As we welcome 2021, theatre fans will find plenty of streaming options to enjoy whether they’re looking for hidden gem musicals, bonafide box-office hits, or upcoming awards contenders. In fact, it might be a brand new year‚ but this month the majority of streaming options are modern favorites worth repeat viewings like Mamma Mia! and Purple Rain, along with Selena and A Star is Born.
The exception to the rule seems to be Oscar and Emmy winner Regina King’s directorial debut One Night in Miami..., a 2020 film festival breakout that’s already building Oscar buzz. Based on the stage play by Olivier nominee Kemp Powers, it features Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) as singer Sam Cooke.
Check out what to watch on streamers like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more below. Titles arrive January 1 unless otherwise noted.
Amazon Prime Video
One Night in Miami... (January 15)
Directed by King and featuring a screenplay by Powers, the movie follows a young Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Joining Odom and Eli Goree, who plays Cassius Clay, on screen are Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, and Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown. Rounding out the cast are 2020 Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango, Nicolette Robinson, Beau Bridges, and Lance Reddick. Watch the trailer here.
The film, which inspired the Tony-winning musical of the same name, tells the story of a chorus girl from Allentown, PA, who steps into a starring role to save the show when its star breaks her leg. Ruby Keller stars alongside Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Dick Powell, and Ginger Rogers.
The Color Purple
Celie, a Black, Southern woman who embarks on a decades-long journey of self-acceptance and love despite a series of hardships, is the heart of this film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. Enjoy the original film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg, before the movie musical adaptation (based on the 2015 Broadway revival) hits theatres.
Gossip Girl, Seasons 1-6
The CW teen soap set in NYC featured a handful of theatre alums, including Tevi Gevinson who will return in the HBO Max reboot. Other well-known stars dropping by the Upper East Side include Aaron Tveit, Margaret Colin, Matt Doyle, and Jan Maxwell. Episode 7 of Season 5 features the Manhattanites taking in a performance of the immersive Sleep No More.
Written by Kenneth Lonergan, the film follows a young woman who feels she was implicit in the death of a woman in a traffic accident. Margaret brings together several theatre alums, including Mark Ruffalo and Tony winner Matthew Broderick, along with Allison Janney, J. Smith Cameron, Sarah Steele, Renée Fleming, and Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr.
Mel Brooks’ comedy classic, which was later turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical. The movie stars Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock, the former King of Broadway who is reduced to romancing old women to finance his new show and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom, Bialystock's accountant who suggests the two could make a fortune by producing a flop musical. Brooks won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Wilder was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
With an Oscar-winning score by Prince, featuring songs like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Purple Rain,” this ‘80s rock musical is frequently found atop the genre’s best-of lists. The film tells the story of a frontman named The Kid and his band as they gain popularity throughout Minneapolis on their way to national stardom.
Snowpiercer, Season 1
The TV adaptation of Boon Jong Ho’s 2013 film of the same name features two Tony winners: Daveed Diggs and Lena Hall. The series is set on a massive train, housing the sole survivors of a global, apocalyptic Ice Age. Diggs stars as Layton Well, a prisoner-turned-revolutionary fighter against the elites who inhabit the front of the train. Hall plays Sayori, a member of the train’s upper management.
A Star is Born
Four-time Oscar nominee and Tony nominee Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut with this remake, the fourth since the original debuted in 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. A Star is Born is the love story between seasoned musician Jackson (Cooper), and Ally, played by Lady Gaga, the younger singer who is just beginning to realize her dreams. This 2018 version was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning for Best Original Song for the track “Shallow.”
Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself (January 22)
An intimate and powerful exploration of what it means to be and be seen. The film chronicles conceptual storyteller Derek DelGaudio’s attempt to understand the illusory nature of identity, as seen in his Off-Broadway play. His personal journey expands to a collective experience that forces us to confront the boundaries of our own identities.
A rebellious teenager moves to a small middle-American town where dance is forbidden and encourages his classmates to defy the local pastor and call for a rock n’ roll prom. This 1984 film, starring Kevin Bacon, inspired a stage musical version that debuted on Broadway in 1998.
Starring Jennifer Lopez, the biopic follows the Tejano singer as she grew up to become one of the most popular Latin-American performers in the early ‘90s whose life was tragically cut short. Edward James Olmos, Jon Seda, Constance Marie, Jacob Vargas, Lupe Ontiveros, and Jackie Guerra co-star.
Revisit the grumpy green giant’s big screen debut in this 2001 Dreamworks computer animated comedy that inspired the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Mike Meyers voices the title character with Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, and John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad.
Mary Poppins Returns (January 15)
Jane and Michael Banks are all grown up and Michael has three children of his own. But when his wife passes away, there’s only one flying nanny who can set their world right-side up, this time around played by Emily Blunt, with Lin-Manuel Miranda playing a Cockney lamplighter. The movie musical from director Rob Marshall features original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Bonnie & Clyde
Before Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan took to the stage, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty lit up the screen in this thriller tale of two crooks out to make a living the only way they know how. Directed by Arthur Penn, the movie co-stars Gene Hackman and an Oscar-winning Estelle Parsons.
Catch Me If You Can
Another stage musical inspiration, the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. comes to life thanks to fun performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks (played by Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz on stage in 2011). Steven Spielberg directs.
The birthplace of Cher’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” (which won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song), Burlesque is what would happen if Chicago and 42nd Street had a baby. In this original movie musical, Ali (Christina Aguilera) fails at every audition in L.A. until she stumbles upon a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher), where she will stop at nothing to revolutionize the club, save it from ruin, and become a star.
Though there's no clear record of The Bard’s incomplete works at the time of his death, historians are fairly certain they didn't include a sequel to Hamlet featuring a time-traveling Jesus Christ with washboard abs. But that doesn't stop the characters of Hamlet 2, the irreverent 2008 musical comedy in which a drama teacher (played by Steve Coogan) sets out to save his school's theatre program by creating and producing an anachronistic, flippant, and glorious sequel to the Bard's tragedy.
It was only a matter of time before the smash Broadway hit became a movie. Featuring a score entirely of ABBA tunes, the story follows Sophie, who is about to get married and desperately wants her father to walk her down the aisle—only she doesn’t know who her father is. Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth star.