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Happy Fathers Day: A Celebration Of Dads In Musicals

Who doesn't love a daddy? It's Fathers Day so I thought it would be fitting to look at dads in musical theatre. Not all fathers in musical theatre are great. Some are downright awful but they make for some fantastic songs. So here they are - 20+ fathers in theatre: the good, the bad and the ****y (fill in the blank) and 10 of the best dad songs.

Jean Valjean - Les Miserables

Jean ValJean steals Cosette away from the Thenadiers and gives her a new life. He's not perfect by a long shot, withholding the truth about him and wanting to flee the country away from her true love (who she'd known for all of two minutes). He makes up for it by saving Marius and bringing him home to her. What more could you ask for from a dad? Admittedly a steady life and the freedom to leave and make friends but as musical theatre dads go, he's as good as it gets.

Wilbur Turnblad - Hairspray

Not the most fleshed out character in Hairspray but Tracy's dad is incredibly loving, encouraging her to follow her dreams. While most of Wilbur's screentime is devoted to his relationship with his wife Edna, the time he spends with his daughter is always heartwarming. Movie Wilbur was almost ruined with the ridiculous subplot about his "affair" but whether it's the movie or the musical, Wilbur is always a nice guy who loves his family.

Alexander Hamilton - Hamilton

Another flawed dad thanks to cheating on his wife, when it comes to his children, Alexander Hamilton has a lot of love for them. The only child of his we see in the musical is his eldest son, Phillip. He teaches him about honour which ultimately leads to his death, though the grief that is displayed after leads to the most emotional moment of the show in 'It's quiet uptown'. Here's A.Ham and A.Burr singing about their children in 'Dear Theodosia'

Sam, Bill & Harry - Mamma Mia

Why have one father when you can have three? Not knowing which one is her dad, Sophie invites all three possibilities to her wedding. Rather than find out which one of them is her biological dad, they agree to share 1/3 of her each and all be her father. You never saw that on Jeremy Kyle!

Larry Murphy - Dear Evan Hansen

While he regrets the decisions he made with his own son Connor, Larry gets a second chance and gives Evan the father figure he desperately craves. Larry's father is front and centre in the show in act 2's 'To break in a glove'. Meanwhile, Evan's father remains absent throughout the musical but, from the references, seems too preoccupied with his new life. In the upcoming movie adaptation, the character of Larry is being changed to be Connor's stepdad.

Falco - Bat Out of Hell

Talk about an overprotective dad, Falco forbids Raven from going outside then ruins her birthday by getting it on with his wife during the party. Oh and he also tortures members of The Lost, ends up killing one of them and is just all round a bit of a dick.

Daddy Warbucks - Annie

The clue is in the name really. The billionaire opened his home to little orphan Annie and grew to love her after realising something was missing in his life.

Dad - Billy Elliot

Originally against Billy's desire to be a ballet dancer, their relationship isn't the best at first. Eventually, Billy's dad grows to try to understand him and lets him live out his dreams.

Mufasa - The Lion King

There's no greater testament to a fathers love for his child than putting your own life in danger rescuing him, ultimately sacrificing yourself. I'm sorry, I have something in my eye...

Tevye - Fiddler on the Roof

The main protagonist in Fiddler, Tevye has deeply traditional values which is tested by the growing up of his five daughters. Ultimately, he puts their happiness and freedom over his own values and faith.

Mr Price & Simon/Lola's Dad - Kinky Boots

Charlie and Simon bond over their fractured relationships with their fathers who both wanted them to be something that wasn't true to them. While both characters only have the most fleeting of appearances in the show, the impact on their relationships with their sons is felt throughout and creates one of the greatest songs about fathers in musical theatre.

Captain Von Trapp - The Sound of Music

Since his wife died, Captain Von Trapp has been raising his children in a militaristic approach. Summoning them by whistle, Maria eventually manages to break through to make him a more lovable and personable father, even singing with them. What more could you want from a musical theatre father?

Gomez - The Addams Family

When you're an Addams, you are part of a close-knit family no matter how creepy and kooky you might be. Gomez is no exception - father to Pugsley and Wednesday, he has one of the great dad songs in theatre when he sings 'Happy/Sad' about his daughter growing up.

Wayne New - Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Jamie New faces obstacles in accepting his identity partly due to his dads words to him when he was a kid. The way Wayne treats his ex-wife and his son in the show makes him a contender for the worst dad in theatre.

Lance Du Bois - &Juliet

Another father who fails to understand his son, Lance tries to force Francois into something he doesn't want by telling him he either needs to find a wife or join the army. When Francois finds his true love (It's gonna be May), Lance accepts him in a beautiful Backstreet Boys moment (What else?)

Mr Wormwood - Matilda

Matilda's dad isn't the most loving of fathers. Disappointed that she wasn't a boy, him and his wife mock her and don't explore her full potential. Regularly taking his frustration out on her, Matilda always gets her revenge with pranks.

Bruce Bechdel - Fun Home

The true story of Alison Bechdel's life, she recalls the strained relationship she had with her father. While she tried to make him come to terms with her own sexuality, her dad was also hiding a secret regarding his own sexuality - something that stopped them getting close. There was no happy ending in this relationship sadly.

Monsieur Thenardier - Les Miserables

While he is known more for being the master of the house in the show, he is responsible for children. He threatens Eponine, is looking after Cosette but doesn't even know her name and, in the book but not mentioned in the musical, is father to Gavroche as well. While he might provide comic relief in the show, he's not exactly going to get father of the year.

Marvin - Falsettos

A difficult relationship due to Marvin leaving his sons mother for another man. While Marvin tries to bring his partner in on his son Jasons life, his son is more worried how he will turn out which leads to a beautiful moment where Marvin tells Jason he will be there for him no matter what kind of man he turns out to be.

Special mentions go to the dads who love their dead gay son in HeathersChris in Miss Saigon (I'm sure you're a great dad but we don't see enough of it)

So who are your favourite dads in theatre? And who are your least favourites? Any I've missed out. Let me know in the comments.



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