Since the outbreak of coronavirus, one of the staples of American entertainment, the Broadway musical, has been shut down. Even though there are cast albums to listen to, it isn’t the same as watching an amazing spectacle. Never fear, though! I have a list of recommendations, all available to stream or view on YouTube, if you are missing the excitement and joys of theatre.
1. “Newsies” (Disney+)
This is a filmed version of the live show featuring nearly all of the original Broadway cast. The movie-turned-musical is based on the Newsboy Strike of 1899 in New York City. Filled to the brim with stellar choreography, this show is uplifting and brings out the dreamers in all of us. Jeremy Jordan, known for his role on the CW’s “Supergirl,” stars as Jack Kelly and amazes with his flawless voice.
Standout Number: “Sante Fe”
2. “The Last Five Years” (YouTube)
“The Last Five Years” illustrates the declining relationship between Jamie and Cathy. Jamie tells his side of the story chronologically, while Cathy expresses her thoughts in reverse order, beginning at the end of the marriage. Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick portray the complex characters while also carrying strong, emotionally-charged vocal performances.
Standout Number: “If I Didn’t Believe in You”
3. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (Hulu)
The series centers on Zoey who can hear people’s innermost thoughts through musical numbers. Zoey learns to navigate romance, family, and work with her new-found ability. Although there is no original music, they make unique arrangements and choreography of well-known songs of all genres.
Standout Number: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” Season 1 Episode 6
4. “Encore!” (Disney+)
In each episode, “Encore!” reunites the cast of a high school musical production years after graduating, to put on the show again, this time with the help of Broadway experts. Not all of the former theatre kids have kept up with performing, so it makes for an interesting ride. Drama, jealousy and romances are reignited as these adults are brought back to their high school days.
Standout Number: “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” Season 1 Episode 4
5. “The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals” (YouTube)
“The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals," created by Starkid Productions, is a horror-comedy musical that premiered on YouTube in December 2018. The show centers on the small town of Hatchetfield as it gets invaded by singing-aliens. Paul, much to his chagrin, must attempt to save the world, even though he hates musicals.
Standout Number: “Show Stoppin’ Number”
6. “Moulin Rouge!” (HBO Go)
You’ve probably already seen it, but it’s definitely worth revisiting! The Oscar-winning jukebox musical tells the story of young writer, Christian, and the whirlwind romance with Satine, the star of the historic Moulin Rouge. The colorful film combines an energetic directing style and fantastic melodrama.
Standout Number: “Come What May”
7. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (Netflix)
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” is a TV show that perfectly combines comedy, drama and music. Rebecca Bunch, an attorney, looks for love and real relationships in West Covina, CA after escaping her miserable life in New York City. The musical numbers are all original and are shot stylistically with extravagant costumes and sets.
Standout Number: “The Sexy Getting Ready Song,” Season 1 Episode 1
8. “Legally Blonde” (YouTube)
In this musical adaptation of the popular 2001 film, Laura Bell Bundy plays Elle Woods and captures the true essence of the optimistic sorority president-turned-law student. Bundy and the rest of the cast stun the crowd with infectious energy and hilarious dialogue. This is one of my favorite musicals of all time, so I definitely recommend it!
Standout Number: “So Much Better”
9. “Spies Are Forever “ (YouTube)
In this comedy musical, Agent Curt Mega is brought back into the world of international espionage after suffering a tragic loss. He is thrown into the twisted web of Cold War politics and the resurgence of the Nazi party. Spies Are Forever crafts a great balance of humor and emotional storytelling, with a ton of catchy musical numbers.
Standout Number: “Torture Tango”
10. “Mamma Mia!” (Starz)
Like “Moulin Rouge!,” you’ve most likely already seen this classic movie musical, but it is one I can rewatch any time. This is the perfect light-hearted film to watch as we all try to cope with the everyday challenges of the quarantine. With a fun soundtrack provided by ABBA and a star-studded cast, you are guaranteed to have an escape for a couple of hours.
Standout Number: “Lay All Your Love on Me”