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How to Eat Like a Child - Full Length Musical, Comedy

How to Eat Like a Child

Delia Ephron, John Forster, Judith Kahan

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Full Length Musical, Comedy

30boy(s) or girl(s)

ISBN: 9780573681332

Based on the book by Delia Ephron
Book by Delia Ephron, John Forster, and Judith Kahan
Music and Lyrics by John Forster

This musical romp through the joys and sorrows of being a child is hilarious.

Note on Digital Perusal: Samuel French's new digital perusal process grants easy, digital access to music perusals while protecting the intellectual property of our composers, book writers, and lyricists. Samuel French perusals are intended to be used for finding the perfect show to fit your theater, casting pool, and resources. Perusals should be used to get acquainted with the music and script. They cannot be used to hold auditions, produce the show without a license, or find sheet music for a separate performance.

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Digital Perusal Score Rental

Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.


Full Length Musical


Theatre for Young Audiences

60 minutes (1 hour)

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - HOW TO EAT can be performed in almost any space using a very simple set. The open stage should suggest a child's environment with 10 or 12 lightweight cubes (2 feet on a side) that can be arranged into chairs, beds, playgrounds, kitchens, minivans, etc.


No intermission

Unit Set/Multiple Settings, Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


No Special Cautions




Appropriate for all audiences, Children (Age 6 - 10), Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)


Elementary School / Primary, Community Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Church / Religious Groups

This musical romp through the joys and sorrows of being a child is hilarious. Children give twenty-three lessons in such subjects as how to beg for a dog, how to torture your sister, how to act after being sent to your room, and how to laugh hysterically. The pace is fast, the tone subversive, and the recognition instant.


"A musical revue for children that can also be enjoyed by the parents...A charming and witty score."Backstage

"Delightfully clever." - Hollywood Reporter

"Razzle dazzle staging, Broadway style songs and an imaginative script." - TV Guide

"A winner...should become a classic." - The Seattle Times


How to Eat Like a Child: A Musical Romp Through Childhood 
by Cara Kramer
September 22, 2015

HOW TO EAT LIKE A CHILD is based on the Viking book of the same name by Delia Ephron. The musical version began its life as an NBC prime time special starring Dick Van Dyke (the chimney sweep in MARY POPPINS). It was an immediate hit in schools, camps and community centers everywhere and has enjoyed thousands of productions all over the the US, Canada and many other countries where kids smuggle their least favorite vegetables to the garbage instead of eating them.



30boy(s) or girl(s)


Ensemble cast, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Expandable casting, Flexible casting, Room for Extras


"How To Eat Like A Child" is designed for a cast of typical school kids aged 5-15. It works especially well when the group includes a spectrum of ages. For instance, "I Feel Sick" features three sisters - big, medium, and little. "We Refuse To Fall Asleep" is started by the older "ringleaders" and ends with one kindergartner as the last one awake. The character names listed here are the actual names of the children in the Original production. So, in each specific production, characters should be referred to by their own names.



GEORGE - the leader; a rock-and-roller; has to have a strong voice.
BILLY - George's sidekick. 
COREY - the comedian; does not need to sing well.
RACHEL - bossy; dramatic; strong singer.
ANDY - a very good singer. 
REBECCA - the role does not require much singing.
ARLENE - sings "I FEEL SICK;" older sister to Kimberly and Paula.
KIMBERLY - sings "I FEEL SICK;" middle sister to Arlene and Paula.
PAULA - sings "I FEEL SICK;" younger sister to Kimberly and Arlene.
BRANDON - the youngest cast member. 
Rental Materials


Piano Only


Classic Broadway, Pop/Rock



1 Piano Vocal Score 
30 Vocal Chorus Books

Performance Tracks Available (Additional Fee)
Song Samples

Like A Child

I Feel Sick

The Jolly Buccaneers

Say Yes

Means "No"

Why Should A Kid Have To Walk?

Waiting, Waiting

How to Torture Your Sister

The Birthday Song


We Refuse to Fall Asleep


John Forster

John Forster is an award-winning songwriter, playwright, humorist, and music producer whose work encompasses the worlds of singer-songwriting, musical theater and children’s entertainment. As a writer and producer of bright, sassy music for children, Mr. Forster has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, most recently for the Tom Chapin album Some Assembly Required. Other children’s albums ... view full profile

Other John Forster titles:

Other Judith Kahan titles:

Now Playing
Jane Anderson 8/9/2016 12:20 PM
This is a fantastic show for young performers.  It is challenging, but very doable.  And you don't need 30 kids--we did it very nicely with 14.  I would have liked to have a couple more, but it worked just fine.  We didn't do any of the "optional" numbers.  If you had more kids, that would be an option.
Our cast members were 3rd through 5th grade.  Some of them were great performers who could sing well, others were inexperienced and didn't sing well.  There was room for all of them in the cast.  Not everyone has to be a strong singer or actor.  
This piece is a great tool for teaching because everyone in the cast has an important role to play at various times.  It also teaches them how to be a member of the chorus--another important lesson in the theater.  I love that each kid got to enjoy the spotlight at some point.
We had an elaborate set because our theater company had just closed a show in which there was a very nice "living room" set and we redecorated it to look like a typical family home with toys, books, etc. included.  We used piano accompaniment, which was right on the stage in the middle of the living room.  
There were a couple of instances which we felt were inappropriate for our young actors:  one that was a knock knock joke asking Is this Kentucky Fried Chicken?  How big are your breasts?"  We skipped that lesson.  Another point was two kids are supposed to be chewing gum, each pull a string of it out of their mouths and give it to the other.  Gross and unsanitary.  We substituted the kids looking at a Human Anatomy textbook and giggling at the pictures.  But overall, a delightful piece.  Parents and other audience members were astounded at what their kids were able to do in two weeks rehearsal time!  (we met for 3 hours a day for two weeks of rehearsal.  But in that time, we also did improve games and other theater activities with them.)  I'd highly recommend this show for children's groups.
Cindy Pitts 8/18/2015 3:53 AM
This show is an excellent show for Middle and High School students. I have used this show several times with different drama groups and it is always well received by the actors and the audience. The format gives opportunity for a large cast or a small cast with lots of doubling. The show is fast paced and light- hearted  without being trite. I appreciate the vignette format which gives opportunity for a variety of character development work. The songs are pitched well for the middle and high school voice and are easy to moderately  easy in difficulty.
Director CreativeHearts Academy
Sandy Kozik 5/15/2014 3:32 PM
I'm not the director and have never seen the show, but here in the office everyone who passes by and sees the scripts on my desk says, "Oh, I love this show."  So I can't wait to see our kids perform it this summer.  I personally like the fact that it is small vignettes that will allow our young actors the opportunity to really concentrate on creating multiple stage pictures and characters and then stringing the pieces together.  So often they have no idea of continuity, transition, and how the small parts create the whole.  We are looking forward to having them use this piece as multiple teachable moments.
Sandy Kozik
Executive Assistant/Acting Artistic Director
West Memphis, Arkansas

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