Our first memories of musicals date back to when we were children, and this is probably the case for many. At least those who owned televisions. We remember back in the days before cable or internet television when certain musicals were only shown on network TV once a year.
We would anticipate the showing and sit around out tubes with our families while Mom made popcorn and we listening to the overture and read the opening credits. Today we can simply punch in the title and watch away.
There is something to be said for the expectancy of the viewing and the excitement that came when it was finally here.
So we have compiled a list of classic musicals that we loved to wait for and watch when we were children.
The Wizard of OZ
One of the first classic musicals we have ever been introduced to, The Wizard of OZ, is an all-time favorite for kids all over the globe. Who can forget the story of Dorothy, who is trying to save her dog from the evil Miss Gulch. Still, the old saddle bag will not listen to reason when Dorothy promises that she will keep a better eye on Toto, her dog.
Miss Gulch has an order from the Sheriff and Dorothy has to give her Toto. Luckily, the basket she puts him in an unlocked basket and Toto escapes. But they have to run away otherwise Miss Gulch will just come back.
Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, takes her dog and her suitcase and hits the road. This is where they meet professor Marvel who reads into Dorothy’s future, telling her he sees an older woman who is heartbroken. Realizing that he is speaking of her Aunt Em, Dorothy bolts out of the trailer and runs home.
Unfortunately, Dorothy doesn’t make it home in time to get into the cellar because a twister is coming. She hides in her bedroom but is soon knocked unconscious by a window frame. Dorothy wakes up in her house flying on top of the tornado and sees all types of crazy things inside. The scariest of all, when we were children, was when Miss Gulch transforms from a mean old lady on a bike into the frightening Wicked Witch of the West.
Dorothy then finds, after the house lands, that suddenly the drabness of Kansas is no longer a factor and this new world is filled with vibrant colors. She meets the Munchkins and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Dorothy also learns that she has killed the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, who is happy to threaten her with an appearance.
Glinda reminds the Wicked Witch of the ruby slippers her sister wore and the hag gets excited, but before she can take them Glinda magically puts them on Dorothy’s feet. She then informs the young girl to never take them off because they are what is protecting her from the Wicked Witch.
Dorothy wants to go home and she learns that the only way to do that is to ask the Wizard of OZ. So she sets out on a journey down the yellowbrick road to the Emerald City meet the Wizard. On the way Dorothy befriends a Scarecrow, a Tinman, and a Lion. They all travel to the Emerald City and find plenty of trouble before and after they get there.
For more information on The Wizard of Oz National Tour, check out their website here!
This next kid friendly musical was very popular when we were children. Who didn’t love the love story between Danny and Sandy, with the T-Birds and The Pink Ladies in the background. Danny and Sandy met that summer on the beach, but he thought she was moving back to Australia.
Little did Danny know that they would be attending the same high school their senior year. While Danny knows he fell in love with Sandy on the beach that summer, he has a reputation as a playboy to protect and treats her badly when he is first reunited with her.
Sandy is heartbroken and relies on the Pink Ladies to help her get through this. While Frenchie is more than happy to be Sandy’s fried, Rizzo is a tough cookie and isn’t too forth coming with her help.
Rizzo also sparks a romantic relationship with Kenickie, also a T-Bird with Danny. They become physical and Rizzo learns that she might be pregnant. She finds out after she and Kenickie end their relationship over a fight. Of course, Rizzo is still in love with Kenickie.
Meanwhile, Danny apologizes to Sandy for treating her badly and they agree to go on a date. But after a few times out Danny gets handsy and Sandy leaves him alone at the drive in theater. She is also angry because at the school dance the night before, Danny ditched her so he could dance with a bad girl by the name of Cha-Cha and win the contest.
Danny doesn’t understand what he is doing wrong but decides that if he wants to win Sandy over he needs to change. He begins trying out for different sports teams but soon learns that contact sports are not his thing. Danny settles on long distance running and begins to leave the T-Birds behind.
The T-Birds are fixing up an old car and are challenged by a local thug to race at Thunder Road. Kenickie accepts the challenge but is hurt and Danny has to drive. He wipes the opposing thug away and wins the jerks car.
Of course, Danny is still unhappy because he doesn’t have Sandy. Little does he know that she is just as miserable without him and will do whatever it takes to win him back. Even if that means she has to change too.
The next UK Tour for the British version of Grease will start in March of 2017 – guarantee your tickets now!
The Sound of Music
This musical which has been a favorite of children all ages was an annual event in our house before the days of recording television. Maria is a would be nun who is a constant problem at the Abby in Austria. She is sent to serve a Naval Captain and his family as a governess for his seven children.
She goes to the home of Captain VonTrapp afraid but confident that she can do this task that God has put before her. When she meets the group Maria realizes she has her work cut out for her. The children are doing everything in their power to drive her away and the Captain is authoritative and cold.
But, soon Maria wins the children over and they are singing from the treetops, even though the Captain does not approve. When he finds out at first he is angry, but then the Captain hears the children singing and remembers what it was like when their mother was alive and there was music in the house.
All this time the Baroness has been visiting the Captain and they talk of getting married. Still, the Captain cannot hide his feelings for Maria and when the Baroness reveals that she can tell that Maria and the Captain are attracted to each other Maria runs away in the middle of the night, afraid of these unfamiliar feelings.
At the Abbey the Reverend Mother talks to Maria and tells her that if she loves the Captain she must go back and live out her destiny. She explains that the love between a man and a woman is just as sacred as any vow she would take as a nun.
Maria obeys and when returning it isn’t long before she and the Captain proclaim their love and marry. Still, all of this delightful love is the shadow of the Third Reich, which has taken over Austria and demands that the Captain serve in their navy. He sees the problem with this and the VonTrapp family makes plans to escape to Switzerland via a Music Festival.
The fun thing about this musical is that all of the parts are played by children. Even though the story is set in the roaring twenties and follows a group of gangsters, the guns they use shoot cream pies in faces and the cars are all controlled like bicycles.
With music by Paul Williams this follows a boxing promoter with the title name. He meets a girl named Blousey who has dreams of going to Hollywood. Bugsy helps get Blousey a job at Fat Sam’s speakeasy but also meets Leroy Smith, who saves him when he is getting mugged.
Leroy is a natural boxer and Bugsy knows he can help promote him. Blousey is upset because he promised to help her move to Hollywood. All this time though Fat Sam is having a gang war with Dandy Dan, and the latter of the two has a new gun that can shoot a splurge of cream pies.
Dandy Dan has been wiping out Fat Sam’s men and slowly taking over his territory. Sam offers Bugsy money to help him defeat Dandy Dan and he agrees because he needs the money but when he agrees he angers Blousey again for postponing her dreams of moving to Hollywood.
This musical is sure to entertain children by giving them an opportunity to see an entire cast of child actors dress and act as if they were adults.