Musicals From My Childhood

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.

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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?

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32 thoughts on “Musicals From My Childhood

  1. I grew up on musicals as you already know. To me musicals that I grew up on are anything from Elementary School to Broadway. I grew up with shows like Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, Sound of Music, Annie, and Wicked (Broadway. This musicals showed that musicals are a world of comedy, spectacle, dance, musical emotions of excitement, joy, love, and sad. They formed the formation of what I expect from a musical especially Wicked.

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      1. Without any of the musicals from my childhood, they would not be what they are today. Everything I learned about musicals growing up was basically expanded into the world of today. There are still new musicals that have dance, spectacle, moments of comedy, various emotional connections and ones with positive and negative emotions. So glad that most musicals are happy compared to when every single one was.

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      2. My tastes in musicals are somewhat different, but quite similar in a way. One time I called all musicals happy and full of life (referring specifically to one type of song). Now I call all musicals joyful, emotional, unique, and full of life (the entire storyline). Everything has expanded in a way. New kinds of spectacle (Pippin added a new element, different types of dance (Newsies for instance), but to describe the difference in emotion is something I can’t describe.The best way I can describe how far the emotions have come is just to look at my Wicked journey

        I prefer the more complex plots over the more simple ones and prefer the ones with songs that both positive and negative emotions. That was something I knew from my childhood.

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      3. Yeah, that totally makes sense. There is so much about musical theatre that I discover whenever I watch a new musical and I think that that is so interesting and fascinating. There seems to be no end to the world of musicals!

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      4. Each musical is different in so many ways. As far as the emotion goes, that to me is the most exciting part, which is even shown in the dance and spectacle. Each show has a different take on musical emotion and even in a new musical, as your journey continues, the emotions change in a way. The emotions are so impossible to describe because they are constantly changing as new musicals come in and as older ones become more emotional

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      5. I find musicals to have five core emotions and some not all musicals have. These are the ones I commonly associate with musicals. They are excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak. The emotion that seems to bind them together the best is love itself as joy and heartbreak are part of love

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      6. Growing up, only four of these emotions existed to me. Heartbreak did not even exist at all. I did love a heartbreaking song growing up, but only interpreted “I’m Not That Girl” as this basic sad song. But through the help of “On My Own”, I realized that the song from Wicked is an insightful heartbreaker. I find heartbreak to be translated better to song than sad. There is a huge difference between a sad song and a heartbreaking song (reprises don’t count if they are too short)

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      7. Songs that are heartbreaking, but not sad are some of the most beautiful musical songs ever. Whether that be “I’m Not That Girl”, “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Memory” or the Les Mis collection of “On My Own”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, etc. or “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

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      8. Some of these songs took years and years to know they were heartbreaks and some took a couple of months and some did not take long to know it. They are more insightful, honest, and real than an ordinary and basic sad song

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      9. Yeah. When I watch sad musicals from my childhood, I oftentimes realize that I was pretty oblivious to the very idea of what a heartbreaking song was and could be. But now, those emotions are much easier for me to identify and decipher.

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      10. The same is true for me. I may have been raised on happy musicals, but still knew about sad in the first place. I did not even know what a heartbreaking song was either.

        It was Les Mis that would make me figure that out and it was that musical which made identifying negative emotions so much easier in musicals.

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      11. Same as me. All I saw was comedies and the only perspective I knew was through comedy. But through tragedy, I saw a side of emotions that I felt was impossible. I also think the two of us discovered an emotion like heartbreak later in life because of much how much you change as a person over time

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      12. Same as well. I first understood the emotional world of musicals in 2006 when Wicked entered my life. I don’t remember much of what sad was like, but so glad it is so much better understood. The emotional world is like ten times more worth it now than when I was younger

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      13. Yeah. I love revisiting musicals that I haven’t seen in a while because it’s so interesting to see how my understanding of things changes with time and how I interpret different songs and how my understandings of their meanings change as I change too.

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      14. I feel like musicals in a way mature and become more vulnerable as time goes on. Musicals are so capable of so many things: different kinds of spectacle, different world of dance, different sets of emotions, and different kinds of emotional connections, and different types of melodies

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      15. I am still quite surprised by how many different melodies I have come across in the songs. Other things I forget to mention are different types and natures of character and different storylines

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      16. Yeah, I think that that’s really interesting! I find it so funny how people see musicals as some sort of stereotype where musicals are only happy and even kind of silly when, in reality, musicals can follow all sorrs of characters and plots

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      17. I was one of those people who did believe all musicals are happy. It was hard at first to accept that what I once believed was so not true. It makes sense why some people see musicals as just a happy and comic genre. I still view musicals as a primarily comic and happy genre because right now, most sure are.

        Characters in my life are either comic, dramatic, tragic, romantic, tragicomic, and tragi-romantic. Plots are either tragic, comic, happy musicals that are not comic, musicals that are somewhere in the middle of sad and happy musicals.

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      18. I still don’t see sadness in dance that much in musicals. I fee like the strongest emotion in musicals when I was younger just had to be excitement and then love and then joy (though at the top as well since excitement is joy), then sad

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