Theatre Talk Thursday: What was your favorite musical when you were a kid?

It’s Spring Break for a lot of folks and kids are going back home to where they grew up. At some point we all have to trot down memory lane and for those of us here at Stage Door Dish that means remembering the musicals we loved in the good old days. And for many shows those good old days are back again, what with the regular slew of revivals on Broadway and across the country. Since the best shows never go out of fashion, here are our favorite childhood musicals.

ALADDIN, Genie, Aladdin, 1992. (c) Walt Disney/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Alan, managing editor

My favorite movie musical when I was a kid was definitely Disney’s Aladdin. The story of a young and daring thief, a beautiful princess, an evil vizier and Robin Williams (not to mention all the catchy songs) made this movie a staple at home. My seventh birthday party was Aladdin themed and yeah, I still think I was cool back then. My favorite “musical” musical from back in the day was probably Oklahoma! or Sound of Music and they’re both still classic choices. And I like them even better now that I’ve gotten older.


Monte, creative director

Picking a favorite childhood musical is terrifically hard for me because it requires me to make a choice between my favorite show to watch growing up and my favorite show to be involved in.  On the one hand is Sweeney Todd, which is something of a tradition in my family.  My father is a huge fan and he and my mother even dressed up one year as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett for a Halloween party.  However, we never were able to participate in a production of it for a number of reasons that I think my entire family is still a little bitter about.  On the other hand, though, is Little Shop of Horrors, which was one of the earliest shows I remember my family being a part of and is one that I’ve been a part of multiple times as well as one that is inordinately close to my heart.  I’m actually still very close friends with my first Seymour and one of my favourite pieces of clothing is our Mushnik’s scarf, so I think Little Shop of Horrors is going to win my childhood this time.

Amelia, writer

There is no way I can narrow down my favorite childhood musicals to just one, so here is a brief overview of the favorites. Part of the reason I loved Les Mis week so much was because I have grown up with that show. (No seriously, my mother listened to the CD incessantly while I was in the womb.) It was the first show I remember seeing and my mom took me out of school the next day to see Fantine, Javert and Eponine (who happened to be Sutton Foster) at a mall doing a promo event. I listened to the CD on repeat for months.  I also loved Titanic the musical. My parents saw the show on Broadway and put the CD in the car the next day. A week later my three brothers and I had every part memorized. I was all the Kates (and Alice Beane and Barrett and I loved holding the long high note in “What a Remarkable Age”) and we would all sing “The Blame” and at the climax of the song when the three men in charge of the sinking ship are screaming, “Who did it?!”, my youngest brother, still in a car seat, would perk his head up and go “I did it.” I also adored Anything Goes. “Heaven Hop” was my anthem and I loved singing my little heart out to it. Of course, I think the musical that makes me most nostalgic is Annie. I was a part of the national tour from 1999-2000 (the “mil-annie-um” tour) and I have such beautiful, wonderful, crazy memories of that show that send a rush of emotions and remembrance whenever I see it done.

Wizard of Oz

Claire, writer

This is a tough question! I loved a lot of musicals as a kid but my very first favorite was probably The Wizard of Oz. My mom used to sing “Over The Rainbow” to me when I was a little girl and it stuck with me. I grew up idolizing Glinda the Good Witch. The Wizard of Oz was like a gateway drug, long before I discovered Broadway…once that happened, I was hooked forever!

Hayley, assistant and contributing writer

My favorite musical as a kid was The Music Man. I fell in love with it when I watched the 2003 made-for-TV movie version starring Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth. My mother and I used to sing the soundtrack in the car on the way to and from school; my favorite songs were “Seventy Six Trombones” and “Till There Was You.” The next summer my parents took me to see a summer stock production of the show. It was my first experience with live theatre. I remember watching the kids who were not much older than me marching around and singing all the songs I loved and I wanted to join them. I’ve been in love with theatre ever since!

West Side Story

Josh, columnist

The musical that practically defined my childhood was West Side Story. I got my first glimpse of it in grade school and have been emotionally attached to it ever since. There is something so electrifying about the score and the way the characters are brought to life through the choreography that I never tire of watching it. “Cool” in particular stands out in my mind—that angsty, pivotal moment in the show when the Jets decide how they will cope with the hardships they have experienced (in the film version at least). And “Tonight” pulls me in every time; it makes me wish that finding my soul-mate was that easy. And if there was singing involved, all the better! It is, in my opinion, the greatest musical ever written and I am as fascinated by the star power team that put it together as I am by the show itself.

Renee, assistant and contributing writer

My favorite musical as a child was The Sound of Music. I knew all of the songs, and would sing them around the house. I’m sure I was not the only kid who wanted to be a Von Trapp child. There is something so universal about the music and I think everyone can find something to enjoy from the show. Though there are many things I didn’t understand when I was a child, I knew that I wanted Julie Andrews to come to my house and teach me how to sing!

Annie musical

Wendi, video blogger

Although my first Broadway show as a kid was The Lion King, my favorite musical was definitely Annie. It was the very first play I was ever in when I was in the 6th grade and 11 years old (don’t get too excited…I couldn’t sing any better then than I can now…I was an unnamed orphan with two lines). This musical was my first exposure to acting and I fell in love with the songs, the story and of course my VHS copy of the movie starring Kristen Chenoweth, Victor Garber, and Audra McDonald. I am so thrilled it is back on Broadway and can’t wait to see it when I’m in NYC.

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4 Responses

  1. GREASE! I think I was around four years old when I started crushing on John Travolta. I remember singing “You’re The One That I Want” whenever I went to a fair or amusement park too…

  2. Tough one. My parents took me to see the touring production of R&H’s Cinderella probably 3 times, and In My Own Little Corner was my theme song at age 6. I surprisingly loved CATS, but I think Cinderella was my fav.

  3. mine was definitely les mis. it’s almost embarrassing how obsessed i was with it (i still am, but i think with better reason). i’m not exactly sure when i was introduced to it, i must’ve been about five but i was hooked from the start. one of my best friends remembers me from the fourth grade as the girl who would constantly wear that les mis shirt. my sister and i put on an entire production of les mis with our stuffed animals, complete with costumes, sets, and a playbill. i’m pretty sure we made our parents sit down and watch multiple times as we acted out the entire thing with TAC playing behind us

    since then i’ve had smaller obsessions…ragtime, into the woods, wicked, avenue q, just to name a few. but les mis is still my favorite, after all these years :)

  4. Hmm, tough! Probaly my first choice was Annie and it was the first show I saw. Then, the first show I performed in, West Side Story. And my first big production, Evita. Currently, though, I am obsessed with Les Miserables!