A play is a form of literature that is typically written by a playwright. A play reveals a story through dialogue and sometimes will include a narrator who participates as a storyteller. A play typically occurs on the stage and is known as a straight play because it is performed from a dialogue script. A play may include music, but the music does not determine the course of the play.
A play tends to focus more on the characters and the story, as opposed to the music. Musicals, on the other hand, focus on the music. A musical might have a script for the spoken words, but songs drive the story's bulk. A musical can be performed in the form of an opera or pop musical rampant with pop tunes.
Musicals are often compared to the movies because they comprise many different art forms, including acting, directing, singing, dancing, and a plethora of others. Musicals are generally more uplifting than a regular play. Examples of plays include Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Death of a Salesman, Hamlet, and A Raisin in the Sun. Examples of musicals include Cats, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, and Westside Story.