Very young performers are generally very new to the whole idea of doing theater and do not have the experience to deliver their lines and movements consistently for every performance. Even with a lot of practice, many other factors influence what happens during a show. They might get stage fright, or may fumble a line and have to repeat it, or may get distracted by something another actor may do, or a host of other problems. Why even do a show that depends on specific timing to a fully orchestrated musical UNDERSCORING?
Sometimes called THROUGH-COMPOSED, a show that has many songs as well as continual underscoring throughout is very difficult for young actors --- as well as their audiences. Some of the reasons are:
1. Singing or speaking above the music. Very few groups have enough body microphones to handle the job of amplifying small voices adequately.
2. Blocking so that young actors can clearly be identified while delivering lines over the music. It is very difficult for the audience to follow which actors are speaking in a scene when all of the voices are similar and speak in the Treble clef. Few young actors have enough stage presence to pull focus.
3. Timing all movement and line delivery to match the musical underscoring. This requires the actors to be aware of yet another big element in order to match their lines and movement to fit to the limited music.
I have been to see Middle School shows where I had trouble hearing all of the actors adequately, understanding the lines, or even following the plot because I couldn't tell what was going on. Most of these issues could have been avoided had the show NOT been THROUGH-COMPOSED. The highly orchestrated underscoring was very distracting!
The young actors had a hard enough time singing over a fully orchestrated score during the songs. It was 10 times more difficult for them to project over the fully orchestrated underscoring!
The most they should ever be faced with is timing a few lines between verses of a song. Even this can be too much for some young actors. Here is an example from the show "The Tale of Chicken Licken." The mother Goose is explaining to her daughter and sons how important keeping up appearances is to their family in the song "Beauty Is." (The sons have a different opinion!)