In honour of Father’s Day, we’re looking at some of the worst fathers that have ever graced the stage. Now, don’t fret, there are some brilliant ones, but here are some of the nasty ones.
Mr. Wormwood is one of those who is near at the top of the list. Mr. Wormwood is loud, brash and insulting. He is quite ignorant, despite his belief that he is smart, sly and quite clever. So, just how did he end up on this list? Apart from being a wealthy conman, he is quite cruel to his daughter, Matilda, hurling insults at her and calling her names. He has no issue with telling Matilda that books mean very little and they don’t get anyone anywhere. At one point, he shreds one of Matilda’s favourite books right in front of her. A wealthy car salesman, it’s noted that he is deceptive in this industry, selling (quite illegally) repainted and disguised cars (which also happen to be stolen) to unsuspecting customers. He gets his comeuppance several times though, due to tricks played on him by Matilda, and eventually being forced to relocate to Spain to hide from the Russian mob.
Thenardier is a con man, through and through. He is describexd as a skinny little man, who is pale, bony and who looked sick, but otherwise was fit. He and his wife, Madame Thenardier, adopt Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. Thenardier is not about begging, extortion, and thievery. At one point, he gets money out of Fantine, by falsely claiming Cosette is quite ill and they need money for medical care. As Cosette gets older, she is treated as a servant by the couple, forced to clean and do work around his inn, while his other children (only Eponine is shown in the show and film) are able to play. When Jean Valjean comes to take Cosette away, Monsieur Thenardier does everything he possibly can to either keep Cosette for his own use, or to get more money out of Valjean. Thenardier also steals from Marius, while looting through the sewers and has no problem risking Eponine’s life.
Alfred is a social drinker, and will go around attempting to find money for his habit, stopping at nothing to get this money. His daughter, Eliza, works as a flower girl and this is how she earns her living. Alfred is constantly in search of a drink, and Eliza ends up sharing her earnings with him. When Alfred notices that Eliza has been taken in by Professor Higgins, he decides he may just end up earning some money, due to the dealing of Eliza. Alfred eventually turns up at Higgins’ doorstep, claiming that Eliza’s virtue is being compromised by the Professor. The two strike a deal that Higgins must pay Alfred five pounds for a spree, if Eliza can continue on with her lessons. Throughout the second act, it is reveled that Alfred is now getting four thousand pounds a year from a deal with an American millionaire. He is now a respectable middle-class man and he must now marry the woman he’s been living with for years.
Not all fathers in musicals are horrid. There are outstanding ones, like Mufasa from The Lion King, Maurice from Beauty and the Beast, Wilbur in Hairspray, and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Let us know if there are any fathers, good or bad, who stand out!