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Growing up with musicals

Lily Casson is bringing her show, I Heart Musicals, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with English Cabaret this summer, which will coincide with the launch of a new website that will share her exploration of a century of song. Leading up to her show's premiere, we are offering a preview of some of her musical thoughts.

In this post, she explores explores her childhood growing up alongside musicals and how they have moulded her into the person she is today!

Lily at the Curtain Up! exhibition at the V & A 2016

I have grown up alongside musicals. Where many people grow up with the chart-toppers as the soundtrack to their early years, for me, musicals I've seen or discovered have punctuated my life.

My first musical memory is of singing songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang around the piano with my family, and soon after my captivation with the High School Musical series of films opened my eyes to the world of song and dance. Having been enlightened by Disney, I was soon madly scribbling down lyrics so I could sing along to City of Angels.

The best songs for me are those that express my feelings in a way that I hardly know how to myself. Whether that's a shared experience or living vicariously through the experience of the character, it offers release and comfort to know that you're not alone in how you feel and their emotions are a reflection of your own.

A smell, a sound can take you back, Please take me back...


I've written before about my 'love affairs' with certain musicals and each one that I've been passionate about to date has created a time capsule of emotions that re-ignite every time I listen.

It's like opening Pandora's Box - you hear the opening bars and suddenly, the present falls away and the time and place which you associate with those songs come flooding back. Memories, whether happy or sad, float to the surface from the time when you first heard the song and mix with scenes from the show, if you've seen it, creating a rainbow kaleidoscope in your mind.

The exciting thing is that the songs don't change from that first moment you heard them but as time goes on, you change and so does your perception - their meaning shifts as you have different experiences of the world around you.

Suddenly there's a lot I am not certain of, Goodbye 12, goodbye 13, goodbye 14, goodbye 15, goodbye 16, goodbye 17, Hello Love...

A Chorus Line

As I became more sure of the music that I liked, I became more confident about my own identity. I took on traits of strong characters I admired, to become the person I wanted to be and I believe, in turn, they have played a part in moulding who I am today.

There may be trouble ahead but while there's moonlight, and music and love and romance, let's face the music and dance...

Top Hat

Musicals have inspired, uplifted, and motivated me through the first quarter of a century of my life. They have reflected my moods, inspired my actions, and given me the motivation to become the best version of myself.

I am looking forward to finding new shows, new songs, and new characters to fire my imagination whatever life throws at me through my next 25 years!

This post was first published on Her new site is in development and her live show is playing at 21:20 on 11th, 13th, 20th, 25th and 27th August at C Venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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