Friday, August 24, 2012

Broadway Musicals, Now Available on Netflix


In this economic climate, it’s likely that you’ve missed some of the musicals and plays that have been on Broadway in the last few years. Some shows only last a few months and getting to New York can be expensive and time-consuming. But fear not, theatre fans! PBS has filmed some of the best Broadway shows of the last few years for their "Great Performances" series, and other companies have worked to film Broadway productions for theatrical release. Many of these filmed theatrical productions are now available online through Netflix’s Instant Streaming service.

Passing Strange

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Photo Credit: Darwin Bell 
Passing Strange is the tale of musician Stew’s soul-searching journey through Europe as a young man. Stew has been making music for years with his band The Negro Problem and as a solo artist, but Passing Strange was his first attempt at theatre. The musical is narrated by Stew himself, while Daniel Breaker plays “the Youth”, the younger version of Stew. Passing Strange was nominated for several Tony Awards, and won the 2008 award for Best Book of a Musical, but closed after only 165 performances. Spike Lee directs this recording of the musical.

Company

This 2006 revival of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical comedy stars Raul Esparza as Bobby, a Manhattan bachelor surrounded by married friends. Bobby observes the trials of marriage and contemplates whether he’ll ever settle down. This musical features such classic tunes as “Being Alive”, “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “Marry Me A Little”. In this particular production, the cast acts as both the actors and the orchestra, accompanying themselves on several musical numbers. Though Company closed after less than a year on Broadway, it won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Memphis

Memphis the Musical
Photo Credit: Memphis CVB
Memphis is a musical tells the story of Huey Calhoun, a disc jockey loosely based on Dewey Phillips, one of the first white radio DJs to play black music in the 1950s. He encourages integration in a time where that is hardly an option and falls in love with a black artist named Felicia. Memphis has a lot to say about the United States’ troubled history with race and the part that music played in the civil rights movement. The musical had a healthy life in regional theatre before moving to Broadway in 2009 and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2010. The Broadway production may have closed a few weeks ago, but the film is now available online.


What are your favorite movie musicals, or musicals available on film? Let us know in the comments! 

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