On episode 41 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with author, director, actor, and producer Ben Rimalower. Topics include the importance of cast recordings, working with Patti LuPone, creating the one-person show Patti Issues, and how Ben came to work with Lonny Price. We also take a deep dive into the 2001 Sweeney Todd with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra starring Patti LuPone and George Hearn, for which Ben was the assistant director.
BEN RIMALOWER is the author and star of the long-running solo plays Bad with Money (The Advocate’s #1 of 2014) and Patti Issues (New York Time Critics Pick, M.A.C. and Bistro Awards), available as a double audiobook on iTunes, Audible and Amazon, as well as host of the Broadwayworld/Broadway Podcast Network co-productions, Ben Rimalower’s Broken Records and Next Year, Some Year. He writes the theatre column in Metrosource Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Vulture, Out, The Huffington Post and Time Out New York, with past regular columns at Playbill, Broadwayworld and Decider. Ben directed Snoopy! (Symphony Space, starring Tony winners Sutton Foster and Christiane Borle), the Off-Broadway plays Joy (Actors Playhouse) and The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero (Daryl Roth/DR2 Theatre, starring Gillian Jacobs and Anna Chlumsky), and a slew of solo shows, most notably conceiving and directing Leslie Kritzer is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches and subsequently producing Ghostlight Records’ “Patti LuPone at Les Mouches.” He is recognizable around the world for his four seasons on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” as the writer-director of Luann de Lesseps’s record-breaking cross-country cabaret sensation, Countess And Friends. He also co-wrote de Lesseps’s hit single, “Feelin’ Jovani.”
Follow @benrimalower on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and visit benrimalower.com.
Patti Issues and Bad with Money are available via Audible (as an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases from this link).
Filmed Live Musicals is the most comprehensive online searchable database for musicals that have been filmed live on stage. Visit www.filmedlivemusicals.com to learn more. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also support the site at Patreon. Patrons get early access to content, no matter how much you pledge.
Filmed Live Musicals is created by Luisa Lyons. Luisa is an Australian actor, writer, and musician. She holds a Masters in Music Theatre from London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and now lives, works, and plays in New York. Learn more at www.luisalyons.com or follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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With Tony Award nominations being announced on Monday, May 9, it's time to re-visit filmed live Tony Award nominated and winning musicals! It's sad to think that of the 34 eligible Broadway plays and musicals in the 2021/22 season, only two productions were streamed - Diana The Musical (now available to stream on Netflix) and Second Stage's production of Clyde's. Girl From North Country was filmed in late April, but a release date has yet to be announced.
This post includes a list of over 30 Tony nominated, and Tony Award winning musicals, including 9 Best Musical winners, most of which are available to stream on demand. Dating back to 1962, the majority of shows were filmed on Broadway, however musicals filmed on tour, or in the West End, that are transfers or replicas of the Tony nominated show have also been included.
If you’re looking for more content, the Filmed Live Musicals database contains info on over 170 filmed live musicals (and growing!), including new productions of Tony nominated musicals like the filmed live concerts of Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, three versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, regional productions of Fun Home, Curtains, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, and more! Visit the database to learn more!
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This star vehicle revue for Carol Channing was filmed towards the end of its Broadway run at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre in 1961 and broadcast on early pay TV in Etobicoke, Canada. It hasn’t officially been released, but it’s available to view on YouTube.
Sondheim and John Weidman’s concept musical about Commodore Perry’s first visit to Japan in 1853. The original Broadway production was filmed live at the Winter Garden in 1976 for distribution on Japanese television. Like Show Girl, it hasn’t officially been released since airing on television, but it’s available on YouTube.
Pirates of Penzance
The Public Theater’s 1980 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta transferred to Broadway in 1981. Before its transfer, the production was filmed live at the Delacorte in Centra Park featuring Kevin Kevin Kline, G. Eugene Moose, Rex Smith, Patricia Routledge, Linda Ronstadt, Alice Playten, Marcie Shaw, Wendy Wolfe, and Alexandra Korey. Kultur Video released the DVD in 2002.
Based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., a revue musical set in a 1930s Harlem nightclub featuring music written, or made popular by, stride pianist Fats Waller. It was later taped with a live audience at NBC’s Burbank Studios in 1982, featuring Nell Carter, Andre De Shields, Armelia McQueen, Ken Page, and Charlaine Woodard. It was broadcast on NBC, and also in Finland. It hasn’t officially been released since, though it’s currently available on YouTube.
A musical revue featuring the music of Duke Ellington. In November 1982, it was billed as the first musical to be broadcast on pay TV. Most of the Broadway cast picketed the filming over contract negotiations, and a fear that the broadcast would negatively impact ticket sales. The touring cast, which included original cast members Hinton Battle, Terri Klausner, and Gregg Burge performed in the broadcast instead. The revue is now available on DVD and on BroadwayHD.
The short-lived revival of Lerner and Loewe’s mythic musical. Starring Richard Harris and Meg Bussert, the musical was filmed live at the Winter Garden and aired on HBO, who had invested $3 million into the taping. Now available on DVD.
Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s dark operetta that tells the story of a London barber who seeks revenge on the judge who destroyed his life. Directed by Hal Prince and starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury, the musical opened on Broadway in 1979. Three years later, the musical was filmed live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the first major American musical to be taped whilst on tour. It aired on cable TV in 1982, and is now available to stream on Amazon.
Sunday in the Park with George
Sondheim and Lapine’s musical based on Seurat’s pointillist painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” The musical was filmed after the show closed during a special performance at the Booth Theatre and aired on Showtime in February 1986. It has since been released on DVD.
The Will Rogers Follies
Inspired by the words of Will and Betsy Rogers, this 1991 revue at the Palace Theatre was is an upbeat celebration of the life of American folk hero and international superstar Will Rogers, told through lavishly staged production numbers. Like Pacific Overtures and Victor/Victoria, the show was filmed live for distribution on Japanese television. It hasn’t officially been released, but is available on YouTube.
Into the Woods
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 fairytale musical that combines several different children’s stories into one intricate and grown-up world. The musical was filmed live towards the end of its run in 1989 and aired on PBS in 1991. It was later released on VHS and DVD, and is now available on Amazon Prime.
Based on the 1982 movie of the same name about a singer who disguises herself as a man pretending to be a woman in order to work, the show was a star vehicle for Julie Andrews in her first Broadway show in over three decades. The musical played a troubled run at the Marquis Theatre from October 1995 until July 1997. Like Pacific Overtures and The Will Rogers Follies, the show was filmed live for distribution on Japanese TV. Unlike the previous two, Victor/Victoria also aired on television in North America and was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The show received one Tony nomination, Best Actress for Julie Andrews, who famously turned down the nomination stating the show had been snubbed. It’s now available on Amazon Prime.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe
A revue celebrating the songbook of 1960s pop composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller whose hit songs included “Hound Dog,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “On Broadway,” and “Yakety Yak.” The final few performances were taped by the Broadway Television Network in January 2000, and aired later in that year. It is now available on DVD.
Putting it Together
A musical revue featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim. The show takes place at a party thrown by a wealthy, older married couple, and involves a younger man, a frisky maid, and a comedic commentator. Opening in 1999, the revue featured Carol Burnett, George Hearn, John Barrowman, Ruthie Henshall, and Bronson Pinchot. Like Smokey Joe’s Cafe the final performance was filmed live at the Barrymore Theatre by the Broadway Television Network in February 2000. Now available on BroadwayHD.
A revue-style three-act musical celebrating the “great, and lesser-known, musical numbers” choreographed by the legend himself. The musical opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in January 1999. A week before its closing in August 2001, Dance in America captured the show over four performances. The film aired on PBS in January 2002, and it’s now available on DVD.
Jekyll and Hyde
Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse, and Steve Cuden’s musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s infamous novella. The musical starred David Hasselhoff and was filmed live by the Broadway Television Network during the last week of its run at the Plymouth Theatre (now the Gerald Schoenfeld) in December 2000. It was released on cable TV and also aired in select US cinemas, the first “non-film” to receive a digital release. It’s now available on BroadwayHD.
This “dance play” was conceived, directed, and choreographed by Susan Stroman in collaboration with John Weidman, and was set in eighteenth century France, 1950s New York, and modern day New York. Its 7 Tony Award nominations stirred much controversy, with the Musicians Union, along with several prominent Broadway orchestrators, petitioning the League of American Theatres and Producers to reconsider contact’s eligibility as a musical. The closing night performance was broadcast live from the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS. It has not been officially released since the broadcast.
Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s 2007 musical adaption of the movie of the same name. The musical was filmed live at the Palace Theatre and later broadcast on MTV, drawing in 12.5 million viewers. The broadcast was directly credited with boosting ticket sales at the box office, and the show’s popularity on the road. Due to strict contract negotiations, the capture has not been officially released it aired on television.
John Doyle’s 2006 actor-muso revival of Stephen Sondheim’s concept musical about marriage and relationships. Toward the of its run in 2007, the musical was filmed live at the Ethel Barrymore and broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. It is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
RENT: Filmed Live on Broadway
Jonathan Larson’s multi-award winning rock opera based on La Boheme. The original show was filmed live in its 12th and final year on Broadway at the Nederlander, and screened in cinemas across the US. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and widely available to stream online including on Amazon.
A musical about Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, who developed a unique style of music known as AfroBeat, a blending of African rhythms and harmonies with jazz and funk, with politically and socially driven lyrics. It was the first show staged at the National Theatre to be concurrently running on Broadway. It was filmed live during its run at the National Theatre and broadcast in cinemas around the world in 2011. Not currently available to view.
Shrek the Musical
Featuring Brian d’Arcy James, Sutton Foster, Daniel Breaker, Christopher Sieber, and John Tartaglia, DreamWork’s first foray into stage entertainment was filmed live on Broadway with 10 HD cameras during its run at the Broadway Theatre. The DVD and Blu-Ray were released in 2013, and the musical is also available to stream on demand on Netflix.
Developed in collaboration with Heidi Rodewald and Annie Doren, the musical was a loosely based on its composer and writer, Stew, who left his conventional religious Los Angeles home to travel and find “the real.” Spike Lee filmed the musical live on Broadway in 2008, and the film premiered at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in 2009. It’s now available on DVD.
Lincoln Center’s sumptuous 2008 revival directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot. In the last week of the run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the musical was broadcast live on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center. It has not been officially released since.
An original musical about the power of music to overcome racial divides in 1950s America starring Montego Glover, Chadd Kimball, and James Monroe Iglehart. The musical was filmed live on Broadway in January 2011 by NCM Fathom and Broadway Worldwide. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-Ray and to stream on BroadwayHD.
She Loves Me
Roundabout’s 2016 revival starring Laura Benanti, Gavin Creel, Byron Jennings, Jane Krakowski, and Zachary Levi. In June 2016, the show became the first Broadway musical to be livestreamed online. The broadcast attracted viewers from 60 countries around the world and #SheLovesMeLive trended internationally on Twitter. It’s now available to view on BroadwayHD.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton told with hip hop music and a cast made up predominantly of people of color. The musical was filmed live in 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, and after a fierce bidding war, made available worldwide on Disney Plus in July 2020. It’s now available to stream on Disney Plus.
A swing musical about Donny Novitzk, a musician who returns from the war, traumatized but with the desire to re-build his life following the death of his best friend. Directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, and starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott, the musical played on Broadway in 2017. It was filmed live at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre during its run and broadcast in cinemas across the US. It is not currently available to view, though in the past year has received limited-time screenings on Broadway on Demand and stream.theatre.
The 25th anniversary gala production of Schönberg and Boublil’s re-telling of Madame Butterfly set in Vietnam was filmed live in the West End in 2014. It was broadcast in cinemas in 2016, becoming the first musical to air in cinemas before its Broadway run. Available to stream on Amazon and BroadwayHD.
Lincoln Center’s 2016 revival of William Finn’s musical about family, relationships, bar mivahs, baseball and AIDS. Directed by James Lapine and featuring Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandon Uranowitz, and Betsy Wolfe, the final performances were filmed live at the Walter Kerr Theatre and later broadcast in cinemas. It’s now available to stream on BroadwayHD and Amazon.
An American in Paris
Based on the MGM film, and featuring a score with the music of George and Ira Gerswhin, Theatre du Chatelet’s stage adaptation tells story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. The musical opened on Broadway in 2015, before transferring to the West End in 2017 where it was filmed live. The film received a worldwide cinema release. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and to stream on BroadwayHD.
A new musical inspired by the 1942 movie of the same name, with a score made up of twenty Irving Berlin songs. Featuring Bryce Pinkham, Corbin Bleu, Lora Lee Gayer, Megan Lawrence, Danny Rutigliano, Megan Sikora, and Morgan Gao, the musical was filmed live at Studio 54 and was the second Broadway musical to be streamed live online. Now available to stream on BroadwayHD.
Cindy Lauper and Harvey Fierstein’s musical based on the film about a men’s shoe factory that must pivot its business plan in order to stay afloat. The West End transfer was filmed live in 2018 and released in cinemas. It’s now available to stream on BroadwayHD and Amazon.
SpongeBob The Musical
Based on the cartoon, the cult classic favorite directed by Tina Landau opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in 2017. Forced to close due to theatre renovations, Nickelodeon flew the entire cast and crew to the UK to film the production during a special performance. The film aired on Nickelodeon and was the number one program across all of children’s television. Now available to stream on Amazon, Apple, and Paramount Plus.
Come From Away
The remarkable musical that tells the true stories of 7,000 stranded passengers on 9/11 and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Directed by Christopher Ashley, and featuring a top notch ensemble cast, the musical was filmed live at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre during the Broadway shut down in May 2021. On September 10, 2021 the film was released worldwide on Apple Plus where it's now available on demand.
More to come! Look out for these yet to be released musicals:
Disney's Broadway musical based on the classic animation was filmed live in the West End in 2019. A release date has yet to be announced.
Girl From North Country
Set in the heartland of America during the Great Depression, this new musical with a book by Conor McPherson features the music of Bob Dylan. It was filmed live on Broadway at the end of April. A release date has yet to be announced.
Sara Bareilles’ delicious musical based on the movie of the same name, and the first Broadway musical to have an all-female core creative team, including director Diane Paulus, choreographer Lorin Latarro, book writer Jessie Nelson, and composer and lyricist Sara Bareilles. The musical first opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April 2016, playing 1,537 performances before closing in January 2020. The musical re-opened at the Ethel Barrymore for a limited run at the beginning of September 2021, and on September 22 was filmed live (at the same performance, the opening number was livestreamed on TikTok). A release date has yet to be announced.
Still want MORE Broadway content?! Check out the Filmed Live Musicals database which contains info on over 170 filmed live musicals (and growing!), nearly 40 of which were filmed on Broadway!