'Glee The 3D Concert Movie' may have only landed in 11th place at the box office its opening weekend, but there's little doubt the teen show is a hit that has made the word "musical" acceptable -- even cool -- with kids. Interest in Fox's highest-rated comedy series, which regularly features Broadway show-stoppers like 'Don't Rain on My Parade,' 'Defying Gravity,' 'On My Own,' and nearly all of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' proves that there's no time like the present to introduce kids and teens to movie musicals.
To help you select from the hundreds of musicals available, we've narrowed it down to eight classics that should appeal to your brood depending on their age. In no time they'll be singing show-tunes and practicing their shuffle-hop-step routines -- or at the very least learning about one of America's most enduring contributions to popular culture.
'Mary Poppins' (G, 1964)
Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson
What it's about: Who hasn't dreamed of having a magical nanny who can make even the most mundane household chores a magical adventure? We're betting parents would be just as keen as their kids to have Andrews' Mary Poppins swoop down with her flying umbrella and change their families forever. The Banks children get an education in generosity, discipline, charity and a whole lotta fun. Let's go fly a kite and dance with Dick Van Dyke.
'The Sound of Music' (G, 1965)
Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
What it's about: Once Andrews has wowed your kids as the world's most memorable governess Mary, it's time for her to blow them away as Maria... the world's most memorable governess-turned stepmother. With a soundtrack of Rodgers and Hammerstein's catchiest songs, this is a perfect musical for little ones to Do-Re-Mi their way through. And if you want to skip the Nazi part for a few years, we won't judge.
'The Wizard of Oz' (G, 1939)
Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
What it's about: Most of us can vividly remember our first encounter with the far-off land of Oz, so watch your kids will completely immerse themselves in Dorothy's journey down the yellow brick road with Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. What girl hasn't dressed up in a pinafore, pigtails and ruby red slippers? Of course, the flying monkeys are still a tad creepy, but this 1939 masterpiece is one of those movies every kid should see once (or twice, or every day for a few months).
'Annie' (PG, 1982)
Starring: Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Aileen Quinn
What it's about: Way before Harry Potter ever existed, everyone's favorite embattled young orphan was the ginger-locked Little Orphan Annie. Set during the Great Depression, Annie spends her days in a girls' orphanage under the tyranny of the bitter Ms. Hannigan (Burnett) until Daddy Warbucks (Finney) rescues her from her 'Hard Knock Life' and teaches her that no matter what, there's always 'Tomorrow.' No matter how grumpy you are, you always feel better after watching Annie and her pals.
Tweens & Teens:
'Grease' (PG, 1978)
'Singin' in the Rain' (PG, 1952)
Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
What it's about: It truly is the best movie musical ever made -- it combines the history of movie-making with Kelly's suave romantic skills, and his and O'Connor's amazing tap choreography. Reynolds is the pitch-perfect ingenue, and that dream sequence with leggy Cyd Charisse will make even the least interested teen boys take notice. The songs are fun ("I'm siiiiiiiiingin' in the rain!") but it's the performances that shine in this Hollywood standard.
'West Side Story' (PG, 1961)
What it's about: Whether or not they're familiar with the Bard's original take on star-crossed young lovers, teens will eat up this reimagining of 'Romeo and Juliet' as working-class '50s New Yorkers (he's white, she's Puerto Rican). This musical has it all for hormonal adolescents to appreciate: desperate, forbidden love; hauntingly beautiful songs; gorgeous actors; and fabulous, finger-snapping dance numbers. In case you have sensitive young teens, remember that the tale of "Maria & Tony 4Evah!" is based on a tragedy and doesn't end in a happily ever after.
'Moulin Rouge!' (PG-13, 2001)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo
What it's about: A poor young poet (McGregor) and a gorgeous courtesan (Kidman) fall in love against the wishes of her dictatorial guardian (Jim Broadbent) in turn-of-the-century Paris. It's epic and will leave teen girls (and their mothers) swooning happily over McGregor's lovestruck poet. Although most of the songs featured in Baz Luhrmann's opera-inspired jukebox musical are pop hits such as 'Your Song,' 'Rhythm of the Night' and 'Lady Marmalade,' there are also some notable original songs like the beautiful 'Come What May' and clever medleys. Warning: like 'West Side Story' this is a weepie.
'Chicago' (PG-13, 2002)
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah
What it's about: Since when it comes down to it, legendary producer-choreographer Bob Fosse's productions are all about "whoopie," his musicals are probably best saved for high-schoolers -- a 7-year-old singing 'Cell Block Tango' is fine for YouTube, but not so funny in school. This Oscar-winning adaptation shows off some fine dancing (Fosse's specialty) and 'All that Jazz' in a jail-house setting where Roxie Hart (Zellweger) tries to get off for killing her lover.
'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' (R, 1975)
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick
What it's about: More of a cult-classic than a traditional musical, this is the movie for older teens to get into once they're ready for the R-rated themes. The story of Janet (Sarandon) and Brad (Bostwick) getting a flat on the side of the road and winding up in the home of the eccentric transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Curry) is part parody, part flamboyant musical, all reason to sing along at a midnight screening. Seeing 'Rocky Horror' with a group of dressed-up fans is a cinematic rite of passage, so get your high-schooler ready for college with one family viewing.