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Up The Down Staircase Cover

Up the Down Staircase

By Christopher Sergel. From the book by Bel Kaufman.

Product Code: U12000

  • Full-length Play
  • Comedy
  • Cast size: 12m., 18w. (smaller with doubling.)

    Limited Livestream Rights Available

Rights and availability
This title can be licensed and sold throughout the World.

* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

$11.95 /script

Min. Royalty Rate: $110/perf

In stock


"Hi, Teach!" are the first words to greet attractive Sylvia Barrett. There's a special happiness in walking into the still-empty classroom and for the first time writing her name on the blackboard. Students pour into the classroom—cautious, testing, challenging. Simultaneously, there's a blizzard of paperwork, warnings, contradictory orders, indecipherable instructions. Frantic, Sylvia begins to fear she doesn't even understand the language. An experienced teacher translates: "Keep on file in numerical order" means throw in wastebasket. "Let it be a challenge" means you're stuck with it. "Interpersonal relationships" means a fight between kids. And "It has come to my attention" means you're in trouble. Soon Sylvia finds herself the most involved person in the school—involved in the start of a romance and in a near war with a discipline-over-everything administrator, but, most of all, involved in the unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking problems of her students. The simple stage arrangement makes the play easy to produce and serves to convey a sense of the whole school. One critic said, "Seldom has a humorous work been at the same time so important."


Limited Livestream Rights Available

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  • Status

    In stock

  • Type of Show Full-length Play
  • Product Code U12000
  • Cast Size 30
  • Min. Royalty Rate $110/perf
  • Cost $11.95
  • Approx. Run Time 100 min


  • Target Audience Middle School | High School | College and Adult
  • Performing Group Middle School | High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre
  • Genre Comedy
  • ISBN(13) 9780871292810
* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

Customer Reviews

"This play was highly adaptable to production in a theatre-in-the-round setting. The roles offered our student actors a smorgasbord of opportunities to showcase their diverse talents."
Review by Alex Di Guiseppe, Coatesville Area Senior High School, Coatesville, PA
"Up the Down Staircase is a timeless representation of issues surrounding teenagers. The fast single-line dialogue is energizing."
Review by Lana Jean Baker, Plano High School, Plano, IL
"Awesome play to do for first-time or inexperienced directors. Easy to cast and publicize as it offers a great representation of the educational culture."
Review by Robbin Demeester, Rockford High School, Rockford, MI
"A great opportunity for "ensemble" cast work. Relevant, fun, and well suited to high school actors/audiences."
Review by Keith Malcolm, F. W. Johnson Collegiate High School, Regina, SK
"Enjoyable production for the director due to variety of characters and scenes. Great for high school kids because they can relate to the characters. Teachers who saw our production said it reminded them of their first year of teaching! Very fun play. Nice community event."
Review by Chris Rees, Chugiak High School, Eagle River, Alaska
"Up the Down Staircase is a fun description of what a first-year teacher goes through. My students really enjoyed the language and the fluidity of the script and pace of the show."
Review by Melissa Brassard, Jennings County High School, North Vernon, Ind.
"It's a great piece for involving lots of students. Most characters are developed enough to the point of allowing actors a level of creativity without detracting from the author's intent."
Review by Connie Voight, Randolph School, Huntsville, Ala.
"Up the Down Staircase was a perfect show for a year when we were needing to "rebuild" our drama department. One very talented senior actress played Sylvia, and many small parts of students and faculty were made available to first-time actors and actresses. Several teachers at our school played cameo roles, which added to the fun for cast and audience."
Review by B. Bellamy, Kenmore High School, Akron, Ohio
"Up the Down Staircase is an ideal play selection for high school; the characters are vibrant and easy for students to relate to. My cast relished the opportunity to play parts like the class clown, teacher's pet, or rebel, without the repercussions of real life!"
Review by Lauren Tobiasen, Hammond High School, Columbia, Md.
"Great parts for many students. Simple set makes it easier to concentrate on characterizations. Funny, warm and dramatic moments are woven together to create the many moments of reality for a beginning teacher."
Review by Jeanne Spurlock, McNicholas High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
"Opportunities for young actors to develop unique characters abound."
Review by Nancy Curtis, First Colonial High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
"This is one of my favorite plays! We did a tribute to teachers this year; it was well received. The creative staging and the inspiring lines make this show!"
Review by Amber Hugus, Seneca Valley High School, Harmony, Pa.

Hints, Tips, and Tricks

"Elevate the back on stage tables. Doors and octagons for cutouts."
Tip by Lowell Carpenter, Fergus Falls High School, Fergus Falls, Minn.
"It did look good for music to fade over the start of the show as Sylvia turned on the lights. At this time, students were blocked to go up and down the stairs, as if walking in the halls on the first day of school."
Tip by Connie Voight, Randolph School, Huntsville, Ala.
"This play allows unlimited opportunities for technical creativityÑlighting, staging, set design, etc."
Tip by J. Jenselin, Oshkosh North High School, Oshkosh, Wis.
"High school productions: use any willing faculty or administrative staff in minor rolesÑit's a lot of fun for cast and audience."
Tip by B. Bellamy, Kenmore High School, Akron, Ohio
"We used flats for the back wall. The suggestion boxes and announcements were done from one window and two door flats. Bea Schacter had a second window higher than the others. Flats were 4 X 8."
Tip by D. Vialpando, Los Lunas Schools, Los Lunas, N.M.
"A lot of the success of this show will depend on the staging. We used various areas of the stage to represent different settings and time periods. Our "suggestion box" scenes were played on a platform above the stage."
Tip by Cheryl McClurg, Harding Academy of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

Production Map

Location City State Opens Closes
Immanuel High School Reedley California 5/2/2024 5/5/2024
Elwood Community High School Elwood Indiana 5/4/2024 5/5/2024


File Description File Format
Performance PosterpdfDownload

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