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8 Great Lesser-Known Musical Theatre Roles For Kids

If you’re a kid who wants to try your hand at performing a lead role in a musical, you don’t have to wait for a production of “Annie” or “Oliver” to come along. Here are some lesser-known yet meaty musical theatre roles that you can try on for size:

1. Jacqueline Bouvier and Lee Bouvier in ‘Grey Gardens’

This musical is based on the historical documentary that gave an inside peek into the lives of “Big” and “Little” Edie Beale, the eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. These two roles are perfect for pint-sized girls with big voices and some dance skills.

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2. The Little Boy in ‘Ragtime’

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“Ragtime” is a very timely, historical piece that is not only a great introduction into early 20th century American history, but also the people, lifestyle and immigrant experience. The Little Boy in this show serves as the narrator and has some fantastic scenes. Only minimal singing skills are required.

3. Young Jane in ‘Jane Eyre’

This musical is perfect for any school learning about classic literature or significant historical periods. The role of Jane should be played by a young girl with a stellar voice and acting chops.

4. Tootie, Esther, Agnes and Rose in ‘Meet Me In St. Louis’

This show was originally an MGM musical that came to fame in 1944 because of its leading lady, Judy Garland. It showcases the St. Louis World Fair of 1904 and the sisters of the Smith family learning about life and love.

This classic American musical features four great roles for girls of varying ages. Most should be good singers and actors with some dance skills.

5. Dinah Lord In ‘High Society’

“High Society” is a fun musical comedy that revolves around a high-society woman, Tracy Lord, whose impending marriage is spoiled by her ex-husband and the resulting shenanigans.

Anna Kendrick got her start playing Dinah, a sassy, scene-stealing kid. This role requires someone who can both sing and act very well.

6. Susan Walker in ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

Based on the movie with the same name, this show features Susan Walker, a terrific role for a girl with a heart of gold who is a good actress and singer. Meredith Willson (“The Music Man”) wrote the music and lyrics, which means this character has some catchy tunes to sing. And, of course, this musical is perfect during the holidays.

7. Tina in ‘Ruthless’

Tina Demark is a sassy, brassy and talented 8-year-old in this show who declares she was “born to entertain.” This starring role is for someone who isn’t afraid to sing to the rafters and show off her belt. Current  Broadway and TV star Laura Bell Bundy got her start in this role.

8. Jason in ‘Falsettos’

The character of Jason is perfect for a budding teenage boy who is also a solid actor and singer. The harmonies and rhythms in this show are rough, so it’s imperative to be a solid musician with a good ear.

Which roles for children do you want to play? Let us know in the comments below…

Written by Kimberly Faye Greenberg

Kimberly Faye Greenberg is the first and only actress to play Leading roles in 2 OFF-BROADWAY musicals at the same time. In addition, Kimberly's numerous portrayals of a FANNY BRICE have been critically acclaimed by the NY Times, Huffington Post and Associated Press and currently her solo show Fabulous Fanny Brice is touring the country. Kimberly has worked backstage as a Broadway wardrobe swing dresser on over 20 Broadway shows. As a Performing Arts Consultant Kimberly loves to inspire, educate and work with proactive Artists.

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  1. Not a major role, but I was Violet in State fair in the past. It’s a great role for a young teen or pre teen actress and requires no singing.

  2. There’s a ton!

    1. Mauro-Do I hear a waltz?
    2. Frederika Armsteldt-A Little Night Music
    2. Jackie, Joe, and Noah-Caroline or Change
    3. Christian, John, and Small Alison-Fun Home
    4. Boy soprano (or Nazi Youth) that sings the first part of “Tomorrow Belongs to me” a capella-Cabaret
    5. Pugsley Addams-The Addams Family
    6. Young Shrek, Young Fiona, Teen Fiona, Grumpy the Dwarf-Shrek
    7. Young Olivia-The Color Purple
    8. Ben and Kayla-Radio City Christmas Spectacular
    9. Young Tonia, Young Lara/Katarina, Young Yuri/Sasha-Doctor Zhivago
    10. Young Gloria and Young Julio Estefan-On your feet
    11. Young Calogero-Bronx Tale
    12. Lulu-Waitress
    13. Young Amelie-Amelie
    14. Tam-Miss Saigon
    15. Young Anna and Young Elsa-Frozen
    16. Multiple roles in Bye Bye Birdie
    17. Children’s chorus-Evita and Joseph
    18. Les-Newsies
    19. Jason-Falsettos
    20. All roles in Really Rosie
    21. Tom-Camelot
    22. Ivanka-Once
    23. Young Anastasia/Prince Nikolai Romanov-Anastasia
    24. Young Kim, Newsboys-Show Boat
    25. Little Inez-Hairspray
    26. Princess Ying Yaowalak, Royal Children-The King & I
    27. Ngana and Jerome-South Pacific
    28. Nellie, Little Jake, and Jessie Oakley-Annie get your gun
    29. Baby June, Baby Louise, many child roles-Gypsy
    30. Young Guido, Young Guido’s Friends-Nine
    31. Young Don, Young-Singing in the Rain
    32. Frank Jr.-Merrily we roll along
    33. Winnie Foster-Tuck Everlasting
    32. Matilda and classmates(Amanda, Lavender, Hortensia, Bruce, Nigel, Eric, Tommy, and Alice)-Matilda
    33. Children (Lawrence, Katie, Shonelle, Tomika, Madison, Sophie, Summer, Marcy, etc) -School of Rock
    34. Benji-Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
    35. Young Charlie, Young Lola-Kinky Boots
    36. JoJo and Who Children-Seussical
    37. Cindy Lou Who, Annie Who, Brother Who-How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    38. Louise-Sunday in the park with George
    39. Lucy-The Goodbye Girl
    40. The ballet girls (Keeley Gibson, Sharon Percy, Alison Summers, Angela Robson, Debbie Wilkinson, Karen Davidson, Julie Hope) Billy Elliot, Michael, and Small Boy-Billy Elliot

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