Before the pandemic, watching a musical, let alone a Broadway musical, was a rare treat. COVID-19 has made the event a rarer one since performances and other social events are discouraged to implement social distancing and self-isolation measures.
Thanks to technology, however, watching your favorite musical need not be a rare treat. Fans of musicals and plays can watch their favorites via streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Broadway HD and more.
During the first few months of quarantine, many productions have offered premiered online to entertain fans. For example, Sight and Sound’s 2018 JESUS musical wowed audiences during its free 1-day streaming during Lent. Also, productions of the West End’s “An American in Paris” and Broadway’s “Indecent” have become regularly available online.
If you’re looking for musicals to watch during the quarantine period, here’s a list of shows to watch, what their premises are, and where to find them.
Jonathan Larson’s iconic “Rent” is “La Boheme” (by Puccini) set in New York City’s East Village. Since its first step on Broadway, the musical has become a cult classic and cultivated an army of fans undyingly devoted to it. “Rent” is the first major Broadway musical to offer rush tickets, which caused fans to camp out overnight just to score front row seats.
While the musical was adapted into a motion picture in 2005 (and featured a majority of the original cast, the final performance of the production was featured in movie theaters, as well.
Catch Rent on the following platforms: Google Play, Amazon Prime and Vudu.
The live capture of the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical was slated for an October 2021 release prior to COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, the movie dropped on Disney+ on July 3 instead. The streamed version – which featured creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony winners RenÃ©e Elise Goldsberry and Leslie Odom Jr., and most of the original cast – live up and surpassed the fans’ expectations, which resulted in another Hamilton mania.
Catch “Hamilton” on the following platforms: Disney+.
Everybody has an opinion on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats” – whether it’s the Broadway version or the infamous movie version. No matter what one’s opinion is of Cats, there’s no denying that there is no musical like it. Based on T.S. Eliot’s book of poetry of the same name, the production features legendary makeup design by Candace Carell, iconic set and costume design by John Napier and astounding Gillian Lynee choreography. Of course, “Cats'” anthem “Memory” is not to be missed.
Unlike the choices mentioned above, “Cats” was not filmed on Broadway but the original 1998 production was captured on a stage. It features the original West End star, Elaine Paige.
Catch Hamilton on the following platforms: Amazon Prime, BroadwayHD, GooglePlay and iTunes.
Kiss Me, Kate
With classic scores that include popular tunes like “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” and “Too Darn Hot,” “Kiss Me, Kate” has become a Broadway icon since it opened in 1948. The 1999 Broadway production scored a Tony Award for the Best revival, thanks to its stellar group: stars Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell, choreographer Kathleen Marshall and director Michael Blakemore.
The 1999 revival production was recorded after it was transferred to London’s West End. Neither of the original leads was with the production during the filming. Fortunately, Rachel York and Brent Barett did their roles justice.
Catch the 2003 version of “Kiss Me, Kate” on the following platforms: BroadwayHD, Amazon Prime and Google Play. You can also stream the 1958 TV adaptation on Amazon Prime.
“Company” remains a must-have company for theater enthusiasts due to its rebellious nature in terms of theater tradition. It broke all the rules when it opened on Broadway in 1970. “Company’s” storytelling of marriage was told through a series of scenes between protagonist Bobby, a bachelor, and his married friends. Thanks to the show, the songs “Sorry, Grateful,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Being Alive” and “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” welcomed a daring era in Broadway.
The 1970 version was never filmed, but “Original Cast Album: Company,” which is a documentary that captures the original cast’s recording sessions, is available. Director John Doyle created a 2006 revival starring RaÃºl Esparza, which was filmed for PBS’ broadcast. There is also concert staging that features actors Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert and Patti LuPone, as well as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Catch the 2006 version Broadway revival of “Company” on DVD while the original cast’s album is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Theaters may be closed due to COVID-19, but the love for musicals and plays need not stop. Catch iconic musicals while you stay safe at home.