All I Need to Know In Life I Learned From Musicals

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen

I might have been a strange kid, but some of my earliest TV/movie memories are of musicals.The thrill of watching Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more filled my little heart with happiness. I loved the dancing, the color, the costumes and of course the music.

As perhaps would be expected, watching these musical “dramas” provided much learning to my young mind. Now as an adult I think that many of the lessons learned at the hands of musicals have stayed with me and indeed shaped and influenced quite a few well guarded opinions.

Let’s start off talking about West Side Story.

I remember as a 5 year old coming home from kindergarten and popping in my beloved VHS copy of West Side Story. I am fairly sure I might have been one of the only 5 year olds’ in America who did this.

As a little Hispanic girl I was in love with Bernardo, the leader of the Puerto Rican gang. Oh he was handsome!

The dancing, singing, swirling colors, people and lights were entrancing. For a little girl the love story was meh, but there WERE some life lessons to be learned…..

LESSON LEARNED: Love can be hard and gangs are bad.

Pretty important life lesson wouldn’t you say?

Now onto another great.

My mother and Father were children of the radio era, before there was TV. They had grown up with the fantastical adventures of Little Orphan Annie and when this movie came out they were more than enthused to introduce this heroine of their childhood to their own children.

Here’s another reason, take a look at a picture of me circa somewhere in the very early 80’s.

Is it any wonder I felt a kinship with Annie?

I was once gifted a nicely framed Annie movie poster for one of my birthdays. This poster has moved with me as I have grown, hanging in every house and still hangs in my house today.

Who doesn’t enjoy watching Annie’s hard luck story bloom into a fairytale? I was not an orphan, but my little mind conjured up all kinds of scenarios with someone like Daddy Warbucks taking me in, giving me a pony, elephants and you know all of the other traditional presents parents give their children……..

LESSON LEARNED: Curly headed girls rock, the Depression era sucked and the sun will come out tomorrow.

Next up!

Little tidbit of trivia for you, but did you know that Oklahoma was filmed throughout multiple areas of southern Arizona?

I did!

Once when I was a little girl my Father knowing how much I loved this movie rendition did some research and took me to see the home of Aunt Eller and Laurey in the movie. I still can remember peeking in the dusty windows of the now abandoned and derelict farmhouse. Yep, this is why the word awesome-sauce was created!

Also, do you remember the train in the scene where Will sings, “Everything Is Up To Date In Kansas City”? Well if you visit my hometown you can still visit the train today.

LESSON LEARNED: Beware creepy stalker guys and it’s OK to say no.

Note from Jen’s Guy-  I can attest that she learned the “No” lesson very well as a young woman. . .

Note from Jen-  He’s just lucky I let the “no stalking” thing slide just a bit before I finally went out with him.

Moving onto this beloved classic.

Set in the awe inspiring landscape of Austria we are introduced to the young novice Maria on her journey to adulthood. The unfolding events surrounding the rise of the Nazi party to power is also an important part of the musical. Julie Andrews is magical in this role and there is no way you can’t become completely absorbed in this story as she and her new husband attempt to flee in order to keep their family safe from the Nazis and the war.

LESSON LEARNED: Never let your daughter date a Nazi.

And you know this had to be a part of this list.

Grease is the word, right?

When the sweet Australian Sandy Moves to a new town and meets her old greaser flame Danny at Rydell High their romance sets in motion a whole flotilla of unintended side effects.

As a much older person I have now re watched this movie with new eyes, wondering what in the heck my parents were thinking when they let me watch this as a little girl? This musical definitely brought raunchy fun to a whole new level.

LESSON LEARNED: Curly headed girls are hot and stay away from greasers.

Note from Jen’s Guy-  I’m not exactly sure that it was her curly hair that turned Olivia Newton John into every man’s fantasy. . .

Note from Jen-  You take away YOUR lessons, I’ll take away mine.

Additional lesson- Friends don’t let friends watch Grease 2.

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!



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