If there's one tiny silver lining to this whole global pandemic business, it's that Broadway mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda and Disney changed the rollout of Hamilton from a cinematic release in October 2021 to streaming on Disney+ starting at midnight this Friday, July 3.
What you'll see is the full hit musical about the Founding Fathers recorded from three 2016 performances by the original Broadway cast — well, minus a few F-bombs Miranda cut to make the production family-friendly.
Hamilton is the most anticipated theater-to-video release ever, but it's hardly the first. Here are a few Broadway musicals you can watch at home in the meantime.
Billy Elliot the MusicalWatch It On: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and YouTube ($4 to rent)
The only thing more charming than the Billy Elliot, the 2000 film about a young British boy who discovers a love and talent for dance, is Billy Elliot the Musical, which puts the story on stage with music by Elton John. This recorded production debuted in 2014 and includes a specially choreographed finale featuring more than two dozen actors who have played Billy.
Live from Lincoln Center: Rodgers and Hammerstein's CarouselWatch It On: Amazon Prime
In 1999, Time magazine named Carousel the best musical of the 20th century, which just one reason to check out this classic tale of romance between a carousel operator and a millworker.
CatsWatch It On: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube ($4 to rent)
If you're looking for a slightly less bonkers version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical than the 2019 movie, here you go. It's hard to deny the inherent silliness of the costumes and the overall concept (a bunch of cats singing about ... being cats), but Elaine Paige's rendition of "Memory" is still a tearjerker.
Newsies: The Broadway MusicalWatch It On: Disney+, or rent it on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, or YouTube ($3-$4 to rent)
Fans of the 1992 Christian Bale movie (and fans of flat caps) will get a kick out of the Broadway musical version of Newsies, which was filmed in 2016. The show about the Newsboys' Strike of 1899 won Tonys for choreography and original score, and includes several new songs that weren't in the movie.
The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert HallWatch It On: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube ($4 to rent)
Broadway's longest-running musical (13,370 shows and counting, once New York City theaters reopen in 2021) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a 2011 performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Now well into its third decade, Phantom's spectacle still has the power to thrill an audience — even one watching at home.
Rent: Filmed Live on BroadwayWatch It On: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube ($13 to buy)
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In Rent, young bohemians struggle to find love and create art in the face of poverty and AIDS. It won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Musical, and last year celebrated the 20th anniversary of its national tour. The recording of the stage musical captures the energy of the show in a way the 2005 feature film doesn't.
Shrek: The MusicalWatch It On: Netflix, or rent from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or Vudu for $4
Brian d'Arcy James (who played King George in the first, Off-Broadway iteration of Hamilton, by the way) stars as the titular ogre with layers in this 2013 recording of the Tony-nominated show. Just like in the hit movie, Shrek and his noble steed Donkey are charged by Lord Farquaad with rescuing Princess Fiona from a tower in exchange for Shrek receiving the deed to his swamp. It's good, family-friendly fun all around.