Difference Between Play and Musical

The entertainment industry is widely incorporated in people’s lives in this generation. Whether it be a play, movie, drama, social media, everything contributes a meaning when thought in a specific way. The role of literature is immensely important in building a society and sharing knowledge.

Plays and musicals are ways in which art forms are represented and also act as a source of entertainment for the audience. It also holds great importance for the artist and the crew members working for the same.

Play vs Musical

The main difference between play and musical is that a play is when a story is narrated through a spoken language via dialogues, while a musical is a story narrated through music and songs. Both of them are performed on stage and in many other places. Plays are scripted beforehand, and the actors portraying the characters go through enough rehearsal before actual performances. Musicals are not scripted. Rather they are written as song lyrics and then composed into a song. The song can be an old one, a remake, or a new song made solely for the purpose of the musical.

Play vs Musical

A play tells a story through narration, and it may or may not have a narrator who acts as the storyteller. Spoken language, i.e. dialogues, are the main element in the play.

A play has many different elements like music, dance, and dialogues. A play is generally performed on stage, and sometimes the script is taken for movies.

A musical tells us a story via music, singing, and dancing. There is no active role of dialogues or say. There is no room for any conversation in this kind of play. Musicals are a representation of music, drama, and dance. The musical has a script, and the story is narrated through songs.

Comparison Table Between Play and Musical

Parameters of ComparisonPlayMusical
MeaningThe story is narrated with the help of dialogues.The story is narrated with the help of music and songs.
PerformanceUsually performed on stage. Scripts may also be used for movies.Performed on stage, on big shows, and also on movie screens.
TalentsPlaywriting talent is highlighted.Requires both playwriting and musical talents.
RequirementsManageable as only the actors, background, and costumes are basic requirements.More management is required due to the presence of a lot of elements.
Famous worksHamlet, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Death of a Salesman, Angels in America, etc.Evergreen, The Tale of Hoffman, Look up and Laugh, Ace of Clubs, Everything is Rhythm, etc.

What is Play?

A play is a form of literature created by a playwright. A play tells a story through narration, and it may or may not have a narrator who acts as the storyteller. Spoken language is the main element in the play.

A play may have different elements such as music, dance, and dialogues. A play is normally performed on stage and is referred to as a straight play because it is based on a dialogue script.

Music may be incorporated in a play, but it is not the original medium by which the play is displayed or how the plot is communicated. There can be various forms of plays such as comedies, rom-coms, satirical dramas, and tragedies.

Each type of play is classified into one of the different categories. Shakespeare, the well-known playwright of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, wrote many of these types of plays. His famous works include Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

The play serves many purposes. They are used as a source of entertainment and as the storyline for the pictures in motion. Play is used as a form of literary writing which is used in literature in schools and colleges.

Play is an interesting way to express the emotions and situations such as comedy, tragedy, satire, and various other forms of literature.


What is Musical?

A musical tells us a story by means of singing and dancing. There is no active role of dialogues or say. No one is allowed to have a conversation in this kind of play.

In the 19th century, the musical became popular in Britain when a modern structure was brought to the musical by Gilbert and Sullivan. The librettist-composer duo collaborated for fourteen different musicals.

The musical is of two types: Musical theatre and Book musicals. A musical is a kind of play that tells a story through music. The musical may have a script, but the meaning of the story is told by the lyrics of the song or is portrayed through the music.

A musical may be performed as an opera or as a pop musical with popular music. 

Musicals are very common in western culture and are one of the main events of the cultural festivals in schools and colleges. 

Musicals are popular as films because they consist of a combination of a variety of art forms. Many different audiences enjoy the diversity of art forms and the talent that is portrayed through the art form.

At the Oscars and other annual award ceremonies, prizes are given out for musicals and screen productions.

Musicals are usually enjoyable and are upbeat because they take a lighter approach towards drama. Musical promotes the active participation of multi-talented actors and actresses in the production. Musicals are a representation of music, drama, and dance.

The musical has a script, and the story is narrated through songs. Musical helps in the combination of different elements such as designing, acting, lighting, music, and dancing. 


Main Differences Between Play and Musical

  1. The play tells us the story through a spoken language i.e. dialogues. The musical tells the story by the use of music, singing especially.
  2. Play may have action, but the musical usually tells us a story and does not contain action.
  3. A musical can be a play that has music in it, but a play cannot be a musical. They will always require a spoken medium in it.
  4. The story in the play is conveyed using dialogues, while the story in the musical is portrayed by songs.
  5. The play does not include as many elements as the musical.
Difference Between Play and Musical


The portrayal of art forms using drama, dance, play, and musical have grown throughout the last century. Both play and musical have their deep roots in the entertainment industry. The base of them is the literature acting as its foundation.

Play is usually performed on stage, and the script of the play can be used in movies or series. Sometimes plays are also motivated by novels. Musical narrates the story through the songs and relays the message it wants to give to the audience.

Both of the art forms create ample opportunities for people to showcase their talents.


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