If we’re talking about children’s theatre, children can play any role out there, from Miss Hannigan in Annie to Fantine in Les Miserables. But if we’re talking about adult musical theatre productions, that is, musicals that cast adults in adult roles and children in children’s roles, you have to search a little more to find great parts for children. If making your way out of children’s theatre and into the world of professional musical theatre productions is a goal of yours, check out these 12 great roles children can play in musical theatre.
1. Annie in Annie
Let’s start with the obvious. If you grew up around musical theatre, it’s unlikely that you avoided hearing music from Annie at some point. Annie, and really any orphan in the show, is a great role to play.
2. Oliver in Oliver!
And of course, if you’re a boy, the male orphan of choice is Oliver, adapted from the Dickens novel Oliver Twist.
3. Young Cosette in Les Miserables
Most of you have probably heard the iconic childhood tearjerker “Castle on a Cloud.” It’s not as large a role as Annie or Oliver, but it’s a highly sought-after role to play since it’s part of the Broadway favorite, Les Mis.
4. Billy in Billy Elliot
Adapted for musical theatre from the British ballet drama of the same title, Billy Elliot is a great role for a triple threat boy, that is someone who can sing, dance, and act well.
5. Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden
Orphans figure high on this list of great roles for children. Mary is an exciting role for a young girl to play, because she sings multiple solos, carries harmony, and even gets to throw a tantrum on stage.
6. Baby June in Gypsy
Before her song got transformed into a burlesque number, Baby June was singing and dancing to “Let Me Entertain You,” a classic Broadway number.
7. Tiny Tim in Scrooge
In yet another musical adapted from a Dickens novel, Tiny Tim is the sweet but sickly Cratchit boy who walks with a crutch. He has a beautiful solo.
8. Tina in Ruthless
A much lesson characteristic role for children, Tina is a ruthless child murderer who will stop at nothing to be a star.
9. Small Alison in Fun Home
Fun Home features Alison at different stages of her life, including Small Alison, who sings “Ring of Keys,” a reflection on her youthful attraction to a woman.
10. Colin in The Secret Garden
We covered Mary already, but her male counterpart is her cousin Colin, a sickly boy whom Mary and her garden breathe life into.
11. Matilda in Matilda
Adapted from Roald Dahl’s beloved childhood classic of the same title, Matilda is another leading role to play as a child.
12. Gavroche in Les Miserables
The male child who figures in Les Miserables, Gavroche carries the famous “Little People” number.