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.

chapter 1|19 pages

Children, childhood, and musical theater

An introduction
ByJames Leve, Donelle Ruwe

chapter 2|19 pages

Beginning with Do Re Mi

Childhood and The Sound of Music
ByRyan Bunch

chapter 3|20 pages

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
ByWilliam A. Everett

chapter 4|21 pages

Saving Mr. [Blank]

Rescuing the father through song in children’s and family musicals
ByRaymond Knapp

chapter 5|16 pages

Dickensian discourses

Giving a (singing) voice to the child hero in Oliver! and Copperfield
ByMarc Napolitano

chapter 6|20 pages

Ghetto chic

Utopianism and the authentic child in The Me Nobody Knows (1970)
ByDonelle Ruwe

chapter 7|22 pages

Little girls, big voices

ByJames Leve

chapter 8|26 pages

Urchins, unite

Newsies as an antidote to Annie
ByMarah Gubar

chapter 9|24 pages

Agency, power, and the inner child

The “Revolting Children” of Matilda the Musical
ByHelen Freshwater

chapter 10|23 pages

Children’s musicals for educational and community settings

ByLauren Acton

chapter 11|26 pages

Broadway Junior

ByStacy Wolf