Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater  book cover
1st Edition

Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater

ISBN 9781472475336
Published March 5, 2020 by Routledge
278 Pages

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Book Description

Bringing together scholars from musicology, literature, childhood studies, and theater, this volume examines the ways in which children's musicals tap into adult nostalgia for childhood while appealing to the needs and consumer potential of the child. The contributors take up a wide range of musicals, including works inspired by the books of children's authors such as Roald Dahl, P.L. Travers, and Francis Hodgson Burnett; created by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lionel Bart, and other leading lights of musical theater; or conceived for a cast made up entirely of children. The collection examines musicals that propagate or complicate normative attitudes regarding what childhood is or should be. It also considers the child performer in movie musicals as well as in professional and amateur stage musicals. This far-ranging collection highlights the special place that musical theater occupies in the imaginations and lives of children as well as adults. The collection comes at a time of increased importance of musical theater in the lives of children and young adults.

Table of Contents

1. Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater: an Introduction

James Leve and Donelle Ruwe

2. Beginning with Do Re Mi: Childhood and The Sound of Music

Ryan Bunch

3. Walt Disney, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and the Gospel of Ideal Childrearing: Creating Superlative Nuclear Families in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks

William A. Everett

4. Saving Mr. [Blank]: Rescuing the Father through Song in Children’s and Family Musicals

Raymond Knapp

5. Dickensian Discourses: Giving a (Singing) Voice to the Child-Hero in Oliver! and Copperfield

Marc Napolitano

6. Ghetto Chic: Utopianism and the Authentic Child in The Me Nobody Knows (1970)

Donelle Ruwe

7. Little Girls, Big Voices: Annie

James Leve

8. Urchins, Unite: Newsies as an Antidote to Annie

Marah Gubar

9. Agency, Power, and the Inner Child: The "Revolting Children" of Matilda the Musical

Helen Freshwater

10. Children’s Musicals for Educational and Community Settings

Lauren Acton

11. Broadway Junior

Stacy Wolf

Bibliography of Scholarly Sources

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James Leve is a Professor of Musicology at Northern Arizona University.

Donelle Ruwe is Professor and Chair of English at Northern Arizona University.