10+ Professionally Filmed Musicals You Can Watch At Home!

Broadway has been dark since March, and I miss it more with every day that goes by. For avid fans of musical theatre, it’s not just about not being able to see shows in person (though I was supposed to see both Hamilton and Wicked this summer, and no, I will never get over that); it’s the fact that there’s nothing new coming out! There are no new cast recordings to listen to, no Tony Awards to look forward to, no shows to *cough* watch perfectly legal clips of online. All we have is Hamilton on Disney+, and I love that show as much as the next person, but you can only watch it so many times.

These are dark days, indeed.

It doesn’t help that Musical Theatre is a notoriously inaccessible medium. Seeing a show in person is absurdly expensive, and people who work in the industry are pretty firmly against shows being recorded and shared on the internet. Even during non-pandemic times, fans often turn to bootlegs when they’re unable to watch shows in person. The total shutdown of most theatres around the world makes this problem even worse, and I do hope it eventually leads to more shows being professionally filmed and put on streaming services.

Since we don’t know when musicals are coming back, here are a few professionally filmed shows (other than Hamilton) that you can watch from your house!

Newsies

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Available on: YouTube, Google Play, Disney+, Apple TV

Why would you not want to listen to Jeremy Jordan’s angelic voice, and watch newsboys dance across the stage in some of the best choreography in Broadway history (don’t @ me) as you watch a story about unions and workers’ rights? Newsies is a ton of fun, and the filmed versions is one of the best out there.

Kiss Me, Kate

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Available on: Amazon Prime

We love metatheatre! Kiss Me, Kate is an old one – the winner of the first every Tony award for Best Musical, in fact – but it’s still fun to watch in 2020. 

Into The Woods

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Available on: Amazon, DigitalTheatre

Alright, full disclosure: I’ve seen three different versions of Into The Woods, and I have disliked all three of them. However, I am also aware that that is an extremely unpopular opinion. Into The Woods is a much beloved musical with exactly one several good songs, extremely repetitive catchy music and no emotional weight to it because it’s trying so hard to subvert tropes that it forgets why those tropes exist a story that examines and critiques popular fairy tale tropes.

Look. People like it. My opinion is wrong. There’s a professionally filmed version of the show if you don’t want to watch the movie adaptation. Go watch it and figure it out for yourself.

Company

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Available on: Amazon Prime

A revival of Company was actually supposed to premiere back in March, before COVID happened, so now seems like a great time to revisit the show! Don’t watch Company if you’re looking for a lighthearted distraction, because this musical is hard hitting and deals with some heavy topics. But if you want to feel things? Definitely watch this.

The Phantom of the Opera

Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most famous musicals out there, so you’ve definitely already heard of it, but I would recommend checking out the filmed musical version rather than the movie adaptation because movie adaptations of musicals are bad.

Shrek the Musical

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Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime

I mean. What’s not to love? It’s Shrek, but a musical, and it’s just as much fun as you would think. It’s also super accessible, and the filmed version is great.

Billy Elliot

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Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime

I only watched this musical for Elton John’s music, and I was not disappointed. This show has great music, but it’s also a beautiful, heartwarming story about a little boy with a passion for ballet.

Falsettos

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Available on: Amazon Prime

Falsettos deals with Judaism, masculinity, and family. It’s a lot of fun, and it has Andrew Rannells in it, so it’s worth watching just for that.

Pretty much everything Starkid has ever made

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Look. If you’re looking for musicals to watch online and you haven’t already watched every single Starkid musical at least three times, I don’t know what to say to you.

You may know these people as the creators of A Very Potter Musical, otherwise known as the best piece of art ever made, but did you know that their Youtube channel is full of some of the funniest and most entertaining musicals you’ll ever watch? If you enjoy Disney parodies, check out Twisted, which has excellent pacing, amazing music, and jokes that land. If you’re more into superheroes, I’d recommend Holy Musical B@tman!, which has strong early Starkid energy and songs that will definitely get stuck in your head. For something really out there, watch The Trail to Oregon, which… yeah, I’m not sure how to describe that one except to say that it’s really fucking weird. Firebringer also has lots of great music and a whole lot of Lauren Lopez. And finally, be sure to watch their two most recent musicals, The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals and Black Friday. Both shows manage to capture the charm of Starkid while also being a significant step up from past shows in terms of actual production value.

Also, if you’ve already made your way through all of Starkid’s shows, I’d recommend checking out Tin Can Bros, which is run by a few of their members and has great content, including some musicals.

Some definitely very legal Youtube videos

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Alright. Look. So far, I’ve been careful to only recommend musicals that have been professionally filmed and are available through legitimate streaming services. If you’re against bootlegs, that’s fine. However, there are several musicals that are widely available on Youtube – you don’t even have to go on any sketchy streaming sites – if you’re willing to watch them there.

One of my favourite musicals of all time is Legally Blonde the Musical, which was broadcast on MTV a few years ago. Heathers is a cult classic and a great show to watch. I’d also highly recommend Bare: A Pop Opera, which has one of my favourite cast recordings. There’s a really good filmed version on Youtube that is well worth checking out.

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1 Comment

  1. Love Newsies- that filmed production was my 2nd time experiencing the musicals. When I first saw the musical on tour, I was mind blown by the dance alone. Wonderful story, incredible characters, incredible songs, and of course the Tony Award Winning Choreography.

    Saw the actual stage show in person twice= first August 2016 at Belk Theater (Blumenthal) and July 2018 at Halton Theater (community college)

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