Before class began yesterday, one of my 7-year-old ballerinas shared her perfect prank for today: “I’m going to tell my brother that I saw a cockroach under his bed. He’s going to go crazy! And then when he tells me he can’t find it, I’m going to shout, ‘April Fool’s! I fooled you!'”
Then, she asked me if we could watch Cinderella in class—the made-for-TV version with Brandy and Whitney Houston. I said it was a great idea, though we didn’t have time that evening. We chatted briefly about the songs, until she told me that she hated musicals.
Given her previous statement of love for Cinderella, I was fairly certain she did not hate musicals. I’m sure some adult in her life expressed a dislike for musicals, and she thought it was the cool thing to say. (How unfortunate.) So I continued naming my favorites, in particular—West Side Story. I told her she shoud watch it; she’d love it, too. After all, it takes place in New York and the dancing is stellar.
The director of the studio, who was sitting close by, whispered, “I think she may be a little young for West Side Story.” I hadn’t thought about that at all. I immediately steered the conversation back to Disney, but I’ve been wrestling with this all day. Is 7 too young for West Side Story?
I remember watching West Side Story for the first time in school, when I was 9 or 10. I certainly didn’t understand “Officer Krupke;” it was merely a catchy and silly tune. And I definitely didn’t pick up on the bedroom scene or what Anita was singing about in her verse of “Tonight.”
After talking to other editors and moms around our office, there are obvoiusly more kid-friendly musicals I could have (or should have?) recommended. But don’t all musicals have some dark matter? Would you rather a young student watch West Side Story over knowing all the words to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance?”
What do you think? Was I wrong to suggest West Side Story? Leave comments below; let’s start a conversation and share ideas!