Top 5: Andrea McArdle

Actress/singer Andrea McArdle on kid-friendly movie musicals.

New Rochelle’s Andrea McArdle, who originated the title role of the mega-hit Annie on the Great White Way in 1977 (making her the youngest performer ever to be nominated for a Tony Award as best lead actress in a musical), has personally test-viewed these titles more times than she can remember while raising her own daughter.
1) Grease (1978)
McArdle calls Grease, the prototypical teenage love story, terrific for ’tweens because “the ’50s were a time of clean, pure, and simple good fun.” Describing its score as infectious and its orchestration as one of the finest of the era, McArdle says the film shows John Travolta at his best.


2) The Sound of Music (1965)
“This is such a wonderful musical for the whole family,” says McArdle, who calls its score Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most brilliant. “It’s full of old favorite Americana songs we know and love as much as ‘Happy Birthday.’”

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3) Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
“One of the quirkiest musicals of all time, Little Shop is zany, fun, has the animated factor in it with the man-eating plant, and while it has a sci-fi edge, it’s not too scary.” Describing Westchesterite Alan Menken’s score as one of his best, McArdle says the film got it right by casting Ellen Greene as Audrey, the role the actress originated on Broadway.
4) The Little Mermaid (1989)
“This was the first guinea pig of a Disney musical movie, and I still don’t think they’ve topped it. The score is absolutely brilliant and Ariel is for today’s kids not unlike what Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was for us.”
5) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
“It’s never stale, cheesy, or old—it’s just perfection. And a lot of today’s kids can still identify with Dorothy’s old-fashioned teenaged angst. Besides, who doesn’t want their kids to see Judy Garland singing ‘Over the Rainbow?’”

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