Ask many theatergoers and they will immediately tell you that nothing is as satisfying as a great musical. It’s not only, as Irving Berlin wrote, “the costumes, the makeup, the scenery, the props,” that make this art form so special; it is also the glorious scores of these gems from the Great White Way that make us want to treasure every moment. Although the curtain has come down and the closing notice has been posted on these seven shows, we are thrilled they can all be viewed (and heard) on BroadwayHD.
Help Theatre Survive
After you’ve finished streaming Broadway, Your Way with Broadway HD, consider these ways of supporting out-of-work actors and theaters that have been forced to close:
- Donate to the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares: Two of the biggest fundraisers in the theater world are ready to funnel money directly to out-of-work actors, dancers, designers, directors, writers and a huge variety of folks now unemployed due to the shutdown.
- Stream "Rosie to the Rescue!" a special one-night only return of The Rosie O’Donnell Show is bringing together some of the biggest names in entertainment (live from their homes!) to benefit The Actors Fund in order to provide aid during the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Bye Bye Birdie’
Relive the musical magic of "Bye Bye Birdie", one of America’s best-loved musicals. In this tuneful parody of Elvis Presley, Conrad Birdie is a wildly popular ’50s rock-n-roll star. Conrad’s manager, Albert (Jason Alexander) and his devoted secretary, Rosie (Vanessa Williams), arrange for Conrad to make a dramatic final appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” on the eve of his joining the Army.
"Oklahoma!" is the quintessential American musical. A Rodgers and Hammerstein show set against the backdrop of the founding of a new state. In a production by National Theatre, London, "Oklahoma!" is invigorated with historical context and deeper meaning to provide a full musical experience for people who have been raised humming its tunes all the way to theatrical newcomers. Directed by Trevor Nunn, choreographed by Susan Stroman, and starring Hugh Jackman, this revival catches the spirit of the original in a unique and compelling way.
"Kinky Boots" is the winner of every major Best Musical Award, including the Tony Award, the Grammy Award, and London's Olivier Award. Inspired by true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of two people with nothing in common – or so they think. Charlie is a factory owner struggling to save his family business. Lola is a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. With a little compassion and a lot of understanding, this unexpected pair learns to embrace their differences and create a line of sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen.
‘Kiss Me, Kate’
William Shakespeare could never have imagined he would become such a major force in musical theater, but the Bard’s work has informed everything from “West Side Story” to “Something Rotten.” But there are few shows like “Kiss Me, Kate” Cole Porter’s delicious romp juxtaposing a musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy “The Taming of the Shrew” with the backstage drama of a production. The cast is mostly Fred and Lilli, a pair of warring (still-in-love) exes. Few shows have been both as hot and utterly cool as this 1948 masterpiece.
Arguably the most epic musical ever created, the 1987 blockbuster “Les Misérables” ran for 16 years in the first of its three Broadway incarnations. That’s not a surprise as most viewers couldn’t help but be swept up in this sung-through adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. Set in 19th century France, the show tells the story of reformed bread thief Jean Valjean trying to raise his adopted daughter Collette and help his fiery countrymen, all the while being pursued by the single-minded policeman Javert. The ravishing score (including the iconic “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Castle on a Cloud”) is a continuous delight for the ears.
Race relations in the 1950s has been the subject of many well-known plays, but Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (a member of rock super-group Bon Jovi) tackled the topic to Tony Award-winning effect in the soulful musical “Memphis.” This singular show tells the story of DJ Huey Calhoun, a poor white guy who not only makes his way into the city’s segregated clubs (and later introduces “race music” to the general public) but falls in love with talented African-American singer Felicia Farrell. It reminds us, no matter what, that “love will stand when all else fails.”
‘She Loves Me’
A love letter to love letters, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s ravishing 1963 musical “She Loves Me” is as intoxicating as the perfumes on the shelves of Maraczek’s, the emporium in Budapest that serves as the show’s main setting. There, co-workers Georg and Amalia bicker all day, unaware they are each other’s pen pals and source of romantic infatuation. Fortunately, tensions soften (and “Vanilla Ice Cream” is eaten) before the truth is finally revealed and a happy ending ties everything up in a brightly-colored bow.
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