The best music films on Netflix: Woodstock, Fyre to Taylor Swift and Lewis CapaldiMay 12 | 4 min read
It made Broadway history when it opened in New York, and now coming-of-age musical 13 is coming to Netflix on Friday 12 August.
Written by Jason Robert Brown, Dan Elish and Robert Horn, 13 was the first and only Broadway musical ever to have a cast and band comprised entirely of teenagers, one of whom – Ariana Grande – went on to global pop stardom.
13: The Musical tells the story of 12-year-old Evan Goldman (Eli Golden), who moves from New York to small-town Indiana following his parents’ divorce. With his 13th birthday approaching, and in a bid to win friends at his new school, Evan decides to throw the best bar mitzvah ever.
But Evan is not the only kid in school suffering from growing pains. While his new friends Patrice (Gabriella Uhl) and Archie (Jonathan Lengel) fret over the fate of the planet and unrequited love respectively, popular cheerleader Lucy (Frankie McNellis) desperately plots to stave off a first kiss between her crush Brett (JD McCrary) and best friend Kendra (Lindsey Blackwell).
To make matters worse, the popular kids aren’t fans of Patrice, and Evan faces a race against time to bring everyone together in time for his party. Suddenly, turning 13 isn’t looking as good as it’s cracked up to be.
Alongside the talented young cast are Rhea Perlman (Cheers, Matilda) as Grandma Ruth, Debra Messing (Will & Grace) as Evan’s mother Jessica, Peter Hermann (Law & Order) as his father Joel and Josh Peck (How I Met Your Father) as Rabbi Shapiro.
Watch 13: The Musical on Netflix now
Movie musicals have been entertaining cinemagoers since the first sound films arrived in the 1920s, and 100 years on the genre is showing no sign of letting up. Here are five of the best recent releases to stream right now, and our selection of classic shows to watch on BT TV...
1. West Side Story
Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks, two rival gangs vying for control of the streets.
Steven Spielberg’s first movie musical was a bold new version of Bernstein and Sondheim’s classic retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in New York’s Upper West Side. Starring Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose and Rito Moreno – who appeared in the 1961 musical movie – the films earned six Oscar nominations, DeBose taking the Best Supporting Actress award home.
Showstopper: Tonight, Maria and America are among the best-loved songs in musical theatre, but Somewhere rises above them all. A duet to forbidden love sung by star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria in the 1961 film, here Spielberg hands it over to Rita Moreno’s new character Valentina, who poignantly reflects on her own interracial romance with Tony’s late confidant, Doc.
More movie musicals on the BT Player
Chicago (2002) - Watch it on the BT Player
The film of Kander & Ebb's parable of scandal became the first musical in 34 years to win the Best Picture Oscar and also earned Catherine Zeta-Jones a statuette.
The Sound of Music (1965) - Watch it on the BT Player
No need to wait for the next bank holiday to enjoy a singalong with the Von Trapps - watch Julie Andrews and a host of your favourite songs on the BT Player.
Evita (1996) - Watch it on the BT Player
After two decades, the film of Rice and Lloyd Webber's musical about the life of Eva Peron hit the cinemas starring Madonna as the tragic Argentinian First Lady.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) - Watch it on the BT Player
Disney's live-action remake of the 1991 animated favourite stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans and features all the memorable songs of the original.
2. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Based on an award-winning stage show which itself was based on a 2011 TV documentary, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the coming-of-age story of Jamie New, a gay 16-year-old from Sheffield who dreams of becoming a drag queen and attending his school prom as his alter-ego Mimi Me despite facing homophobia from the school bully and his own estranged father.
Max Harwood makes his film debut as Jamie, with Sarah Lancashire playing his single mother Margaret and Laurel Patel as his best friend Pritti. Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson and Richard E. Grant also appear.
Showstopper: When his father fails to show up for his birthday party, Jamie’s thoughts turn to their strained relationship and how his memories of a hurtful comment from his childhood are preventing him from being his true self, overcoming The Wall in My Head and proudly wearing the red high heels his mother has given him for his birthday.
Watch Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on Prime Video
More movie musicals on Prime Video
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth star in this unashamedly feelgood Mediterranean musical based on the irresistible hits of 70s stars ABBA.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Epic film starring Topol as Jewish milkman Tevye, faced with finding husbands for his daughters amid revolution and growing antisemitisim in 1900s Ukraine.
West Side Story (1961)
Natalie Wood stars as Maria in the original Oscar-laden film version of Leonard Bernstein's tale of star-crossed lovers torn apart by gang rivalry in 50s New York.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Beloved fantasy adventure starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries and their famous flying car. Sing along - but watch out for the Child Catcher...
3. In The Heights
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the first draft of this musical, set in the Hispanic New York neighbourhood of Washington Heights, while in college and two decades later his colourful characters got to share their dreams of a better life on the big screen.
Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born) stars as narrator and Heights shopkeeper Usnavi, alongside Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead) as his best friend Benny and singer Leslie Grace as Nina. Jimmy Smits (LA Law) appears as Nina’s father Kevin. And keep an eye out for a cameo appearance from Miranda himself.
Showstopper: Over the course of eight-minute opening number In The Heights, Usnavi takes us on a tour of his neighbourhood, introducing his family and friends as he sets the scene for the following two hours of romance, tragedy and celebration.
Stream In The Heights on Sky Cinema with NOW
More movie musicals on Sky Cinema with NOW
Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
Socially awkward Evan's white lie gets out of hand when a school loner apparently names him in his suicide note. Stars Ben Platt, Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.
Loosely based on the story of the Motown record label and one of its biggest acts, the Supremes, Dreamgirls stars Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx.
Ron Moody gives a tour de force as Fagin alongside Oliver Reed, Shani Wallace, Jack Wild and Mark Lester in Lionel Bart's adaptation of Dickens' Oliver Twist.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Judy Garland plays Dorothy Gale, whisked off to Oz to battle the Wicked Witch of the West with her new friends in one of the greatest film musicals of all time.
4. The Prom
A group of washed-up Broadway stars travel to small-town Indiana to support a lesbian student who is being blamed for the cancellation of her high school prom – and give their own careers a boost in the process.
Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman star as the struggling performers, with Jo Ellen Pellman making her film debut as Emma and Arana DeBose (West Side Story) appearing as her girlfriend Alyssa.
Showstopper: Barry’s catchy makeover number Tonight Belongs To You begins as an upbeat confidence-booster for Emma before we see the whole school getting ready for their big night. Then comes the devastating twist – and Emma’s equally devastating reprise - which sets up the second half of the film.
Watch The Prom on Netflix
More movie musicals on Netflix
Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
Les Miserables (2012)
Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks star in this epic adaptation of the West End megahit.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Johnny Depp stars as the titular tonsor who turns his customers into pies with the help of Helena Bonham Carter's Mrs Lovett and Tim Burton's dark directing.
Find out for yourself whether the critics were right about this much-maligned screen version of the Lloyd Webber hit starring Jennifer Hudson and Judi Dench.
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5. The Last Five Years
Cleverly constructed movie musical starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan as Cathy and Jamie, a couple whose brief marriage is coming to an end. The film chronicles their five-year relationship over two timelines, with Jamie’s songs starting when they first meet and moving forwards in time, while Cathy’s story begins when she finds out Jamie has left her and moves backwards to conclude with their first date.
The soundtrack draws on a range of musical styles from pop and jazz to classical and folk, and the 2001 stage show itself is based closely on writer Jason Robert Brown’s own failed marriage – so much so that his ex-wife sued him for violating non-disclosure agreement within their divorce agreement.
Showstopper: As one of the few duets in the movie, the finale Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You packs a punch that hits you right in the guts. After Jamie writes his farewell note, he slinks out of their flat only to find Cathy, aglow with the first flush of love, waiting on his doorstep five years earlier, also saying goodbye, but only - she thinks - until the next time...
Watch The Last Five Years on Prime Video
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