Nothing can compare to live theater electrified by dancing, singing performers who can make music soar to the rafters. Theater productions are a holiday tradition that will be sorely missed by many this year. But there’s some good news: for the first time, several of the most in-demand holiday productions can be watched on a screen in your home – many of them for free – bringing new life to the spectaculars and nostalgia we’ve been relishing in since childhood. Below, a highlight of productions you can watch or stream:
One Night Only: The Best of Broadway (December 10 | 8pm ET) – NBC
This one promises to be a legendary night, with appearances from the biggest stars to hit stage and screen: Kristen Bell, Billy Porter, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Groban, Nathan Lane, Alanis Morissette, Kelly Clarkson, Patti LaBelle, Annaleigh Ashford, Lance Bass…and two guys who’ve married the same woman: Jerry O’Connell and John Stamos!
They’ll be joining Broadway’s singers and dancers who’ve been cooped up all year waiting for their moment, this moment, to sing out. Hosted by Tina Fey and featuring performances from the casts of Ain’t Too Proud, Chicago, Jagged Little Pill, Jersey Boys and Mean Girls.
Watch this one on your biggest screen, lights off. It’s your free front row orchestra seat at some of the greatest shows of Broadway’s recent season. You’ll be reminded of how magical a Broadway production can be, and with sneak peeks of upcoming shows, get excited for the in-real-life experience we have to look forward to. Follow it up with our exclusive: Josh Groban’s Binge Watch Playlist.
The Tony-nominated Broadway musical is now a Ryan Murphy film with an all-star cast of crowd-pleasers including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, James Corden and Andrew Rannells. It’s the story of Emma, a teenage lesbian in small-town Indiana who just wants to take her girlfriend to the prom, and a group of washed up Broadway stars who come to her defense. The Prom will be a delight to Glee and Pose fans, as well as those missing Broadway and live theater.
Who’s Holiday! (December 11–15) – BroadwayCares.org
This one promises to be laugh-out -loud funny as childhood memories get revised. It’s the story of Cindy Lou, 40 years later, living in a trailer park. Spoiler alert: She’s not so cute anymore. What happened? She recalls the first night she met the Grinch.
You can watch this one with the whole family, or at least tweens and up, if they’re ready to have their memories laughably shaken.
Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure (December 19 – January 1) ChicagoShakes.com
Who really wants to be a grown up in 2020? Singing, dancing, and flying through the air is always wonderful, especially when it’s on a theater stage. In this case, Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater, filmed in 2018, delivers a new twist on the musical based on J.M. Barrie’s beloved tale – with more dancing than previous productions.
For more than a decade in 50s and 60s, Peter Pan starring Mary Martin was an annual televised event. Chicago Shakes’ “Musical Adventure” will bring back the seasonal nostalgia for those who remember it while delighting younger generations with a fresh adaptation.
A Christmas Carol (December 1–24) MilwaukeeRep.com
The Dickens classic is retold with music, dancing, spooky lighting and imaginative set design, giving it a cinematic quality. Filmed at Milwaukee Rep in 2016, this adaptation from Mark Clements brings a refreshing and colorful take on the seasonal favorite that also happens to be free.
Yearly Departed (December 30) Prime Video
Terrible times feel better in hindsight, especially if you can laugh at them. Just in time for a New Year’s Eve that’s sure to be as weird as the lost year it’s wrapping, female comics eulogize 2020. Hosted by Two Dope Queens Phoebe Robinson, the line-up includes Tiffany Haddish and Sarah Silverman. It’s a comedy concert with smart, pretty, funny women. Misogynists need not tune in.
Disney Holiday Singalong (November 30 – December 31) ABC/Hulu
A kickoff to the holiday season with favorites for every generation, belted out by the best voices: Andrea Bocelli, Pink, Michael Bublé, Kerry Washington, and even BTS join Broadway and touring cast members from The Lion King, Aladdin, and Frozen. Get excited for the rendition of “Let It Go”…which should be the official year end song of 2020.