Onwards we go to the importance of the film musical and the impact they have on childhoods and what it reaches us. Previously, we covered the Sound of Music and Annie but what else can we dip into our bag of tricks and uncover. Have a look at the best childhood musicals!
Grease is one of those musicals that everyone has seen, either on stage or on screen, at least once. Always performed by schools as their yearly production more than one, Grease has had a huge influence on many people, with its catch soundtrack and a plot you can really get yourself lost in, people of all ages will love this musical.
Released in 1978 with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as the leads, in the US it is the highest grossing musical to date. It was a massive hit at the time of release -cinemas filled to the brim with 1970’s teens- and has ever since has been a right-of-passage to teenagehood. Admittedly, it does have one of the worst moral messages of all time. Sandy, instead of staying true to herself, completely changes her image and the way she was in order to end up with Danny. Although, this completely goes against the idea behind the Straight on Till Morning articles, you just cannot deny that Grease is one of the most iconic and loved youth musical of all time.
Oliver! is also one of those musicals that everyone does as a school stage production at least month. There have been two main film versions, one in 1968 and one in 2005. It tells the story of little orphan boy Oliver Twist, who is sent out of the workhouse, escapes the coffin makers and runs off to London, where he meets Fagin, Bill Sykes, the Artful Dodger and the rest of the young pickpockets. Oliver is a fighter. Although he starts off in a bad situation, then gets himself into an even worse mess with Bill Sykes, he still manages to endure it, push on and finally end up with a lovely family. He ultimately wins the good v evil fight, he isn’t scared to speak up against people’s wrongdoings, Stands up for himself and, despite meeting so many bad characters throughout his life, still never fails to hope that there is still good in the world. Oliver is a character that every child should aspire to be like, in personality and in spirit.
Select an all-star cast, put them in a musical and have them act out a failed French rebellion, and you get an award-winning musical in the form of Les Miserables. The film was released in 2012 with Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried amongst the cast members. “But what has this got to do with the Straight on Till Morning theme?” you may be asking.
Admittedly, it is a 12, so isn’t 100% suitable for all younger watchers. However, I would first like to comment on the characters of young Cosette and Gavroche. Cosette, as a little girl, has a terrible life working for awful, stealing landlords and constantly playing second fiddle to their daughter. Then she decides to go off and live with a complete stranger, admittedly not the best moral lesson in retrospect. On the other hand there is Gavroche who, at a young age, is able to fend for himself and has enough intelligence and feeling of personal identity to join an uprising. Although he ends up dying rather foolishly, his spirit and fight is something to be admired. Cosette sells innocence and hard work, Gavroche faith, courage and determination. It’s a film that emphasises spirit, love, compassion and achieving redemption, all key lessons that the younger audience members should learn.
What Do You Think?
What musicals helped you when growing up?
What lessons have you learnt from show stopping tunes?
Let us know!