Musical Theatre Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about musical theater. Students will answer questions about a text and summarize the progression of musical entertainment.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on musical theater, students will be able to:

  • Cite textual evidence when answering questions about the text.
  • Summarize the historical progression of musicals.
  • Identify some popular Broadway musicals.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.


Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.


  • amphitheater
  • burlesque
  • comedy
  • Medieval
  • musical
  • opera
  • orchestra
  • parody
  • Renaissance
  • special effects
  • tragedy


  • Copies of the worksheet
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Clips of operas and musicals
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Lyrics
  • Miscellaneous props to be determined by each group

Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students before reading the lesson.
  • Read History of Musical Theatre: Lesson for Kids as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What is musical theater?
    • Describe the beginnings of musical theater.
    • Compare Greek musical theater to Roman musical theater.
    • Explain how musical theater was used from the Medieval to the Renaissance periods.
    • What is opera?
    • What was the first musical theater performance in the United States?
    • How is burlesque different from opera?
    • What modern inventions contributed to the popularity of musical theater by the late 1800s?
    • What is the Great White Way?
    • What were some of the first Broadway theaters and performances?
    • Why were the 1940s called the Golden Age?
    • Turn and talk: What are some musicals you've seen or heard of?
  • Ask if there are any questions; then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Musical Performances

Materials: Copies of lesson, paper, pencils, clips of operas and musicals, chart paper, markers, lyrics, miscellaneous props to be determined by each group

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