Teaching Drama

Plays & Musicals for Pride Month

Plays and Musicals for Pride Month
Written by Kerry Hishon

If you’re looking for plays and musicals to include in your drama classroom library, look no further — here are 35 plays and musicals featuring LGBTQ+ characters, stories, and themes. Introduce these plays and musicals to your students, read them as a class, and check out performances of them (many have filmed or movie versions). 

If you’re looking to perform a play with your students, be sure to check out the plays from Theatrefolk listed here — they’re perfect for high school students. And check out the other plays by our Theatrefolk LGBTQ+ authors on our site!

Plays from Theatrefolk featuring LGBTQ+ Themes and Characters

From our very own Theatrefolk catalogue, these plays are fabulous for high school students to study and perform. Some even come with free classroom study guides.

1. Completely, Absolutely Normal: Vignettes About LGBTQ+ Teens by Bradley Walton (Free Classroom Study Guide available!)
Ten interconnected vignettes with LGBTQ+ themes.

2. Red Tee by Lindsay Price (Free Classroom Study Guide available!)
A vignette play that examines questions of identity and what happens when someone doesn’t fit in the way they’re expected to.

3. Bungee Jump Bear Trap by Lindsay Price
A vignette play about taking risks and figuring it all out.

4. Life, Off Book by Scott Giessler
Jeb is Ophelia’s fake boyfriend who is also a closeted gay man. What happens when Jeb and Ophelia have to lose the script and live life off book?

5. Pandemic Pancake by Lindsay Price
Characters decide, for good and for ill, how they will respond to this evolving new world.

6. Anonymous by Allison Green 
The story of every teenager — it’s hard to be an individual when you’re trying to fit in.

7. Baalzebub by Rachel Atkins 
A group of girls is abandoned at a refugee camp in an unnamed war zone and are forced to survive together. A response to the classic novel Lord of the Flies.

As well, be sure to check out these Theatrefolk playwrights: Laramie Dean, Emma Fonseca Halverson, Bradley Hayward, and Bradley Walton.


Musicals Featuring LGBTQ+ Themes and Characters

Coming to you from Broadway and Off-Broadway, these musicals are packed with amazing songs and important themes.

1. Head Over Heels, book by Jeff Whitty, adapted by James Magruder, music and lyrics by The Go-Go’s
A kingdom is threatened, unlikely lovers unite, and gender-fluid disguises are donned in a musical that preaches unconditional love and acceptance of everyone, no matter their gender or sexual identity.

2. Fun Home, by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, adapted from Alison Bedchel’s memoir
Alison, an author and lesbian, reflects on her journey to discover and accept her identity, as well as her relationship with her father (a closeted gay man).

3. The Color Purple, book by Marsha Norman, based on the novel by Alice Walker, music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray
Celie, a teenage African-American girl living in Georgia, is given by her abusive stepfather to an even more abusive husband. Over the years, Celie finds ways to cope with life, including finding a potential lover in the fabulous Shug Avery.

4. La Cage aux Folles, book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Georges (owner of the La Cage aux Folles nightclub) and his partner Albin face the hardest challenge of their twenty-year relationship: meeting their son’s fiancee’s ultra-conservative, anti-gay parents.

5. Kinky Boots, book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Charlie Price teams up with drag queen Lola to save his failing shoe factory, and in the process, discovers that they aren’t so different after all.

6. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, book by John Cameron Mitchell, music and lyrics by Stephen Trask
Genderqueer rock singer Hedwig Robinson shares her story — including the tale of her botched gender reassignment surgery — with the audience through monologues and rock songs.

7. Rent, book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Follows the ups and downs of a year in the life of a group of impoverished, artistic friends living in the East Village of Manhattan in the late 1980s, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

8. Bare: A Pop Opera and Bare: The Musical, book by Hartmere and Intrabartolo, music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Jon Hartmere
Peter and Jason, students at a Catholic boarding school, have fallen in love with each other, but Jason — a popular athlete — fears losing his status if he is discovered to be gay.

9. Spring Awakening, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, based on the 1891 German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind
In late 19th century Germany, with only each other for guidance, a group of young men and women travel the rocky path of adolescence, discovering their bodies, their sexuality, their minds, and themselves along the way.

10. The Boy from Oz, book by Nick Enright, revised book by Martin Sherman, music and lyrics by Peter Allen
A musical telling of the story of Australian entertainer Peter Allen, from his humble beginnings, to his rise to fame, to his marriage to Liza Minelli, to the crumbling of their marriage due to Allen’s homosexuality, to his final concert before his death from AIDS.

11. The Prom, book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, based on an original concept by Jack Viertel, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Four struggling Broadway stars team up to help Emma Nolan have the prom of her dreams with her girlfriend, despite the actions of the homophobic PTA.

12. The Louder We Get (previously titled Prom Queen), book by Kent Staines, lyrics by Akiva Romer-Segal, music by Colleen Dauncey
Based on the true story of Marc Hall, a gay Canadian teenager whose legal fight to bring a same-sex date to his Catholic high school prom made national and international headlines in 2002.

13. Falsettos, book by William Finn and James Lapine, music and lyrics by William Finn
In 1970s New York, Marvin and Trina’s perfect family is broken apart when Marvin leaves Trina for a man named Whizzer.

14. Witness Uganda (previously titled Invisible Thread), book, music, and lyrics by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews
Based on the true story of Griffin Matthews. Matthews travels to Uganda for mission work after being kicked out of his church choir when the pastor discovered he was gay.

15. A Man of No Importance, book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Alfie and his amateur theatre group are determined to stage a controversial play at their local church. In the process of fighting for the play, Alfie is forced to confront his own homosexuality and share his true self with those around him.

16. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, music and lyrics by various artists
Drag queens Tick and Adam and transgender woman Bernadette travel across Australia in their bus named Priscilla.

17. Zanna, Don’t! by Tim Acito, additional lyrics and material by Alexander Dinelaris
Set in Heartsville, USA, a city where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is taboo. At Heartsville High, Zanna plays matchmaker and brings happy couples together, but heterophobia strikes when a pair of opposite-sex high schoolers discover their feelings for each other.

18. Jagged Little Pill, book by Diablo Cody, music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Alanis Morissette, with additional music by Michael Farrell and Guy Sigsworth
The seemingly-perfect Healy family, including parents MJ and Steve and teenage children Frankie and Nick, struggles with challenges including addiction, sexual identity, and the pressure to keep up appearances.

19. My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, book by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, music by David Hein
From the creators of Come From Away and based on Hein’s real family, David reflects on his mother coming out when he was 13, after divorcing David’s father, discovering Judaism, and falling in love with a woman who practices Wicca.


Plays Featuring LGBTQ+ Themes and Characters

Dramas, comedies, award-winners, and more.

1. She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen
After the death of her sister Tilly and discovery of Tilly’s game scenario notebook, Agnes Evans delves into the world of Dungeons & Dragons to understand and grieve her sister.

2. The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project
In 1998, university student Matthew Shepard was tortured, robbed, and murdered for being gay. The murder was deemed a hate crime. In the aftermath, the Tectonic Theater Project travelled to Laramie, Wyoming and interviewed hundreds of subjects both directly and indirectly related to the case. 

3. Almost, Maine by John Cariani
On one cold and magical midwinter night, the citizens of Almost, Maine experience love, loss, and the life-altering power of the human heart. One of the most produced plays in North American high schools. 

4. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner
A two-part, seven-hour, Tony-winning epic play primarily focusing on a gay couple from New York, with other intersecting storylines.

5. The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley
A group of gay men gather at Michael’s home to celebrate their friend Harold’s birthday. Michael’s friend from college, Alan, unexpectedly arrives, who has no idea that Michael or any of his friends are gay.

6. HIR by Taylor Mac
After a dishonorable discharge from the military, Isaac returns home to discover his father has suffered a stroke, his sibling Max has come out as transgender, and his mother is ready to educate Isaac about the new post-gender world (while unknowingly appropriating Max’s experience).

7. The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer
Passionate and confrontational activist Ned Weeks campaigns for awareness about an unidentified disease (HIV/AIDS) that is killing gay men in New York City, while tending to friends and lovers who are dying all around him.

8. As Is by William M. Hoffman
Released shortly before The Normal Heart, Rich decides to return to his ex-partner, Saul, after contracting AIDS from his new lover. Seeking care, Rich reveals how doctors, family members, and friends reacted to people with AIDS.

9. The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer
Three different people, all dying of cancer, live out their final days in homey hospice cottages, and are interviewed by a psychiatrist for a psychological project.

Click here for a free reading response worksheet for your students.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.