The Emperor's New Clothes

Short Musical, Comedy  /  2w, 5m

Music and Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Book by David Holstein

A family musical about a frivolously fashionable Emperor and his opinionated daughter.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2w, 5m
  • Duration
    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature)
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences, Young Children (Age 2 - 5), Children (Age 6 - 10)
The Emperor's New Clothes


The frivolously fashionable Emperor and his opinionated daughter Sam just can’t get along. But with the help of some colorful characters and not-so-colorful threads, the two come to see themselves – and appreciate each other – for the first time. This family musical based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale promises to warm the hearts of children and adults alike!
5 Men
2 Women

The Emperor
Lord Vince
  • Time Period Medieval (6th-14th c.)
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features No intermission
  • Duration 75 Minutes


Far and away the most successful of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's annual summer projects... a veritable cascade of musical numbers that manage to be fresh, catchy and complex.” — Chicago Tribune

The Emperor's New Clothes is far and away the most successful of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's annual summer projects to draw in the thousands of families who visit Navy Pier. You'd be crazy to take your family or guests to Navy Pier this summer without seeing this show… Trust me, it's the best thing there. And the show skews slightly older than you might be thinking. Given all the kid-power tech in the show and the irreverence of the style, tweens sick of Miley Cyrus will have a great time. And if you appreciate new musicals of quality, no kid is required to attend. Young Alan Schmuckler will, mark my words, be a major Broadway composer. And if seeing for yourself is preferable to marking my words, you need only trot over to Navy Pier, where you will be treated to a veritable cascade of musical numbers that manage to be fresh, catchy and complex.” — Chicago Tribune

“New spin keeps The Emperor's New Clothes popping. In their newly imagined 75-minute family musical, now at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, composer-lyricist Alan Schmuckler (who did such a beguiling job with How Can You Run With a Shell on Your Back?) and writer David Holstein have devised a wonderfully zesty hybrid of Andersen's fairy tale. Sophisticated enough for any adult, the show also contains just enough goofy vaudeville to entertain 10-year-olds.” — Chicago Sun-Times

“Well-timed physical comedy, bright costumes and fun melodies engage young children, while the snarky lyrics and subtext will keep adults laughing.” — Chicago Parent

“This update of Hans Christian Andersen, smartly directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell, sports a book by David Holstein that holds comic appeal for kids and adults alike; rising composer Alan Schmuckler provides a clever, winning score. The eight-member cast is uniformly terrific.” — TimeOut Chicago

“Catchy tunes, eye-popping costumes, a magnificent fairyland set, a roly-poly jovial emperor with a pleasantly booming voice in the person of Don Forston—they're all part of The Emperor's New Clothes. the show fills a gap that theater rarely fills, appealing to teens and pre-teens with over a dozen jaunty songs and lyrics straight out of 21st-century jargon. Adults will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek references to the angst issues of our time. Oh what fun everyone will have in this fast-paced, delightfully updated version of this classic tale with music and lyrics created by Alan Schmuckler…” — The Beverly Review

“This show modernizes the classic Hans Christian Andersen fable, adding the spark and flare it needs to be a hit! All of the elements of this wonderfully silly play make it enjoyable for adults and children alike. It will have your foot tapping the entire time.” — Cheeky Chicago

“The songs, composed by Alan Schmuckler, are energetic and help the younger children in particular to engage with the storyline. … There are enough new twists to this old story to make it fresh no matter how many times you’ve heard it.” — Examiner.com Chicago


1. "Emperor's Day " - Secretaries
2. "Nobody Looks As Good As Me" - Emperor
3. "Better Than Brown" - Kimberly & Mama
4. "I'd Rather Be Me " - Sam & Secretaries
5. "Invisible" - Mama
6. "The Emperor's New Clothes " - Undersecretary
7. "Linin' My Ducks In A Row " - Vince
8. "I'm Always Right " - Emperor & Mama
9. "The Mom Song" - Sam
10. "Finale Ultimo" - All

Full Orchestration

Reed 1 (Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute)
Reed 2 (Alto Sax, Clarinet, Soprano Sax, Flute, Piccolo)
Bass (Acoustic)
Drums (Standard Kit, Bells, Bodhran, Woodblocks, Xylophone)

  • Musical Style Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance Requirements Moderate
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size No Chorus

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
9 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Bass
1 Drums
1 Accompaniment Tracks (Digital Download)
1 Logo Pack
9 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Accompaniment Tracks (Digital Download) 
1 Logo Pack


Take a look below at how you can enhance your show!


Alan Schmuckler

Alan Schmuckler is a musical theater artist whose work includes writing, performing and music directing. In addition to work for the live stage, Alan has also created work for television, podcasts and digital formats. His work has been performed across the US and internationa ...

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David Holstein

Dave Holstein is currently the writer/creator of Showtime's 2018 dramedy series KIDDING, starring Jim Carrey and Catherine Keener and directed by Michel Gondry. Before that he was a writer/executive producer on the Showtime drama I'M DYING UP HERE starring Melissa Leo and HBO ...

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