Lucy loves musicals. We’ve seen several — Wicked being her all time favorite– but we can only catch one or two a year. It’s pricey going to the theater!
But the best thing happened this past December. Lucy discovered you can watch musicals on TV! It all started when she saw NBC’s The Sound of Music Live extravaganza staring Carrie Underwood and Vampire Bill. (See, something good came out of that travesty after all!) She loved it so much, I showed her the REAL Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. Lucy was in heaven. She has watched that movie no less than 25 times and can name each of the von Trapp children by sight or in perfect age order–whichever you prefer.
Once she figured out the magic of Netflix could bring musicals to our living room, the sky was the limit! She took in Mama Mia!, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Mary Poppins, Fame…you name it! If it was a musical, it was streaming on her iPad. I even let her watch Grease (I forgot how racy it was. In my mind it was like my generation’s version of High School Musical. I only remembered that it’s really not when she asked me what it meant that Rizzo had “a bun in the oven”.) Despite that little hiccup, we were both in musical heaven.
And then she discovered West Side Story.
She was immediately enthralled. She loved every single thing about the movie. She danced around the kitchen singing “I Like to Be in America” pretending to be Rita Moreno. Who could blame her? Rita Moreno is fabulous.
When Tony sang “Maria”, Lucy swooned. She recreated the rumble between the Sharks and the Jets on a daily basis. She’d always be a Shark (She’s naturally on Rita Moreno’s side) while making our dog, Daisy, be the Jet she would dance battle. She always won.
In fact, Lucy loved West Side Story so much, she didn’t ever make it to the end. She’d get to a song she liked and rewind and play it over and over again until she had the music and dance steps memorized. Then she’d simply rewind the musical and start back at the beginning so she could see all of her favorite numbers again. She was just dazzled by the entire experience.
As we were discussing it one evening at dinner, Lucy told me that she loved the musical because it was like Romeo and Juliet but with song and dance numbers. EXACTLY!! She totally got it!
About 25 minutes later as I was clearing away dinner dishes, I heard a blood curdling scream coming from upstairs and a thud that sounded like Lucy had collapsed on the floor. There were also cries sounding like Lucy saying “DIED…. DIED”. Both my husband and I raced up the stairs sure we would find Lucy gravely injured. As we opened the door, she was lying on the floor face down sobbing hysterically.
Had she danced into the wall severing her Achilles tendon?!?! No. She had not. She had simply made it to the end of the movie.
You see, despite making the connection that West Side Story is like Romeo and Juliet, it didn’t obviously follow to her that the movie was not going to end well. In all of the previous musicals she watched, love always won in the end. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer escape together into the mountains with the kids. Meryl Streep marries Pierce Brosnan. Heck, even Danny and Sandy end up together. West Side Story…not so much.
Turns out what Lucy was sobbing over and over was, “TONY DIED! TONY DIED! TONY DIED! YOU NEVER TOLD ME TONY DIED!!!!!”
She cried for half an hour and declared it the SADDEST MUSICAL OF ALL TIME. She can’t even listen to “I Feel Pretty” anymore without her bottom lip quivering. She was devastated.
Moral of the story… musicals are magical but ALWAYS warn your child if the male lead is going to bite it to prevent preteen hysteria… even if he’s just a Jet. (Also, skip Grease altogether unless you are ready to have some really interesting conversations. (Just read the lyrics to “Greased Lightning”. You won’t believe it!!)