10 Best Plays For Young Actors

Monday, March 21 by Lauren Reinhard

There are hundreds of thousands of plays in the canon of world theater, but only a few that can be considered the 10 best plays for young actors. Each play consists of characters in their 20’s or younger, and many have been placed in the realm of great modern plays that have changed theatrical sensibilities by utilizing younger world views.

  1. “Polaroid Stories” by Naomi Iizuka. A beautiful and cutting edge play, “Polaroid Stories” is not only one of the best plays for young actors, but one of the best modern plays of all time. Polaroid stories blends tales of classical mythology and real stories told by street kids.
  2. “This is Our Youth” by Kenneth Lonergan. Easily one of the most recognizable, influential and best plays for young actors, “This is Our Youth” is a look at affluent young kids in Manhattan in the 80’s.
  3. “Burn This” by Lanford Wilson. A play that deals with 20 something’s in the downtown art world of New York City, “Burn This” shows how a relationship can develop out of mutual tragedy. Centering on love, friendship, humor and heartbreak, “Burn This” is one of the best plays for young actors.
  4. “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” by Jose Rivera. A play for young actors in their 20’s, “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” is a surrealist look at love and longing in relationships.
  5. “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl. A reimagining of the classi Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl’s "Eurydice" is played by and for younger actors and audiences. The silly, whimsical nature of the play, coupled with its naturally occurring intense themes makes this one of the best plays for young actors around.
  6. “Shopping and F***ing” by Mark Ravenhill. While not suitable for very young child actors, this play examines the process of a boy’s struggle to make sense of his sexual identity. Centering on a frank and honest topic of young people, this is one of the best plays for young actors.
  7. “Marisol” by Jose Rivera. “Marisol” is one of the most influential plays of the 1990’s and is certainly one of the best plays for young actors. Following the story of a young girl named Marisol who lives alone in a dangerous New York City neighborhood after she narrowly misses being attacked, the play shows her sink deep into a dream-like state where she imagines her life in a war zone.
  8. “13” by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish. A musical with score and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, additional lyrics by Robert Horn and book by Dan Elish, “13” opened on Broadway in 2008 and closed in 2009. The musical centers around a 13-year old boy named Evan Goldman after his parents move him from New York City to Indiana. With all the characters around the age of thirteen and with catchy tunes, this is definitely one of the best plays for young actors.
  9. “Badly Drawn” by Alan Robinson. “Badly Drawn” is a play in one act that runs around twenty minutes. Its short and comedic nature makes it one of the best plays for young actors. The play has one male and one female actor as well as four cartoon characters.
  10. “Echo and Narcissus” by Gerald P. Murphy. “Echo and Narcissus” is an ancient Greek myth that is told in the style of a musical play. The play follows the myth of Zeus’ wife, Hera, getting angry that Zeus was unfaithful with the beautiful Echo. Hera curses Echo to only be able to speak the words of others rendering her unable to make Narcissus know that she loves him.
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