Two separate articles with a range of information:
15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home By Logan Culwell-Block Oct 06, 2017 From Newsies to Sweeney Todd, we’re running down some of the best filmed Broadway shows—and where to find them.
This article has been updated as of March 16, 2020.
While it used to be a rare treat when a Broadway show was filmed live on stage, it’s becoming more and more common today—great news for Broadway fans. Now, if you can’t make it to New York City or just want to see a show you may have missed, there’s an ever-growing list of productions available to watch wherever you are.
More and more, live musicals are being filmed for PBS or streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BroadwayHD and more. Productions of Off-Broadway’s Puffs to Broadway’s Indecent to the West End’s An American in Paris, new captures of stage productions regularly become available.
Let’s take a look at some of the best filmed Broadway shows to know about and where to find them.
Jonathan Larson’s Rent updates the story of Puccini’s La Boheme, setting it in New York City’s East Village. As most theatre fans know, it made a splash on Broadway, and the level of devotion its biggest fans carried had never really been seen before. It was the first major Broadway show to offer rush tickets, and fans would camp out overnight to get inexpensive front row tickets. The production won four 1996 Tony Awards including Best Musical, along with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It enjoyed a run of 12 years and over 5,000 performances.
Though it was adapted into a motion picture in 2005 featuring much of the original Broadway cast, the final performance of the Broadway production was captured and shown in movie theatres as well, later released on DVD and Blu-ray. At the time of the filming, the cast was not exceptionally well known, but looking back now, it’s pretty much an all-star cast, including performances by Renée Elise Goldsberry, Adam Kantor, Will Chase, Michael McElroy, Rodney Hicks, Tracie Thoms, Eden Espinoza, and Telly Leung.
Once Broadway’s longest-running musical, everybody has an opinion on this Andrew Lloyd Webber show, but what can’t be denied is that Cats is like almost no other musical to ever play the Main Stem. Based on a book of poetry by T.S. Eliot, Cats is about… well, cats! The production features an iconic costume and set design by John Napier, leglendary make-up design by Candace Carell, fabulous choreography by Gillian Lynne, and of course the anthem “Memory,” one of the more successful songs to come from a musical in the last 40 years.
Cats wasn’t filmed on Broadway, but the original production was captured on a stage in London in 1998, with original West End star Elaine Paige no less.
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company broke all the rules when it opened on Broadway in 1970. Instead of offering a linear plot, Company explored the concept of marriage through a series of scenes between Bobby, a 35-year-old bachelor, and a variety of his married friends. The show gave us such songs as “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Sorry Grateful,” “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” and “Being Alive,” and ushered in a new era of daring musical theatre on Broadway.
The original production was never filmed for home release—though there is a fascinating documentary (Original Cast Album: Company) that captures the original cast album’s recording session—but a 2006 Broadway revival directed by John Doyle and starring Raúl Esparza was filmed for broadcast on PBS. There’s also a New York Philharmonic concert staging available that features an all-star cast, including Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, and more. And, of course, IFC’s Documentary Now! famously spoofed the documentary of the cast recording in Original Cast Album: Co-Op with John Mulaney as a Sondheim substitute.
The 2006 Broadway revival production is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and on DVD.
The 2011 concert production is available on DVD.
Original Cast Album: Co-op is available on Netflix and IFC.com.
William Finn and James Lapine’s 1992 musical Falsettos is actually a combination of two earlier one-act musicals, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland. Together, they tell the story of Marvin, a gay man trying to navigate his relationships with his former-wife, their child, and his boyfriend, all against the backdrop of 1980s New York when all of this was completely uncharted territory.
Lincoln Center Theater’s 2016 Broadway revival featured a cast made up of Broadway favorites, including Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephanie J. Block, Tracie Thoms, and Betsy Wolfe. It was also filmed for television broadcast—part of Live From Lincoln Center—but it ultimately found its way to movie theatres, and is now available for streaming online.
Though revived in 2017 to acclaim in a production starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, the original production of Sunday in the Park with George remains a particular favorite among theatre fans. Tony Straiges’ Tony-winning scenic design stands up over 30 years later for how brilliantly it realizes impressionist painter Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and it doesn’t hurt that the original cast included Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby brought Charles Dickens’ novel—about a young man who has to support his mother and sister following the death of his father—to the stage, and it wasn’t an experience for the faint of heart; the complete play consisted of separate full-length parts that together made over eight hours of theatre. The show started in London, with a cast that included Roger Rees in the title role. Nicholas Nickleby did later transfer to Broadway with the London cast, winning 1982 Tony Awards for Best Play and Leading Actor in a Play for Roger Rees.
The filmed version of Nicholas Nickleby actually happened shortly before the work’s Broadway transfer, but didn’t receive its inaugural television broadcast until 1983. Given the play’s immense length, home viewing might be the best way to watch; you can take an intermission whenever you like.
Available for streaming on BroadwayHD.
Billy Elliot The Musical
Elton John and Lee Hall’s Billy Elliot The Musical tells the story of a little boy in a small British town who prefers ballet to boxing, much to the dismay of his conservative working-class community. When it opened on London’s West End in 2005, it became an immediate hit winning four Olivier Awards. The production’s Broadway transfer was equally successful, winning 10 Tony Awards, including a history-making joint win for all three young actors who shared the title role.
Though the Broadway production closed in 2012, the London production ran through 2016 and was filmed live on stage in 2014. The live recording doesn’t feature the original cast, but it does include Broadway and West End star Ruthie Henshall as Mrs. Wilkinson, the ballet teacher.
Elaine Stritch At Liberty
Elaine Stritch was nearly as famous for her onstage performances as she was for her offstage persona—and her storytelling. In Elaine Stritch At Liberty, her 2002 solo show that played Off-Broadway at the Public Theater before moving to Broadway, Stritch takes you through her entire life, from childhood to Sail Away to Company, and beyond. And she does it wearing nothing but a white blouse and black semi-sheer pantyhose.
Elaine Stritch At Liberty wasn’t filmed on Broadway, but when Stritch took the show to London’s West End, cameras captured a performance for release on DVD. If you’re fond of backstage anecdotes, showtunes, and dry wit, you won’t want to miss this one.
Before it was a hit movie starring Meryl Streep and James Corden, Into the Woods was one of Sondheim’s most successful Broadway shows. It’s still one of the most-produced works at schools and regional theatres across the country. This mash-up of fairytales that dares to go beyond “happily ever after” is one of Sondheim’s most accessible works, and has certainly been the Sondheim entry point for more than a few theatre fans, largely due to the video of the original Broadway production with the original Broadway cast, including Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason in her Tony-winning performance.
With a classic Cole Porter score that includes such tunes as “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “So in Love,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Always True to You in My Fashion,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” Kiss Me, Kate became an almost-instant classic when it debuted on Broadway in 1948. The 1999 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Revival, directed by Michael Blakemore, choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and Rob Ashford, and starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie. The 2019 revival starred Will Chase and Kelli O’Hara.
The 1999 revival production was filmed after it transferred to London’s West End in 2003. Neither of the Broadway leads were still with the production when it was filmed, but the great news is that they were replaced with Brent Barrett and Rachel York, both Broadway stars in their own right.
J.M. Barrie’s classic story of the flying boy who never grows up has been one of the most frequently adapted stories out there since it premiered in 1904. Though there have been several musical adaptations of the story, it is the 1954 musical with a score by Moose Charlap, Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Carolyn Leigh that tends to be the best known amongst theatre fans.
This version of the story was filmed four separate times. The first three feature the musical’s original stage star, Mary Martin, in the title role, a performance for which she won a Tony Award. Though they were not filmed on a stage, all three are faithful recreations of the original Broadway production in a television studio. The first filming, broadcast live on TV in 1955 within weeks of the show’s Broadway closing, features the complete original cast.
A revival of the show starring Cathy Rigby, the most prolific stage Peter Pan of the last 30 years, was filmed live on stage in 2000 and was released on DVD.
The 2000 revival is available to stream on BroadwayHD and Amazon Prime.
The 1955 and 1956 black and white broadcasts are available on Blu-ray from Amazon or streaming on Amazon Prime.
The 1956 black and white broadcast is available on DVD from Amazon.
The 1960 color broadcast is available on DVD from Amazon.
Kevin Kline earned his third Tony Award playing Garry Essendine in a revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, which follows a few days in the life of a highly successful and egotistical actor. Appearing alongside Kline in this most recent production were an all-star cast that included Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen, and Cobie Smulders. This 2017 production was filmed on stage before the curtain fell for the final time.
Where to Watch Broadway Online: The Theater Lover’s Guide to Streaming
March 27, 2020
Whether you live in New York City or across the world from it and can’t get to the theatre, finding plays and musicals to stream online is a difficult task. Luckily, with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and BroadwayHD, there is a wealth of theatrical resources available where you can find live recordings of original productions from Broadway and beyond. 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. Available on Netflix.
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.
Oh, Hello on Broadway (2017, Broadway). Starring Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Netflix.
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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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-from–Lincoln 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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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. Available on Amazon Prime.
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.
Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon (2019, Documentary). Starring Chita Rivera, Tab Hunter, and Gwen Verdon. Available on Amazon Prime.
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.
The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage! (2019, Filmed Live Event). Available on Amazon Prime.
Brilliantly reimagining the beloved Nickelodeon series, Broadway’s best creative minds bring the musical to life with humor, heart, and pure theatricality. Following its run on Broadway, members of the original company of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical reunited to film the show for a live audience, aired on television.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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 any time, anywhere.
The King and I (2018, London). Starring Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, and Ruthie Ann Miles. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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. Available on BroadwayHD.
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