The stars are out in full force this month as the top streaming services offer a number of comforting classics and exciting newcomers featuring a bevvy of Broadway favorites. Among the highlights are the stage-to-screen adaptation of Oslo and several films with close connections to the stage like Back to the Future, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
All titles are available to stream May 1 unless otherwise noted.
Amazon Prime Video
This 2012 thriller centers on an airline pilot who miraculously lands his plane after a mid-flight emergency, only to later find out that who or what was at fault may not be as clear as it initially appeared. Fences Tony Award-winner Denzel Washington stars as pilot Whip Whitaker.
The Underground Railroad (May 14)
Based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning novel, this limited series tracks Cora Randall’s fight for her own freedom in the Antebellum-era South. Thuso Mbedu stars as Cora, leading a cast that includes stage favorites Amber Gray and Lily Rabe.
Trumbo (May 19)
Set in the late 1940s, this film follows the real-life figure of Dalton Trumbo, a top Hollywood screenwriter that finds himself in the crosshairs of Senator Joseph McCarthy for having been an active member of the Communist Party of the USA. All the Way and Network Tony-winner Bryan Cranston stars in the title role, leading a cast that also includes stage favorites Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, and Roger Bart.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Season 2 (May 14)
The students of East High are back and preparing for their next school musical, Beauty and the Beast, in the second season of this series created by Broadway’s Tim Federle. With some new faces—including Broadway’s Roman Banks and Andrew Barth Feldman—a new rival school, and the prospect of winning big at the local school theatre awards, the drama is real and the stakes are high. You can also get caught up with the series’ hit premiere season, currently streaming on Disney+.
Cruella (May 28)
Broadway alum and Academy Award-winner Emma Stone stars alongside Emma Thompson in this new live-action film digging into the backstory of one of Disney’s most infamous villains, Cruella de Vil. Set in 1970s London, the film tracks a young designer named Estella (Stone) whose path crosses with fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Thompson), setting in motion of turn of events that drives Estella to embrace her inner wickedness.
Despite the indefinite suspension of its musical adaptation, this semi-biographical tale of male strippers at a Florida nightclub still hits all the right notes on the screen. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film stars the ab-tastic Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, and Adam Rodriguez. A staged version (separate from the musical), Magic Mike Live, is set to return to London when theatres reopen.
Toni Colette burst into the hearts of millions in 1994 when this film debuted, telling the story of a young, ABBA-obsessed woman who dreams of a fairytale wedding, but struggles to find a groom. With her best friend, she moves to Sydney, where her dreams come true—except that’s when things start to go wrong. A musical adaptation premiered in Sydney in 2017 with plans for a private lab in NYC announced in late 2019.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder stars as the title candy-maker who opens the gates to his marvelous—and mysterious—factory to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. Featuring music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, the Oscar-nominated score features favorites like “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination.” The film is based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which was turned into a film in 2005 (also now available on HBO Max) and then a Broadway musical in 2017.
In Treatment (May 23)
A star-studded cast of theatre luminaries will take over for Season 4 of HBO’s drama, including Uzo Aduba, Anthony Ramos, John Benjamin Hickey, Liza Colón-Zayas. The reboot is set in present-day Los Angeles with therapist Dr. Brooke Taylor treating three patients. Issues such as the global pandemic and recent major social and cultural shifts are a backdrop to the work Brooke will undertake as she simultaneously deals with complications in her personal life.
Oslo (May 29)
The stage-to-screen adaptation of J.T. Rogers’ Tony-winning play stars Olivier winner Andrew Scott and Tony nominee Ruth Wilson. The true story follows one young couple, Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul and her husband social scientist Terje Rød-Larsen, as they planned and orchestrated top-secret, high-level meetings, which culminated in the signing of a historic peace treaty. Bartlett Sher returns to direct after helming the stage production.
With performances from stage favorites Billy Crudup and Philip Seymour Hoffman, this 2000 film from writer-director Cameron Crowe centers on a high school student who gets the opportunity to follow an up-and-coming rock band on tour while writing a story for Rolling Stone. The film received a stage musical adaptation that had its world premiere in 2019 at California’s Old Globe Theatre, and a pre-pandemic casting notice indicated that a Broadway transfer may be in the works.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
While we wait for Tina to return to Broadway, stream this 1993 biopic telling the story of Tina Turner starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as Tina and Ike Turner. Stage favorite Jenifer Lewis also appears as Tina’s mother Zelma.
The Iron Lady (May 2)
Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent take on Margaret and Denis Thatcher in this 2011 biopic centered on the British prime minister. The film is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, probably best known to theatre fans as the director of Mamma Mia! on stage and screen, the latter also starring Streep.
Plan B (May 28)
Stage vet Kuhoo Verma (Octet, Monsoon Wedding) stars in this film about high school student and her best friend’s quest to find a Plan B contraceptive pill after a regrettable first sexual encounter. Directed by Natalie Morales and written by Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy, the film also features performances from Victoria Moroles, Michael provost, Myha’la Herrold, Mason Cook, and Timothy Granderos.
Back to the Future Trilogy
Before the musical version zooms into London’s West End at 88 MPH, check out the original trio of films starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The first installment follows Marty McFly after he accidentally travels back in time to the ‘50s and must make his way back before it’s too late. The soundtrack features hits like “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode,” which made their way into the stage adaptation, who also features a book by co-screenwriter Bob Gale and music by the film’s composer Alan Silvestri.
Halston (May 14)
Ryan Murphy’s limited series about the title fashion designer will explore the rise and fall of the famed atelier. Starring are Ewan McGregror as Halston and Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli, with a number of theatre vets also in the cast, including Tony winner Kelly Bishop, Tony nominee David Pittu, Sullivan Jones, and Bill Pullman.
Girls5Eva (May 6)
Most girl groups might not have the staying power they shoot for but could Girls5eva recapture its glory days? Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry and Tony nominees Sara Bareilles along with Ashley Park, Paula Pell, and Busy Phillips star in this musical sitcom, which promises some huge laughs and boppin’ tunes. The series hails from Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, and Meredith Scardino.