The Top 10 Most Family-Friendly Musicals

Natalie Solomon

There are a lot of shows out there – and I mean a LOT – that are amazing, but maybe not the most appropriate for younger audiences. As amazing as “Hamilton” is (hello, Grammy!), there’s too much adult content and language for children, and it’s not the only show out there with mature themes. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 10 musicals that parents can feel comfortable taking their kids to see. 

10.    “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
Another musical about children. This time, however, the children are played by adults. Watching grown-ups act like silly kids will surely tickle your child’s funny bone, and these beloved comic-strip characters are a joy to watch onstage.

9.    “Sound of Music”
Another R&H classic, chances are you know some of the songs from this musical, even if you don’t realize it. Earworms such as “My Favorite Things” and “Do Re Mi” originated from this show, but it’s also got some lesser-known tunes that are just as likely to get stuck in your head (you’re welcome)! This is one of the musicals that will get your children talking; why not have a WWII history family night?

8.    “Shrek”
Another musical based on a movie, your children will love getting to see Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey come to life before their eyes! The musical maintains the movie’s off-color humor, but there isn’t anything vulgar enough to keep your children from enjoying the show. As with Matilda, the show is witty and wry enough for adults as well!

7.    “Seussical”
This musical just SCREAMS family-friendly. It’s literally a musical based on Dr. Seuss books! If you’ve ever read “Horton Hears a Who,” you already know the storyline. However, a few of Seuss’s other characters manage to find their way into the story as well. With its brightly colored costumes, made-up words, and familiar characters, this show is always a hit among children.

6.    “Peter Pan”
Even if your kids aren’t familiar with this version of the story, they already know the characters and are guaranteed to fall in love with the narcissistic Peter Pan, kitschy Captain Hook, and all the characters in between.

5.    “Once On This Island”
If you have kids in the arts, chances are you’ve heard of this show; it’s one of the more popular pieces to perform in youth theaters because of its fun music and clean script…plus (SPOILER!) the main character turns into a TREE. What kid wouldn’t love that??

4.    “Matilda”
A kid-friendly show about kids, for kids, performed by (you guessed it) kids! I can’t think of a show more perfectly suited for a family night out. It’s clever enough to keep adults entertained while maintaining a childlike innocence that will appeal to all ages.

3.    “Little Women”
Based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, this musical may seem female-heavy, but don’t be fooled; there are a lot of laughs, and the main character is definitely a tomboy. This sweet show is best described as “charming.”

2.    “Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella”
 It has old-musical charm while featuring an updated script via its 2013 Broadway run. A perfect show for little girls who love princesses, the newer script also features prominence from the males in the show!

1.    Disney musicals
I may be cheating by including multiple musicals in one, but if I didn’t, most of the list would just be Disney shows! I would recommend all of the Disney musicals (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “Newsies,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Lion King”) excluding their newest musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The musical has darker overtones than the movie, so it might be a little scary for small children.