Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater

Bringing together musicologists, literature scholars, and specialists in childhood and theater studies, this volume examines the ways in which successful 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 productions inspired by the works of children's authors such as Roald Dahl, L. Frank Baum, and Dr. Seuss; created by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lionel Bart, and other leading lights of musical theater; or conceived for a cast made up entirely of children. Divided into two parts, the collection begins by examining musicals that construct childhood and propagate normative attitudes regarding what childhood is or should be. The essays in part II take up the child performer in commercial stage and film productions, school plays, and community theater. This lively collection highlights the special place that musical theater occupies in the imaginations and lives of children as well as adults and teases out why these productions so often have audiences echoing the words of Dickens's eponymous hero in their cries for "more."
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