For Stone Soup I tried to follow this formula to create songs that supported telling this story while firmly establishing it in the American Old West.
Opener - usually an upbeat song using much of the company that introduces the story and the players. (Over Yonder)
Aria #1 - usually a slow or thoughtful song where the main character opens up and the audience gets a glimpse into his or her character and emotions. This song could also be performed by the ensemble if it serves the same purpose which may be stating the "problem" of the storyline. (Sleepy Village)
Production Number #1 - sung and danced by the Ensemble reinforcing the PROBLEM of the storyline and getting the PLOT launched. Usually an intentional song with an agitated or fast tempo. (Trouble, Trouble, Trouble)
Aria #2 - another thoughtful or motivational song sung (at least partially) by a main character. Moves the PLOT along. (The Hungry Traveler)
Theme song - this song offers the solution to or the summation of the problem of the story. Could be sung by a main character and then joined by other members of the cast. (Stone Soup)
Reprise - sometimes one or more songs carries a message that is just so good it needs to be restated. (Stone Soup Reprise)
Finale - Usually reiterates the solution to the problem of the storyline. This is often an upbeat "power" song that guarantees thunderous applause and sends the audience out singing! (Cooperation)
Children's Theater shows are necessarily SHORT, so short songs are part and parcel for the course. When a show can be longer and have a more involved plot, the number and variety of songs can be expanded. Stone Soup is a show written for young actors (5-11 yrs) and takes less than 30 minutes to perform. The songs are varied and SHORT!