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
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
5. Dickensian Discourses: Giving a (Singing) Voice to the Child-Hero in Oliver! and Copperfield
6. Ghetto Chic: Utopianism and the Authentic Child in The Me Nobody Knows (1970)
7. Little Girls, Big Voices: Annie
8. Urchins, Unite: Newsies as an Antidote to Annie
9. Agency, Power, and the Inner Child: The "Revolting Children" of Matilda the Musical
10. Children’s Musicals for Educational and Community Settings
11. Broadway Junior
Bibliography of Scholarly Sources
James Leve is a Professor of Musicology at Northern Arizona University.
Donelle Ruwe is Professor and Chair of English at Northern Arizona University.