Theatre for Young Audiences Programs

Since its founding in 1979, The Coterie has been dedicated to developing new generations of audiences for live theatre, the performing arts, and arts education. Once described by Travel+Leisure magazine as, “a theatre that resolutely refuses to talk down to its audience,” The Coterie is at the forefront of commissioning new works or adaptations that contribute to the national field of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA). The Coterie has developed and produced more than 100 world or American premieres for all ages, many of which continue to be produced by other TYA companies nationwide. The Coterie is proud to have hosted multiple major Broadway composers and lyricists and dozens of playwrights, becoming a ‘coterie’ of creative and talented people all working to shape quality plays and musicals for youth and family audiences. 

Lab for New Family Musicals

The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals is a program in which The Coterie works with Broadway authors, composers, and publishers to transform their Broadway musicals to a scale and running time suitable for family theatre. The Coterie assists in the re-creation of the pieces by reviewing the script and assisting in its adaptation, working hand-in-hand with the Broadway creators during rehearsals and previews, and providing a company highly responsive to changes and developments. Family musicals performed under the Equity TYA contract must be 90 minutes or less in length and are often performed with a cast much smaller than the Broadway productions. The program has found the creators of Broadway musicals welcome the challenge of creatively adapting to these unique demands, and delight in bringing their work to youth and family audiences.

The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals was founded in 2004, when The Coterie worked with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty to create a Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) version of their hit show, Seussical, adapted from the full-length Broadway production. This TYA version went on to become one of the most produced plays for educational theatre in the United States. Since then, the program has successfully helped many accomplished Broadway composers find their way into the field of young audiences, such as Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek the Musical), Stephen Schwartz (Geppetto & Son), and Harry Connick Jr. (The Happy Elf), all of which lived on through subsequent productions nationwide. The program has also assisted new work by musical theatre artists Willie and Rob Reale (The Dinosaur Musical), Douglas Parker and Denver Casado (Life on the Mississippi), Henry Krieger and Bill Russell (Lucky Duck), and other works by Ahrens and Flaherty (Twice Upon a Time and Once On This Island). Most recently, The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals re-imagined a highly successful TYA version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Once Upon a Mattress
Shrek The Musical
Geppetto and Son
The Wiz
Stuart Little
James and the Giant Peach
U Bug Me