21 Best Musicals for High School (Classics & Modern!)

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High school is when people can explore and develop a passion for musical theater.

While high school musicals are mostly abridged versions of their Broadway counterparts, they’re still equally fun, experimental, and exciting. 

We have rounded up 21 songs that would be great for high school musicals. Whether you’ll be taking on a solo, duet, or group part, our list has something for everyone.

The Best Musicals for High School

We Don’t Talk about Bruno” – Encanto 

Taking the world by storm in 2021 is Disney’s infectious track about the protagonist’s ostracized uncle, Bruno. 

The song was composed by Lin Manuel-Miranda, the man behind musicals like Hamilton and In the Heights

This track blends different music styles like hip-hop and Latin pop to create a catchy composition that everyone can’t stop singing. 

It’s also perfect for large groups of people, making it perfect for the stage.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey 

Released in 1981, this upbeat track is one of the most enduring songs out there that everyone loves. 

Besides its catchy beat, its uplifting message makes it great to belt out aloud to inspire your audience. 

For a musical, it’s best to refer to the Glee version to get an idea on how to evenly distribute parts.

“I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys

The second the song starts with “You are my fire…,” it’s too hard not to sing along. 

This catchy pop track is so iconic that it’s been covered and parodied by many artists like Blink-182 and One Direction. 

The song isn’t just recognizable and easy to remember; it’s also easy for big groups of people to sing it together. 

“Dancing Queen” – Mamma Mia

If you’re looking for a danceworthy musical number, this track is perfect for you. 

Originally by ABBA, the song spreads positivity and good vibes by celebrating youth and life. 

It’s an amazing song that will definitely entertain your audience.

“The Music of the Night” – The Phantom of the Opera

This 1988 track sets a mysterious and captivating tone as it was sung by the Phantom to seduce Christine. 

The song details his everlasting love for her as he tries to persuade her to leave her home and be with him. 

This track has a pretty high register, so make sure to practice tons first before hitting the stage.

“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” – Evita

Featured in Evita, one of Broadway’s greatest musicals, this rousing number describes the life of Eva Perón, Argentina’s First Lady. 

Whether you choose Julie Corvington or Madonna’s version, this song has an emotional vibe that just tugs at your heartstrings.

“We’re All in This Together” – High School Musical 

Any song from this well-known Disney movie is perfect for high school musicals. 

The upbeat pop track is supposed to emulate the setting of a pep rally, making it perfect for an ensemble cast. 

It also has a cheerful and uplifting message of celebrating friendship, which is fitting for an audience of students.

“Non-Stop” – Hamilton

Hamilton might be a tad history-heavy for high school, but its modern style and popularity make it easy for students to relate to it. 

With bold instrumentals and catchy melodies, “Non-Stop” is more talking than singing, which means everyone gets to participate.

“Ya Got Trouble” – The Music Man 

Most of the current generation might not recognize this 1957 masterpiece, but it’s never too late to take a chance with it!

“Ya Got Trouble” is a fast-paced and energetic composition where the protagonist creates panic in the town of River City to manipulate the people. 

It has a melodic tune and witty lyrics that would be fun to sing and act out on stage.

“Rewrite the Stars” – Zac Efron and Zendaya

Featured in the 2017 film The Greatest Showman, this sweeping ballad follows two lovers who have different sentiments about their relationships. 

With a powerful melody and emotional lyrics, it’s a show-stopping number that would appeal to your audience.

“What Time Is It?” – High School Musical 2

Every high school student loves summer vacation, and this charming track captures the excitement perfectly. 

“What Time Is It?” is all about the characters making plans for the summer after school has ended. 

The lyrics are incredibly relatable and the song’s high energy would get any crowd hyped up.

“Seasons of Love” – Rent

Featured in the 1996 musical Rent, this heartfelt song was written as a question on the best way to “measure” love. 

Despite its romantic message, it’s actually a sad number dedicated to a departed friend. 

This ensemble track relies on its rhythmic instrumentation and catchy harmonies to create a catchy yet melancholic tone.

“Think of Me” – The Phantom of the Opera

This sweet and tender ballad is the best choice if you want the spotlight for yourself. 

“Think of Me” was sung by Christine when she took centerstage and impressed the audience with her angelic voice. 

It’s a vocally-demanding song that requires a serious set of pipes, but if you got what it takes, you should take the opportunity to sing it.

“Belle” – Beauty and the Beast

Everyone’s familiar with this catchy track from the iconic Disney film. 

It features a normal day in Belle’s village and how she’s viewed by the people as the odd one out. 

With a memorable melody and simple lyrics, it’s great for large musical casts as everyone will get a singing role.

“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” – Les Miserables

This power ballad has a sad and depressive feel to it. In the musical, it’s sung by a young man named Marius, who grieves the death of his fellow soldiers that had died in the war. 

As it’s a solo number, it perfectly captures the somber and lonely feeling of being a survivor of war.

“City of Stars” – Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone `

Featured in the musical film La La Land, this emotional ballad is considered its signature song and has won numerous awards. 

With a slow tempo, the song finds two lovers who are contented and happy with each other. 

It’s a simple and tender song that requires good control over your vocals and expressions.

“Cell Block Tango” – Chicago

“Cell Block Tango” has an incredibly dynamic flow that makes it fun to perform on stage. 

This upbeat song follows six women and their reasons for ending up in the Cook County Jail. 

The track features a catchy rhythm and creative lyrics that would keep your audience invested in the main story.

“You Can’t Stop the Beat” – Hairspray

This catchy track is quite introspective in nature as it explores themes of racism, segregation, change, and progression. 

It has a bubbly melody and upbeat harmonies that give it a cheerful vibe, perfect for a dance scene.

“Summer Nights” – Grease

Any song from Grease is perfect for high school musicals as the story revolves around a relationship between two teenagers. 

“Summer Nights,” in particular, is a standout track from the musical that depicts a typical teen relationship. 

With simple instrumentals and straightforward lyrics, it has a melodic rhythm and arrangement that’s great for the stage.

“Candy Store” – Heathers

Heathers is another musical that revolves around a high school setting and has many irresistibly catchy songs. 

“Candy Store” features the three mean girls of the school trying to persuade the protagonist to be cruel and selfish like them. 

It’s a solid choice for a trio performance and would give you a chance to work on your harmonies.

“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” – Dreamgirls

Featured in the 1982 musical Dreamgirls, the song is sung by the character Effie White as she refuses to leave the man she loves. 

It’s a powerful ballad that requires emotional range and skillful vocals to pull it off. 

While it’s not entirely easy to sing, it’s still quite manageable, and with some practice, you’ll certainly be able to belt it out.  

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