Sometimes singing aloud, alone, in the shower just doesn’t quite cut it. For those musical fans who know every single line from Wicked or Rent by heart, then, there’s thankfully an easy way to get your song-and-dance fix without breaking the bank: simply by turning to Netflix. The streaming platform may be better known for binge-worthy thriller series like The Haunting of Hill House or documentary shows like Making a Murderer, but within its vast archives, it also has a surprisingly comprehensive collection of musicals, past and present.
From 1954’s White Christmas, which stars Hollywood legends Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, to more recent hits like 2015’s Sing Street, Netflix boasts an impressive range of musicals that really show how the genre has changed over the years — and, more importantly, how there is a musical for every mood, taste and viewer.
For those who have little ones (or are simply young at heart), Netflix has a whole treasure trove of animated flicks ranging from Pocahontas to Moana, Hercules to Prince of Egypt, as well as slightly more grown-up fare like The Nightmare Before Christmas, which will likely land a little differently for those who watched the movie classics as kids.
Modern hits like Mamma Mia! (pre-Cher) and the live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast are also available for streaming. Classics like Phantom of the Opera and Newsies are among Netflix’s collection as well, so consider your weekend plans set from now through the end of the calendar year.
Ahead, see what other gems are lurking in Netflix’s archives, and get ready to settle in for some musical magic.1 of 14
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga (2020)2 of 14
In this comedy, Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams)
are a musical duo called Fire Saga, who are looking to snag the first Eurovision win for Iceland for the first time in the beloved competition's history. For those Eurovision nerds (and newbies) who are looking for some pretty catchy music and seriously funny comedy, this wild ride is for you.
White Christmas (1954)3 of 14
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney star in this wintry classic, featuring bungled romance, WWII, and two sets of dancing and singing duos. Perfect for sipping hot cocoa and laughing and singing along whilst listening to the ever-iconic baritone crooning of Crosby and crew.
Pocahontas (1995)4 of 14
Disney hit it big with 1995’s Pocahontas, which tells the tale of an English soldier, John Smith (voiced by Mel Gibson, who knew?) who falls in love with the daughter of an Algonquin chief, Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) amid colorful scenes of song and dance. Think West Side Story or Grease or Romeo and Juliet or any number of other star-crossed lovers, only this time, with a wise willow tree and a raccoon in tow.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)5 of 14
Gerard Butler’s first critical role arguably began behind this mask. As the titular Phantom in 2004’s The Phantom of the Opera, the Scottish native flexed his vocal muscles and proved to be a worthy counterpart to Emmy Rossum’s soaring soprano voice. Ideal viewing for those who like their voices very, very high or very, very low.
Rent (2005)6 of 14
Those who are true Rentheads will argue that nothing beats seeing the hit Broadway production, about a group of young Bohemians living in New York City’s Lower East Side through the AIDS epidemic of the ‘90s, live, but those who lack the funds will say that watching this 2005 movie rendition is better than nothing at all. And the vocalists on this movie rendition, including Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel and Rosario Dawson, are nothing to scoff at either.
Mamma Mia! (2008)7 of 14
In this stage-to-screen adaptation of the highly popular ABBA musical, Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried sing and prance through Greece (as one does when the soundtrack to your life is made up of ABBA hits) while Seyfried’s character tries to figure out which handsome movie star — Colin Firth, Stellan Sarsgard, or Pierce Brosnan — is her true father.
The Last Five Years (2015)8 of 14
Anna Kendrick strikes again! In The Last Five Years, Kendrick plays a struggling actress who is trying to piece together the, well, last five years she spent with her boyfriend, a novelist played by disarmingly handsome Jeremy Jordan. Their stories are presented chronologically out of order, with songs of love and heartbreak and love again dominating the screen, so be sure to keep the Kleenex nearby.
Moana (2016)9 of 14
Strong female lead? Check. Catchy songs and memorable one liners? Check, check, and check. In Moana, the titular character’s island is about to be hit by a curse made by the Demigod Maui (a confident, booming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), and she overcomes all sorts of obstacles and villains without even breaking a sweat. A good role model for young girls and not-so-young girls alike.
Sing (2016)10 of 14
This animated flick is super jam-packed with stars, and stellar singing voices besides. With a cast that reads like a who’s who in Hollywood — Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly, just to name a few — part of the fun of watching Sing is trying to match voices to names.
Newsies (2017)11 of 14
Before he was Batman, Christian Bale was Jack Kelly, the spunky lead in the 1992 flick Newsies, about a group of ragtag newsboys who go on strike after a corrupt city official tries to exploit their labor. The original movie was then turned into a Broadway musical starring Supergirl's Jeremy Jordan, which is on Netflix so you can learn all the choreography.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)12 of 14
Ever winter needs its magic, and with the end of the Harry Potter series, fantasy fans can still get their Emma Watson fix by watching 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, in which the British actress stars opposite Dan Stevens. Josh Gad and Ewan McGregor make for fun easter egg voices to identify (as LeFou and Lumiere, respectively) throughout the aesthetically stunning, orally pleasing film.
The Nutcracker (1993)13 of 14
Consider this a great, easy go-to for the holiday season. Though The Nutcracker has been around for decades now, and will be remade this winter as The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, the story never gets old: On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie falls asleep after a party at her home and begins to dream about giant mice, dancing candy, and a Nutcracker who turns out to be a Prince (spoiler alert). Heartwarming enough even for the Grinchiest of spirits.
Opening Night (2016)14 of 14
In case you were wondering what J.C. Chasez is up to these days, wonder no longer. He, along with a rather respectable cast including Topher Grace, Anne Heche, Taye Diggs, and Rob Riggle, star in Opening Night, a modern musical about, well, musical theater. Grace plays a failed singer-turned-production-manager whose job it is to wrangle a cast of oddball, eccentric wannabes. Great for a light night of laughs and one-liners.
A cast that includes everyone from Justin Timberlake to Anna Kendrick to Gwen Stefani may sound too eclectic to be true, but with 2016’s Trolls, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars come together to give voice to the dolls most millennials remember from their childhood (they had gems as belly buttons, remember?). Russell Brand, James Corden, and Jeffrey Tambor are just a few more bold-faced names who make cameos in this story about a curmudgeon who has to help a super happy troll find her friends.