If ever there was a time for a distraction—it’s now. With the Election tomorrow and Broadway not returning until June 2021 at the earliest, there’s plenty of need for a break.
Thankfully, the streaming options are endless this month. Whether it’s getting lost in an old-timey musical with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra or ogling the vengeful justice of Sweeney Todd, there’s plenty of stage-to-screen adaptations to choose from.
On top of that, there are some new titles coming to streamers including The Apollo’s screen treatment of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Season 2 of His Dark Materials, and Season 4 of The Crown.
Below, check out a few of the most anticipated streaming series and movies for theatre lovers available as of November 1.
Anchors Away (November 1)
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson star in this 1945 wartime movie musical about two United States Navy sailors enjoying a four-day leave in Hollywood. Highlights include Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s score (“I Fall in Love Too Easily” went on to become a jazz standard) and Kelly dancing with Jerry the mouse, of Tom and Jerry fame. The latter sequence would go on to inspire the music video for Paul Abdul’s 1989 single “Opposites Attract,” which features Abdul dancing alongside MC Skat Kat.
Guys and Dolls (November 1)
The film adaptation of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Jo Swerling’s landmark 1950 musical, Guys and Dolls pays tribute to the New York City of the 1930s and 1940s, as imagined by author and humorist Damon Runyon. Marlon Brando stars as hot shot gambler Sky Masterson, with Frank Sinatra taking on good old reliable Nathan Detroit. Vivian Blaine recreates her performance from the original Broadway production as the sneezing and perpetually engaged Miss Adelaide in this film adaptation, which also features three new songs penned by Loesser for Sinatra.
High Society (November 1)
This musical remake of the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story, itself a film adaptation of a 1939 play by Philip Barry, features a score by Cole Porter that features such tunes as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,” “You’re Sensational,” and “I Love You, Samantha.” Grace Kelly takes on the role played by Katharine Hepburn in the stage and earlier film incarnations of the story, playing a socialite whose wedding is interrupted by the arrival of both her ex-husband, played by Bing Crosby, and a tabloid writer, played by Frank Sinatra. The supporting cast includes such luminaries as Celeste Holm, Margalo Gillmore, and Louis Armstrong.
The Madness of King George (November 1)
Adapted by History Boys playwright Alan Bennett from his 1991 play The Madness of George III and directed by Broadway and West End’s Nicholas Hytner (Miss Saigon, Carousel), The Madness of King George centers on the true story of the British King George III and his deteriorating mental health. Nigel Hawthorne stars in the title role, with Helen Mirren co-starring as Queen Charlotte. Both were nominated for 1995 Academy Awards for their performances.
On the Town (November 1)
A follow-up of sorts to the aforementioned Anchors Away, this film adaptation of the 1944 Broadway musical again pairs Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly as U.S. Navy sailors, joined in this film by Jules Munshin. Though the film sadly dispenses much of Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green’s stage score, we are treated to a wonderful rendition of the musical’s opening number “New York, New York,” accompanied by a visual tour of 1940s Manhattan that feels like stepping into a time machine. Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, and Vera-Ellen all get excellent showcases as the sailor’s love interests as well, including a breathtaking tap dance by Miller to “Prehistoric Man,” a song written for this film adaptation.
His Dark Materials (November 16)
Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony nominee Ruth Wilson, and more are back in action for the second season of HBO's His Dark Materials. The series, based on the novels by Phillip Pullman, chronicles the coming of age of Lyra and Will Parry as they wander through a series of parallel universes as a sort of re-telling of Paradise Lost. Rounding out the cast are Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ariyon Bakare, Will Keen, Ruta Gedmintas, and newcomers to Season 2 Andrew Scott, Terence Stamp, Jade Anouka, and Simone Kirby.
Between the World and Me (November 21)
Tony winners Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun), Courtney B. Vance (Lucky Guy), and Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple), Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight and The Green Book), Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do With It?), and more star in HBO’s adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. Published in 2015 and written as a long-form letter to Coates’ son, the work examines what it means to be Black in America. The HBO presentation is inspired by The Apollo Theater’s 2018 staging, combining elements of that production, including readings from the book, and again directed by Kamilah Forbes.
Dash & Lily (November 10)
The new holiday romantic comedy series, starring Drama Desk recipient and nominee Midori Francis (The Wolves, Usual Girls) and Austin Abrams, follows the title characters as they trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. The Lightning Thief and Be More Chill book writer Joe Tracz serves as showrunner for the series, based on the popular YA books of the same name. The show also features Broadway regular Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen), Broadway alum Troy Iwata (Be More Chill), Dante Brown, and Keana Marie, with Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment and Nick Jonas’ Image 32 producing.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (November 13)
This holiday musical movie stars Tony winners Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key, and more. Featuring original songs by EGOT winner John Legend, Philip Lawrence, and Davy Nathan, the film follows toymaker Jeronicus Jangle whose inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. When his apprentice steals his most precious creation, it’s up to his granddaughter to save the day.
The Crown (November 15)
Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O’Connor, Tobias Menzies, and more return to play the British Royal Family in Season 4 of Peter Morgan’s fan-favorite historical series. The season spans 1977 to 1990, following Prince Charles’ (O’Connor) marriage to Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin), and welcomes Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) into the fray. Other events expected to be dramatized include the Falklands War, Charles and Diana’s tour of Oceania, and the infamous 1982 break-in at Buckingham Palace.
Christmas on the Square (November 22)
Christmas season approaches, and two-time Tony winner Christine Baranski wants none of it. The star plays Scrooge-esque town owner Regina Fuller in the movie musical with 14 new songs by Dolly Parton, who also appears in the film as the angel. The entire town faces eviction as she tries to sell the land to a mall developer, but an angel with a country twang might bring about a change of heart. The cast also includes Jenifer Lewis, Treat Williams, Josh Segarra, Jeanine Mason, Mary Lane Haskell, Matthew Johnson, and Selah Kimbro Jones.
Hillbilly Elegy (November 24)
Tony winner Glenn Close and Oscar nominee Amy Adams star in this based-on-a-true-story drama from Ron Howard. J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso) is a current Yale Law student on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the home he’s tried to forget. Navigating the dynamics of his family, including a volatile relationship with his mother, and fueled by memories of his grandmother, J.D. comes to embrace his family’s indelible imprint on his own personal journey.
Sweeney Todd (November 1)
Tim Burton, one of the cinema’s favorite gothic-horror directors, took on Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s gothic-horror musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The 2007 movie musical brought the 1979 Broadway musical to the screen. Burton had reportedly been interested in adapting the work for the screen since seeing the original production’s West End run in the early 1980s. Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star as Sweeney Todd and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett in a notably gorier take on the operatic musical’s story of murder, revenge, and, of course, cannibalism. Broadway and West End favorite Laura Michelle Kelly co-stars as the Beggar Woman.