Our Top 20 Disney+ Picks for Broadway Fans
Check out our guide to 20 Broadway-related highlights on Disney's popular streaming service...
When You Wish Upon a Star... Well, you know the rest! And whilst we all wait for our dreams of life returning to normality to come true, we've decided to turn our attention to the new streaming service from the House of the Mouse. It's now time for Disney+ to step into the limelight as we bring you our Top 20 Picks for Broadway fans.
Of course, we all enjoy a Disney classic as much as the next person, but for the purposes of our list, we've only chosen titles that have some relevance to Broadway or to the theater in general. And, faster than you can say "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," here is our Top 20 in alphabetical order.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
For the sole reason that this 1996 live-action film adaptation stars three-time Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Glenn Close as the wickedly fabulous Cruella de Vil, 101 Dalmatians is our first pick. A world premiere stage musical, based on the original novel by Dodie Smith and featuring a score by Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge is set to play Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London.
The current Broadway musical Aladdin, which has been offering delightfully Arabian Nights at the New Amsterdam Theatre since February 2014, but you can still stream Guy Ritchie's 2019 live-action remake at home. And if seeing Will Smith strut his stuff as Genie isn't enough for you, then the original 1992 animated classic starring the one and only Robin Williams is also available on Disney+... Shining, shimmering, splendid? We think so.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Disney Theatrical's first-ever foray into the Broadway scene, Beauty and the Beast ran on the Great White Way for over 13 years, debuting at the Palace Theatre in March 1994. Bill Condon's star-studded 2017 remake is the highest-grossing live-action musical film of all time. So, Be Our Guest and enjoy this tale as old as time over and over again.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
How we long for "The Age of Not Believing" right now. Well, here's a little dose for you courtesy of five-time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury and the entire cast (both real and animated) of the 1971 classic musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks. A world premiere stage adaptation was planned for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in May 2019, but will open in the United Kingdom in 2021.
Encore! is a brand new reality series for all of us theater kids. It reunites former castmates of high school musicals that have long since given up on treading the boards. Their mission? To reprise their roles and put on the same show in record time. Now how many of us wish we could revisit those days? These folks get that opportunity thanks to producer, host, NYU theater school alumnus and Frozen star Kristen Bell.
Freaky Friday (2018)
Based on the stage musical, originally developed by Disney Theatrical, that made its debut at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia in 2016, a 2018 Disney Channel movie musical version of Freaky Friday is available to stream. It boasts a score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, whose Broadway credits include If/Then and, of course, Next to Normal. And if that isn't freaky enough for you, then the 1977 original (starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster) and 2003 remake (starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan) are also available.
Do you wanna build a snowman? Or do you wanna stream the original 2013 animated classic that became a global phenomenon? Whilst the 2018 Broadway premiere of Frozen at the St. James Theatre is frozen for good, check out the voice talents of Broadway favorites such as Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, Santino Fontana as Prince Hans, and Josh Gad as Olaf, Frozen has the power to melt your heart over and over again. Frozen 2 is also on Disney+, for double the wintry fun.
Do not throw away your shot to see the original cast in Hamilton, now available to watch on Disney+. Originally, the movie was slated for an October 2021 release in cinemas, but with the world in lockdown, the movie was brought forward by over 12 months for global streaming. In fact, the opening fortnight of Hamilton was so popular on Disney+, over 2.7 million households streamed the musical. Hamilton features the original cast including Lin-Manuel Miranda as the titular Founding Father, alongside Phillippa Soo, Jonathan Groff, Daveed Diggs and Christopher Jackson. The 11-time Tony Award-winning musical is a spectacle to behold, and now you don't have to wait for hours outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
We all adored Jelani Alladin last summer in Public Works' world premiere stage adaptation of Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Whilst we wait with baited breath to see what Disney Theatrical does next with the populr tuner, why not check out the original 1997 classic that showcases the most fabulous quintet in the history of animation... The Muses. We can social distance or we can "Go the Distance."
High School Musical (2006)
Although the stage adaptation of High School Musical never made it to Broadway, it did enjoy a successful National Tour from 2007 to 2008. Check out Broadway alumni Vanessa Hudgens and Corbin Bleu, alongside Zac Efron and the rest of the gang in the 2006 original that conquered the world. The movie's two sequels and the brand new series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series are also available on Disney+ and the words "We're All In This Together" has never seemed more relevant than right now.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Similar to High School Musical, the stage adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame also never made it to Broadway but it was met with great acclaim at both La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2014 and New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in 2015. With perhaps the most underrated score of all Disney classics, penned by Broadway greats Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, revisit the 1996 animated original (and those iconic bells) from the comfort of your own living room, before we can all resume our normal lives "Out There" in the world once again.
The Jungle Book (1967)
Fed up of shopping for the bare essentials? Try some "Bare Necessities" instead. A world premiere stage adaptation of The Jungle Book was produced jointly at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Huntington Theatre in Boston in 2013 by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical, but I'm sure we're all longing for a Broadway premiere, right?
The Little Mermaid Live! (2019)
On November 5, 2019, Disney presented The Little Mermaid Live! on ABC with an all-star cast that included Auliʻi Cravalho as Ariel, Queen Latifah as Ursula, and Shaggy as Sebastian the Crab. A hybrid of original animation from the 1989 classic and live musical number performances, the programme also featured a couple of songs penned by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater for the 2008 Broadway premiere at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. So, take a trip "Under the Sea" for this one-of-a-kind live television musical.
The Lion King (2019)
The most successful of all of Disney Theatrical's Broadway ventures, The Lion King officially opened on the Great White Way in November 1997 and went on to win six Tony Awards (including 'Best Musical'). Whilst the doors to the Pridelands (aka the Minskoff Theatre) remain shut, you can still see Simba and the rest of the crew in this glorious 2019 CGI remake that features the all-new song "Spirit" by the voice of Nala, Beyoncé.
Mary Poppins (1964)
The "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" tuner Mary Poppins was adapted into a stage musical that would finally land at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre in October 2006 and run for an impressive six and a half years. So, sit back and marvel at Dame Julie Andrews' breakthrough and Oscar-winning performance as everyone's favorite nanny. Get ready to step in time.
The Muppets (1976)
From February 2020, all five seasons of The Muppets will be available to watch on Disney+. While the episodes may not be wholly musical related, there's plenty of Broadway talent that make guest appearances, including Joel Grey, Ethel Merman and Ben Vereen.
Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2017)
Oh, how we all loved seeing Disney's Newsies on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre, where it became a massive fan favorite from March 2012 through August 2014. It even won two Tony Awards: 'Best Choreography' and 'Best Original Score Written for the Theatre'. The original Broadway company led by Jeremy Jordan reunited for this special cinematic recording, so sit back, enjoy and "Seize the Day".
The 2018 world premiere of the stage version of Pinocchio marked the first collaboration between Disney Theatrical and the National Theatre in London. For those of us stuck in the US, who didn't get to see the National's dark and mature take on this much loved animated classic, you can always stream the 1940 original on the Disney+ service and you don't even have to wish upon a star to do so.
Sister Act (1992)
Ready for some Whoopi Goldberg? You can stream the smash hit 1992 movie musical Sister Act on Disney+ any time and you can even follow it up with the 1993 sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Of course, the original movie was adapted into a West End musical with a new score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, which would transfer to the Broadway Theatre in March 2011.
Tuck Everlasting (2002)
The 2016 Broadway premiere of Tuck Everlasting may have only enjoyed a short life (ironically) at the Broadhurst Theatre, but Natalie Babbitt's 1975 novel has been immortalized thanks to not one but two film adaptations. You can stream the 2002 version on the Disney+ service today.