Friday, September 22, 2006

Music in the Car

Several years ago I bought a cassette tape called "Broadway Kids" from the sale table at a toy store. We've been listening in the car ever since and we ALL know all the words.

Benjamin's favorite song is "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun. He always wants to me to skip to that song... which is not as easy with a cassette as it is with a CD. (I have added the CD to my Amazon wishlist.) He likes to keep score between the boy and the girl to see which one "wins" each verse. He especially likes this part:

"Can you make a pie?"
"Neither can I."

Benjamin gives them each a point for that verse. He also thinks it's funny that they seem to be fighting in the song, but I've explained to him that they really fall in love in the full musical.

Claire also wants to know about the details of the stories of each of the musicals that the songs are from. This sometimes gets complicated.

There's "Seasons of Love" from RENT. "What's that about, Mommy?" Ah... starving artists, drug use and people dying of AIDS. Not exactly 7-year-old fare.

There is "Broadway Baby" from Gypsy. That one is about strippers.

"I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. Star-crossed lovers who both get shot to death. Delightful.
There's "Jellical Cats" from Cats. Jeff and I have tried to explain to her that the musical Cats isn't really about anything. She thinks that's odd. I do too.

Even "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from Lion King has that pesky part about the brother lion having the king lion crushed in a stampede.

There's "Hair" from Hair... again with the drug use. Nudity thrown in for good measure here, too.

Of course, Sound of Music is an all-time favorite... but you can't ignore the setting of Nazi Germany.

Don't get me wrong. I love Broadway musicals and some of these questions have brought up topics that I am eager to discuss with the kids.

In fact, I remember listening to the full soundtrack of Chorus Line and Hair when I was pretty young. Great music! But... wow!... I had no idea what the real content of those lyrics meant. Funny how your perspective changes when you become a parent.


Shelina said...

These are the stories that make them interesting and worth creating, but you are right, they are also the most difficult to explain to children. I struggled with what I wanted to expose my daughter to. I found though that with proper explanation, she was able to handle just about anything. She needs to know that bad things do happen, some that are uncontrollable, and people can make poor choices. Most importantly, I wanted her to see that people manage to get through them. She is almost eighteen now, and it was a gradual process of how much she was exposed to. I don't have to worry about it quite so much now.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for a new CD (just for a change of pace)...Philadelphia Chicken. I know Mel has it. I fell in love with it in Florida and bought the CD along with the book. I then ordered more CDs from Amazon so I could give it to my sister's kids AND keep a copy for myself.


Anonymous said...

We had the Sound of Music soundtrack when I was a kid and we loved it! When we saw the movie in the theater the Nazi part was over our head. All we knew was that the family needed to run away, and that was enough of an explanation for my sister and I. I think we must have drove our parents nuts over the next year with incessant singing and playing of the "Lonely Goat Herd" song, though! It's hard to know what to shelter our kids from and what not. I think somethimes just a simple overview kind of answer about the big picture (not the sordid details) is enough, and strikes a balance between being too sheltered and anything goes.

Joanna Stein said...

Deborah, Mom and I had a long discussion about the lyrics in Hair. Holy Cow!

I asked her if we ever asked about what we were listening to, she said no. How funny it must have been to hear two little girls singing about sex, drugs, race wars...

She said that if we did ask she would have said your father will tell you!

Diane Perin said...

I like Broadway kids, too, but have laughed at your thoughts about content. I had that very problem with the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. Let's see... "Why are those buildings on fire, mom? Why are those pirates chasing those ladies? Are those ladies for SALE?" Raping, pillaging, plundering... hard to explain how that's FUN.

Jules said...

We have Broadway Kids Sing America, which has patriotic songs on it, including one listing all the Presidents through Clinton.

My husband said, upon watching Sound of Music for the first time, "They should have named this 'Guns and Nazis'. I would have watched it before now..."

Brooke said...

We just received A Chorus Line yesterday in our movie-in-the-mail service. I will make sure I watch it with Glory. She had a cold this weekend, and West Side Story was part of her self-medicating. She loves musicals, too. Ah well, art imitates life, right?