If you’re a musical theater fan and you’re not watching the new NBC drama Rise yet, you definitely should be. (And lucky you: it’s available on NBC, Hulu, Viceland and Yahoo View.) The story is loosely based on the wild success of the theater program at the very real Harry S. Truman High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
While the series has caught some flack recently, as a musical theater fan, I am a smidgen more willing to be forgiving of its shortcomings and embrace its potential. I’m sure that in time, if allowed to flourish, the show will find its footing. The only insurmountable problem I see with this series is that I have to wait an entire week before each new episode is released.
Thankfully there are more than enough live action musicals available to stream to quench my thirst while I wait (Seven! Agonizing! Days!) for the next episode. Here are 39 of them that you might want to check out if you’re a fan like me!
Nine — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
This cast is insane. (In the absolute best way.) Period.
Mary Poppins — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Mary Poppins was the first experience with live-action musicals for many of us and will always hold a dear place in our hearts.
Chicago — Amazon Prime/Hulu/DirecTV Now/Starz
Five, six, seven, eight! Upon rewatching this 2002 musical adaptation, I was surprised how well it has stood the test of time. Still just as good as it was when it came out.
Meet Me In St. Louis — Warner Instant
Catch this 1944 classic if you’re into dancing the hoochie coochie with Judy Garland.
Singin’ in the Rain — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Sure, Gene Kelly’s “the guy.” But for me, sidekick Donald O’Connor steals this show in a big, big, way.
Newsies — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Newsboys strike and a young Christian Bale sings and dances. Who else is showing up for that?
Cabaret — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray star in Cabaret in what are possibly their most iconic roles.
42nd Street — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Following a young small-town woman in search of Broadway stardom, 42nd Street will put you in the mood for even more singing and dancing.
Moulin Rouge — Starz
Even though the music here was not written expressly for this film, Moulin Rouge is undoubtedly a favorite on many people’s lists.
The Young Girls of Rochefort — Film Struck
It’s French, it’s visually stunning, it’s got Gene Kelly, and you won’t regret a minute of it!
The Sound of Music — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
This list would not be complete without the iconic The Sound of Music.
Swing Time — Film Struck
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in Swing Time, a tale of love, gambling, and of course a little dancing.
South Pacific — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Set during World War II, this musical follows several American service members during their time stationed in the South Pacific.
West Side Story — HBO/Tribeca Short List
This re-telling of the Romeo and Juliet story is an all time classic. Despite the fact that in modern times the film has faced some criticism due to casting, it is still a great watch.
The Wizard of Oz — DirecTV Now
I know I can’t be the only one who, as a kid, sang Over the Rainbow while pretending to be Dorothy. Right?
The Umbrellas of Cherboug — Film Struck
More of an opera, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is probably one of the more melancholy on this list. It’s also truly visually arresting.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers — Film Struck
Despite the somewhat ridiculous premise, this classic is actually a pretty fun one to sing along with.
Grease — Starz/DirecTV Now
Grease may well just be the most popular musical feature length film of all time — and for good reason. One of my absolute favorite numbers here is Rizzo’s There Are Worse Things I Could Do.
Grease 2 — Starz/Epix
There’s a lot of controversy over Grease 2 and whether or not it’s “worth it.” Just know that all those naysayers are flat-out wrong. It’s brilliant and utterly watchable. If you don’t find yourself walking away humming Cool Rider or struggling to get We’re Gonna Score Tonight out of your head? Then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
La La Land — HBO
Happy endings, schmappy schmendings. No matter what, La La Land is a beautiful throwback to musical cinema of yesteryear.
Down with Love — HBO/Cinemax
It’s no Chicago, and it’s no Moulin Rouge, but it is super fun and the sets and costumes are perfection.
The Greatest Showman — Rent or buy from $4.99 and up.
If you haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet, then I have a very stern warning for you: You’re going to love it.
Hairspray — HBO
Hairspray just makes you feel good and dares you not to tap your foot along.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — Popcorn Flix
The opening number was written out and that’s literally my only issue with this very moody remake of The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
An American in Paris — Film Struck/TCM
Another Gene Kelly vehicle, An American in Paris is not my favorite of his work. But it does have some great moments that are definitely worth re-watching.
Les Miserables — FX/Fox
Dark, sweeping, and downright depressing at times, Les Miserables is one of the most successful broadway musicals of all time. This remake is no less epic. On top of all that, each and every song is said to be performed live for the cameras.
Dreamgirls — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Like so many musicals, this one is about performers dreaming of making it big in the entertainment industry. Dreamgirls is also the picture that won Jennifer Hudson her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Mamma Mia! — Cinemax
With the sequel coming out this year, it’s a good time to refresh your memory with a rewatch. Trust me, you’ll never regret it.
The Music Man — Film Struck
The Music Man is the story of a swindler arriving in River City, Iowa and attempting to do what all swindlers do best at the expense of River City’s hapless residents. The result is a classic musical that everyone will enjoy!
Evita — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Madonna and Antonio Banderas star in this tribute to the life of Argentina’s Eva Perón.
The Band Wagon — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Fred Astaire with Cyd Charisse is really something to behold, as is this truly underrated film from MGM.
Victor/Victoria — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
You may not be familiar with Victor/Victoria, so get ready to see Julie Andrews as you’ve never seen her before.
White Christmas — Netflix
I know it’s not even close to Christmas yet, but what people seem to forget about White Christmas is that it’s not just a holiday film — it’s also a darn good movie.
Rock of Ages — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Directed by Adam Shankman (of So You Think You Can Dance fame), Rock of Ages has the distinction of being the only musical on this list to star Tom Cruise in a leading role. Despite its lukewarm reception, this is not a terrible way to spend a couple of hours.
Little Shop of Horrors — Amazon Prime
Very campy, but utterly enjoyable. Suddenly Seymour is probably one of my all time favorite songs from a musical.
Rocky Horror Picture Show — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
A yearly tradition for many, the Rocky Horror Picture Show stars Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry in iconic roles that made their respective careers.
Phantom of the Opera — Hulu
Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum star in this adaptation of the famed Broadway musical.
The King and I — Cinemax
Yul Brynner is the titular King in this classic and well-costumed tale of a schoolteacher sent to teach the young children of the King of Siam.
Reefer Madness — Amazon Prime/PopcornFlix
If you thought Kristen Bell got her musical start in Frozen, then you’ve got another thing coming. Reefer Madness is set in a place that is far, far… far away from Arendelle.