Where to binge Broadway online: A theatre lover’s guide to streaming

Couple watching Netflix on their couch.

Raise your spirits while staying safe by giving your COVID-19 quarantine some jazz hands!

Yes. The world feels a little scary right now, but in times of hardship, art has always been its own type of antidote especially musical theatre.

Woman watching Netflix on an iPad.

Netflix is really pulling out all the stops to make sure your days at home on the sofa are spent binge-watching. (Pic: Shutterstock)

Even though performing arts centers across the country have taken the necessary precaution to temporarily close and keep us safe, that doesn’t mean your enjoyment of arts and entertainment is over. Musicals are everywhere including all your streaming services.

As many of us hunker down, we’re going to need a little Broadway pizzazz to not only pass the time, but remind us all that this too shall pass. With streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu and BroadwayHD, there is a wealth of theatrical resources available where you can find live recordings of original productions from Broadway and beyond.

So, for all quarantined musical theatre-lovers, have no fear! We got you. Here is a guide to what is currently available, including several film adaptations, for your viewing pleasure:

 

Plays and Musicals on Netflix

Jersey Boys (2014, Film)

Starring John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, and Michael Lomenda.

Adapted from the Broadway musical and starring Broadway’s original Frankie Valli, Clint Eastwood directs this musical film that takes a closer look at how four guys from New Jersey came together to form one of the most iconic music groups of the 1960s, The Four Seasons.

Hairspray (2007, Film)

Starring Nikki Blonksy, Zac Efron and John Travolta

In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on “The Corny Collins Show” and wins. She becomes an overnight celebrity, a trendsetter in dance, fun and fashion. Perhaps her new status as a teen sensation is enough to topple Corny’s reigning dance queen and bring racial integration to the show.

Oh, Hello on Broadway (2017, Broadway)

Starring Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Stand-up comedians John Mulaney and Nick Kroll star as “two delusional geriatrics” in Oh, Hello on Broadway, a recording of their hit limited-run Broadway engagement. This recording has it all: irreverent humor, too much tuna, and a special surprise comedy guest.

Springsteen on Broadway (2018, Broadway). Starring Bruce Springsteen.

If you couldn’t get to New York City to see Bruce Springsteen take the stage during his Broadway residency, have no fear: Netflix has you covered. You can watch a recording of the rock star’s intimate one-man show, where he plays acoustic versions of some of his greatest hits and shares personal life stories, on the streaming service anytime, and all from the comfort of your own home.

Shrek the Musical (2013, Broadway)

Starring Brian d’Arcy James, Sutton Foster, and Christopher Sieber

Everyone’s favorite ogre 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.

Sweeney Tood: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007, Film)

Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman

Adapted from the Tony Award-winning 1979 musical of the same name, which also earned Broadway revivals in 1989 and 2005, this movie features the unique directorial flair of Tim Burton paired with the songs and characters that made this musical such a hit.

Mike Birbiglia: The New One (2019, Broadway)

Starring Mike Birbiglia

If you missed Mike Birbiglia’s three-month residency at the Cort Theatre, Netflix has you covered! This performance was filmed on Broadway during the show’s limited run, so you’re sure to get the whole, hysterical experience. This hilarious yet profound one-man show recounts Birbiglia’s emotional and physical journey to parenthood.

American Son (2019, Film)

Starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, and Jeremy Jordan

The 2018 Broadway play, American Son comes to Netflix in a stage-to-screen adaptation of the original play. The film team features the same writer, director, and reprise performances by the original cast. Staged more like a play than a movie, this performance captures the same compelling energy from the Broadway version.

 

Plays and Musicals on Amazon Prime

Carousel (2013, Concert)

Starring Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, and Jessie Mueller

Julie Jordan falls in love with a charming, carefree carousel barker with a short temper. After she becomes pregnant, he resorts to extreme circumstances to get extra money to provide for his family. Staring Broadway favorites Kelli O’Hara and Jessie Mueller, along with Metropolitan Opera staple Nathan Gunn, this live-fromLincoln Center concert recording is a great way to get your Rodgers and Hammerstein fix.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971, Film)

Starring Topol, Norma Crane, and Leonard Frey

Currently running Off-Broadway (in Yiddish) at Stage 42, Fiddler on the Roof follows the poor milkman Tevye and his wife, Golde, as they try to grapple with their daughters wanting to break with tradition in their marriages. With music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, this film contains all of the songs theater lovers have come to know and adore: “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Matchmaker,” just to name a few.

Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway (2017, Film)

Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tommy Kail

Featuring interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Tommy Kail, and cast members including Leslie Odom Jr. and Renée Elise Goldsberry, this hourlong documentary details exactly how Hamilton went from a concept album to an award-winning international musical sensation.

Hello, Again (2018, Film)

Starring Audra McDonald, Cheyenne Jackson, Martha Plimpton, and Jenna Ushkowitz

Based on the 1993 Off-Broadway musical by Michael John LaChiusa, Hello Again is the story of 10 lost souls engaged in a series of love affairs across 10 different eras in New York City. The story is told out of chronology, bouncing from era to era with LaChiusa’s music always evolving to fit the time period. In Hello Again, every story is connected, but you’ll have to watch the film to figure out how.

King Lear (2018, Film)

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Emily Watson

If you can’t make it to New York to see Glenda Jackson in the new revival of King Lear, this Amazon original production is the perfect way for you to get your Shakespeare fix. Anthony Hopkins stars as the title character in King Lear, Shakespeare’s tragedy about a king’s slow descent into madness after he is tricked into giving up his kingdom by two of his three daughters.

Kiss Me, Kate (1958, Film)

Starring Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, and Julie Wilson

A reimagined telling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate is the story of an ex-husband and -wife duo who team up to star in a musicalized version of the Shakespeare classic. However, behind the scenes is where the real drama happens and chaos ensues. Before you head down to Studio 54 to catch Kelli O’Hara in the current Broadway revival, spend a night rewatching this film to help psych yourself up for what you’ll be witnessing on stage.

Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon (2019, Documentary)

Starring Chita Rivera, Tab Hunter, and Gwen Verdon

The muse of both Jack Cole and Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon changed the face of Broadway choreography over forty years. Through rare footage of Gwen Verdon performing in iconic stage musicals from Can-Can through Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, and Chicago, modern audiences can see Gwen at her best and learn the unexpected and surprising true story behind her success and career.

 

Plays and Musicals on HBO

Moulin Rouge! (2001, Film)

A young Englishman in the Paris of 1899, becomes infatuated with Satine, a singer at the Moulin Rouge. However, she has been promised by the manager to a Duke in return for funding his next production. As the young lovers meet in secret, Satine’s wedding day draws closer but she hides a fatal secret from both Christian and the Duke.

Les Misérables (2012, Film)

After 19 years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is freed by Javert (Russell Crowe), the officer in charge of the prison workforce. Valjean promptly breaks parole but later uses money from stolen silver to reinvent himself as a mayor and factory owner. Javert vows to bring Valjean back to prison. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother’s (Anne Hathaway) death, but Javert’s relentless pursuit means that peace will be a long time coming.

Hello, Dolly! (1969, Film)

In 1890s New York City, the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) is a socialite-turned-matchmaker. Her latest clients seeking assistance are the cantankerous “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) and a young artist named Ambrose (Tommy Tune), who is in love with Horace’s niece, Ermengarde (Joyce Ames). Dolly’s scheming soon involves Horace’s employees as well as a New York hatmaker, as she tries to cover up her own secret romantic designs.

A Star Is Born (2019, Film)

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers — and falls in love with — struggling artist Ally. She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

 

Plays and Musicals on Hulu

Chicago (2002, Film)

Nightclub sensation Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is set to defend her. But when Roxie (Renée Zellweger) also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well — turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Patrick Wilson). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.

Fame (1980)

Young men and women audition for coveted spots at the New York High School of Performing Arts. Those who make the cut discover that it takes a lot of hard work to become a star and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. The youngsters grapple with heavy issues such as homosexuality, abortion, attempted suicide and illiteracy. On top of their unique struggles, the students must deal with the mundane pressures of adolescence like homework, heartbreak and rejection.

 

Productions on BroadwayHD

Launched in 2015 with 100 titles available, BroadwayHD is an on-demand digital streaming service that has grown to include more than 200 titles of filmed Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals, plays, and concert events. Listed below are some of the notable additions to BroadwayHD’s catalog.

An American in Paris (2017, London)

Starring Robbie Fairchild, Leanne Cope, and Haydn Oakley.

Filmed live from London’s Dominion Theatre in 2018, An American in Paris follows Jerry Mulligan, an American GI who moves to Paris to pursue his dreams of becoming a painter. After a chance encounter with Lise, a young dancer, Jerry finds himself caught up in a complicated love triangle. Featuring music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, An American in Paris was nominated for 14 Tony Awards in 2015, including Best Musical.

Kinky Boots (2018, West End)

Starring Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry.

Charlie is a factory owner struggling to save his family business. Lola is a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. With a little compassion and a lot of understanding, this unexpected pair learns to embrace their differences and creates a line of sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen! But in the end, their most sensational achievement is their friendship.

Les Misérables 25th Anniversary (2010, Concert)

Starring Alfie Boe, Norm Lewis, Lea Salonga, Samantha Barks, and Ramin Karimloo.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo, producer Cameron Mackintosh assembled an all-star cast to perform two sold-out concerts of the musical at London’s O2 arena. This production was also preserved as a live album so you can hear the classic score anytime, anywhere.

The King and I (2018, London)

Starring Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, and Ruthie Ann Miles.

Set in 1860s Bangkok, The King and I is the story of British schoolteacher Anna’s unconventional romance with the king of Siam. After opening on Broadway in 2015, the production transferred with all of its New York leads to the West End, where it was filmed for a limited cinematic release. Now available on BroadwayHD, The King and I features a score with musical theater standards such as “Getting to Know You,” “Shall We Dance,” and “We Kiss in a Shadow.”

Cats (1998, London)

Starring Elaine Paige, Ken Page, John Mills, John Partridge, Jacob Brent, and Michael Gruber.

One of the longest-running hits in the history of Broadway and the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats has been specially restaged for this video presentation, which captures all the music and movement of the original stage production with an uncommon intimacy and depth.

Falsettos (2017, Broadway)

Starring Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, Andrew Rannells.

Nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Falsettos is a hilarious and poignant look at a modern family revolving around the life of a gay man Marvin, his wife, his lover, his soon-to-be-bar-mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. Originally created under the specter of the AIDS crisis, this timely musical about middle-class family dynamics manages to remain buoyant and satirically perceptive even as it moves towards its heartbreaking conclusion.

Phantom of the Opera (2011, Concert)

Starring Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, and Hadley Fraser.

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, Cameron Mackintosh produced a unique, spectacular staging of the musical on a scale which had never been seen before. Inspired by the original staging by Hal Prince and Gillian Lynne, this lavish, fully-staged production set in the sumptuous Victorian splendor of London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall features a cast and orchestra of over 200, plus some very special guest appearances.

Miss Saigon (2016, Concert)

Starring Paul Benedict Sarte, Eva Noblezada, and Jon Jon Briones.

The spectacular, sell-out 25th Anniversary Gala Performance of this acclaimed new production of the global stage sensation was described as “the most thrilling, soaring and emotionally stirring musical with magnificent performances” by the Daily Telegraph and “the greatest musical of all time” by the Daily Mail.This epic musical love story tells the tragic tale of young bar girl Kim, orphaned by war, who falls in love with an American GI called Chris but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. From the creators of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon is truly an international sensation

 

What Broadway titles are coming to Netflix?

This week it was announced that Broadway actors Vanessa Hudgens, and Robin De Jesús will join the cast of Tick, Tick…Boom!, a new film adaptation of the Jonathan Larson musical with a screenplay by Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen) and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). While Tick, Tick is not a Broadway title, having never been performed there, this early effort by the composer of Rent is beloved in musical-theater circles, and recently received a major off-Broadway revival starring George Salazar, Nick Blaemire, and Lilli Cooper.

Ariana DeBose is joining the cast of The Prom, the Drama Desk-winning musical that Ryan Murphy is adapting for Netflix, based on the Tony Award-winning musical. The cast is set to include Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Awkwafina, James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, and Kerry Washington.

The Prom is part of a larger deal Murphy has inked with the streaming service that will result in a small-screen adaptation of The Boys in the Band (Murphy produced the 50th anniversary revival on Broadway), and a miniseries based on A Chorus Line. Some of theater’s best titles are already making the leap over to Netflix and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.