40 Best Plays For Community Theater

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Best Plays for Community Theater


Community theater is a vibrant and essential part of any local arts scene. It provides opportunities for actors, directors, and stage crew members to showcase their talents and engage with the community. One of the key aspects of a successful community theater production is choosing the right play. In this article, we will explore some of the best plays that are well-suited for community theater groups.

1. Classic Plays

Classic plays have stood the test of time and continue to captivate audiences with their timeless themes and compelling characters. Some of the best choices for community theater groups include:

  • Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's tragic love story never fails to captivate audiences. The play's themes of love, loyalty, and family feuds resonate with people of all ages.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire: Tennessee Williams' masterpiece explores the complexities of human relationships and the clash between reality and illusion.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Oscar Wilde's witty and satirical comedy is a delightful choice for community theater, with its clever wordplay and colorful characters.

2. Contemporary Plays

While classic plays have their timeless appeal, contemporary plays offer a fresh and relevant perspective on the world we live in today. Here are a few contemporary plays that are well-suited for community theater:

  • August: Osage County: Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play delves into the dysfunctional dynamics of a family, tackling themes of addiction, secrets, and betrayal.
  • Next to Normal: This Tony Award-winning rock musical explores the impact of mental illness on a suburban family, addressing important issues with sensitivity and depth.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Based on Mark Haddon's novel, this play offers a unique perspective on neurodiversity and the power of human connection.

3. Musicals

Musicals are a staple of community theater, as they provide opportunities for actors to showcase their singing and dancing skills. Here are some popular musicals that are well-suited for community theater:

  • Into the Woods: Stephen Sondheim's enchanting musical intertwines the stories of classic fairy tale characters, exploring the consequences of wishes and desires.
  • Little Shop of Horrors: This dark comedy musical tells the story of a man-eating plant and the unlikely hero who tries to save the day, with catchy songs and a touch of camp.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: A charming and hilarious musical that follows the journey of six quirky contestants in a spelling bee, showcasing both humor and heart.

4. One-Act Plays

One-act plays are a great option for community theater groups that are looking for shorter productions or want to showcase multiple plays in one evening. Here are some one-act plays that are well-suited for community theater:

  • The Zoo Story: Edward Albee's one-act play explores themes of isolation and the complexities of human interaction through a chance encounter in a park.
  • Check, Please: This comedic play by Jonathan Rand follows a series of disastrous blind dates, providing ample opportunities for humor and physical comedy.
  • Sorry, Wrong Number: Lucille Fletcher's classic thriller is a suspenseful and gripping play that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

5. Adaptations

Adaptations of well-known novels, movies, or other works can be a great choice for community theater groups, as they offer a familiar story with a unique theatrical twist. Here are a few adaptations that work well for community theater:

  • Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen's beloved novel has been adapted for the stage, bringing the wit and romance of the original story to life.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee's powerful novel is brought to the stage in a compelling adaptation that explores themes of racism, justice, and compassion.
  • Matilda the Musical: Roald Dahl's beloved children's book is transformed into a delightful musical that celebrates the power of imagination and the importance of standing up for what is right.


Choosing the right play is crucial for the success of a community theater production. Whether it's a classic play, a contemporary piece, a musical, a one-act play, or an adaptation, there are plenty of options available to community theater groups. By selecting plays that resonate with the community and showcase the talents of the cast and crew, community theaters can create memorable and impactful productions that enrich the local arts scene.