In recent months, I've been exposing the kids to musicals for family movie night. They've seen The Wizard of Oz, Kiss me Kate, Singing in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. So far, I think their favorite has been Singing in the Rain. Even my 3 year old was performing two of the songs weeks later. And the vaudeville/tap dancing is a big hit with the boys, although it hasn't yet convinced them to take lessons.
Last night we watched West Side Story. I made the mistake of not checking the length of the movie before I promised it. It is 2 1/2 hours long. We got about 90 minutes in when I called a halt on account of the three younger ones who really needed to just go to bed. The older boys were disappointed. I was sorry, but that was that. This morning, Fritz woke up at 6 am as usual, and I found him in the family room cuing up the DVD to where we left off the night before. He and Petey and I watched the last hour before anyone else awoke.
This musical did not hold my kids' interest nearly as much. They like tap dancing much more than modern dance and ballet, the songs are not as catchy, and the whole gang warfare concept was outside of their world view. In that last hour, there is the big rumble scene where the two gang leaders are killed. "Romeo" goes to "Juliet"'s home and tells her he is responsible for her brother's death, but that he didn't mean to do it. They agree to run away together. He departs to wait for her to meet him later. Then word comes that an angry friend of her brother found out about their plans and killed her. It's a lie, but "Romeo" believes it as truth and goes out looking for this man in the hopes that the friend will kill him too and end his misery.
Fritz asked: Why does he want to die? Oh, how glad I am that he is still young enough to not get that. And how glad I am that I am old enough to almost forget why myself.
Later in the morning, Billy told me that he didn't need to watch the ending of the movie. Fritz clued him in that there was a big fight, people died, and that the ending was sad. OK, I can take a hint. Next up I think will be Annie Get Your Gun. They've recently learned about Annie Oakley, and this musical is supposed to be a battle of the sexes, happy ending love story. Sounds good to me.