Host Luisa Lyons chats with artistic director, writer, and director Sheldon Epps. Mr. Epps shares what it took to film his musicals Play On! and Blues in the Night, how theatre on television influenced his own career, and why we must continue to film live theatre for television.
Sheldon Epps has directed major productions on and off Broadway, in London and at many theatres across America. In addition, he has had an active television career helming some of the classic shows of recent years. He was the artistic director of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse for two decades, and currently serves as senior artistic advisor at historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Epps new book, My Own Directions: A Black Man’s Journey in the American Theatre recounts his rollercoaster ride of a life in the theatre, with all the excitement and occasional anguish that come with the highs and lows. The author’s journey in the American theatre has been amplified by his experience as a Black man who has frequently been “one of the few,” “the first” or even “the only.”
My Own Directions is available from Amazon and Bookshop.org (as an associate I may earn from qualifying purchases made through these links).
Watch Blues in the Night and Play On!.
On the 50th episode of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with Alex Borovenskiy, the founder and executive director of the ProEnglish Theatre and Drama School in Kyiv, the only English-language theatre in the Ukraine.
Alex shares his experience of creating theatre in the middle of a war, how ProEnglish Theatre has adapted and continued to make new work, as well as collaborate with artists and theatres from around the world.
ProEnglish Theatre is an independent theatre based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Following the Russian invasion into the Ukraine in February 2022, ProEnglish Theatre has served as a bomb shelter, a volunteer center, and a theatre. Despite the ever present threat of war, the company has continued to create new work, collaborated with theatres and artists in Japan, Taiwan, and Australia, performed at Prague Fest with an adaptation of The Book Thief, staged Pro.Act Fest — an international festival, and continued to teach theatre.
Watch the 2022 Pro.Act Fest for free on Scenesaver.
Support ProEnglish Theatre at Patreon, or make a donation via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit ProEnglishTheatre.com, and follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
How very! There are two new entries in the database - Heathers: The Musical filmed live at The Other Palace in May this year, and Velvet Determination filmed live at the Hudson Guild Theatre in early 2020.
Heathers is a dark musical comedy set at Westerberg High School where cliques rule. Veronica Sawyer is a reluctant member of the popular girl clique, the Heathers. With the help of newcomer J.D., Veronica sets to turn popularity on its head, and murder and mayhem ensue.
The London debut of the show has proved so popular it has had two West End runs (one pre, and one post the theatre shutdown), and is now in its extended second run in the off West End theatre The Other Palace.
Learn more about Heathers: www.filmedlivemusicals.com/heathers.
Velvet Determination is an autobiographical one woman show by actor, singer, and classical pianist Cynthia Shaw. In the show, Cynthia shares her journey from a tiny Colorado town to a prestigious music school in NYC, and all the characters who help, or hinder, along the way.
You can also catch Cynthia talking about the history of the show on the Filmed Live Musicals podcast ! Learn more at www.filmedlivemusicals.com/velvet-determination.
Want to know about upcoming filmed live musicals from Broadway and beyond? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter!
As elemental as song and dance are to human nature, so to is the quest for power, control of resources, and control over one another. Today marks 104 years since the armistice between the Allied Forces and Germany after four bloody years of war was declared. Now known as Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day in the US, it is a day to reflect upon the sacrifice of war, and honor the men and women who have served their countries through the military.
Sadly, war continues to be an ever-present reality for many people in the world. I had the honor of interviewing Alex Borovenskiy, the founder and executive director of the Ukrainian ProEnglish Theatre and Drama School in Kyiv. Literally amidst falling bombs, power cuts, and continued Russian aggression, Alex and his colleagues are creating new work that speaks to the times and broadcasting it to the world beyond the Ukraine’s borders. The 2022 PRO.ACT Festival, with the theme “Unbreakable,” is available to stream for free on Scenesaver. The episode will be available next week.
Other podcast episodes looking at musicals about war include Allegiance with composer and producer Jay Kuo going behind the scenes of the musical about the incarceration of Japanese-American citizens on American soil during WWII, Pieces of String with composer Gus Gowland talking about his musical inspired by the untold stories of gay men in the military, and Pacific Overtures with theatre historian Margaret Hall delving into the history of Sondheim’s musical about the forcible opening of Japan to the West.
Below is a list of stage musicals you can watch from home which tell the stories of war across history, and from across the world.
Allegiance is loosely based on the events of actor George Takei’s life. During World War II, Takei and his family, along with 120,000 Japanese-American citizens were incarcerated in camps within the United States. Filmed live on Broadway in 2016, and released in cinemas in December of that year. It briefly held the record as Fathom Events’ highest grossing Broadway film. Click here for streaming options.
An American in Paris
Using the music of George and Ira Gerswhin, this romanticized musical tells the story of an American GI who falls in love with a Parisian woman in the days following the end of WWII. Adapted from the MGM movie of the same name, the stage production was filmed live in the West End in 2017. Click here for streaming options.
Filmed live on Broadway in 2017, this swing musical tells the story of a musician who returns from fighting in Europe during WWII, traumatized but with the desire to re-build his life following the death of his best friend. Although the musical was the first theatrical production to be certified by Get Your 6 for its authentic portrayal of the military, Bandstand was criticized for its lack of characters or actors of color. Released in cinemas in 2018, the musical was briefly available to stream on Playbill and Broadway on Demand earlier this year. Click here for streaming options.
From Here to Eternity
British musical From Here to Eternity is based on James Jones’ novel of the same name. With music by Stuart Brayson, lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, and a book by Bill Oakes, the musical depicts the affairs of US soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the lead-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was filmed live during its West End run in 2014. Click here for streaming options.
A much lauded hip hop musical following the trials and tribulations of American founding father Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton depicts battles from the Revolutionary War, along with the battles of the cabinet. Click here for streaming options.
A fictionalized re-telling of true events, Imagine This is set in the Warsaw Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. With departure to a camp imminent, a local theatre troupe are encouraged by their director to stage a musical about Masada (where a group of 960 Jewish refugees in the year 70 attempted to evade Roman soldiers before committing mass suicide). The musical had a short-lived run on the West End in 2008 where it was filmed live. Now available on DVD. Click here for purchasing options.
Based on Victor Hugo’s historical novel of the same name, Les Miserables is not set during the French Revolution, during the uprisings that took place a few decades later. Although the stories and characters in Les Mis are fiction, they are drawn from Hugo’s close observations of Paris life. The musical has to date been filmed live three times, the 10th anniversary concert, 25th anniversary concert, and, most recently, last year’s West End staged concert. Click on each title for streaming options.
Love at Times
A two-act play with music and movement filmed at the ProEnglish Theatre in Kyiv during the Russian invasion in 2022. Part 1 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” sees two gay soldiers from the Territorial Defense of Kyiv discussing their romantic relationship. In part 2, “Katie and Frank,” the title couple argues over the old adage “you never listen to me.” Available for free with registration on Scenesaver. The ProEnglish Theatre’s one-woman play The Book of Sirens, a contemporary adaptation of The Book Thief set in Kyiv, is also worth a watch.
A modernized re-telling of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon. The musical tells the ill-fated love story of Kim, a young woman in Saigon, and an American G.I., Chris. The 25th anniversary gala production was filmed live in the West End in 2016. Click here for streaming options.
Only the Brave
Based on true stories, this British musical follows Captain John Howard and Lieutenant Denholm Brotheridge, and their wives Joy and Maggie, as the soldiers prepare for the D-Day landings. The 2016 production at the Wales Millennium Centre featured a real-life vet playing the role of John Howard Senior. Only the Brave was filmed live for archival purposes in 2016. Click here for streaming options.
Self-described by composer Stephen Sondheim as “the most bizarre and unusual musical ever to be seen in a commercial setting,” Pacific Overtures is a concept musical set around Commodore Perry’s first visit to Japan in 1853. It was filmed live during its original Broadway run for distribution on Japanese television. Click here for streaming options.
Pieces of String
Set in 1940 and the present day, British musical Pieces of String was inspired by a BBC documentary that briefly mentioned gay relationships in the armed forces during World War II, and modern day stories of gay men being unable to donate blood. Composer Gus Gowland sought to widen the scope for the way gay male characters are portrayed in musical theatre (a topic which he later explored in his PhD dissertation), and attempted to ensure women were also equally represented in the musical. The musical was filmed live during its run at Mercury Theatre Colchester in 2018. Click here for streaming options.
Based on the short story collection Tales of the South Pacific, the now classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was ground breaking musical for its exploration of racism, war, and interracial relationships. There are currently two filmed live productions of South Pacific in the database - the 2010 Lincoln Center revival and the 2005 Carnegie Hall concert starring Reba McIntyre and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The latter is available on DVD. Click here for purchasing options.
A Tale of Two Cities
Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is based on Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name. The musical had a brief run on Broadway in 2008, and has received concert stagings in London, Paris, and Brighton. The concert performances were compiled into a special which was broadcast on PBS and is now available on DVD (this is an affiliate link and as an associate I may earn income from qualifying purchases).
Tyneham: No Small Sacrifice
This British musical tells the story of the residents of Tyneham, who were told to leave their homes in 1942 as the bequest of the British military. Although the residents were promised their homes would be returned, Tyneham remains military property to this day. Performed by amateur theatre company Generations Apart in 2013, the musical is currently available to view on YouTube.
V for Victory
This still-in-development British musical explores the lives of a group of friends in the resistance against the German occupation of Jersey during World War II. A concert version was performed at the Stockwell Playhouse in 2018 and was filmed live. Click here for streaming options.
Waiting for the Ship to Sail
Produced by Chickenshed in the UK, this timely musical is an artistic response to the urgent and pressing questions of global migration, and investigates the concepts of national and personal identity. It is currently available on YouTube.
The off-Broadway musical YANK! tells the story of soldiers falling in love, and depicts the gay scene that “thrived just beneath the surface of the US Army in the 1940s.” The musical was a hit of the NY Musical Theatre Festival in 2005, and had a successful off-Broadway run in 2010. Below 54 hosted a 10th anniversary concert in early 2020, and the video is currently available on YouTube.
How will you be honoring those whose lives have been lost in war, and those who have devoted their lives to service today?
There are two new entries to take a look at in the database - Better Late (1946) and Of a Lifetime (2021). The titles were filmed 75 years apart and represent very different possibilities of bringing live musicals to the screen. And just for fun, despite being filmed in the UK and US respectively, both musicals have Aussie connections much like yours truly who is Australian born!
Better Late was a musical revue starring Beatrice Lillie, and it was the first musical to be broadcast live by the BBC from the West End following WWII. The cast also included Aussie actor Murray Matheson who became a dear friend of Lillie's. A fun connection for me, when I was accepted to study at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama I was awarded the Beatrice Lillie Scholarship! I wonder what Ms. Lillie and Mr. Murray would think of this Aussie, who trained in London and now lives in the US, would think of their revue being studied in this way over three-quarters of century later?!
Of a Lifetime is a new electro-rock sci-fi musical by Aussie writer and composer James C.K. Jefferies. The musical was filmed during its off-Broadway run in 2021, and the film was an official selection of the 2022 International New York Film Festival where it received a Merit Award. It's available to stream online.
Visit the database to learn more!
This week in Filmed Live Musicals news includes work from Tony nominees and winners, a Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival, new digital offerings from Chichester Festival Theatre, TEDx Broadway Ten, upcoming releases and more!
Tony Tony Tony!
I know many of my readers outside the US were frustrated that they weren’t able to watch the Tony Awards this year, either live or on catch-up. Despite this, it bodes well for filmed theatre that 6 shows from the 2021/22 Broadway season have been, or will be filmed live for release.
Earlier in the week, I shared a blog post, Where To Watch the Tony Winners & Nominees, which features a list of over 35 filmed live musicals that this year’s Tony contenders previously worked on, most of which are available to stream!
'Aha Hana Keaka: KEAKA Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival
The month long festival is available on demand for free and includes a wide range films, plays, musicals, and slam poetry performed in “full Hawaiian language to partial Hawaiian language.” The musical Wordsworth, available with Hawaiian or English subtitles, looks particularly delightful. More info and access via KEAKA Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival.
Chichester Festival Theatre: Digital Stages
In July, Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) will be celebrating their 60th anniversary with five unique digital events. Events include Visionary Stages which will use cutting-edge technology to recreate the stage as it looked in 1962, and Digital Diorama which will feature 60 pieces from CFT’s archive such as model boxes, props, costumes, set designs, and sound bites. More info and tickets from CFT.
International Thespian Festival
A festival celebrating school theatre taking place at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. For the first time, a virtual option is being made available which includes access to a livestream of the opening ceremony, online workshops, and screenings of The SpongeBob Musical and the National Theatre production of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Virtual tickets for non-members are $99US. More info and tickets from ITF.
TEDx Broadway Ten
The tenth anniversary of TEDx Broadway was held at New World Stages on May 17, and is now available to stream via Stellar. Speakers include Emanuel Azenberg, Sammy Lopez, past Filmed Live Musicals podcast guest Margaret Hall, and more! Tickets are $15US. More info and access via Stellar.
I had so much fun live-tweeting the Tony Awards and sharing the past filmed live work of the nominees! As I shared on Twitter, I love celebrating Broadway & live theatre, but I also want to acknowledge how hard it is for so many people to attend in person because of cost, location, childcare, disability, illness & a myriad of other reasons.
Filmed theatre provides access to theatre, it creates a historical record of the ephemeral, has the potential to generate new income, and can be used as an educational tool. Filmed theatre must be a part of accessibility planning.
It bodes well that 5 shows from this season were filmed/broadcast (whether from Broadway or the West End). I hope that one day, audiences around the world will be able to access every show.
Here you'll find a list of the filmed live musicals and plays from the 2021/22 season, and a list of filmed live musicals that this year's winners and nominees have worked on.
In this week's newsletter dropping on Thursday, patrons will also have access to a list of plays, operas, films, and other digital works from this year's nominees. If you want access, become a Filmed Live Musical Patron today! You'll also get access to the streaming calendar, early access to the podcast, and more bonus content!
This post contains affiliate links and as an affiliate I may earn from qualifying purchases made through these links.
Filmed Live Shows from the 2021/22 Season
Diana: The Musical (2021)
Girl from the North Country (2022)
The Lehman Trilogy (2019)
Filmed Live Musicals
An American in Paris (2017)
Anything Goes (2021)
Come From Away -
The Cradle Will Rock (1986)
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (2018)
The King and I
The Last Five Years (2020)
The Light in the Piazza (2006)
Little Women (2021)
Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary
Love Never Dies
Passing Strange (2008)
Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall (2011)
She Loves Me -
Shrek the Musical
Smokey Joe’s Cafe (2000)
South Pacific (2010)
Spongebob The Musical (2019)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Live in Concert -
The Wiz Live! (2015)
Want to know what new musicals are streaming?
Sign up to the Filmed Live Musicals newsletter!
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!
This post contains affiliate links and the author may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
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!
On this bonus Sondheim episode, hear extra content from previous chats with historian Margaret Hall about Stephen Sondheim's early life and career. You'll also hear from playwright Caridad Svich, composer Matt Board, and actor John Patrick Sabatos, who shared their memories of watching filmed live Sondheim musicals and why pro-shots are important for musical theatre today.
Margaret Hall is one of the foremost emerging theatre historians of her generation. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama (Musical Theatre) from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently obtaining her Masters in Musical Theatre History from New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the first degree of its kind to be granted worldwide. Margaret is currently the Night and Weekend Editor for Playbill.com, in addition to her work as a teacher of musical theatre history. Her first book, Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond will be released Spring 2022. Follow @itsmargarethall and sign up for Margaret’s monthly newsletter at www.margaret-hall.com.
Pre-order Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from this link).
Caridad Svich - https://caridadsvich.com/
Matt Board - https://soundcloud.com/mattboardcomposer
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In the month of March, Filmed Live Musicals is celebrating Stephen Sondheim! On the podcast, we have a three-part series with musical theatre historian Margaret Hall. Part 1 (Feb 28) is an overview of filmed live Sondheim musicals, part 2 (March 14) will be a deep dive into Pacific Overtures, and part 3 is a deep dive into the 2011 New York Philharmonic production of Company, the musical that inspired this very website!
To accompany this week's episode on filmed live Sondheim musicals, here’s a list of where you can watch those musicals!
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Into the Woods
Merrily We Roll Along
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Putting it Together
Sunday in the Park with George
In 2015 Image Entertainment released the Stephen Sondheim Collection, a 6-disc DVD collection of Sondheim’s work including Into the Woods (1990), Company (2011), Sunday in the Park with George (1986), Follies in Concert (1985), Sweeney Todd (2001), and Sondheim: The Birthday (2010), though it appears to currently be out of print.
You can learn more about all of the above musicals in the Filmed Live Musicals database. There are more to be added, including the 1994 National Theatre and 1995 Barcelona productions of Sweeney Todd. Know of other filmed live Sondheim recordings? Send us an email! Remember, to be included in the database, a musical must have been legally filmed in front of a live audience, and made available to the general public.