review for Born to Sing on AllMovie

Born to Sing (1942)
by Craig Butler review

Born to Sing feels like a Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney backstager from which the stars have walked, leaving the creators scrambling to find replacements and grabbing a bunch of child actors to do whatever they can. If Sing had Garland and Rooney, their star power might have lifted it out of the "standard issue musical" category; with Virginia Weidler, Larry Nunn, Leo Gorcey and Rags Ragland, it can't make that jump. Those who have a fondness for backstage musicals with typically convoluted plots will appreciate Sing, but it will be a bit harder going for those who want something a little more inventive or realistic. It doesn't help that Weidler and Nunn are dull, and that Gorcey and Ragland won't appeal to everyone. But Sing does have Ray McDonald doing some very fancy footwork that is quite impressive, and a few songs worth catching. More importantly, it climaxes with the totally out-of-left-field "Ballad for Americans," which doesn't fit in with the rest of the show but is such a stand-out that it doesn't really matter. McDonald and "Ballad" make Sing worth a look.