First, I organize the enrollees into age groups. Then I look at their heights. Some of the younger children may have to play an "older" character because they are tall for their age. This play has two definite populations --- adults and children. Obviously, the smaller children must play the children. This time, we have one very tall 12 year-old girl who will be a head taller than the other girls near her age. She will even be taller than all of the boys. We decided to give her a featured role where her height will be an asset, not a liability.
Over the years I have done "A Successor to the Throne" quite a few times. I have collected costumes for that show in many size ranges. I ask the families to send in the heights of their children even before they turn in their Registration Forms. That helps me organize the costumes to make sure I have enough that will work.
For example, this show has many dance numbers for the girl population. Five pink Spring dancers, two yellow Summer dancers, three Autumn dancers, and 4 Winter dancers. Because of the sizes of the kimonos, I know which age groups I must pull the dancers from. Practically all of the girls sing and dance in these numbers, but the featured dancers need to fit into those particular costumes.
Of course, for some of the characters, the final decisions cannot be made until I actually meet with the kids. If a character has a solo, he better be chosen from the boys who can sing well. If a character has a bigger line load or must play comedy, she better be picked from the girls who can do those things.
This show has many featured roles with speaking lines and solo songs. No one character has to "carry" the show, though. The lines and songs are distributed fairly evenly amongst many characters. That's why we can presume to produce this show from start to finish in just 30 hours of concentrated rehearsals. The trick is to have enough adult specialists to help. Two of my daughters and some nieces will be helping me this show. I am so blessed!