Once or twice a year, most high schools put on a production or show. They charge a ticket price, which pays for ongoing expenses within the theater department of their schools. The money pays for props, costumes, set building, rights to put on a licensed production, etc.. If you have been charged with finding your high school's next big show idea/production, here are some types of shows and their entertainment value to get you started.
Straight Play, Drama or Comedy
Straight plays are just that; there is no singing or dancing involved, and no other unique talents beyond acting. Thankfully, there are thousands of plays with different themes and multiple roles for big high school casts. You can also choose between a comedy, which either has comedic elements or a funny/happy ending, or a drama, which is often very dramatic, sad, serious, or frightening.
Everybody sings in a musical. This can be a problem if not everyone auditioning can sing, or if your actors and actresses have never sung before. Rehearsals are far more intense, and you have to cast people in their roles as soon as possible in order to get enough time in for singing practice and stage rehearsal. If there is dancing involved in any scene, then you really need a lot more rehearsal time. Not everyone likes musicals, which may also contribute to low ticket sales. However, if you pick a very popular musical that even people who hate musicals tend to enjoy, it could work out well for your cast.
A variety show puts on a series of different acts, which may or may not tie together, and all of which are very entertaining. Additionally, you need very few pieces of scenery, limited props and costumes, and limited, if any, sound effects. A variety show showcases people's singing, dancing, acting, juggling, magic, and other types of talented performances. Its low production cost is excellent for schools and theater departments with tight budgets, or for schools that need to raise more money than spend money for their theater departments.
With the likes of Cirque Du Soleil performances, it is easy to see where and how these animal-free circus shows can be popular. The kids will have to learn some circus performance tricks, plus a ton of lighting and movement techniques. As long as everyone's safety is well-managed, this could be a very exciting and profitable show.
Reach out to a company like The Loft Theater-Lounge-Dining for more ideas.