Before I was a parent, I was a professional stage manager and spent every summer at a local community theatre, singing and dancing in various musicals. One of my biggest dreams was to take my future children to as many shows as possible. I could only hope they would be as enthralled by the theatre as I was.
I was so lucky when I took my son to his first live musical at three years old (not counting the countless shows he attended in my tummy when I was pregnant with him!) that he loved it. My son was just as enraptured as I was by the stories playing out on stage.
He’s been coming to musicals with me since, including this past weekend at a local equity theatre. GUYS AND DOLLS can be challenging for a 10-year-old, as classic musicals move a bit slower than the ones today. But, just as I expected, he loved every minute of it.
I asked him what his top five favorite musicals are if he had to recommend some to friends. He had a tough time coming up with only five, but I think he did a great job. These are in no particular order.
1. The Greatest Showman
You might be familiar with PT Barnum, but take the historical accuracy of this film with a grain of salt. My son is a fan of the catchy music, dancing, and the air of history. I have to agree; historical fiction is my favorite genre too. If you or your child like big musical numbers with a little true-life drama, this is the musical for them.
His favorite song: “The Greatest Show”
My favorite song: “This is Me”
2. The Sound of Music
A classic through and through. My son loves the simple storyline and loves that most of the cast is children. With classic songs such as the title song “The Sound of Music” and “Lonely Goatherd,” as well as “My Favorite Things,” it’s a musical that’s produced a lot in community theatres. It is always on TV during the holidays, and you’ll be able to see it soon.
His favorite song: “So long, farewell”
My favorite song: “Climb Every Mountain”
Another classic. More singing kids. Lots of belting. Annie is another staple of community theatre, and we are sure to catch it whenever we someone producing it. My son loves a good villain, and Miss Hannigan fits his qualifications.
His favorite song: “NYC” (from the stage version)
My favorite song: “NYC” (from the stage version)
My son’s first Broadway show. As Stephen Schwartz’s biggest fan, there was no question I was bringing my kid to this show. We went for his sixth birthday. The music tugs at your soul, and I couldn’t help but tear up as I heard those opening notes. My kid loves a good origin story, and he loved making connections between this musical and The Wizard of Oz. Watching his face light up with excitement with every twist and turn was so much fun. If you’re looking for the ultimate Broadway experience, this show is it.
His favorite song: “Defying Gravity”
My favorite song “For Good”
We were thankful for a popular streaming service to see this Broadway adaptation of the movie. Both my son and I were shocked at how much we liked the music and how well they brought this to the stage. We frequently sing the songs around the house, and even my 5-year-old twins get involved. We were all super impressed with Fiona’s quick change before intermission. Want to see what we are talking about? Go and stream it; you definitely won’t be disappointed!
His favorite song: “This is Our Story”
My favorite song: “This is Our Story”