Into the Woods isn’t quite in theatres yet, but just watching the trailer is enough to get any musical theatre nerd hyped. The film promises a fantastic cast singing songs by the absolutely legendary Steven Sondheim, and will likely be one of the biggest releases in the end of 2014. If hearing Meryl Streep singing chill-worthy tunes has put you in the musical mood, these Netflix substitutions should be enough to get you through until Christmas Day. They’re all great, classic musical favorites, and they’re all available for Instant Streaming as a warm-up to the release of Into the Woods, or at your next holiday get-together — because there is nothing more jolly than a singalong.
Funny Face (1957)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire are unforgettable in this film that borrows music from a musical by George Gershwin (though not the plot). Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ll probably recognize Hepburn’s iconic all-black pants-and-turtleneck combo, designed by legendary Edith Head. Many of the elegant gowns, and Hepburn’s gorgeous wedding dress in the film were designed by Givenchy, after Hepburn requested that Hubert de Givenchy design all of her costumes. Unlike in My Fair Lady, Audrey does all her own singing in Funny Face, and keeps up admirably with Astaire’s famous footwork.
The film adaptation of this Broadway favorite includes beautiful performances by Jesse Martin, Rosario Dawson and of course, the absolutely legendary Idina Mendzel. But let’s be honest: you know that. You’ve seen it. You’ve spent at least one evening home alone or with a best friend, deeply emotionally invested in “I’ll Cover You”. Those simple, opening piano chords of “Seasons Of Love” give you chills every time. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.
Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall (2011)
Even if you’ve seen the film adaptation of this musical (you know, the one with Emmy Rossum and her awesome curly hair?) there is truly nothing like seeing it done on stage. And if you don’t have the money to pay for a live performance, you may as well try the next best thing and watch this filmed performance at home, where no one can hear you trying to hit the high note in the title number. Best viewed in the dark, with some red wine and a few candles to capture the setting.
White Christmas (1954)
Irving Berlin’s classic Christmas musical is reinvented every year by local community theatres around this time, but you can enjoy it at home, for free, with friends and family for the perfect Christmas get-together. It’s cute, catchy, and seasonal, and it will put you in the mood for candy canes and kick lines and… Rockettes, maybe. It’s the story of two old war friends who fall in love and end up at a resort owned by their former commanding officer. Predictably, shenanigans ensue. But mostly it’s about Bing Crosby and Christmas and singing, and that’s all you need this time of year.
Into the Woods opens in theaters Christmas Day.