Friday, July 8, 2011

Library Finds

Thanks to a nudge from our piano teacher, my children just saw the Music Man for the first time the other day and it's set us off on a musical (rest of the) summer.  We've decided to watch one musical every week until the end of August. Why? Just for grins and giggles and because it's too stinkin' hot to do anything else! One of the first ones that came to my mind was My Fair Lady and this stunning book we discovered at our library seemed to give that idea two thumbs up. Just Being Audrey is pleasantly written and beautifully illustrated. It describes her childhood during WWII and the beginnings of her acting career. Her kindness and work ethic is applauded although after dozens of movies under her very tiny belt, "her dream role was being a mother". Her final years, working for UNICEF, harken back to the help she received as a child of war.
My girls already want to know if there are more Audrey movies they can watch, but unfortunately, most of them are more adult oriented. I'll have to think about that. But I think this book is going on the Books to Own Someday list!

Right next to it on the new acquisitions shelf was another find called Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring. It tells the story of the collaborative ballet created by modern dance pioneer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland and set designer/artist Isamu Noguchi which you can watch on YouTube. (Don't click that if you are not a fan of modern dance! I will not be held responsible if you snort coffee out your nose onto your computer! : )  A few months ago, Google celebrated the anniversary of Graham's birthday with a special doodle. Again, some people aren't fond of her modern "ballet" techniques but I like the idea of introducing my kids to various forms of art (within reason) to help them figure out what kind they best appreciate.

So, have you made any fabulous book discoveries lately? Which musicals do your children enjoy? Kelly mentioned her family enjoys Brigadoon; that one is on our list for sure! We'd love your suggestions.

UPDATED TO ADD CURRENT RUNNING LIST: A (?) indicates might contain questionable material or scenes of peril for more sensitive children. I plan to preview those before showing them to my kids.

My Fair Lady
Sound of Music
White Christmas
The Music Man
Mary Poppins
Meet Me In St. Louis
West Side Story (?)
Fiddler on the Roof (?)
The King and I
Annie (with Victor Garber)
Oliver (?)
Oklahoma (?)

P.S. We've tried Fiddler on the Roof and my more sensitive kiddos aren't ready for that one yet.  I'm not sure they could handle West Side Story either. Singin' in the Rain is a favorite.


  1. Cute idea, especially on the really HOT days! "Singin' in the Rain" is my all-time favorite, but I know you already mentioned that one. You could do a "Christmas in July" day with "White Christmas." There's always "Sound of Music," too! I'll be interested in finding out which ones you watch! Happy viewing!

  2. OUr faves are: Fiddler on the Roof (my crazy, gore-lovin' kids like all the scary parts that they laugh now!), Sound of Music, White Christmas, Rainbow Over Texas (gee, I wonder why!). Hope you all have a great time with the musicals.:)

  3. My oldest dd (11) actually really enjoyed West Side Story especially if you compare to Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet's love story. My oldest boy (6) would stop in to see the dancing parts and just loves the music. We play it on car rides and at home sometimes. But yes the other children weren't very interested when we were watching : (

  4. We love "Annie". Not the one from 25 years ago with the helicopter chase, but the TV version that stuck to the original play. It has Victor Garber and Kathy Bates.

  5. Sound of Music is also a fave here! And we usually find ourselves watching White Christmas sometime during the summer anyway. Must be the heat! Fiddler was just a little too intense for them at the age I tried to introduce it to them and because of that, they have had an aversion to it ever since so I think I need to wait just a little longer and let them get over that prejudice. My bad!

    I have never even heard of Rainbow Over Texas. That's one I must look into!

    Ooooh... I'm a huge Victor Garber fan! Gonna have to track that one down!

  6. Oh, Annie! *sigh*. I used to belt out *all* the parts, lol! I may or may not still do this on occasion when left alone in the house. ;) I'll have to look up the Garber version, too.

    Sound of Music is a HUGE favorite here for everyone. My Fair Lady is a personal favorite as is Singing in the Rain. Love Gene Kelly. You know, I can think of lots of musical that I love, but as I remember the story lines I'm not sure they would be for mixed family viewing. Such as Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, Gigi (I *know* this is not appropriate right now).

    We're going to watch The Music Man from the library and watch it tonight. I've always enjoyed it and my kiddos haven't had the pleasure of seeing it yet. Ah, Robert Preston. I kinda had a thing for him in my youth after seeing him in the movie the first time. He was good in Victor Victoria as well I thought. Though, that movie is probably a little off color for most. Definitely only for adults, but the music is fabo.

  7. Wow. Lots of typos in my last comment. Sorry about that. I think more coffee is in order. ;)

    There are lots that I'm forgetting about, but one that came to mind right after I published my first comment is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. That one is my mother in-law's favorite. We went to see a live production of it together a few years ago.

  8. Have you tried "Oklahoma!"? It has a few moments that you might want to screen out (maybe Ado Annie's first song) and some that may or may not go over their heads; but I am in love with the super-sweet (and quaint) relationship of the two leads. (Actually, the more I think about it the more adult stuff I remember, but most of it my kids missed completely.)

    Some others: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Mary Poppins" (compare to the book maybe?), and "The Happiest Millionaire." I can't remember--has there been a decent filmed production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat"? The Donny Osmond one had a kind of weird "Potiphar's wife" scene, don't remember anything else...

    Maybe even the Bollywood "Bride and Prejudice," if you're feeling multicultural (although check out first the scene with the disclosure about Darcy's sister to see how you want to handle it). Gracious, I'm obsessed with caveats. Well, those are some ideas anyway!

  9. Old movies my kids adore:
    - Meet me in St Louis (musical)
    - Mary Poppins
    - Cheaper by the dozen (NOT new version)

  10. Anyone know anything about The Pirate with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland or State Fair (1945 version)?

  11. Sorry, I don't have any advice about musicals (I haven't really seen many myself - maybe I'll have to check out some of those suggestions!), but I just wanted to say that Just Being Audrey looks like such an adorable book. I put it on my wish list on PaperbackSwap, although I don't have high hopes that anyone will be wanted to give away their copy anytime soon!

  12. A long time ago I watched a movie called Songcatcher. I loved the Appalachian folk music. The details are hazy so it may not yet be appropriate. says it is PG-13 because of sexual content (I really don't remember though there is a romance - naturally) and an intense childbirth scene. But I do like it because of the music and the history of it, especially to our nation.

  13. Love these movies/muscials. We had a musical obbsession in year ago and watched most of the ones you've listed. Minus the more adult oriented ones the kids loved them too.

    My 7 and 4 year old LOVE The Sound of Music...but who doesn't really:)? Oklahoma was liked by the 9 year old boy...and we all loved Singing in the Rain. There are a lot of great ones.

    This summer we're on an "I Love Lucy" kick. Mostly Hubby, my 13 year old and I. Though we all watched The Long Long Trailer and laughed like crazy!!!

  14. I love Oklahoma, but always fast forward through the "dream" scene which I have heard wasn't in the original play. Almost all Shirley Temple movies have singing and dancing and are child friendly. Also, The Happiest Millionaire is a very fun Disney musical from the sixties.

  15. Okay, it's been awhile since I've seen this musical but I remember enjoying it: Mame (auntie Mame).

  16. And maybe for older children, South Pacific?

  17. Brigadoon is one of our faves. We keep wondering why we don't have it on DVD yet! Maybe because it's not out?

    Oklahoma--those adult themes with Ado Annie and that scary dream.

    Shirley Temple---do NOT get her toddler stuff! I was shocked when we got some of her vaudeville shows (or was it burlesque?). Definitely not what I want my kids watching.

    West Side Story---I never let my kids watch it because Maria and Tony spend the night together. Not because of the violence, so much. But since I last saw it, I realize that they slept together after their "wedding" which I guess they thought was real.

    I started to say South Pacific was okay, but there's the whole Liat thing. I think it's a good lesson on prejudice. I'd let them watch that before WSS, but they've all found it a bit dull.

    Gosh I saw The Pirate years ago. It's so old I can't believe it would be questionable.

    What about Rodger's & Hammerstein's Cinderella? The live version with Julie Andrews is on DVD now. The one with Brandy is very multi-cultural and has good singing, and then there's the one in the middle with what's her name? Lol.

    Fun. We. love. musicals.

  18. I remember watching "Grease" as young as six and I think now how horribly inappropriate!! I guess my mom thought things went over my head - really??? Thanks for reminding me how much I loved Oklahoma! I might wait a bit on it though. The Sound of Music was good for us and also sparked a week's research as to the real story, so I like that!

  19. My children are 7 and nearly 6...they love and sing all the songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I do, too!

  20. Yes! I loved State Fair! So good and so perfect for this time of year, too! I'm going to add that one to our list. I don't think I've ever seen The Pirate. My kids also like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and we enjoy the Shirley Temple movies as well (The Little Princess especially).
    Man, I know there are a bunch more I'm forgetting about.

  21. I know that you already listed Meet Me in St. Louis, but I can't believe I forgot to mention that one! We LOVE that one.
    Also, after veiwing a clip of *Isn't It Kinda Fun* over on youtube, there might be parts that you may want to edit or discuss before hand. I had totally forgotten about that song and the lyrics (making vows and breaking them). But there are some other really great songs. I guess it depends a lot on the children and their ages.
    The King and I gets a big thumbs up from me. Shall We Dance? :)
    My older kids have seen Oliver. There are definitely some intense scenes in it though. Not the best for younger and/or more sensitive kids.

    Such a great post, Charlotte! Thank you for all the ideas.

  22. Sorry, the *Isn't It Kinda Fun* song I mentioned above is from State Fair. Just to clarify.

  23. My kids love "The Pirates of Penzance". We love a good musical! Everyone has already mentioned all our other favorites.

  24. We did the Summer of the Musical last year: "Bandwagon", "Top Hat", "On the Town", "American in Paris".

  25. Oh & "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "Royal Wedding" (just okay but a great scene where Astair dances on the ceiling), "Holiday Inn", "Kiss me Kate"...

  26. How about "Newsies"?s

  27. We loved Shirley Temple, The Happiest Millionaire, Meet Me in St. Louis, Brigadoon

  28. I didn't read the other comments but I'm sure you got these recommendations - Annie, Seven brides for Seven Brothers. Only other iffy one would be Wicked. It sounds bad but actually if you haven't already seen it doesn't really ahve any questionable parts. the music is beyond fabulous.

  29. This is a fun list. I netflixed Music Man. Growing up in Switzerland, I haven't seen a lot of these. I don't know if my boys are old enough yet. My eldest is only 5.

  30. Not including My Fair Lady, Audrey's other musicals are just ok. I would recommend Roman Holiday, though. It is black and white, but I think I would have loved it as a kid. It's a fun movie and very sweet.

  31. Thanks for the recommendations! My hubby is not a fan of musicals, so we haven't seen many, but The Sound of Music is always at the top of my personal list :)

  32. My boys (and husband) heartily sing the soundtrack for Pirates of Penzance...and they are not singers. We watched Oklahoma many years ago...most "adult" topics went over their heads. Same with 7 Brides for 7 Brothers...made ME a bit squeamish (kidnapping wives?!?) but the kids thought it was funny. Everybody loved The King and I - we still say "ETCETERA ETCETERA ETCETERA" with Yul Brynner drama. They also loved the soundtrack for Oliver. The occupation of the girlfriend (prostitute) is barely alluded to, there is some violence (girlfriend is beaten to death) but I don't think it is graphic...I didn't think the songs were catchy, but they were singing them the next day.

  33. I love the idea of the musical summer. I wonder if it is too late to start, lol.

    Oh and yes! You must watch Bride and Prejudice. It is FABULOUS The only things you may want to know about it Mr. Koli is in a speedo for about 10 seconds, nd some cross dressers in one song, but other than that pretty tame. No kissing even!

  34. Oh my goodness. I hadn't seen that Audrey book yet. Gotta look for that one. We love her here at our house. (It's muggy, sticky and in the 90's here in Kentucky so we are inside many movies.) We just attended a local youth theatre production of White Christmas. It makes us want to watch more musicals. Meet Me in St. Louis is one of our favorites, as well as The Sound of Music. One that I haven't gotten yet is "The Harvey Girls" with Judy Garland and Ray Bolger. Also, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is a fun one. "Brigadoon" is one of my personal all-time favorites, but I'm a huge Gene Kelly fan.

    Enjoy your musicals and stay cool.

    Holly Anna in Kentucky


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