As a lover of musical theater and movie musicals, Ms. Meyers finds inspiration for baby names from her favorite shows.
Inspiration From Movie Musicals
Nothing takes us away from our troubles and makes us feel more alive, hopeful, and inspired than a big, bold movie musical. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could break out in song while going about our humdrum daily lives like they do during these films? Wouldn’t it be so joyful when stressed out at our jobs if we could just start to tap dance in a flawlessly choreographed number with our co-workers and all our worries would vanish?
The songs from movie musicals can stay with us forever and lift our spirits during trying times. When we’re feeling down, we can hear Dick Van Dyke singing just put on a happy face from Bye, Bye Birdie or little Aileen Quinn belting out the sun will come out tomorrow from Annie or Debbie Reynolds encouraging us to keep our chin up from Charlotte’s Web. These lyrics help us see that better days are ahead if we just hold on and have faith.
Because they’re otherworldly, movie musicals are a fabulous source of inspiration when searching for the perfect baby name. Just like these films, the birth of an infant brings immeasurable exhilaration and limitless possibilities. When a youngster is named for one of these cinematic characters or actors, they carry a little extra magic with them: a bounce in their step, a song in their hearts, and an awareness that they have the power to hoist themselves to new heights.
It seems inevitable that fans of stage musicals are disappointed with their movie adaptations, but Chicago is a dazzling exception. This dark comedy about two murderesses won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, a rare feat for a musical but certainly well deserved. Set in the 1920's Jazz Age, it has indelible songs, breathtaking choreography, and a story that's anything but the corny movie musical pablum that many folks mock. Its female characters are complex, tough, ambitious, and deeply flawed, making them bold choices when naming a daughter.
Roxie Hart, played by Renee Zellweger, is the main character and one of the two murderesses. Egocentric and ambitious, she forsakes a moral compass in favor of pursuing stardom. Even though the audience clearly sees her many faults, they can’t help but root for this spunky gal. A girl called Roxie personifies drive and determination.
Billy Flynn, portrayed by Richard Gere, is the unscrupulous, smooth-talking lawyer who defends Roxie Hart. Self-centered like his client, Flynn is out for himself but wins us over with his good looks, calm manner, and endless charm. A boy named Flynn personifies confidence and charisma.
Zeta is a cool sounding name that honors the Welsh actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones, who portrays Velma Kelly. For playing the vain murderess who dreams of making it big in show business, Zeta-Jones was presented with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A girl named Zeta personifies the 3 g’s: guts, grit, and glamour.
More Names Inspired By Chicago
This finale number, featuring Roxie and Velma, shows why Chicago rightly deserved the Oscar for Best Picture.
My Fair Lady (1964)
This beloved film is another musical that accomplished the rare feat of winning an Oscar for Best Picture. It tells the tale of a pompous and patronizing phonetics professor who brags that he can transform a lowly Cockney flower girl into a glamorous, cultured member of high society. It’s a true masterpiece with every song being extraordinary. A name taken from this classic movie represents timelessness and quality.
Eliza Doolittle is the title character, a poor and unsophisticated young woman with the grit and drive to recast herself as a respectable member of upper class society. While it may seem that Professor Higgins is in charge of her schooling, Eliza is the one who chooses to pursue the overhaul. She does so with hard work and sacrifice. A girl named Eliza personifies resilience, ambition, and dedication.
While Marni Nixon doesn’t appear in the film, she’s an integral part of it nonetheless. She dubbed Audrey Hepburn's singing voice. She did the same for Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Deborah Kerr in The King and I. A girl named Marni embodies spunk, warmth, and talent.
Choosing the name Harrison honors Rex Harrison, the winner of the Oscar for Best Leading Actor. He played the pompous Professor Henry Higgins on stage as well as on screen and made it his own. This was especially significant, given that he wasn’t known for being a great singer. A boy named Harrison personifies cleverness, dignity, and excellence.
More Names Inspired By My Fair Lady
Audrey Hepburn's acting and Marni Nixon's singing make this number unforgettable.
Charlotte’s Web (1973)
Before Disney began to put out animated musicals on a yearly basis, there was Charlotte’s Web based on E.B. White’s much loved book. This magical film is about the power of writing, the serendipity of friendships, and the transient nature of life itself. It’s a children’s movie with profound messages that will delight both young and old and will stay in people’s hearts forever. A child named for a character in Charlotte’s Web will carry a piece of this magnificent movie with them as a reminder that life is precious and that words matter.
Fern is the kind-hearted and determined girl who begs her father to spare Wilbur’s life. She feels tremendous compassion for this piglet who’s the runt of the litter and sets about making him big and strong. A girl named Fern personifies tenderheartedness, tenacity, and a love for animals.
Avery is Fern’s boisterous big brother who loves to spend time outdoors, play pranks, and tease his sister. Unlike Fern with her sensitive nature, Avery is not nearly as respectful to animals. A boy named Avery personifies a rowdy spirit and high energy.
Anyone who has seen the film or read the book knows that Charlotte is a revered name. She’s the classy, clever, and kind spider who understands the power of words, writing them on her web to save Wilbur’s life. A girl bestowed with this moniker personifies the 3 b’s: brilliance, benevolence, and beauty.
More Names Inspired By Charlotte's Web
In this video, Charlotte (the voice of Debbie Reynolds) advises Wilbur to keep his chin up and remain hopeful.
Guys and Dolls 1955
Guys and Dolls is a classic movie musical that has stood the test of time and is as enjoyable to watch today as it was 60 years ago. Set in New York City, it tells the tale of an underground craps game, two handsome gamblers, and two captivating romances. It’s full of fantastic songs sung by four of the biggest stars of their day: Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine. A child named after a character or actor from this romantic comedy will bring a smile to people’s faces as they recall this marvelous musical.
Sky Masterson is the sexy, suave gambler played by Marlon Brando. He’s a cool, calm risk-taker and a confirmed bachelor. This starts to change, though, when he meets the prim and proper Sarah Brown who works at the local mission to save lost souls including those of gamblers. A boy or girl named Sky personifies charm, unpredictability, and style.
Nathan Detroit is the gambler with a heart of gold who’s struggling to find a secret locale to hold his next illegal craps game. He’s also struggling with his longtime girlfriend who’s pushing him to marry her after 14 years of dating. A boy given this moniker personifies confidence, magnetism, and persistence.
Vivian Blaine is the actress who took on the part of Adelaide and made it her own. She originated the role on Broadway before starring in the film opposite Frank Sinatra. A girl with the name of Vivian is talented, motivated, and energetic.
More Names Inspired by Guys and Dolls
In this video, Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit and Vivian Blaine as Adelaide sing a duet.
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Bye Bye Birdie is a fun and frivolous movie musical set in the 1950’s. Conrad Birdie, an Elvis-like figure, is about to join the Army. As a publicity stunt, he’ll kiss a lucky teen on national television before he departs. It’s lighthearted escapism with terrific songs, superb choreography, and big names such as Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, and Ann-Margret. A child with a name from this film is a reminder of simpler times when life was seemingly more wholesome and carefree.
Conrad Birdie is the coolest cat in America and all the teeny-boppers adore him. When he swivels his hips, they swoon. A boy bestowed with this moniker personifies bravado, charisma, and allure.
Hugo Peabody is the antithesis of Conrad Birdie, a sweet and vulnerable boy-next-door type. When his girlfriend, Kim, gets chosen to receive Birdie’s kiss, he feels threatened and gets jealous. A boy with this moniker personifies innocence, purity, and openness.
Ursula is Kim’s best friend and Conrad’s number one fan. She’s loyal to her pal and to her rock star idol. A girl with this name personifies passion, loyalty, and effervescence.
In this video, Dick Van Dyke sings "Put On a Happy Face" to Janet Leigh.
© 2021 McKenna Meyers