On Thursday, March 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the bright lights of Broadway would go dark for a month. The move isn’t entirely unprecedented – Broadway has closed before. Theaters shuttered for a few days in the wake of 9/11, closed for 19 days during a stagehand strike in 2003 and went dark for 25 days during a musician strike in 1975. This shutdown might be the longest in history for an industry synonymous with the city that doesn’t sleep, but just as Ethel Merman trumpeted in 1946 at the opening of Annie Get Your Gun, “Let’s go on with the show!” – even if the show is happening in your living room.

Street signs reading the intersection of 42nd St and Broadway
With Broadway theaters mandated closed, there are plenty of options to get your live theater fix streaming online © Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty

Today, theater creatives have an opportunity to reach people in myriad ways. Broadway World is partnering with the city’s brightest stars for a series of self-taped concerts. Others are taking to StageIt to live stream cabarets with audience members in real-time. People like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Laura Benanti are using Twitter as an outlet to bring the global theater community together. Most importantly, many Broadway productions are already available for online streaming. Between services like BroadwayHD, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube, it’s never been easier to experience the magic of theater from the comfort of your home.

Here are 12 of the best Broadway plays and musicals you can see without leaving your house.

A woman dances with a sailor on stage
Clare Halse plays Peggy Sawyer in

42nd Street

This 2017 production from London’s West End is an ode to old Broadway and the feel-good medicine we need in modern times. Set during the Great Depression, the show features a bevy of beautiful chorines who tap their troubles away while rehearsing a brand-new Broadway musical. With songs that read like positive affirmations in moments of crisis (“I’m Young and Healthy,” “We’re in the Money”) 42nd Street is just over two hours of squeaky-clean shuffles and sparkling-white teeth.

Where to watch: BroadwayHD

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The titular character in Hedwig, a gender-queer rocker destined to play crummy cabaret stages, gets a botched sex-change operation that leaves him with an “angry inch” and a confusing future. Adapted from its Off-Broadway run into this 2001 cult film directed by writer, director and performer John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig is an uplifting punk-rock musical about someone who picks up the broken pieces of their life and turns them into a beautiful work of art.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, HBO, iTunes

Two men sit at a table on a stage, one smoking.
Max Gordon Moore and Richard Topol in

Indecent

Writer Paula Vogel drew inspiration for this drama from the controversy surrounding the 1923 Broadway production of God of Vengeance, which featured a same-sex kiss between two women. Vogel’s ensemble-driven story follows the cast that risked their lives to tell the tale. This production received the Tony Award for Best Play in 2017.

Where to watch: BroadwayHD

Into the Woods

The original 1987 Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, which intertwines tales from the Brothers Grimm in a psychological exploration of what happens after the happy ending, features iconic performances by Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason and an entire cast of talented stage actors. Most relevant to these times is a question posed near the musical’s end: when the world we know shatters, how do we start building a new one together?

Where to watch: Youtube

People dressed as cats
The original production of

Cats

Grown adults decked in kitty drag prance around for a couple of hours in this acid trip filmed on London’s West End in 1998. Say what you will, but Cats is a cultural phenomenon. The original New York production ran for 18 years – the fourth longest in Broadway history. Critics often fail to comprehend the show’s meaning, and this is precisely why composer Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical is the perfect parable for modern times. Life, like Cats, is nonlinear and rarely makes sense.

Where to watch: BroadwayHD

Little Shop of Horrors

Although the current Off-Broadway production is closed due to current events, you can still watch Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene hamming it up in this cult classic about a Faustian deal made between a flower-shop assistant and a man-eating plant. Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (the composing team behind The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast), this 1986 iteration is a B-movie horror film with a Disney-style facelift.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

A bald man with a moustache and bloody hands
Patrick Stewart plays Macbeth © Courtesy of BroadwayHD

Macbeth

This 2010 version of the Bard’s macabre masterpiece stars Patrick Stewart as the ill-fated Macbeth. The production, set in a Soviet-style asylum that drips with blood from start to finish, is an intriguing introduction for newbies to Shakespeare and an original take for those already familiar with his work.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Broadway HD

Oh, Hello

If you like Big Mouth or Borscht Belt comedy, you’ll love Oh, Hello – a 2016 Broadway play starring John Mulaney and Nick Kroll as two geriatric theater buffs from New York’s Upper West Side who lovingly offend everyone in sight. The two comedians are sketch comedy masters; they inhabit their characters (Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland) with such conviction you’re liable to forget Mulaney and Kroll are the ones cracking the jokes.

Where to watch: Netflix

A man in a hat speaks to a smirking woman
Kevin Kline and Kate Burton in

Present Laughter

Kevin Kline won a Tony Award in 2017 for playing Gary Essendine, a smug matinee idol at the heart of Noel Coward’s quippy play. Present Laughter, a 1942 drawing-room comedy, might be dry for contemporary audiences. Still, Kline exhumes the funny from every line, and even the spaces between them, in a tour-de-force performance deserving of praise.

Where to watch: Broadway HD

The SpongeBob Musical

The colorfully kooky stage version about everyone’s favorite cartoon sponge is a glittery explosion of sunshine. A year after the imaginative Broadway production closed in 2018, Nickelodeon filmed the show with many of the original cast members – including a remarkably flexible Ethan Slater, who flips, leaps, climbs and dances all over the set as the wacky titular character. SpongeBob and his BFFs go on a journey to save Bikini Bottom in a joyous romp that’ll make you smile a mile wide.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

A man and woman dance on stage
Gavin Creel and Jane Krakowski in

She Loves Me

This jewel box of a musical, written in 1963 by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (the team behind Fiddler on the Roof) and revived to perfection in 2016, is a history lesson in the Golden Age of Broadway. (Fun fact: it also happened to be the inspiration for the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks rom-com You’ve Got Mail). Here, the silver-voiced Laura Benanti and dorky-dreamboat Zachary Levi play the two unlikely lovers.

Where to watch: BroadwayHD

Sweeney Todd

Skip the Tim Burton version – composer Stephen Sondheim’s original production about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is far superior. This 1982 staging, starring George Hearn (Sweeney Todd) and original cast member Angela Lansbury (baked to perfection as Mrs. Lovett), is a Penny Dreadful played to operatic proportions with revenge, razzmatazz, and dead people in pies – the perfect late-night snack for theater nerds stuck at home.

Where to watch: BroadwayHD

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