Top high school plays and musicals, by decade

Posted to Statistical Visualization  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Based on annual high school play and musical rankings from the magazine Dramatics, which date back to 1938, NPR charted the most popular plays by decade. For a variety of reasons — cast size, family-friendliness, and licensing — the oldies still reign.

There are two views. In one, the top six plays/musicals are shown each decade and colored by when they were first produced. Mouse over a play, and it’s highlighted in the other decades if it’s at the top.

The second, more interesting view shows rankings over time. Select a play from a dropdown and see the ups and downs among the top ten, as shown above.

A part of me wants to see and do more with that second view. You could show more rankings at one time instead of just the top ten. You should show all the plays at once. You could add an interaction to mouse over plays in any column to get the full ribbon across. You could then provide a search bar instead of dropdown menu for all the plays over the decades.

But for the article’s audience and in the context of the story? This version works much better. Because more isn’t always best.

See it.


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