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Broadway From Home: Documentaries for Every Theater Lover!

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Feel like you've started to run out of things to watch? We here at BroadwayWorld have you covered! We all have our favorite musicals and plays, but what about the stories behind those shows? Luckily, over the years, many documentaries have been made about some of your favorite shows!

Theater fans will rejoice at our list of documentaries, perfect for theater fans young and old! From the recently released We are Freestyle Love Supreme to Broadway: The Golden Age, there is a documentary for every fan.

See the full list below!


BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED

The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened follows Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along," which opened in November 1981 to scathing reviews and closed after just 16 performances. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the musical's score has grown to become one of the composer's most beloved. Featuring archival footage of the rehearsals along with interviews with the cast, including Sondheim himself and director Harold Prince, this documentary tells the tale of this infamous production.

Watch it now on Netflix or rent it on iTunes.


BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY

Bathtubs Over Broadway is 2018 American documentary film directed by Dava Whisenant. The documentary follows comedy writer Steve Young's assignment to scour bargain-bin vinyl for a late-night segment which becomes an unexpected, decades-spanning obsession when he stumbles upon the strange and hilarious world of industrial musicals.

Watch it on Netflix.


BROADWAY IDIOT

Broadway Idiot goes behind the scenes to follow Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong as he transforms his mega-hit album, "American Idiot," into a staged Broadway musical. "Broadway Idiot" provides a unique window into the art of theater, as rock stars and stage stars collide. The documentary features a behind the scenes look at cast, including John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny, Matt Caplan as Tunny, Michael Esper as Will, Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername.

Rent it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.


BROADWAY OR BUST

Broadway or Bust is a three-hour documentary series on PBS that tells the real life stories of America's top high school musical performers, vying in the ultimate competition to find the nation's best young theater stars.

Watch the series on PBS.


BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE

Broadway: The Golden Age is a documentary that provides insights into the early days of Broadway, and also gives anecdotal portraits of the struggles and triumphs of over 100 legendary performers, composers and writers in the New York City of a bygone era. Rick McKay takes audiences on a journey over four continents and five years to find out whether there had ever truly been a golden age of theatre and, if it really did exist, why it had never been documented.

Rent it on iTunes or purchase it on Amazon.


BROADWAY THE AMERICAN MUSICAL

Broadway: The American Musical tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life. The six-part series begins with the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices and styles gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment, and ends with today's Broadway, where big-budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success.

Watch it on PBS.


CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life chronicles the life and career of Channing, a Broadway legend. The documentary covers the 90-year-old's life both onstage and off and features stories from Lily Tomlin, Chita Rivera, Barbara Walters, Tyne Daly, Tippi Hedren, Loni Anderson and Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis Diller, Tommy Tune, Bob Mackie and Bruce Vilanch.

Rent it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.


ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is a funny portrait of Broadway legend & Emmy winner Elaine Stritch. The documentary also features interviews with her fellow co-stars including Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini, John Turturro and others.

Rent it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.


EVERY LITTLE STEP

Every Little Step is a documentary that gives audiences a look at the auditions for the Broadway revival of the perennial classic, A Chorus Line, including interview footage with Bob Avian, Michael Benne.

Rent it on Amazon Prime.


FIDDLER: A MIRACLE OF MIRACLES

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is the first documentary film that chronicles the story of Fiddler On The Roof, exploring the unexpected richness of its themes as well as its long reach across time and cultures. The documentary features interviews with the show's creators including Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, and Harold Prince, as well as scholars, actors, and other musical theatre figures such as Stephen Sondheim and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Rent it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.


FOLLIES IN CONCERT

Follies in Concert is a documentary film that shows the 1985 concert performance presented by the New York Philharmonic of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical Follies at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The concert starred Barbara Cook (Sally), George Hearn (Ben), Mandy Patinkin (Buddy), and Lee Remick (Phyllis), and featured Carol Burnett (Carlotta), Betty Comden (Emily), Adolph Green (Theodore), Liliane Montevecchi (Solange LaFitte), Elaine Stritch (Hattie Walker), Phyllis Newman (Stella Deems), Jim Walton (Young Buddy), Howard McGillin (Young Ben), Liz Callaway (Young Sally), Daisy Prince (Young Phyllis), Andre Gregory (Dmitri), Arthur Rubin (Roscoe), and Licia Albanese (Heidi Schiller).

Buy the DVD on Amazon.


HAMILTON: ONE SHOT TO BROADWAY

Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway is the story of the hit musical that changed Broadway forever and brought the genius of Lin Manuel Miranda to the attention of legions of fans across the world. The documentary features interviews with Miranda, as well as the cast and crew of Hamilton.

Watch on Amazon Prime.


HAROLD PRINCE: THE DIRECTOR'S LIFE

Harold Prince: The Director's Life gives audiences a look at the legendary career of the pioneering Broadway producer, director and winner of 21 Tony Awards with this retrospective celebration. The documentary features interviews with Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mandy Patinkin, John Kander, Susan Stroman, and Angela Lansbury.

Watch on PBS.


THE HEAT IS ON: THE MAKING OF MISS SAIGON

Broadway From Home: Documentaries for Every Theater Lover!

The Heat Is On: The Making Of Miss Saigon chronicles the journey of the musical from the initial conception, through the world-wide auditions and discovery of the outstanding Lea Salonga, to the rehearsals; the technical headache of putting the show together, right up to the glamour and excitement of the opening night. The documentary offers viewers the only opportunity to hear the songs and see the original cast perform.

Buy the DVD on Amazon.


THE HEAT IS BACK ON: THE REMAKING OF MISS SAIGON

Paying tribute to the original production, The Heat is Back On: The Remaking of Miss Saigon follows the journey of how a new production of one of the most successful musicals of all time is done, from casting and rehearsals to opening night.

Rent it on Amazon Prime.


IN THE COMPANY OF ACTORS

In The Company of Actors is a documentary that gives a look into the STC's production of 'Hedda Gabler' at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. The documentary akes the audience behind the curtains to observe the actors immersed in the creative process in Sydney and New York. The documentary features the show's ensemble of Australia's finest actors, including Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Anthony Weigh, Justine Clarke, Aden Young, Julie Hamilton and Annie Byron as prepare to perform in the production.

Rent it on iTunes.


LEONARD SOLOWAY'S BROADWAY

Leonard Soloway's Broadway gives audiences a look into the incredible career of an American original and a Broadway legend. The documentary chronicles Soloway's 70 year career, which features a staging of over 100 shows.

Rent it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.


LES MISERABLES: THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST STORY

Les Miserables: The History Of The World's Greatest Story is a documentary that looks at the the history behind Les Miserables, which is one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, one of the greatest musical stage plays of the 20th century, and now one of the greatest box office successes of the 21st century.

Stream for free with a Prime Video membership.


LIFE AFTER TOMORROW

Life After Tomorrow is a documentary that reunites more than 40 women who played orphans in the Broadway production Annie. It also reveals the highs and lows of their experiences as child actresses in a cultural phenomenon.

Rent on Prime Video or YouTube.


THE MAKING OF WEST SIDE STORY

The Making of West Side Story gives audiences a look at the world's leading opera singers who gather to make a recording of the celebrated musical West Side Story, conducted for the first time by its composer Leonard Bernstein.

Watch on BroadwayHD.


ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY

Original Cast Album: Company captures the behind-the-scenes drama that went into the making of the classic Broadway recording of Company. The documentary looks at the cast of 1970 Broadway production who assembled to record the original cast album in a grueling, nearly nineteen-hour session that tested the talents of all involved-including Elaine Stritch, who pushed herself to the limit to record what would become her iconic version of "The Ladies Who Lunch."

Watch on the Criterion Channel.


OT: OUR TOWN

OT: Our Town is a documentary that follows the students at a gang-riddled Compton, California high school, who against all odds, produced the school's first play in more than 20 years--discovering how far their inner passion and human spirit can carry them.

Stream for free with a Prime membership.


SHOWBUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY

Showbusiness: The Road to Broadway is a documentary that looks at the 2002 Broadway musical season, and follows the four high-profile productions that would eventually become Tony nominees: "Wicked," "Taboo," "Caroline, or Change," and "Avenue Q."

Rent it on Amazon Prime or watch on Sling.


SIX BY SONDHEIM

Six By Sondheim is a documentary that celebrates one of America's true giants of the musical stage: renowned Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim. It explores the life and career of the stage legend through six of his best-known songs: 'Something's Coming,' 'Opening Doors,' 'Send in the Clowns,' 'I'm Still Here,' 'Being Alive,' and 'Sunday.'

Stream it on HBO.


THE STANDBYS

The Standbys look at the Broadway performers who are backstage, standing by, ready to go on at a moment's notice every night. The unique and challenging lives of Broadway's understudies and standbys are revealed in this evocative and original behind-the-scenes documentary.

Rent it on iTunes.


TERRENCE MCNALLY: EVERY ACT OF LIFE

Terrence Mcnally: Every Act Of Life explores four-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally's six groundbreaking decades in theater, from Kiss of the Spider Woman, Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class to Ragtime, The Visit and Mothers and Sons. The film also delves into McNally's pursuit of love and inspiration throughout his career, LGBTQ activism, triumph over addiction, and the power of the arts to transform society.

Watch it on PBS.


WE ARE FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME

In We Are Freestyle Love Surpreme, filmmaker Andrew Fried chronicles the group in the summer of 2005, documentss the early days of Freestyle Love Supreme beatboxing and rapping on the sidewalks-unaware of how their story would unfold. Fourteen years later, Fried captures them reuniting for a series of shows in New York City that led to a triumphant run on Broadway. Both poignant and inspired, We Are Freestyle Love Supreme recalls the creative dreams of youth and why this show still means so much to these accomplished performers.

Stream it on Hulu with a membership.


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