Hamilton has been headlining the news lately, since it's due to drop on Disney Plus on July 3rd. But what you may not realize is that a lot of recordings of other great plays and musicals are also available online! Check out this list to learn more about the plays and musicals you can watch from the comfort of your own home.
These sites are not affiliated with the Alachua County Library District, and some cost money; we'll note that in bold on each entry. However, there are a lot of great resources available from your library for theater fans! If you want to check out books on theater, such as Hamilton: The Revolution, you can search our physical collection from the search bar at the top of the page, or check out our eBook service Overdrive. We also have CDs of musical cast recordings, and Freegal offers totally free, yours-forever downloads of music in the Sony catalog. You can learn more about music with Lynda, or start to understand international musicals with Transparent Language.
If you're not sure where to start, Filmed On Stage is it! Filmed On Stage isn't a streaming platform itself--instead, Filmed On Stage keeps a catalog of plays and musicals that are available online, and provides links on where to find them. This can be really helpful if you're looking for something specific, or if you want to browse and get an idea of what's out there. If you click on the "Free Shows" link at the top, Filmed On Stage is keeping a constantly-updated list of shows that are currently being offered for free. Since a lot of shows are made free for a limited period, this can be a great way to make sure you don't miss out. Filmed On Stage is a free website that links to other, paid services.
Broadway HD is Broadway's version of Netflix--it's convenient, you can watch it on just about any device, and there's a broad selection available for a monthly fee. If you're looking for anything coming out of New York (and a decent amount of what's coming out of the West End), you might want to make this your go-to. I personally recommend Puffs, an off-Broadway parody of Harry Potter that is a must-see for Harry Potter fans. This is a paid service.
Great Performances is a show PBS has been producing for 47 seasons now, and it's literally just a show where they show filmed performances. Great Performances has a lot of recordings or productions that aren't available on other services. There are a few ways to watch performances via this service. If you have television, you can catch episodes of Great Performances on our local PBS affiliate, WUFT; if you have some sort of service that lets you record live TV (like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Tivo, Slingbox or others), that can also be an option. You can also watch it on streaming, but you'll have to sign up for streaming. We're really looking forward to watching the recording of Much Ado About Nothing; it's a version of the Shakespeare play set in Georgia, starring Danielle Brooks (Orange Is The New Black). Streaming is a paid service.
A Youtube channel (owned by Universal) for various clips and content related to musicals, The Shows Must Go On! has been premiering a rotating selection of full performances each week. This is one to keep up with, since the show on offer changes each week. This is on a free service.
Started at the University of Michigan with The Very Potter Musical, Starkid are a theatre troupe that specialize in creating musical parodies. This librarian recommends, of course The Very Potter Musical and its sequel, A Very Potter Sequel, but there's a range of shows to appeal to everyone. This is on a free service.
A streaming service for plays, musicals, opera, and ballet, fans of international theater will enjoy this one; most of the productions are British, but there's selections from Russia, Japan, and other countries as well. Fans of Shakespeare will like this one. This is a paid service.
Also British plays, but different ones! Doctor Who fans are going to want to look around both of these services, to catch some of their Doctors in incredible Shakespearian roles. This is a paid service.
Do you like experimental theater? Well, if you do, there's a streaming service for you! This is a paid service.
These are just a few places to start; new recorded performances are showing up online all the time. Fans of live drama might also find themselves drawn to live radio dramas, such as those found on LA Theater Works, which offers audio-only recordings of plays, or you might want to dive into the wonderful world of podcasts.