2018 PAPA Season

The Portsmouth Academy of Performing Arts was founded even before our theatre, and continues to be a cornerstone of our mission. Each year we train hundreds of performers of all ages in all aspects of stagecraft, from acting, to singing, to dancing, to improv and more. We have a number of production series, for performers and audiences of all ages:


Youth Workshops are performed by youth (ages 7 – 16) and for youth. These original productions give young actors the opportunity to perform for a public audience while sharing the stage and set with the current Mainstage show.

PAPA Day Camps are open to ages 7 – 17, and- just like our Youth Workshops- actors will have opportunity to perform an original production on the Mainstage set. Each 2-week session culminates in a fully-staged theatrical performance open to the public.

Teen Jr productions are open to ages 10 – 14, and give young actors the opportunity to perform student-friendly, author-approved versions of classic musicals while sharing the Mainstage set.

Teen Mainstage productions are for students ages 13 – 18, giving them the opportunity to work closely with our professional production team and take center stage in a full-length Broadway musical or play.

Student Works gives students the opportunity to develop and lead programming while working closely with adult mentors, with several events and productions throughout the year.

Theatre For Young Audiences is perfect for youngsters and parents alike! A cast of professional adults take on popular children’s books and classic stories in family-friendly productions.


Heathers: The Musical (High School Edition)
A Teen Mainstage Production
January 12-21

A hilarious, heartfelt and homicidal new show based on the greatest teen comedy of all time, Heathers is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers.

PAPA Playreading
A Student Works Event
February 4

PAPA Students are invited to attend for a sneak peak and discussion of two original musicals in the works!
Snow Day by Brittney Danis, music and lyrics by Joshua Goldberg
The Little Mermaid by Joshua Goldberg, based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson

The Adventures of Zap and Zam: A Superhero Story
A Youth Workshop Production
February 17-25

Kid superhero Zap Zaperstein and his sister Zam are starting at a new school: Hero Academy. Together with classmate and fluffernutter enthusiast, Trevor, they discover a secret plot that will destroy the school and forever change Herodom. An original musical by PAPA alum, Christian Arnold!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
A Teen Mainstage Production
March 8-11

Based​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Victor​ ​Hugo​ ​novel​ ​and​ ​featuring​ ​songs​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Disney​ ​animated​ ​film,​ ​as well​ ​as​ ​new​ ​music​ ​from​ ​Menken​ ​and​ ​Schwartz,​ ​Hunchback​ is a powerful musical retelling of the love story of the gypsy Esmerelda, the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, and the gallant Captain Phoebus in 15th Century Paris.

Cans: A Billy Goats Gruff Story
A Youth Workshop Production
April 7-15

When we last saw the Three Billy Goats Gruff, they had just saved the town and learned how valuable and delicious recycling can be.  While dreaming away in the night, an unwelcome guest enters their home and steals from them what they love the most… their cans! An original musical by SRT Artistic Director, Miles Burns!

PAPA Teen Cabaret: Dream On
A Student Works Event
April 8

Join us for a night of dreaming! Our talented teens are coming out for a cabaret, singing songs of their choice centered around the theme of “Dream On.” In collaboration with the Speakeasy by the Sea Cabaret Series, PAPA Teens gather for one night only to show off their pipes.

Class President
A PAPA Day Camp Production
July 7-8

Well folks, it’s that time again… election season. For Liberty Elementary Public School the race for 5th grade Class President will prove to be particularly contentious as three hopeful students, Hillary, Donny, and Bernie eagerly throw their hats in to the much anticipated race. Who will emerge victorious? We don’t know and won’t know until the ballots are in.

Jack and the Beanstalk (A Not-So-Original Tale)
A PAPA Day Camp Production
July 21-22

Jack lives a very ordinary life, but when his mother falls ill, he must find a way to help her. This is where Jack’s life starts to become less ordinary, and much more extraordinary. Determined to help his mother, he climbs a beanstalk and enters the Land of the Giants. Will Jack make it out alive?  Will his mother be okay?  Only this adventure will tell!

A Student Works Production
July 27-28

A touching and satiric musical by theatrical legends Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line, They’re Playing Our Song), Smile follows the intrigue and exploits onstage and behind-the-scenes as Santa Rosa, California plays host to the Young American Miss Pageant.

A PAPA Day Camp Production
August 4-5

In a land far away, surrounded by sand and sun, a young orphan boy named Hercules has just one dream… he dreams of being the raddest mega surfer in history: Surfules! With the help of the wise and mysterious Z, his turtle trainer, and a rad new board called Pegasus, will Hercules be able to complete the five heroic triumphs and ride his dream wave to bodacious fame and glory?

Avenue Q (School Edition)
A Teen Mainstage Production
October 4-7

This laugh-out-loud musical tells the story of Princeton, a recent college grad who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Filled with gut-busting humor and a delightfully catchy score, not to mention puppets, Avenue Q is a truly unique show that is part flesh, part felt and packed with heart.

The Music Man JR.
A Teen Jr Production
October 27-28

Master showman Harold Hill is in town and he’s got “seventy-six trombones” in tow! Based on Meredith Willson’s six-time-Tony-Award-winning musical comedy, The Music Man JR. features some of musical theatre’s most iconic songs and a story filled with wit and warmth: a bold, brassy show that will have the whole town atwitter!

Saving Santa
A Youth Workshop Production
December 8-16

Do you hear that? The jingle jangle of Santa’s Christmas Bells? You don’t, do you? That’s because Santa Claus is missing- he never made it back to North Pole after his Christmas ride! The elves have only one thing to do: save Santa Claus and bring him “ho-ho-home!” An original musical by SRT Artistic Director, Miles Burns!

A Year With Frog and Toad
A Theatre For Young Audiences Production
December 20-23

Based on Arnold Lobel’s well-loved books, and featuring a Tony-nominated score by Robert and Willie Reale, A Year with Frog and Toad follows two great friends – the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad – through four fun-filled seasons.


Portsmouth Academy Of Performing Arts is Sponsored by: