For as long as I can remember, musical theatre has been a big part of my life. So I thought that I’d talk about some of my favorite musicals from my childhood. While many of the musicals on this list are musicals that I still hold near and dear to my heart, some are ones that I have not seen for years and may now have different opinions on. But let’s get into it!
· OLIVER! – This list couldn’t possibly be complete without OLIVER!. It was OLIVER! that actually got me into musical theatre. Sure, I’d seen lots of Disney musicals and such but this was the first “grown up” (as I called it back then) musical I saw. And it’s a pretty sad musical and one that has a pretty heavy storyline. But I fell in love with the music, the dancing, the characters, and everything. I was actually pretty oblivious to a lot of the sadder moments of the musical as a child though I’m not quite sure why. This musical is still one that I love to this day and I am glad that the movie adaptation exists and that it is so good. I watch it a lot (to the “annoyance” of my younger brother who pretends not to like it).
· SCROOGE – This is actually one of my favorite musicals, really. I don’t talk about it nearly enough on here (though I talk about it almost non-stop at home). I cry a lot when watching musicals and movies and even while I’m reading books. So it was no surprise that I cry while watching this musical. But the reason why I’m crying is actually quite a bit different from my usual reason for crying during a musical, movie, or book. Sure, I cry at the sad parts, but I cry happy tears at the end. Happy tears. This is the one thing that actually can get me to that emotional point and I think that it’s one of the most miraculous things ever. I very highly recommend this one. It started off as a musical movie and got adapted for stage later on (if I’m remembering correctly). The movie is very good and though it’s considered “a Christmas movie”, I watch it all year round.
· STARLIGHT EXPRESS – It’s not been until more recently that I’ve developed a real love for this musical but it’s been with me for years. In fact, if it weren’t for this musical, I might not even be born… so there’s that I guess. But that is a story that shall be told another time (yes, I had to sneak in a The Neverending Story reference here). This musical may not be the strongest in terms of plot, but I’d say that the music is pretty good and that the costumes are absolutely amazing. I especially love the characters. And now all there is to do is wait until the day that I can go to Germany and see STARLIGHT EXPRESS in Germany along with the many other shows that I have to see in Germany and Austria.
· BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – If I’m remembering correctly, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the first musical that I ever saw live. And let me tell you this: it left a strong impression on me. I’ve since seen the musical live about four times and every time I love it even more. As a kid, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was always my favorite Disney movie and when I saw it on stage and discovered that there were all of these other songs that weren’t in the movie, I just fell in love. Seriously. I love the cast recording. I really need to give it a play again. Oh, and if you haven’t seen BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS (it was one of those straight-to-DVD sequels that Disney is infamous for), I think that you’re missing out. A lot of people would disagree but… if you’re not too critical of movies and just want some BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, I’d give it a go. Seriously though… Forte scared the life out of me as a kid. And… if I’m not be completely honest, he still kinda does…
· ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA – This was my grandpa’s favorite musical and it’s also one of my dad and I’s favorites as well. I could listen to this soundtrack all day long. I kid you not. This musical’s wonderful. Personally, my favorite filmed adaptation is the Disney one with Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Brandy as Cinderella, and Bernadette Peters as the Stepmother. It’s definitely one that I recommend if you’re looking forward to a lighthearted musical.
· INTO THE WOODS – I fell in love with the story idea for INTO THE WOODS when I was a kid. As a writer (even back then I loved to write), the plot is and was just so intriguing and absolutely creative that I wish and wished that I had the creative genius to think up something like INTO THE WOODS. Bernadette Peters, one of my favorite actresses ever played the Witch in the original cast of INTO THE WOODS and this is actually how I was introduced to her work so that’s another reason why INTO THE WOODS is really important to me.
· ANNIE – Unfortunately, ANNIE is a musical that I just haven’t been as invested in as I’ve grown out of childhood. That’s not to say that I don’t like it anymore. I still love it. But it’s just not had as prominent a role in my life as it used to for whatever reason. Maybe it’s that I haven’t actually sat down to watch the musical for a long time, only listening to the cast recording occasionally? Anyways, I still love ANNIE. And I fully intend to watch it again sometime soon because my childhood just wouldn’t have been the same without ANNIE.
· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Yep, PHANTOM’s one from my childhood. Well… the music is from my early childhood but the actual watching of stage productions of PHANTOM are more towards my teenage years. PHANTOM has been another one that’s just really big in my family. My uncle and my aunt went to see PHANTOM in Toronto for their honeymoon. My other uncle has as many cast recordings of PHANTOM as he can find and plays them while he’s working in his garden. My cousin loves PHANTOM and so does her husband. Listening to PHANTOM in German really helped in my learning of the language. There’s just so much family history with PHANTOM and I couldn’t not include it on this list.
Das ist alles für mich heute! So, what are your favorite musicals from your childhood? How has your taste in musicals changed with time? Are there musicals from your childhood that you feel that you’re growing apart from?