This morning I was watching the wonderful Lincoln Center concerts featuring Stephanie J. Block (who gave a killer performance in Falsettos) and Sutton Foster on BroadwayHD. The delightful Megan McGinnis made a guest appearance in Sutton’s concert, and it reminded me how much I love Daddy Long Legs, the first off-Broadway musical to be livestreamed.
It got me thinking about the filmed live musicals that I've fallen in love with over the years, and so, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorites.
Company with the New York Philharmonic
Filmed live at Lincoln Center in 2011, the New York Philharmonic production features a starry cast including Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Martha Plimpton, and Anika Noni Rose.
I love this version for its slick production values, amazing performances, and because it was the first filmed live musical I saw in the cinema. It was also the inspiration for starting this database.
Into the Woods
The original Broadway production was taped in 1989, screened on PBS, and eventually made available on VHS and DVD. It was one of the first filmed live musicals I ever saw, and made the world of Broadway accessible to an aspiring theatre nerd who grew up 16,000 miles away.
The Digital Theatre capture of the 2010 Regent’s Park Open Air production of Into the Woods is also a highlight. Steam-punk inspired costumes, a clever use of the narrator, and a great capture that puts you right in the action.
Daddy Long Legs
When Daddy Long Legs was livestreamed in December 2015, I was recovering from treatment for leukemia. Low energy and a compromised immune system meant going to the theatre was not an option for me. It was thrilling to be able to watch an off-Broadway show from the comfort of my couch. The @BroadwayHD capture of this intimate show is top notch, as are the performances by the aforementioned Megan McGinnis and her real-life husband Adam Halpin.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The 2014 New York Philharmonic production directed by Lonny Price hands down has one of the best opening sequences ever filmed. This was another production I watched during my leukemia convalescence, and I literally squealed out loud in my lounge room. I’m so sad this capture is no longer available to view or purchase.
Les Miserables: The Dream Cast in Concert
Everything about this concert filmed live at Royal Albert Hall in 1995 is EPIC. The score. The cast of 250 artists and 100 musicians. Philip Quast as Javert. The finale with 17 Jean Valjeans singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” in multiple languages. What is there not to love?!
When Hell Freezes Over I’ll Skate
The 1979 Theatre in America recording, now available on DVD, is a chance to see a unique “musical drama” and a tiny sample of the ground-breaking work by director and writer Vinnette Carroll. The capture feels a little dated, but it does a wonderful job of preserving some powerful performances.
What are your favorite filmed live musicals? Share in the comments, or on twitter and facebook!