In recent years, it has become an exciting new trend to preserve Broadway plays and musicals so that they can be streamed in the comfort of your home. Whether it be BroadwayHD, Netflix, or on Amazon, there are many theatre productions that you can watch over and over with their original staging and theatrical casts. Here is a guide to what is currently available, including a few feature film musicals, that are available for your viewing pleasure.
Musicals Available on Netflix
Though you cannot stream the current Broadway production of Anastasia, the popular musical first appeared as a movie, and you can enjoy the animated film that started it all. The great mystery behind the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, who may or may not have escaped her family’s execution, unfolds in this thrilling animated feature with a score by Ahrens and Flaherty (Once on this Island, Ragtime).
If you liked the Disney animated film and the Disney Broadway musical, the House of Mouse gives us this live-action film of Beauty and the Beast, featuring the Academy Award-winning score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, augmented with additional tunes to tell the story of the unlikely relationship between a book-smart young woman and a misunderstood, angry beast.
Why not prepare for the forthcoming revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel by spending some time with the film version? Filmed mostly on location in Maine, this musical about the stubborn factory worker Julie Jordan and her marriage to a troubled carousel barker features many iconic show tunes, including “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
It’s Broadway’s longest running revival and the 2002 Academy Award—winning film captured much of the stage show’s razzle-dazzle. Kander and Ebb’s Chicago is a satirical condemnation of how criminals become celebrities — a delicious romp of salacious fun and jazzy melody.
It’s the 1950s and Danny Zuko and his summer girlfriend Sandy are about as opposite as two people can be. When school starts in the fall, they find their relationship strained when his friends reject her good-girl personality. Featuring such hits as “Summer Lovin’”, “We Go Together” and “You’re the One That I Want,” Grease will have you singing and dancing.
A novelist and his actress wife recall the story of their relationship through music, starring from opposite points in time and meeting in the middle.
For theatre fans who cannot get enough of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (Hamilton, In the Heights) music, why not check out the Disney animated musical Moana? Miranda provides the score for this musical folk story about a girl who sets out to set things right when a curse by the ancient god Maui reaches her Polynesian island.
Everyone’s favorite ogre story is given the musical treatment in this kid-friendly tale of how a crotchety monster with a heart of gold finds his true love and saves his kingdom from the evil Lord Farquaad. With a score by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek the Musical is fairy-tale-inspired fun.
If Holiday Inn is not enough to give you your Irving Berlin fix, this classic film musical about a troupe of performers who set-out to help a retired army general save his near-bankrupt Vermont inn, will give you a delightful second dose of his infectious music. Featuring song standards such as “Sisters”, “Snow”, “Love You Didn’t Do Right By Me” and the iconic title tune, White Christmas is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
Musicals Available on Amazon Prime
The Tony-winning Broadway musical with a score by Elton John (Aida) and Lee Hall, that came to us via London, was captured for our viewing pleasure. The production, recorded live, tells the story of a boy from a blue-collar family, who dreams of being a dancer. Overcoming the loss of his mother and his family’s financial hardships due to a miners’ strike, Billy’s story is sure to inspire.
Maybe you cannot get into the Big Apple to see Bette Midler play Dolly Levi, musical theater’s favorite matchmaker. Do not fret. You can get your diva fix watching the 1969 film version with Barbra Streisand. The lush costumes and scenery, not to mention the peppy Jerry Herman score and the farcical story based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, is bound to be a joyous viewing.
The Broadway cast of Into the Woods reunited to capture this beloved Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical in its original staging at the Martin Beck Theatre. Several fairy tales come together in this compelling exploration of what happens after “happily ever after.”
Viva la vie Bohème! The Broadway production of Rent was captured in all its bohemian glory with this recording of the show. The Jonathan Larson musical brings together a group of struggling artists who find family among one another, even as they face down the specter of HIV and the possibility of losing their homes.
Plays and Musicals Available on BroadwayHD
Voltaire’s 1759 novella about a traveling idealist seeking “the best of all possible worlds” was turned into a Broadway musical back in 1956. The show had a short run, but soon became a cult favorite thanks to the intoxicating score by Leonard Bernstein and a handful of contributing lyricists. Revived and reworked, the musical refuses to go away and is performed in all its glory in this star-studded concert.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s poem collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats remains one of Broadway’s longest running musicals. Watch as several felines assemble in a junkyard to make their pleas to come back in their next lives. A lively musical for the whole family.
John Doyle’s clever staging of the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical about a bachelor who grapples with his fear of commitment is given a unique production in which the actors also play musical instruments. The score features “Being Alive” and “The Ladies Who Lunch.”
If a starrier version of Company is more your cup of tea, the 2011 concert version is available for streaming as well. Neil Patrick Harris leads a cast of some of the finest talents of stage, film, and television.
Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin star in this preservation of the enchanting Off-Broadway production of Daddy Long Legs. The story of an orphaned young woman whose education is paid for by a mysterious benefactor is an intellectual twist on the rags-to-riches tale.
Sleep deprivation might not seem like the likely subject for a musical, but when a single mom suffering from lack of sleep posts a dating video, she receives a response from polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922). Shackleton, who is shipwrecked on an arctic iceberg, reaches across space and time to share his heroic journey with her.
Coming to Broadway HD on August 14th, the recent Broadway revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos will be available for streaming. The story of Marvin, a man who leaves his wife and kid for another man, and the myriad repercussions that result, makes for a hilarious and ultimately moving viewing experience, demonstrating that families come in all shapes and sizes.
An all-star ensemble at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall performs Stephen Sondheim’s and James Goldman’s Follies. At a reunion for decades worth of Weismann Follies performers, aging cast members and unhappy couples are haunted by the ghosts of their younger selves.
Coming to us from London’s West End, From Here to Eternity features a score by Stuart Brayson and Sir Tim Rice. Set in Hawaii in the months leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the musical tells the story of a handful of soldiers, their relationships, and their stories culminating with one of America’s most-tragic days.
The Gabriels Part 1,2, and 3 (2016-Off-Broadway) Starring Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Amy Warren. Available on BroadwayHD.
The three-part play cycle The Gabriels inludes Hungry, What Did You Expect?, and Women of a Certain Age. These three plays unfold in real time and track the lives of the Gabriels throughout the coming presidential election year. To the rhythm of peeling, chopping and mixing, Hungry places us in the center of the Gabriel’s kitchen. The family discusses their lives and disappointments, and the world at large and nearby. As they struggle against the fear of being left behind, the family attempts to find resilience in the face of loss.
The iconic Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim/Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy, about the persevering stage mother who will stop at nothing to turn her children into stars, will thrill you with its theatricality and electrified score that features “Some People,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and “Rose’s Turn.”
Indecent is inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance—a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. The play charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.
Some of Irving Berlin’s most beloved and festive tunes are woven into the musical set at an inn that where they celebrate the holidays with festive performances. Broadway performer Jim leaves the city to start the inn, finding a partner and performer in the local schoolteacher Linda. Things begin to fall apart, however, when Jim’s friend Ted shows up and tries to lure Linda away with the lights of Hollywood.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera about the final harrowing days of Jesus Christ is given a spectacular-sized treatment in this arena tour. Jesus Christ, Superstar features many song favorites including “Heaven on Their Minds,” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”
Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse tackle Robert Louis Stevenson’s chilling classic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, providing an electrically charged score that includes “This Is the Moment” and “Someone Like You.” TV and pop star David Hasselhoff takes the lead as the titular dual roles.
When a theater company puts on a production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, things get complicated when the arrogant director/lead must work opposite his short-tempered ex-wife. Art begins to imitate life as the musical begins to parallel the play they are putting on. Chock-full of Cole Porter classics, Kiss Me, Kate is a hilarious battle of the wits.
A long-running London and Broadway classic, Les Misérables has touched the hearts of millions. Songs such as “Bring Him Home,” “On My Own,” and “Stars” have become Broadway standards. Celebrate Les Miz’s 25th anniversary with this concert of the musical based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel about a man’s transformation through faith.
Kaufman and Hart’s classic comedy about the world’s most-obnoxious celebrity houseguest usurping the home of the Stanley family and turning their Christmas into a cacophonous parade of insults and inconveniences is sure to put a smile on your face.
This Tony-winning Best Musical taught audiences to “never let anyone steal their rock ‘n’ roll.” Memphis tells the story of a white disc jockey who wants to play black music on the radio. The musical is loosely based on the true story of Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips.
The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical comes to life in Trevor Nunn’s captivating staging of the story of an Oklahoma farm girl who must choose between the cocky cowboy and the brooding farmhand who are courting her. The musical features a delightful score, including such Rodgers and Hammerstein classics as “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and the rousing title number.
An enormous hit in London, and Broadway’s longest-running musical of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is celebrated here with a gala concert for its 25th anniversary. The story of the opera ghost who mentors and manipulates a young ingénue is based on the Gaston Leroux novel of the same name.
Nothing quite beats a revue of the music of Stephen Sondheim. Putting It Together uses the framing device of a dinner party to united five people in singing some of the master’s most respected and enjoyed songs.
When three children have their father mysteriously taken away, they move from London to a cottage in Yorkshire. There they meet the local railway porter, Perks, and a magical journey unfolds even as the mystery of their father’s disappearance looms.
This musical chestnut, with a score by Bock and Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), revolves around two coworkers in a Hungarian parfumerie. They despise each other on the job, but are (unbeknownst to one another) anonymous pen pals who have fallen in love through a letter-writing lonely-hearts club.
The music of Duke Ellington swings and pops in the musical revue Sophisticated Ladies, which ran on Broadway in 1981. Songs such as “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” and “Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce” are just a few of the jazz ditties celebrated.
The tale of Sweeney Todd, the barber who was unjustly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and his cannibalistic plan for revenge, was turned into a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. This concert version of the show relays the sinister (and tragic) plot, as well as the glorious score, including the songs like “A Little Priest” and “Not While I’m Around.”
Based on Lloyd Kaufman’s cult 1984 comedy film, The Toxic Avenger The Musical tells the story of the citizens of Tromaville who are crying out for a hero. Enter nerdy Melvin Ferd the Third, an aspiring earth scientist, determined to clean up the state’s major toxic waste problem. When a corrupt Mayor and her government goons get wind of his plans, they vow to stop this heroic feat. Melvin is attacked and tossed into a vat of toxic waste… transforming him instantly into The Toxic Avenger, New Jersey’s first superhero! Toxie is a 7-foot mutant freak with superhuman strength and a supersized heart to match. His aims are to save heavily polluted New Jersey, end global warming, win the heart of the prettiest (blindest) librarian in town – and get home in time for dinner!
Based on the beloved children’s book by Kenneth Grahame, George Stiles (Music), Anthony Drewe (Lyrics) and Julian Fellowes (book) bring us the latest stage adaptation of the classic novel that follows Mr. Toad of Toad Hall and his adventures with Badger and Mole.
The story of the Tin Woodsman from L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” books comes vividly to life in this combination of theatre, puppetry, music, and performance art. Nick Chopper falls in love with a beautiful Munchkin girl named Nimmie, a slave of the Wicked Witch of the East.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.