BWW Exclusive: Ten Eclectic Musicals to add to Your Netflix 'Watch Later' Queue

Since the big screen adaptation of CHICAGO took home an Academy Award more than a decade ago, movie musicals have seen a resurgence, with varying levels of success. There have been huge hits, like last year's LA LA LAND, and big disappointments, like 2009's NINE.

While online video store Netflix doesn't have nearly as large of a collection of movie musicals as most Broadway fans would like, they do have a selection worth chilling with. Below, check out our list of 10 great musicals, from animated to live-action to captured on stage.


Most people might think it's weird that SHREK was made into a musical, but somehow Brian d'Arcy James and Sutton Foster make it work. SHREK THE MUSICAL is a twist on classic fairytales. After being freed from her tower, Princess Fiona begins her quest to find her true love, but finds it in the most unlikely of places.

FANTASIA (1940) and FANTASIA 2000 (1999)

Most millennials probably remember watching these during elementary school music class. FANTASIA and FANTASIA 2000 aren't your typical musicals; there's no overall storyline that's progressed through song and dance. But, who wouldn't want to watch cute animated scenes with flying whales, flamingos playing with yo-yos, and dinosaurs, centaurs and unicorns? These two "musicals" pair classical music and animated scenes and have hosts like Steve Martin, Bette Midler and Angela Lansbury.


Is it a Halloween movie? Is it a Christmas movie? No one knows, but no one's complaining because that confusion gives adoring audiences an excuse to watch THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS nonstop from October until December. In this Tim Burton classic, Jack Skellington has an identity crisis and wants to celebrate Christmas instead of Halloween. This movie will have "This is Halloween" stuck in your head for days.


THE LAST FIVE YEARS, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, follows two characters as they sing about their relationship with the other. The catch is that Kendrick's character, Cathy, starts with the end of their relationship and works her way to the beginning. Jordan's character, Jamie, starts from the beginning and works his way to their breakup. Though their songs almost never overlap and we don't hear them sing together right away, when they do, it's amazing.


If you love The Beatles, this musical is for you. The story follows a young British man on his journey to America and the hardships the he and his friends face during the Vietnam war. All of the songs in the films are Beatles covers, including "It Won't Be Long," "Dear Prudence," "Hey Jude" and "All You Need is Love." If you need an extra theatrical reason to watch, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is directed by Tony-winning GENIUS Julie Taymor.

GREASE (1978)

GREASE is one of, if not the, most successful musicals of all time. Only this year's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remake has TAKEN in more money at the box office. Four years after the original's release, a sequel was created and just last year, FOX produced a live TV production, and both of those films are also on Netflix. Based on the Broadway and Off-Broadway musical, John Travolta and Oliva Newton-John's teenage characters fall in love, but the pressures of high school popularity keep them apart. Don't worry though, it's nothing that tight leather pants and a flying car can't fix.

HELLO, DOLLY! (1969)

HELLO, DOLLY! follows the meddlesome Dolly Levi, played on screen by Barbra Streisand, who tries to fix everyone's life, from marriage setups to dancing lessons. She convinces two store clerks to travel to New York, where they end up running into their boss, who is the man Dolly is trying to find a match for. This musical has big dance numbers and is full of drama. And after you watch it on Netflix, you can head over to the famed Shubert Theatre where you can see the great Bette Midler in the most recent Broadway revival as well.


Most young adults today grew up with this Disney classic, wondering why their high school didn't break out into choreographed song and dance. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, staring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, shows that you don't always have to "Stick to the Status Quo."


In SWEENEY TODD, another film from Tim Burton, Benjamin Barker, played by Johnny Depp, gets revenge for his wife and child being stolen away from him. This musical horror brings Depp and Helena Bonham Carter back together again and will make you wonder why cannibalism, murder and music weren't put together before.

CHICAGO (2002)

The stage version of CHICAGO is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway and continues to tour the country and the world, however, the big screen adaptation, which won the Best Picture Oscar might be even more impactful. CHICAGO follows two women who committed murder but, with the help of a famous lawyer, are attempting to get out of it. Roxie and Velma, played by Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones respectively, try and become the media's golden girl in order to get out of a jail sentence, sabotaging each other along the way, but eventually coming together in the end. The success of this film, in no small part, gave birth to the rush of movie musicals we've seen in the past decade and a half.

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From This Author Rachel Crawford

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