for her.
  • Lady Bird: Lady Bird and her friends and classmates put on a production of Merrily We Roll Along. It goes off without a hitch, but the production of The Tempest months later becomes snagged when the school’s drama teacher checks into a mental hospital for suicidal thoughts stemming from losing his son.
  • Love Actually has the traditional British Nativity play, and parodies the practice of shoehorning every kid who wants a part into the production.
    Daisy: [I'm] first lobster.
    Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
  • The climax of Mädchen in Uniform happens after the girls do a play of Don Carlo. They drink alcoholic punch in the after-party and Manuela ends up getting drunk. She confesses her love for her female teacher and is punished for that, along with being drunk.
  • Nativity! and its sequels are about this, especially the Nativity version, from the teachers' perspective.
  • ''Prom Wars': There is a completion where the Lancaster play is a scale naval battle reenactment and for the Selby entry, Percy plays one half of a couple in an Awful Wedded Life. Percy accidentally calls his "wife" by his (real world) ex-girlfriend Diana's name. After an awkward pause the actor playing his wife works that into the play by asking if Diana is another one of his mistresses and getting mad that he can't remember her name, to the judge's delight.
  • In Rushmore, the nebbishy lead protagonist, obsessed with extracurricular clubs and activities (including plays), ties up various plot ends with a hilariously elaborately staged play set during the Vietnam War.
  • Simon Birch: Like the book that it's loosely adapted from, a Nativity play featuring the main cast serves as part of the plot, with the title character being cast as the baby Jesus due to his small height. The play repeatedly goes awry, with the turtle doves being portrayed by literal winged turtle props, kids forgetting their lines, and Simon grabbing Marjorie's breasts when she leans over him, which results in a fight breaking out. Simon's parents ground him after the play as a result of his actions.
  • The Sixth Sense: Cole Sear appears in a school play about/as King Arthur near the end.
  • Discussed in Splash, as Allen Bauer drunkenly admits that all he wants to do is "meet a woman, and fall in love, and get married, and have a kid, and see him play a tooth in the school play."
  • Teen Wolf: Scott joins the school play because he's got a crush on the girl playing the female lead. The play takes place in the South during the Civil War, with the girl playing a plantation owner and Scott playing a Union officer (very badly).
  • A very grim version appears in Testament: there has been a nuclear war, and everyone in a small Californian town is slowly dying from radiation sickness as the local kids put on a production of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
  • Done with the leads in A Walk to Remember. Jamie (Mandy Moore) undergoes such a transformation on the stage that Landon forgets his lines, and basically loses his composure.
  • The whole plot on Were the World Mine revolves around a staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

  • In Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's The Agony of Alice, Alice plays a sentient bush who grabs the heroine, played by The Rival, Pamela. When Pamela steps on Alice's foot (accidentally or not), Alice grabs Pamela's hair, prompting an unscripted outburst to mutual embarrassment. Arguably worse for Alice, who [[Humiliation Conga can't.
  • In Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace, the title character wants to play Peter in her school production of Peter Pan, and despite some of her classmates saying she can't because she's a girl and because she's black, she gets the part and does a great job. In a later book in the series,Encore, Grace!, Grace and her classmates put on a production of Sleeping Beauty.
  • Andy Griffiths' Just Series: In one story, Andy is cast as Romeo in a school play and Danny as Juliet, which causes Andy to want to bail out of being in the play, since he doesn't want to kiss a guy. He tries Playing Sick and Getting Sick Deliberately but both fail.
  • In The Baby-Sitters Club, one of the Super Specials is about the club members and their babysitting charges appearing in a musical adaptation of Peter Pan.
  • Bang On The Door: The second Drama Queen book, "Stage Struck", has her being the star of her school's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She actually falls asleep near the ending; she doesn't even wake up when Cheeky Boy, as Prince Charming, kisses her (on the hand), but she does when Cheeky Boy yells "Wake up, Snow White!". And it's very embarrassing for her.
  • The Berenstain Bears
    • The Berenstain Bears Get Stage Fright has Sister Bear dealing with the titular problem when she's cast as the heroine of "Rumpelstiltskin"; specifically, she's afraid she'll forget her lines. Instead, she manages to save the show by helping her overconfident brother when he forgets his lines. This book was adapted into an episode of the Saturday-Morning Cartoon in The '80s.
    • One of the chapter books features the cubs doing Romeo and Juliet but not for the usual reasons. Rather than the author wanting to force characters together (in fact, Brother and Bonnie, the characters who end up in the titular roles, are already secretly dating but the secret is only from Papa and Squire Grizzly), the play was to convince the adults, who have gotten caught up in the ancient grudge between the Bear and Grizzly families, to cease fighting as the cubs have all gotten sick of the trouble the feud is causing. And save for a minor moment of Cousin Fred getting caught onstage opening night touching up the scenery (which proceeds some very needed Tension-Cutting Laughter), the play goes off without a single hitch.
    • Hilariously one of the Christian-oriented picture books features Romeo and Juliet in an entirely different context with the "nerds" and "cool kids" feuding, with Brother and Sister as mediators, and no one being pleased when Ferdy, king of the nerds, and Queenie, queen of the cool kids are cast as the title characters. A fight actually breaks out at one point and Brother and Sister have to play peacemakers.
    • One book involves the cubs doing a play of the Nativity.
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The notorious Herdmans, six troublemaking kids who have just started attending Sunday school, are the only volunteers to play Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, and the Angel of the Lord (none of the other kids want to risk their wrath by volunteering themselves) in the church's Nativity pageant. They don't actually know the Nativity story, and that's the start of the trouble. However, owing in part to their disadvantaged lifestyles coloring how they approach their roles, they wind up unintentionally making the actual show more meaningful than anyone had reason to suspect.
  • Several Chalet School books feature a Christmas play or pantomime, which often serves as a conclusion (such as in Highland Twins) or a plot device (Adrienne at the Chalet School, where Janet Henderson's dress catches fire during the play and Adrienne saves her, ending the tensions between them).
  • In Chrysanthemum, the music teacher Mrs. Twinkle assigns everyone parts in the class musical. Victoria, Jo, and Rita get important roles as the Fairy Queen, Butterfly Princess, and Pixie Messenger, but Chrysanthemum is cast as a daisy. When they laugh at her for it and make fun of her name, Mrs. Twinkle reveals to them that she's also named after a flower, and that her name is long, too. While the actual musical is not described in detail, the epilogue notes that Chrysanthemum was absolutely perfect as a daisy, while Victoria forgot all her lines.
  • In the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, three plays take place over the course of ten books. Book four has Peter Pan, book seven has Macbeth, and book ten has Romeo and Juliet. Georgia is forced to participate in all of the productions in some way. She works backstage for Peter Pan, and actually is cast in speaking roles for Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In the first book, Greg joins the school production of The Wizard of Oz after his mother makes him try out. He tries out to be a tree for two reasons: he won't have to sing, and because Patty Farrell (a girl he has a grudge against) is playing Dorothy, he'll get to throw apples at her. However, the director ends up significantly altering the play to the point where Greg and his fellow trees not only don't throw apples at Dorothy, but they sing an original song to her. During the actual performance, no one remembers their lines (because the director whispered their lines to them at every rehearsal) and the actor playing Toto goes as far as reading comic books while onstage. When Manny calls Greg an embarrassing nickname while he's onstage, Greg actually ad-libs a line to refer to another tree by the nickname. Finally, the trees get cold feet about singing their song and throw apples at Dorothy instead, causing the play to be shut down.
  • Ellen and Otis: In Ellen Tebbits, Ellen's class puts on a production of The Pied Piper of Hamelin with a Bowdlerised ending: in their version, the Pied Piper brings the children home and the kids get to do a maypole dance.
  • A variation of it occurs in Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte. the Broadcasting Club's School Festival activity includes a radio drama (in the novel), or a Dramatic Reading drama (in the anime). Kobayashi wanted to adapt a version of what they experienced in Love Me Magically! (in other words, the entirety of the first novel) for it, but the club president shoots it down, calling it a blatant "public display of affection". Eventually, they used a modified script of the one used two years ago.
  • Harriet the Spy: At one point, Harriet and her schoolmates are in a Christmas play, cast as Anthropomorphic Food. Harriet hates being an onion.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: For the School Festival, it's mentioned that Koizumi's class is putting on a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
  • In the first Henry Huggins book, Henry's school is having a Christmas play about some little kid who dreamed about having adventures in Santa's place, and Henry is cast as the main character, which he detests because he dislikes All Just a Dream stories.
  • The Junie B. Jones book Shipwrecked centers around the titular character's class doing a play on Christopher Columbus, where she ends up playing one of the boats. During the play, she gets annoyed when her rival (playing another boat) tries to inch ahead of her and ends up crashing into her; the kid playing Columbus improvises by pretending to swim to America.
  • In one of the Just William stories, William's school is visited by a Shakespeare expert who gives a "Shakespeare for dummies" lecture (which is severely disrupted by William's enthusiastic incomprehension), after which the school prepares to put on its own performance of a Shakespeare play. William loves the idea, tells all his friends that he will be in the leading role, and is not at all happy to be told that he has been given an insignificant non-speaking part, so he comes up with a plan of his own. The resulting performance ends up consisting entirely of William, in a costume largely of his own devising, charging around the stage determinedly and inaccurately reciting the "To be or not to be" speech from Hamlet, pursued by the rest of the cast and the teachers desperately and unsuccessfully trying to stop him. The common "mistaken for comedy" ending of the trope is played with: William's family are embarrassed, and the Shakespeare expert announces that he'll never return to the school, but the rest of the audience is amused, the character William is trying to impress mistakes it for a farce, and the headmaster had been secretly looking for a way to stop the expert from returning anyway...
  • Lolita. Control Freak Humbert Humbert compromises on this as an acceptable form of recreation for Dolores "Lolita" Haze, unaware that the playwright is a fellow pedophile seeking to steal Dolores away from him.
  • Maria Watches Over Us:
    • Lillian Jogakuen (an all-girls school) and Hanadera Gakuen (an all-boys school) put on a joint production of "Cinderella".
    • Later on, another play is put on by both schools, though this time around it's Torikaebaya Monogatari with Yumi and Yuki in the lead roles. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Antonia Forest's The Marlow Series, three out of the four school novels have a school play as an important plot point: Lawrie Marlow, the youngest of the Marlow children, is discovered to have an astonishing talent for acting in her form's performance of The Prince and the Pauper in the first novel, in the second novel she plays the starring role in her school's nativity play (not who you think: it's St Stephen), and in the third novel a plot strand turns on her being given the part of Ariel and wanting to do Caliban in The Tempest. In the last novel in the series, Lawrie plays a monkey in another child's school play.
  • In the teen novel My Life and Other Catastrophes, the school play is busted by the police so they can arrest the younger brother of a local drug dealer, who is in the play. A critic in the audience mistakes it for interactive theater.
  • My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, as I Expected: During the School Festival, a musical based on The Little Prince was made with Saika Totsuka as the Little Prince and Hayato Hayama as the Aviator. The play quickly becomes Ho Yay because of her director: the Yaoi Fangirl Hina Ebina.
  • The One In The Middle Is The Green Kangaroo, a book written by Judy Blume, is about a kid who has the main part in a school play.
  • In Judy Blume's Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, the Tarrytown summer camp program that Sheila and Libby were part of is hosting a production of Peter Pan. Libby wants to get the role of Wendy, but instead is given that of Captain Hook, which she despises but makes the best use of and even gets applause for performing well. Besides Maryann Markman as Wendy being unable to recite her lines, another problem with the production is that the archway kept falling to the side, Sheila and her friend Mouse have to hold it up the entire time.
  • Planet Tad:
    • Tad is forced to help his sister Sophie prepare for her role in the school play of Hansel & Gretel, then ends up playing Hansel because he knows all the lines when the kid who was supposed to play the role had the stomach flu, in exchange for a Lord of the Rings trilogy extended edition DVD boxset.
    • In Return to Planet Tad, Tad is forced to participating in a school play in order to raise a bad grade, but ends up not being able to perform when he himself gets sick.
  • In Penrod, Penrod is (unwillingly) in a dramatic performance written by one of the local adults with the overall theme of "The Children's Round Table". It's in verse, and the few samples we get are as dismal as might be expected, but that's only part of Penrod's problem... he's much more concerned that his mother and sister used his father's old long johns as the base of the costume, and Penrod considers them still eminently recognizable in the final result. He goes on a desperate last minute search for something to cover them up with before he's forced to parade across the stage in his dad's underwear.
  • The Nativity Play A Prayer for Owen Meany is a pivotal scene, with ties to the symbolism of the rest of the book. Johnny is cast as Joseph, which he references throughout, saying "I was a Joseph", a person sidelined while important things happen to everyone else. Messianic Archetype Owen is cast as the baby Jesus, which was supposed to be a nonspeaking role, but he surprises everyone (except for the audience who think it's All Part of the Show) with a stern, almost supernatural outburst casting his sacreligious parents out of the church.
  • In Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, Laura Beauchamp organizes theatrical clubs at every school and religious institute in Putnam's Landing, with her 60-year-old husband Willard inevitably among the amateurs enlisted to act in her productions. The arrival of a Nike missile base in Putnam's Landing gives her a new casting idea for her planned Fourth of July pageant, Sweet Land of Liberty, a three-act reenactment of the landing of the Redcoats on Ram's Head Beach in 1778. With the Minutemen played by the New Delinquents of Webster High School and the Redcoats played by members of the 992nd Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion only a few years older, unrehearsed fighting ensues.
  • Ramona Quimby: In "Ramona and Her Father", Ramona is cast as a sheep in the Christmas play, but due to money issues from Mr. Quimby's layoff, she has to wear white pyjamas with sheep ears sewn on instead of a proper sheep costume.
  • Reuhurinteen ala-aste:
    • One story is about a play the kids put on, "Punakutri ja Miljoonäärimummo" ("Red-Locks and the Millionaire Grandma"), which is an amalgamation of various fairy tales. Unlike how the trope usually plays, the kids seem to be good at acting and the audience loves it.
    • In another story, Turpo-Tuupa puts on an one-person play where he plays a detective, which is a lot more Stylistic Suck than the previous play, and is interrupted by Vippe scaring Turpo-Tuupa.
  • In The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, Adrian helps organise his school's (very political and non-traditional) nativity play, and stars as Joseph opposite Pandora as Mary.
    Driving home in the car my father said, "That was the funniest Nativity play I have ever seen. Whose idea was it to turn it into a comedy?"
    I didn't reply. It wasn't a comedy.
  • Sesame Street books:
    • In "Super Grover and the Three Bears", the third chapter of The Exciting Adventures of Super Grover, Grover attends Prairie Dawn's school play of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Prairie is cast as Goldilocks, Ernie is cast as Mama Bear, Bert is cast as Papa Bear, and Herry is cast as Baby Bear. While watching the play, Grover thinks that the costumed Ernie, Bert, and Herry are real bears trying to attack Prairie, so he transforms into Super Grover and takes them to the zoo.
    • In The Little Red Hen, Prairie Dawn hosts a school play of the titular story. Bert is cast as the titular Little Red Hen, Ernie is cast as the Dog, Grover is cast as the Sheep, Herry is cast as the Pig, and Cookie Monster is cast as the Cow.
    • In The Four Seasons, based on a TV Series sketch from 1978, Prairie Dawn hosts a school play of the Four Seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, in that respective order. Bert, Herry, Ernie, and Cookie sing about these respective seasons as Grover provides the rain, snow, and leaves.
  • In Sophie McKenzie's young adult novel SweetFreak, the main character, Carey, is due to play Maria in her school's production of The Sound of Music, but is dropped after she is (wrongly) accused of being behind an online hate campaign against her best friend on the grounds that it would be "inappropriate" for her to be in the show under the circumstances. Though she is eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, she is not reinstated, presumably due to lack of time to relearn her part; instead, she has to settle for advising her replacement on a couple of scenes and watching the dress rehearsal. Towards the end, however, she joins an out-of-school drama group and prepares to audition for their next production; the outcome of that audition is not revealed, but, if she was given a part, it would have gone some way towards making up for her earlier disappointment.
  • In his commentary for The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore mentions an occasion when Hogwarts tried to put on a school play — an adaptation of the wizarding fairytale, The Fountain of Fair Fortune. The play ended badly, due in part to the actors supposed to be in love breaking up just before the performance, resulting in a ban on any future productions.
  • In the first Timmy Failure book, Timmy lies to his mother about his missing Segway by saying it's being used as a prop in a school play. To keep the lie convincing, he ends up hastily writing and producing a play from scratch. As such, the "play" ends up being held in Molly Moskins' backyard instead of at school, which predictably makes his mother suspicious (Timmy claims that the ceiling tiles in the school auditorium fell down and that Molly was a prima donna).
  • Karen Kingsbury's novel Unlocked has its teenage heroine Ella cast as the heroine in what might be her high school's final production (due to budget cuts), the stage adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The events of the story are reflected in the rekindling of her toddlerhood friendship with Holden, a noncommunicative case of Hollywood Autism who is the brunt of bullying by such people as her Jerk Jock boyfriend Jake, and who is responding to the music coming from the rehearsal room. Arranging for him to sit in on rehearsals, she ultimately helps Holden become far more communicative (freeing him from his "curse" of autism), and he plays the Beast's transformed self in the show's final scene.
  • In The Wizard of London, the Harton School puts on a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream while spending the summer at the country estate of a patron to the school.
  • A Wolf in the Soul has main character Greg playing the Cowardly Lion in a Hebrew-language production of The Wizard of Oz, as part of its demonstration that he was an animal long before he ever became a werewolf.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On According to Jim, the girls' school put up a Thanksgiving play which Andy rewrites to represent the truth:
    Ruby: Welcome to the New World!
    Gracie: Please don't kill us and steal our land.
  • America's Funniest Home Videos: Real Life amateur play and dance recital bloopers are prime fodder. Common blunders include: flying harnesses that don't work properly (usually in school productions of Peter Pan, but there's also been a Superman turned upside down and a Jesus Christ who accidentally gets his underwear revealed to the crowd), misbehaving dogs (usually Annie's Sandy), dancers colliding with each other, falling scenery and/or setpieces, wigs and costumes falling off or apart, and many, many people falling off or through the stage.
  • In the first episode of Annika (2021), Morgan, who is playing in The Tempest, delivers a Screw This, I'm Outta Here to the audience and stalks off. Annika then hits a fire alarm so students will have something else to talk about.
  • Arrested Development's school play episode features Maeby and Steve Holt (Steve Holt!) as Benedick and Beatrice, respectively, in Much Ado About Nothing.
  • On Big Fat Quiz of the Year, the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School put on a play or two depicting the news of the year, and on the 'decades' and 'everything' specials they put on a play based on a historical event.
  • Boston Public features Our Town where George and Emily are lesbians.
  • The Brady Bunch has several school play episodes:
    • Juliet is the Sun has a production of Romeo and Juliet with Marcia cast as Juliet, until her Acquired Situational Narcissism gets her demoted to the role of Lady Capulet instead.
    • In "Eeny Meeny Mommy Daddy," Cindy is cast as a fairy princess in an elementary school play, but is only allowed to invite one parent to the show and is torn about whether to invite her mother or her new stepfather.
    • "Everyone Can't Be George Washington" has a play about the American Revolution where Peter plays Benedict Arnold, and tries to get out of it by Playing Sick after his classmates start to shun him for being a "traitor."
    • In other episodes, the family also did a backyard production of "Snow White" and a home movie about the Pilgrims.
  • In the Clarissa Explains It All episode "The Understudy," Clarissa is chosen to understudy the role of Mabel in her school's production of The Pirates of Penzance. She assumes she won't have to go on and doesn't bother to learn the part... until the girl cast in the role comes down with step throat.
  • The Degrassi franchise has done this almost from its conception.
    • In an episode of The Kids of Degrassi Street called "Griff Makes A Choice", a young student must decide whether or not to invite his father to a school production of "Robin Hood", as his father is living in a halfway house for minor crimes. Griff sees his father as a hero akin to Robin Hood, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor (the poor being himself, his brother and mother).
    • Degrassi: The Next Generation has Principal Raditch (the very incarnation of Adults Are Useless) trying to replace student Liberty's adaptation of Dracula with a dreary play to promote school spirit. Beating him brings two characters together. In a separate episode, the play is performed with ironically appropriate casting.
    • D:TNG actually pulls this trope quite often, either in the form of the traditional play or in smaller several person plays or improv skits in Ms. Kwan's English class (or, quite often, talent shows or auditions convenientally taking place in the school).
    • In an episode of D:TNG season 1, the "Romeo and Juliet" is done, all-around-popular guy Jimmy is cast as Romeo and Queen Bee Paige as Juliet; Paige tries to use this occasion to steal Jimmy away from his girlfriend, Ashley, almost leading Jimmy and Ashley to have sex before they were ready.
    • In the Season 5 finale, a play/variety act is put on that chronicles the history of the school; while the actors in the play themselves are unimportant, it serves as a creative backdrop for the utter destruction of Spinner and Darcy's relationship (they actually break up and get back together several times in the course of the 40-some minutes)
    • In a season 2 episode, the class is broken up into groups to perform their own interpretations of The Taming of the Shrew. Ashley and future love interest Craig interpret it as sexist and perform it as an almost abusive piece; Ashley's ex Jimmy and cheerleader Hazel interpret it as a poppy sports-themed piece. Ashley has been reconsidering getting back together with Jimmy at the time; this leads her to realize they have changed too much, and she lets him down.
    • In Season 3, the class splits into groups and writes their own plays. Jimmy is directing his group, and casts the insecure Terri as the lead. Terri's boyfriend Rick, the child of two actors, however, keeps giving Terri advice that goes against Jimmy's commands. She eventually follows Rick's advice and is humiliated; this, along with other acts, helps Terri realize Rick was controlling (and abusive, eventually), so she dumps him.
    • In Season 11, Eli writes a play that is pretty much about his break-up with Clare and his ensuing nervous breakdown.
    • In season 12, Eli decides he wants to do another play, but ends up having to do it with the New Transfer Student. She decides she wants to do Romeo and Juliet. In order to get control back from the pushy and religious Becky, he turns the play into Romeo and Jules.
  • Eureka has the protagonist's teenage daughter performing in a bizarre tech-fantasy version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, complete with jetpacks and tentacled fairies.
  • In Family Matters, the school does Romeo and Juliet, with Laura cast as Juliet and a guy she has a crush on cast as Romeo, but when he becomes sick, the part goes to Steve since he's the only other guy who knows the lines. He gets so excited when Laura kisses him during the balcony scene, he accidentally wrecks the set.
  • The British 1-hour comedy-drama The Flint Street Nativity features a bunch of squabbling kids played by adults (not a 100% original idea) whose Nativity play ends up totally chaotic. Their parents, played in the final scene by the same actors, don't seem to mind too much.
  • Freaks and Geeks, episode "I'm With The Band": There's a brief scene in the lunch room where a couple students are dressed like cowboys and promoting the McKinley High School rendition of the musical Oklahoma!. After this brief 30 second scene, the play is never again mentioned in the series, suggesting of what little importance it is to the main characters (or, for that matter, most of the school).
  • In Full House, Michelle's class puts on a patriotic play and she wants to play the Yankee Doodle Kid. Uncle Jesse and Joey give that part to her more talented classmate Derek and cast Michelle as Lady Liberty instead, much to her resentment.
  • Game On (2015): In "Act, Toby, Act", Toby tries out for the school play, in hopes of acting with Jessica.
  • In The George Lopez Show, Max has one about staying safe around strangers. Max plays the stranger, a man in a Conspicuous Trenchcoat. After seeing how crappy the play was, George is not convinced that Max really learned anything. He also mentions a holiday play they did that had Abraham, Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha all celebrating Kwanzaa.
  • The Golden Girls has one where the girls fill in for a play of Henny Penny at the school where Dorothy teaches. The child actors got sick and the play would have been off otherwise. Then Rose gets upset about the ending and has to be convinced not to back out.
  • Gossip Girl has the main cast performing The Age of Innocence, with much of the episodes plot paralleling that of the play. The scenario was made realistic. The play is a senior class play, hence all the main characters are cast in it and the episode aired after a month-long hiatus where rehearsals could have taken place. But then it all goes on having the characters going off book and basically ruining the play... which is then hailed as genius since it comes across as bringing modern aspects into a classic play.
  • Growing Pains does Our Town, with the emphasis on George (played by Mike). Mike only auditioned for the play because he has a crush on the lead and everyone is concerned that he's not taking it seriously enough. On opening night, he actually gives a fantastic performance that saves the show as the show had to deal with other actors forgetting lines, lighting malfunctions, and the scenerynote  collapsing.
  • Hank Zipzer: In "The Curtain Went Up, My Trousers Came Down", getting the lead role in the school play should be a cause for celebration for Hank. But with school bully McKelty determined to get the role for himself and Hank struggling to learn his lines, it's not as easy as he thought it was going to be.
  • An episode of Hannah Montana has a drama class with Miley playing opposite Oliver in a scene from Romeo and Juliet.
  • Higher Ground has a slight twist on this: one of the students fully re-writes Romeo and Juliet as "Bobby Joe and Jillian" to West Side Story-style.
  • Home Improvement does Romeo and Juliet with Randy playing Romeo as a minor subplot during one season. However, this tends to involve the grownups as much as it does Randy: during the auditions, Jill and Wilson start bickering over who gets to help Randy rehearse his lines as Juliet. In a later episode, Wilson becomes the replacement director and quickly becomes a Prima Donna Director, requiring Tim to talk him down.
  • On I Love Lucy, Little Ricky is in a play called The Enchanted Forest, and all the adults get roped into performing in it as well: Lucy plays a witch, Ethel plays a fairy princess, Fred plays a frog, and Ricky plays a hollow tree.
  • Jessie: The episode "Creepy Connie's Curtain Call" centers around Jessie getting one of her Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" plays produced at the kids' school. Among other things, she's forced to add a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment in the form of a werewolf attack in order to keep the kids interested, Luke's Abhorrent Admirer starts bumping off other actresses so she can get the lead female role and kiss him, and Jessie's dad sends over a functional flamethrower as a prop.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: While still in middle school, Malcolm gets cast in a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as Puck. Much mirth is had by his brothers about him playing a fairy. Lois doesn't help matters any.
    "Not just any fairy, the head fairy!"
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: The reunion special Bring Me The Head of Dobie Gillis features a subplot in which a drama teacher fanatically pursues his decades-long dream of staging his play titled, literally, "A Musical Version Of Romeo and Juliet With A Happy Ending". (The happy ending? They are reunited in heaven after offing themselves.)
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has one episode with Kimberly and Bulk in a production of "Rumpelstiltskin". The production seems to last less than five minutes, and no one involved seems to know the story very well: the one bit we see involves Bulk missing his cue and Kimberly repeatedly calling out "Rumplestiltskin!"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has a version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers which goes a bit wrong due to a severe shortage of cast members, leading to: "Do you four boys take these two girls to be your seven brides?"
  • Moonlighting's: The child's dream sequence rule applies The Taming of the Shrew fantasy. No character departures necessary.
  • My Brother and Me has the older brother's school performing Robin Hood, with his sister designing the costumes. He initially balks at playing Robin Hood because of the tights - leaving the role to his friend Goo, until he learns his crush got Maid Marian's part. His sister helps him get the role back by accidentally-on-purpose goofing up Goo's tights (she doesn't like him that much).
  • My So-Called Life spends more than one episode building up to a play of Our Town, but the series has got cancelled before showing the actual performance.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has an entire episode revolve around the school production of Romeo and Juliet. Though, instead of trying and taking the lead role, Ned schemes to get Cookie to play Romeo, since his kiss "won't steal Suzie", who is playing Juliet, from him. Moze, being the stage manager, tries to stop all of Ned and Cookie's zany schemes. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The tendency of TV and film works to use a school play scenario (usually Shakespeare) to advance romantic and other plotlines is lampooned in Night and Day - as Rachel Culgrin and Josh Alexander pen a Shakespearean medley, throwing all of the Bard's greatest characters onto the stage simultaneously. The storyline continues for several weeks.
  • Our Miss Brooks: A few episodes (i.e. "Madison Country Club" and "Hawkins Travel Agency") have Miss Brooks and company wear school costume. In "The School Board Psychologist", an upcoming school play (where the students would dress as animals) is a major plot point.
  • In the Canadian show Radio Active, English teacher Ms. Atoll "suggests" (read: insists) that the main cast put on a Radio Play. After each suggesting various strange and/or self-centred ideas (dramatic readings of things like ingredients on cereal boxes, a self-centred character's bank book statements, famous NHL games, a stand-up comedy routine, ect...) Atoll just decides that they should do "Beauty and the Beast". The play is a complete failure, with the lead passing out from just TALKING about romance, receiving phone calls in the middle of broadcasting, and the sound effects guy using some very strange sound effects, including an explosion that causes everyone to lose their scripts. Eventually, they decide to get their act together, and put the play on again, this time combining everyone's ideas and working them into the script. The play goes off without a hitch, but Ms. Atoll comes in as the gang is cheering their success with a deadpan "It still sucks."
  • Riverdale: The second and third seasons each have a Musical Episode with an annual play that Kevin directs:
    • Season Two has "Carrie: The Musical", with Cheryl as Carrie, Betty as Sue, Archie as Tommy, Alice as Margaret, Veronica as Chris and Chuck as Billy. It also doubles as a Documentary Episode, as Jughead films the production of the play for Kevin.
    • Season Three uses the high school cut of "Heathers: The Musical", with Josie as Veronica, Sweet Pea as J.D., and Cheryl, Betty and Veronica as the Heathers.
  • An episode of Salute Your Shorts revolves around the camp doing a production of Cinderella with Dina playing the lead. However, she ends up getting stage fright when she finds out that a guy she has a crush on at another camp is going to be in the audience, and Sponge ends up helping her to get over it.
  • Parodied in Saturday Night Live with the "Woodbridge High School Experimental Theatre" sketches, featuring a troupe of teenage actors who have clearly just discovered but not quite understood various concepts such as avant garde and social justice issues, proceeding to inflict the results on their long-suffering parents in a series of performances which are the worst combination of pretentious, self-righteous and inept.
  • Saved by the Bell does "Snow White" (titled "Snow White And The Seven Dorks"), but turns it into a rap that lasts approximately 45 seconds.
  • Skins: In the "Sketch" episode of the second series, Maxxie, Michelle and Sketch participate in the school play, "Osama: The Musical", which is a love story that takes place during 9/11 (yes really), written by the lecherous American drama teacher. In the play, Maxxie and Michelle have the two romantic leads, and Sketch is tossed aside by the teacher for a good role because she isn't pretty enough. The play is used to show Sketch's obsession with Maxxie and displaced dislike of Michelle, as she gives Michelle pills to make her throw up so she can play Michelle's role in the play, even though Michelle is nothing but friendly to her. Also worth mentioning are the silly American accents.
  • So Awkward: In "Mr. Sicky Bear", Jas really wants to be Juliet in the play in assembly, but catches a cold. Because Jas is sick, Ollie really wants Lily to be Juliet in the play. However, she doesn't want to betray Jas even though Romeo is Matt Furnish, her crush.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
  • In the Supernatural episode "Fan Fiction", Sam and Dean's hunting leads them to a high school production about themselves, adapted from the work of Chuck Shurley.
  • On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Tommy got Dick to direct his school's production of Romeo and Juliet so that Dick could cast him as Romeo opposite August as Juliet. Instead, Dick became a Prima Donna Director ("Now everyone watch once again as I act out the play in its entirty.") and made Tommy the prop guy.
  • The third season of Waterloo Road features a School play written by one of the teachers, a musical with more Suspiciously Apropos Music than you can shake a stick at.
  • The Torkelsons had "Swear Not By the Moon," a standard high school Romeo and Juliet episode with Dorothy Jane playing Juliet to the Romeo of her crush Riley.
  • In the Ugly Betty Season 1 finale "East Side Story," Justin's performance as Tony in his school production of West Side Story is juxtaposed with the death by gunshot of his father Santos. The final death scene in the Show Within a Show plays out just as Hilda receives the news and breaks down crying in Betty's arms outside the auditorium.
  • Due to being set in a performing arts school, many episodes of Victorious involve the main characters being involved in school plays. In one notable example, Tori gets a role that Jade wanted. Jade spends the episode trying to injury Tori in some way so that she can't perform.
  • Comes up often as an audience suggestion during Film/Theatre Styles on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. In the UK run, the players generally interpreted it as a Nativity, while in the US versions it would just be the current scene performed much more amateurishly with lots of mistakes and waving at the audience.
  • In Wishbone, the students do The Tempest. Which prompts Wishbone to begin imagining... The Tempest.
  • The Wonder Years does Our Town with the focus on Emily (played by Winnie.)
  • The Worst Witch TV series features two (nearly).
    • One episode features the girls rehearsing for a production of The Selfish Giant, only for Enid to drop the scenery on Ethel. The production is never mentioned in after that episode.
    • A Christmas Special features the characters in a pantomime of "Cinderella".
  • The Zoey 101 episode "The Play", features Chase writing a play about a lifeguard (played by himself) falling in love with a beautiful alien named Zorka (played by Zoey). But when Logan is cast as the lifeguard instead, Zoey is about to quit- until she sees him act, and begins to question if she's falling in love with him while Chase attempts to steal the lead back for himself. During the play, Zoey realizes that Logan really is a jerk, and changes the play's ending so that Zorka ditches the lifeguard.

  • The music video for Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" depicts different scenes from school plays.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • In Ensemble Stars!, the Theatre Club naturally puts on these; the writers seem to enjoy the chance to have the characters play different roles because they get far more stories to them than any other club. Despite being an all-boys' school, Wataru prefers to put on classics such as Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet, which naturally provide copious Ship Tease, cross-dressing, and Costume Porn.
  • Growing Up: Mentioned in a couple routes, particularly in Richard's, Bobbie's, and Wendy's routes. Richard considers joining the choir for it, Bobbie auditions for it as a step forward to her dream as a Broadway actress, while Wendy can be convinced to watch a Shakespeare play so she'll be more inspired to pursue makeup and VFX.
  • Life Is Strange: Before the Storm shows The Tempest in Episode 2, with Rachel and Chloe in the main roles.
  • In Mega Man Star Force, there is a school play at one point. Geo Stelar has to play the role as Mega Man in the play, so for his costume he simply transforms into Mega Man.
  • Persona:
    • Persona has the local Drama Club worry about what play they were going to put on for a School Festival. However, there seems to be a unique school play called the Snow Queen they could do... however, the mask for the title role is an evil one, that calls forth the Night Queen (called Nyx in the orignal Japanese) from her slumber.
    • In Persona 4, you can join the drama club and befriend Yumi as part of the Sun Social Link, and early on, Yumi mentions that she's preparing for a play in the school concourse. That quickly falls by the wayside, though, as Yumi learns that her father is dying, and despite her bitterness, frequently visits him in his final days, essentially giving up her role in the process.
  • Tokimeki Memorial: A school play being played in the School Festival is a staple of the series, usually courtesy of the Drama Club. If you're a member of this Club, you'll get a role in it.
    • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, in 3rd year where the School Festival activities depend of the classes instead of the Clubs, you can get your class to choose to do a school play (which happens to be the preferred choice of cute boy Takumi, who'll get to play as the princess of the play in sudden replacement of the ill main actress).
    • In the Girl's Side games, a role in the school play is always available to the protagonist in the third year, alongside whichever guy she's closest with (even if it's her teacher). The plays are always conveniently thematically appropriate to the relationship the protagonist has with the guy in question.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Monster Prom, one of the locations you can go to (to up your Creativity stat) is the theater, where there's some sort of fantasy play going on. Occasionally, events that happen there will be connected to said play (such as Scott trying to figure out how to play his character, a tree).
  • During the School Festival in Nameless - The One Thing You Must Recall -, the Drama Club stages what is stated to be a story about an "Action Hero" although the costuming looks to be vaguely historical European. Red is always cast as the hero, and depending on the route, the heroine can be played by Eri or Lance.
  • Shall We Date?: Wizardess Heart features a school play in the side story "The Performing Festival." Shenanigans ensue when Elias and the protagonist, unwillingly saddled with the lead roles, discover that they're expected to perform The Big Damn Kiss at the climax of the play.
  • In the hentai game X-Change 2, Takuya is offered a role in a school play written by the drama club president, Miyuki. The play's topic, which is about hermaphrodites falling in love, is unpopular with the other club members, who threaten to quit unless Miyuki cancels the play. Takuya convinces Miyuki to stop the play, as it isn't more important than her friends.

    Web Animation 
  • The Camp Camp episode "Romeo And Juliet II: Love Resurrected" sees the campers do an amateur play — the titular fan-made sequel to Romeo and Juliet, as written by resident theatre kid Preston. While the shoddy writing and acting didn't do it any favors, the production quickly goes Off the Rails due to separate schemes cooked up by Max and Tabii behind the scenes.

  • Played for Drama in the "Play-Date" arc of Elwood (2015), in which D.W.'s school is having a play of Sleeping Beauty with the princess being played by her rival Lisa and the prince being played by her crush, James, much to her chagrin. However, this turns out to be a misunderstanding, as the kid who signed up for the role of the prince had terrible handwriting and a name similar to James', resulting in a case of Mistaken Identity.
  • Kevin & Kell:
    • A 2012 arc had the Caliban Academy do West Habitat Story, with Fiona as Maria and Rudy originally cast as Bernardo - then, when that got weird, Chino.
    • Years later, at Beige University, Edgar meets his current girlfriend Miranda when they work together in the theatre program's production of Little Shop of Carnivores (Edgar as the voice of 'the plant', Miranda operating the puppet)...which was an issue because Edgar at the time was still dating Leona.
  • In Ozy and Millie, the school puts on "The Story of Caulk." Avery improvises a kiss on Millie, ostensibly to improve the play (he otherwise shows no sign of a crush on her), and she loses her lunch on stage. Unstoppable Rage ensues.
  • Penny and Aggie: In "The Popsicle War" arc, the students of Belleville High are intermittently shown rehearsing Macbeth. The casting involves both some expected parallels with the strip's characters and some twists. The actual performance isn't shown until the later "Final Curtain, First Kiss" arc, in which the overlapping romantic and career-ambition subplots, involving several of the cast members, have a comically disastrous effect on the closing night's staging. Disastrous, that is, except for Sara, whose sexy performance as Lady Macbeth catches the attention of a Hollywood talent scout and eventually lands her a role in a Reality Show.
  • In a 2013 arc of Roommates the drama department of the St. Jude University wants to do Love Never Dies. The catch is? They have Erik on staff and he is not amused.
  • In UC, all four main characters start the comic by participating in one of these. Though, there are large hints that in this school play not all is as fictional as it seems.
  • A brief Story Arc in WCI High shows the school production of Romeo and Juliet, heavily parodying numerous cliches. Juliet is played by a nine-feet-tall reptilian monster (because no one has the guts to tell her no). In the balcony scene, she simply stands behind the scenery and pokes her head through the second-story window. Normally talking in Hulk Speak, she shows an amazing talent for Shakespearean dialog, doubly subverted when she exclaims, "Me talk pretty one day!". Montague and Capulet are dressed as Mario and Luigi, Capulet having a "C" on his cap, of course, instead of Luigi's "L". Mercutio and Tybalt are played by a budding superhero and his budding arch-nemesis. The villain tries using a real sword, which of course doesn't work.

    Web Videos 
  • Funny or Die: "Children's Theatre Critic" features Alfred Molina as Arthur H. Cartwright, an extremely Caustic Critic who believes that True Art Is Angsty...and spends his days reviewing first-grade productions. Cartwright openly belittles and insults students ("Not for ONE MOMENT did I believe you were a tree!"), expects them to be on the same level as fully-grown professionals, screams at them for breaking the fourth wall, and, in one review, outright states that they should all drop dead for being such bad actors. The only show he likes is a Darker and Edgier reimagining of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
    Arthur H. Cartwright: The direction was staid, the sets ramshackle, the costumes unremarkable. Hardly worth the free admission.
    Little Girl: But we tried hard!
    Cartwright: Try telling that to the spirits of Ibsen and Brecht, because you've just trampled ALL OVER THEM!
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • Jackie Chu's class perform a play of The Three Little Pigs in the episode of the same name. Jeffy is cast as the Big Bad Wolf, and Junior, Joseph, and Penelope are cast as the titular Three Little Pigs. Cody wanted to be the Big Bad Wolf, but instead he was cast as a tree, much to his dismay. The play ends with Jeffy destroying the third house.
    • A later episode, "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf!" features the class perfoming a play of the titular story. Jeffy is once again cast as the Big Bad Wolf, Junior is cast as the Shepherd Boy, and Joseph and Penelope are cast as the villagers. Cody is cast as a sheep, and once again, he is not happy about his role.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, the students perform Macbeth in Space. There was also talk of Hamlet on Ice.
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, the school the Chipmunks attend is putting a production of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (arguably a sort of werewolf story as well). The shy Theodore is tapped to play the lead in hopes that it'll improve his self-confidence, but his performance really starts improving after he is infected with lycanthropy.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Jake works it out so he'll get to kiss his secretly-admired Rose in Antony and Cleopatra. Their own lives mimic the tragic nature of the play, as they both have secret identities, and are enemies without their own knowledge (although it's made clear to the viewers). Rose, as "The Huntsgirl", injures her leg in battle with Jake, in his reptilian alter-ego form. Rose shows up in a cast, she has to back out of the play, and Jake's (male) friend Spud takes over her role. And then he and Jake kissed in the final scene. Off screen, but still...
  • Angelina Ballerina:
    • In one episode, Angelina is scared to be in the school play, since she has to be suspended from the ceiling, especially since there will only be one wire holding her up.
    • In another episode, students keep getting the "mouse pox", so Miss Lilly has trouble finding students to cast as "sunbeams" in the school play.
  • Arthur and the rest of his class put on a musical play for the Centennial Anniversary of Elwood City on the show's landmark 100th episode. Additionally, the first season story "Francine Frensky, Superstar" is about the class putting on a play about Thomas Edison and Francine getting a big head when she lands the leading role.
  • As Told by Ginger features two.
    • One play is a plot device for rivalry between Ginger and Dodie where Dodie is desperate to get the lead role as a boy she likes is playing the other lead. Ginger ends up getting the part (when she didn't even want to audition) and the boy falls for her instead.
    • The Halloween Episode features an Expy of The Crucible called "I Spy A Witch". Miranda frames Ginger for defacing the school statue and replaces her as the lead. When Ginger finds out the truth, she dons a costume and sneaks on stage during the play to out Miranda. This then ends up changing the ending of the play so that the lead is found guilty to be a witch after all and burned at the stake.
  • The Beetlejuice episode "Stage Fright" has Claire Brewster sabotaging Lydia's audition for Miss Shannon's School For Girls' performance of Romeo and Juliet. Lydia instead gets to be the show's costume designer, but Claire further insults her by refusing to wear the dress Lydia made. Beetlejuice gets even by taking over Claire's body and making a shambles out of the production. Oddly enough, the school's main backer loved it.
  • Beverly Hills Teens: In the episode "Casting Call". Troy gets the part of Romeo, and a couple of girls are very eager to play Juliet.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl" has Gene running a guerrilla production of his musical adaptation of Die Hard when it gets passed over in favor of Courtney's musical adaptation of Working Girl.
    • In "Mom, Lies and Videotape", Bob fails to shoot video of the kids' Mother's Day pageant due to his old, crappy camcorder breaking down. So the kids tell Linda, who is home sick, their own versions of what their respective plays were all about, which are... embellished, to say the least.
    • In "The Quirk-ducers," Louise hijacks Tina's short story "The Quirky Turkey" to turn into a Thanksgiving play in the hopes of pulling a Springtime for Hitler and getting a half-day off school.
  • In The Boondocks Christmas special "A Huey Freeman Christmas", Huey's teacher gives him the task of producing a Christmas play for the school. Huey decides to create an action drama titled The Adventures of Black Jesus; however he fires all the kids in the play just for goofing off and dancing, and replaces them with adult actors. He doesn't understand why the Parent-Teacher Association boycotted the play afterwards.
  • In A Charlie Brown Christmas, the kids are supposed to be putting on a Christmas play. Due to considerable directorial differences, it never ends up getting made.
    • Perhaps because of the above's fame, other Peanuts Christmas specials felt the need to include this, too. It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown had Peppermint Patty annoyed at having to play a sheep while Marcie was Mary; also, Sally, playing an angel, fumbled her one line, "Hark!" by saying "Hockey stick!" I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown also throws one in at the very end, with Rerun almost forgetting his lines.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • Season 1 episode "Laughing Fit" parodies this trope, with the obligatory Romeo and Juliet. Not only is it rather bad, the entire production seems to be managed entirely by Sissi.
    • In Season 3 episode "Temporary Insanity", Cyrano de Bergerac is being played, with Mr. Chardin stating that the only reason they are doing this specific play is that it, too, has a balcony scene, and they don't want to waste a good stage prop.
  • Cow and Chicken has a two part "play episode" entitled The Ugliest Weenie, based on a play Cow wrote, and Chicken wanting to get the lead role once he realises the hottest girl in school is the love interest. He ends up the understudy to the lead, and then gains the role when the lead actor gets the measles... only to discover said actor gave the measles to the love interest, and Cow is filling in that role.
  • In the Daria episode "Fair Enough," this is one of several subplots taking place during the school's Renaissance Fair. The play is from The Canterbury Tales, and Quinn got the female lead, opposite Kevin. This is sabotaged by multiple acts of jealousy from Brittany (who kept Kevin from going on), Jamie (who was ticked that Jeffy got chosen to replace Kevin) and Sandi (who used passive-aggressive comments to make Quinn think that she was saying her lines wrong).
  • Darkwing Duck: This gives Gosalyn a lot of misery, since her father is in a bit of a 10-Minute Retirement to be a perfect parent and casts her as the main role, the Sugar Plum Fairy. Not exactly fitting of her own personality...
  • Doug:
    • Doug's auteur sister Judy puts on a strange, symbolism-filled version of a traditional play about the founding of the town, despite the attempts of strait-laced vice-principal Mr. Bone to get the ordinary but dull standard version performed.
    • Another episode features a play depicting the love relationship between Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa (not the real woman the painting was of, the painting itself magically brought to life), starring Doug as Leonardo and Patty as Mona. The play, conceived and co-written by Guy, goes through Troubled Production as he insists on several major rewrites even after it's been cast, but the main conflict is Doug being nervous about what's going to be his First Kiss. Patty ultimately calls in sick and is replaced by Judy.
    • In yet another episode, wherein Doug bonds with a boy named Todd, who acts out for attention, Todd is a member of Judy's after school kids' drama group. After being taught some restraint by Doug, Todd rejoins the group for their performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest and gives a rousing performance as Prospero, with some stage magic help from Doug. For some weird reason, his Prospero recites Miranda's famous "O brave new world" line.
    • Doug once recalls when he was younger, he and Judy were in a dental hygiene play, with him as the toothbrush and her as plaque. However, Judy hams up her death scene for way too long, resulting in Doug chasing after her, and the both of them knocking the down the entire set.
  • The Emperor's New School: Back when Yzma was a student at the nameless academy (Kuzco Academy existed decades before somebody named it), Yzma felt bad that her rival got the main roles and she was a tree.
  • The Fairly Oddparents had the episode where Poof and Foop wind up in the Spellementary school play, Poof gets the lead role while Foop is given the role of Table #3. Foop later rewrites the play so Poof will be featured as the play's Butt-Monkey and he'll come out as the hero. But Poof figures out what he's up to and pretends to be sick, forcing Foop to be his understudy.
  • A flashback in Family Guy shows a very young Meg playing Maid Marian in a school production of Robin Hood. Naturally, Peter heckles her.
    • "PTV" features Meg as a disciple in God and His Magical Rainbow Suspenders (a parody of Godspell, a show frequently produced in high schools due to it being inexpensive to mount). Brian and Stewie are so dumbfounded that the former smacks the latter to make him cry. Brian says out loud "Crying baby, I'll take him out", getting both of them out of the auditorium and to freedom.
    • "The King Is Dead" has Lois directing the Quahog Players' production of The King and I. Forced to find some role for Peter, who is trying to develop his creativity, to fill she decides to make him the show's producer and tells him to find ways to get the word out about the show. Unfortunately, his ideas, which are consistently well-received by the cast and crew bar Lois (who eventually quits in disgust) and lead to the show selling out as word spreads, gradually turn the show into an In Name Only story of a killer cyborg played by Peter. Lois tries to convince the cheering crowd that corrupting fine art in the name of pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator is a bad thing come the curtain call, but they just get distracted by Peter breaking wind.
  • Franklin: Four of these are present in the Animated Adaptation.
    • The first comes in the first season story "Franklin's School Play" (based on the book by the same name) and features The Nutcracker as the play. In the story, Franklin is the Nutcracker Prince, but had to overcome stage fright to perform the role.
    • The second play is in the third season story "Franklin's Starring Role," a performance of Sleeping Beauty. In this story, Franklin doesn't have stage fright anymore, and is upset when he is assigned the role of stage manager, thinking his teacher Mr. Owl doesn't think he's good enough to have a part. In the end, he learns that Mr. Owl gave him the role of stage manager because he felt Franklin was responsible and he wanted to give others a chance to play roles after Franklin had the lead in the last play.
    • The third play is in the film Franklin and the Green Knight, a performance of a fairy tale picture book popular in Woodland: The Quest of the Green Knight. Franklin again takes the lead role this time, as the Green Knight, though the film is also about him thinking that he could truly become the Green Knight and bring Spring, as the character in the fairy tail does.
    • The Franklin and Friends story "Franklin Switches it Up" has the final play, a swashbuckling adventure written by Rabbit and Snail called Pirates from Space. Which is about what it sounds.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • In one episode, "What's Opera, Arnold?", Arnold falls asleep during the first act of Carmen on a field trip, dreaming himself into the opera with himself as Don José, and his crush Ruth as the titular character. Then Helga falls asleep during the second act and dreams that she takes over as Carmen, bringing in elements of The Ring Cycle for some zaniness.
    • The aptly titled episode "School Play" features the class putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet. Arnold himself playing Romeo and Helga trying to land the role of Juliet so she can share a kiss with Arnold on stage.
    • The show's last 15-minute episode features a musical called "Eugene! Eugene!" that had both Eugene and Arnold being in the musical, and their attempts to stop the director from changing the play's lighthearted ending to a Downer Ending where The Bad Guy Wins.
    • The very first episode featured Helga directing a musical about the food groups.
  • Home Movies has Bye Bye Greasy, a parody of the 1950s-set high school theater warhorses Bye Bye Birdie and Grease.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures features an episode where Tony really begins to blow off school in his determination to take his dad's company back. When he's actually convinced to take his schoolwork seriously, he has to catch up and prepare for a performance of "Hamlet" for drama class.
    Tony: So what's it about?
    Pepper: It's about a guy... who's pulled in a million different directions... [realizing what she's saying] while trying to avenge his dead father.
    Tony: Heh, no, really, what's it about? [beat] ...Are you kidding me?!
  • The Loud House: In "Stage Plight", Luan and her crush Benny get cast in a Romeo and Juliet play, and when they end up in the lead roles, she gets nervous about having to kiss him.
  • The Madeline episode "Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame" features a boarding school play based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, with Pepito as Quasimodo, Danielle as Esmeralda and Madeline as Phoebus.
  • Martha Speaks has:
    • The episode "Martha Plays a Part", in which Helen and Carolina get stage fright when having to play celestial objects in a play. Helen manages to play her role correctly, but Carolina is Dumb Struck.
    • Another episode, "Martha Acts Up", involves the eponymous talking dog being cast as the Cheshire cat in a school play of Alice in Wonderland but not wanting to play a cat due to Animal Jingoism.
  • Mega Man: Fully Charged has a school play in the episode "Watts Happening?" It gets derailed when Elec Man decides to drain the city’s power, forcing a Mega Man to use what he learned on stage to defeat him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Not really the main focus of the episode, but the episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" has Filly!Rarity designing costumes for a play. Despite the teacher liking them, she thinks they're too bland. That's when her horn leads her to a geode, which she uses to make them more attractive. And that's how she earned her Cutie Mark.
  • Pepper Ann does Romeo and Juliet with Pepper Ann naturally gunning for the role of Juliet. She doesn't get it and ends up cast as The Nurse instead. However at the last minute the actress playing Juliet falls ill and Pepper Ann replaces her... except she has to wear her Juliet costume over the nurse's fat suit.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): "A Star Is Blossom" revolves around Blossom wanting to be the lead in the next school play after having done so five years in a row.
  • The Proud Family: In "Romeo Must Wed", the students of Willy T. Ribs put on a production of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Recess had the characters put on a Christmas play once which was being broadcasted to the rest of the world and Mikey was meant to be the lead of Santa Claus. The episode centred on him debating with himself and his friends as to whether Santa existed or not and Mikey nearly refusing to play the part in the school play.
  • Rocko's Modern Life has a brief flashback in one episode to Ed Bighead's youth, where he played a pirate in a school play. The experience traumatized him well into adulthood, since he cried for his mother from stage fright.
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series:
    • Romeo and Juliet gets involved in a sub-plot. Sabrina and Gem intend to get the part of Juliet and must have the meaning of the role properly researched for their callbacks. This leads to Hilda and Zelda conjuring up the actual Romeo to help her study. Hilarity Ensues. Sabrina learns An Aesop and bags the role though when the play is actually shown, it isn't the balcony scene.
    • In Sabrina's Secret Life, the play is A Midsummer Night's Dream and Sabrina and Cassandra are gunning for the role of Titania the fairy queen. Cassandra gets the part and Sabrina is made producer instead.
    • Another episode has Sabrina and Cassandra gunning for the role of Ophelia in Hamlet. Cassandra is forced to stay after class after making a mess and has to miss the auditions, but sabotages Sabrina's audition by covering herself in an invisibility slime. Maritza ends up getting the part despite not even auditioning.
    • An episode from the original Filmation series dealt with Sabrina winning a part in a school production that is going to be filmed. However, she is heartbroken to learn that witches do not cast an image on cameras. After numerous attempts to delay the production, it appears that Sabrina's secret as a witch will be revealed until it is discovered that Moose forgot to load the camera with film. As Moose hides out from the wrath of the student faculty, Sabrina appears and kisses him on the cheek.
  • The Simpsons: Springfield Elementary has had and has many performances. Some episodes have included talent shows (one featuring students, the other faculty).
    • The original Christmas Episode opens at a Christmas pageant.
    • Episode "I Love Lisa" climaxes with the elementary school pageant Hooray for Presidents' Day, in which Ralph Wiggum and Lisa Simpson play George and Martha Washington — Ralph, whose crush on Lisa was rebuffed, channels his heartache into his performance. Meanwhile, Bart's performance as John Wilkes Booth by way of the Terminator was not well received by Mrs. Hoover (especially once he tries to go after Chester A. Arthur after "killing" Lincoln).
    • "I Love Lisa" also mentions the unsuccessful Fire Drill Follies. ("You opened the show with a fire drill and everyone cleared out!")
    • Principal Skinner organizes a play in an attempt to convince Mr. Burns to donate money to the underfunded school. It includes several peculiar moments such as...
      Skinner: Now, who in Springfield will eat the poisoned broth? Oh-ho! It could be anyone, even Mr. Burns!
      Burns: This play really speaks to me!
      Ralph: Hello, I'm Dr. Stupid. I'm going to take out your liver bones. [decapitates dummy of Burns with saw] Oops, you're dead.
      Burns: I never liked that Dr. Stupid.
  • South Park:
    • The kids turn a school production of The Miracle Worker into a musical extravaganza in order to make sure they won't be outdone by the preschoolers' Thanksgiving skit. It turns out they needn't have worked so hard; Butters, who was hyping the preschoolers up, is just that easily impressed.
    • Mr. Mackey puts on a play about dental hygiene with the Kindergartners to warn people about the dangers of Tooth Decay. Since Tooth Decay is a literal monster who killed his father and kidnapped the Princess of Canada, the play is very Serious Business to Mackey.
  • The second season of The Spectacular Spider-Man has a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream as an ongoing subplot. Somewhat surprisingly, neither Peter nor Gwen are in it, though Mary Jane, Liz, Flash, and Harry are. (The latter doesn't go on, however, having been kidnapped by the Green Goblin.) Two episodes cut between their A-plots and students giving Shakespeare lines that provide commentary on said A-plots (one during the auditions, one during the performance itself).
  • The Christmas Episode of Teacher's Pet had Mrs. Helperman trying to write a new school play for the holiday season; the principal wanted her to go with the school's usual play, "A Christmasy Christmas in Christmas Town", while she wanted to write something more inclusive to all faiths. Meanwhile, Leonard was disgruntled at getting the part of Elf #5 (who only says "Yes, that is true.")
  • In Timothy Goes to School, Mrs. Jenkin's class did one about dental hygiene. Parts were assigned randomly— Yoko was chosen to a be a cavity, but didn't want to be. In the end, she found a way to enjoy the part when she used her violin to create a sound effect suitable for a cavity.
  • Jim and Claire from Trollhunters play Romeo and Juliet respectively (with Steve Palchuck as Jim's understudy/turned-replacement in Arcadia Oaks High School's rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Said play is an undercurrent subplot of Season One's first half, and part of the resolution of that half's threads sees the completion of the play.
  • There's an Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) episode where Mary Jane writes a musical about Spider-Man.
  • What's with Andy?: In "Rhyme Time", Jen is cast as Titania in a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. When she boasts about this, she and her brother Andy make a bet involving him rhyming for an entire week, and whoever loses has to stop speaking for the next week.
  • W.I.T.C.H. has the girls required to be on stage at the same time the Big Bad is planning something big, so the girls manage to be in two places at once by creating magical doubles of themselves. Hilarity Ensues when their mentor forgets to warn them that the doubles don't have all their memories. The play itself has heavy Foreshadowing of later episodes. In original comic, the play goes off without a hitch.
  • Zeke's Pad: In "Wherefore Art Thou", Zeke is desperate to make it into the school musical opposite Maxine, but can't sing a note on key. So when he draws himself with perfectly in tune notes coming out of his mouth, he doesn't think it would mean every opening of his mouth would be in the form of a song.


Class 1-B's Play

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