"Musicals don't get enough credit for being so surreal. It's like an alternate universe." -Ezra Koenig
An opera should be fun, well sung, superbly written, and have the power to transport us to another dimension or world. The best musicals have appeared at the West End or on Broadway, and sometimes both before they have been made into a movie.
When I think of classic musicals, Les Miserables, Wicked, My Fair Lady, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, and Cats; all of these shows brought magic to the stages in London, New York City, Sydney, Toronto, and other famed cities around the world.
Nevertheless, some of the previously mentioned musicals are not necessarily suitable for young children.
What to do?
Have no fear, Superprof is here to save the day! We have selected some of the most highly recommended musicals on stage and screen for parents with young children; enjoy!
"Do you want to build a snowman? It doesn't have to be a snowman." -Anna from Frozen
The year was 2013, the month was November, and the day was 22 when the world was introduced to the phenomena of Frozen. Upon its release, many people did not think that Frozen would become as big as it did; it was just supposed to be another Disney princess movie.
Anna, Elsa, Olaf the Snowman, Sven the reindeer, and Kristoff have taken centre stage to become the most recognisable Disney personages in recent memory.
Nevertheless, the story of two sisters who were separated by the uncontrollable powers of one of them in the land of Arendelle has become a classic. Voiced and sang by the terrific Idina Menzel and Kristin Bell, the songs in Frozen, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, take people to a place far away.
After earning more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office and earning many accolades, including two Oscars, it was determined that Frozen was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Therefore, to please the masses of young children all over the world, Frozen became an enchanting Broadway musical in 2018. Also, it is worth stating that there are plans to adapt the musical in Sydney and London in the next few months.
There is no denying the fact that Frozen is bound to please all members of the family, and who knows, you might have some of the tunes stuck in your head for days!
Let it go, let it go, let it go!
The Sound of Music
Initially, a Tony Award-winning musical that was written by the most excellent music & lyrics writers of all time, Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music has such a pristine reputation that it lives up to which makes it absolutely irresistible.
Based on the German film, Die Trapp Familie and Maria Von Trapp's autobiography, The Sound of Music was adapted to become a stage musical on Broadway in 1959. The original idea for The Sound of Music was to be a severe stage play without any catchy songs.
Nevertheless, after some months of production and discussing the idea, Broadway producers decided to hire Mary Martin in a singing role as Maria Von Trapp.
The musical about the life of the Von Trapp family and how they escaped Austria at the brink of WWII through the mountains of Switzerland was such a roaring success on Broadway that plans were made for it to begin production on the West End. Also, in the early sixties, production began to adapt the triumphant musical to the silver screen.
But who would star?
After seeing early previews of Mary Poppins, studio executives made their mind up and wanted no one else for the role of Maria Von Trapp but Julie Andrews. Starring alongside Christopher Plummer and directed by Robert Wise, The Sound of Music feature film boasted the same songs created by Rodgers and Hammerstein and became an overnight sensation grossing millions and millions of US dollars and winning accolade after accolade including the 1965 Oscar for Best Picture.
Famous characters other than Maria Von Trapp that skyrocketed The Sound of the Music to the top include Captain Georg Von Trapp, Baroness Schrader, Mother Abbess, and Max Detweiler.
Now, remember, every time you feel sad, try to think of your Favourite Things!
The Wizard of Oz
"We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz."
When choosing family-friendly entertainment that all will enjoy, The Wizard of Oz must be on your list. The original story was originally a children's novel titled, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by author L. Frank Baum in 1900.
Nevertheless, after the brilliant success of the novel, Baum and some of his trusted associates began to work on bringing the classic story to the stage as a musical. After submitting their ideas and script to more experienced theatre producers, Baum and associates had to accept some changes to the story for it to be shown firstly in Chicago and then on Broadway.
The Wizard of Oz musical opened in New York City on Broadway on January 21, 1903, to roaring success and fantastic reviews from all.
After the Broadway production, many studio executives and interested individuals began to work on adapting the classic novel and now hit musical to the silver screen. Finally, in the 1930s, MGM acquired the rights, and Victor Fleming was hired as director, and new star Judy Garland was to play the central role of Dorothy Gale.
The film about a young girl from Kansas arriving in an unknown land and going on an adventure to find the Wizard of Oz with a cowardly lion, brainless scarecrow, and heartless tinman was released in 1939 to fantastic reviews, and it became an overnight sensation. Nominated for many Academy Awards in 1939, including Best Picture, The Wizard of Oz is ranked as one of the best films of all time.
"A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."
Mary Poppins is a beautiful story about the family unit and how it can be reunited with the help of a magical nanny by the name of Mary. The Mary Poppins stories were written by P.L Travers in the 1930s to worldwide acclaim. Nevertheless, since Travers had such a secure connection to her stories and viewed the personages as family, it took her a lot of convincing from Walt Disney to finally give up the story rights to make the film.
However, in 1961, due to financial issues, P.L Travers finally broke down, travelled to Disneyland in Los Angeles and signed off the rights to Mary Poppins. Walt Disney was ecstatic because of the fact that he made a promise to his daughters that one day they would watch a feature film about the magnificent nanny.
The film was to be one of Disney's first live-action films starring Julie Andrews as Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert in the leading roles. Mary Poppins opened to worldwide audiences in 1964 to critical acclaim and became the highest-grossing movie of 1964.
After some years and a lot of work from producers, writers, musical theatre developers, and acquisition of the book rights for a musical, Cameron Mackintosh began to work with the head of Disney Theatre Productions, Thomas Schumacher to start a collaboration featuring the magical songs from the 1964 feature film.
Finally in late 2004, after Julian Fellowes was hired to write the story, Mary Poppins the musical was released on London's West End to critical acclaim, and when it opened on Broadway in late 2006.
The transporting story of how a nanny comes to the rescue and saves the Banks' children by teaching them to be happy, enjoy life, and behave is one for the ages that is still watched in stage productions and on the silver screen around the world.
Personal stories are what make the world go round and help us forget about the sad reality around us. Authors such as Roald Dahl have crafted such beautiful tales that are imaginative, transporting, and feature a happy ending.
One of Dahl's most brilliant works is the 1988 tale of Matilda. Well received by critics all over the world, Matilda has been named one of the best children's books or young-adult novels of all time by dangerous media outlets such as Time Magazine.
The first major adaptation of Matilda, the girl who is neglected by her parents yet creates a strong bond with her teacher Miss Honey and uses her telekinetic powers to get back at the headmistress Miss Trunchbull for all the bad things she does, was the 1996 motion picture directed by Danny DeVito.
Although not very successful at the box office, the 1996 film boasts fantastic reviews such as a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the current reputation as a cult classic.
After the success of the film and the novel in general, steps were made to produce and adapt the Matilda story on London's West End in 2010. The musical opened to rave reviews and won a bunch of Olivier Awards, and consequently, many Tony Awards after it opened in New York City on Broadway.
The story of Matilda contains a beautiful lesson for children: being kind is always better since the good always conquers evil!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we love you."
Initially written by the mastermind behind the James Bond series, Ian Fleming, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series was published after Fleming's death in three volumes. The first on Thursday, 22 October 1964, the second on 26 November 1964 and the third on 14 January 1965 respectively.
Released to great acclaim, the story of a magic car that transports the Potts to the land of Vulgaria to fight off the Child Catcher and Baron and Baroness Bomburst, became a feature film in 1968 starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes. The motion picture was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and directed by Ken Hughes. The film was released just before Christmas on the 17 of December 1968.
Although the 1968 motion picture failed to recuperate the production budget of $10 million USD, it received great reviews from critics who claimed it as a "perfect family film", and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has stood the test of time to garner the reputation as a cult classic. Also, the film received an Academy Award nomination at the 1969 ceremony for Best Original Song.
After some years of bouncing around the idea, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang story became a West End musical in 2002. The opera was a massive hit in the UK earning many Olivier Award nominations. Consequently, after observing the success in London, a Broadway show was created with the same hit tunes.
We highly recommend watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang together as a family to escape the woes of daily life and enjoy a world where anything is impossible; even cars can fly!
In all honesty, all of the previously mentioned musicals for children are worth the time, and we know that as adults it may sometimes be painful to sit through two or three hours of entertainment destined for children; nevertheless, we are sure that even the parents will enjoy our selections!