Directors’ Favorite Shows to Direct

Directing a theatre production is a unique and rewarding experience, and every director has their favorites. Here’s a compilation of some directors’ favorite show to direct, ranging from musicals to plays, based on feedback from seasoned directors. Below you can also find some tips from veteran directors!

Top Favorites

1. Steel Magnolias

  • Many directors cited “Steel Magnolias” as a favorite due to its powerful narrative and strong, memorable characters. The emotional depth and the tight-knit cast dynamics make it a cherished project. Several director’s we polled added that this is a show they can re-direct endlessly, with one admitting they have directed this show five times!

2. The Play That Goes Wrong

  • This hilarious and challenging play is loved for its physical comedy and the meticulous timing required. Directors enjoy the creative opportunities and the sheer fun involved in staging it.

3. Little Women

  • Adaptations of “Little Women” resonate deeply with directors due to the rich character development and the emotional journey of the March sisters. It’s a story that’s both classic and timeless. Many director’s cited that they enjoy bringing a classic novel to life on the stage, and this was the most popular within that sub-genre.

4. Into the Woods

  • The complexity and depth of “Into the Woods” make it a favorite among directors. The intertwining fairy tales and the moral lessons provide a rich tapestry for creative expression.

Other Popular Choices


  • Mamma Mia: The infectious energy and beloved music of ABBA make this musical a joy to direct.
  • Fun Home: Praised for its poignant storytelling and emotional depth, “Fun Home” is a director’s dream.
  • Les Misérables: This epic musical is a favorite for its grand scale and the profound impact it has on audiences.
  • Rent: The raw emotion and powerful message of “Rent” make it a standout project for directors.
  • Hairspray: With its vibrant characters and important social themes, “Hairspray” is both fun and meaningful to direct.


  • Our Town: Directors appreciate the simplicity and profound message of Thornton Wilder’s classic.
  • Pride and Prejudice: The elegance and wit of Jane Austen’s story come alive on stage, making it a beloved choice.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank: This powerful and emotional play is a favorite for its historical significance and the deep connections it fosters with the audience.
  • A Few Good Men: Known for its intense courtroom drama and powerful dialogue, this play is a compelling directing project.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: The themes of justice and morality make this a significant and rewarding play to direct.

Unique and Challenging Projects

Ride the Cyclone

  • This contemporary musical is gaining popularity for its unique narrative and engaging music. Directors love the creative challenges it presents.


  • Directors appreciate the humor and the heartfelt story in “Sylvia,” a play about a man’s relationship with his dog and the impact it has on his family.

Boeing Boeing

  • The farcical nature and the fast-paced comedy of “Boeing Boeing” make it a delight to direct, requiring precise timing and energetic performances, particularly from the revolutionists!


  • The whimsical and touching story of “Amélie” offers directors a chance to explore imaginative staging and heartwarming themes. One director mentioned that “with the right team really pushes you to find the good in the world and explore the ways everyone is connected by little threads in life.”

The Spitfire Grill

  • This musical’s themes of hope and redemption resonate deeply with directors, making it a favorite for its emotional storytelling and beautiful music. Bring tissues!

Advice from Directors

Embrace Each Project

  • Many directors believe that the most recent show they directed becomes their favorite. Each project brings its own set of challenges and rewards, and the journey is as important as the destination.

Cherish the Cast and Crew

  • Directors often highlight the importance of having a dedicated and talented cast and crew. The relationships and teamwork formed during the production process significantly impact the overall experience. Once a run of a show is over, it’s gone for good! So make sure to appreciate it while you have it.

Stay Passionate and Flexible

  • Flexibility and a passion for the craft are key. Every show, whether a classic or a contemporary piece, offers an opportunity for growth and creativity.

In conclusion, the favorite shows to direct are as varied as the directors themselves. From musicals that get audiences dancing to plays that provoke thought and emotion, the world of theatre offers endless possibilities for creative expression. Whether it’s a beloved classic or a modern hit, the joy of directing comes from the unique stories told and the collaborative effort to bring them to life on stage.


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