The cancellation of theatre performances across the country and indeed the world has left a hole for many people. While practicing social distancing responsibly, we've compiled a list of theatre-related films and TV shows you can watch on Netflix right now. From film adaptations of stage shows, live recordings of on-stage productions, or documentaries about failed Broadway shows, there'll be something here to keep your theatre appetite whet during the coming weeks.
Note: these are the films available on Netflix in the UK at the time of the latest update (3 November 2020.) For our readers in the United States, check out our top Netflix picks for Broadway fans over at New York Theatre Guide.
The Prom (2020)
It's a whos-who in the film adaptation of this Broadway smash, following a group of Broadway veterans resurrecting their career through "charitable" work. Their case in question... an Indiana teen who wants to attend her high school prom with her girlfriend. Meryl Streep, James Corden, Andrew Rannells and Nicole Kidman all star in this "zazz" fuelled musical, last seen on Broadway in 2019.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
The late Chadwick Boseman makes his final film appearance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, adapting August Wilson's play for the screen. Viola Davis plays the title role in a jazz-inspired production, following the Mother of Blues as she makes her mark in the music industry.
Both versions of the story following the Little Orphan Annie are available to watch. The 1982 original saw Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, who runs an orphanage facility from which Annie is plucked out of by a rich New York businessman. A 2014 remake starred Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, and both would be a great way to introduce a young one to musicals.
La La Land
Dear Evan Hansen songwriters Pasek and Paul have had huge success with their stage musical work, but their Oscar-winning film La La Land was their breakthrough Hollywood film. Follow Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling through the "City of Stars" as they fall for each other to the backdrop of a lush jazz score.
West Side Story
Ivo Van Hove’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical is currently on hold over on Broadway, but you can watch the original movie. Are you a Shark, or are you a Jet?
There’s a great tradition in the US for musical productions to be performed live and broadcast on television with big names for big audiences. In 2016, Fox broadcast Grease, directed by Hamilton director Thomas Kail, and starring Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, and Vanessa Hudgens.
Ohhhh, Hello on Broadway
American comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s comedy act The Oh, Hello Show saw two elderly men from Manhattan with their own TV show. It played an engagement at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway in 2016, and was filmed in front of a live audience during the run for a Netflix special.
Springsteen on Broadway
Born in the U.S.A., The Boss himself starred in his very own Broadway show in 2017, which ran for 236 performances and grossed over $113million. He plays through his back catalogue, while telling tales from his autobiography Born to Run, and it’s available to watch in full.
Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened
In 1981, Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along opened on Broadway. It closed just over two weeks and 16 performances later. This documentary directed by Lonny Price, who starred in the original show, details just what went wrong, with interviews and never-before-seen footage.
This film is based on Christopher Demos-Brown’s play of the same name which ran on Broadway in 2018, and even uses many of the same sets and costumes as the play. Kerry Washington plays a woman awaiting news on her missing son.
Master magician, illusionist and psychologist Derren Brown is renowned for his mind-bending live shows, and signed a deal with Netflix to create new specials for the streaming service, including his 2015 show Miracle.
The Boys in the Band
The 2018 Tony Award-winning revival can now be enjoyed on Netflix, thanks to an all-star cast reprising their roles in the film adaptation. Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells and Zachary Quinto lead the cast of a play that changed a generation, directed by Ryan Murphy. It's never been seen in London before, but if you liked The Inheritance, you'll enjoy this movie.