FOR THESPIANS, there’s no substitute for coming together to watch a show in real time. But with live performances across the nation canceled or postponed, we’ll have to take theatre where we can get it for now: through a screen. Luckily, there’s never been a better time to binge-watch those classic productions you’ve been meaning to see.

Streaming services including Broadway HD, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and others bring film adaptations of popular plays and musicals, as well as recorded stage productions and live solo performances, directly to your living room. Here’s a roundup of reasonably priced, high-quality streaming services providing theatre at home.


YouTube offers a free option for those in need of a quick theatre fix, with several professional companies providing limited-time postings from their archives. The National Theatre in London boasts one of the best collections of high-quality recorded stage productions in the world. The company is now streaming full-length plays every Thursday through its YouTube playlist, National Theatre at Home. The series allows a week of free access to every production posted.

Each fortnight (that’s every two weeks for those unfamiliar with the Bard’s language), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre also will release a free production on YouTube. Upcoming titles include HamletRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

If you prefer musicals, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is sharing one production from his personal canon each week on the YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On! Recordings are posted at 2 p.m. EDT every Friday and remain active for 48 hours.

You can also view Stars in the House, a new show on The Actors Fund’s YouTube channel that airs live musical performances by theatre stars daily at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. EDT. Performers including Billy Porter and Audra McDonald have given mini-concerts on this Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley-hosted show.


Viewers can stream a selection of PBS shows and concerts from the Live from Lincoln Center and Great Performances series for free through May 27. Available titles currently include The Sound of Music Live!, Shakespeare in the Park’s Much Ado About Nothing, and concerts by performers including Sutton Foster and Cynthia Erivo. When you donate at least $5 per month to your local PBS station, you also can access PBS Passport, a digital on-demand library that includes the Masterpiece collection.


Many U.S. public libraries offer access to digital film collections with no fees or ads. One example is kanopy, which provides a wide collection of independent films, including adaptations or recordings of Shakespeare and other theatre productions, as well as actor spotlights. Check your library website for participation in kanopy or similar digital platforms.


BroadwayHD provides more than 300 titles (Broadway and otherwise) to choose from, with new selections added monthly. A subscription costs $8.99 a month or $99.99 a year but, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service is offering a free seven-day trial.

You can watch full-length, critically acclaimed productions on demand, including Kinky BootsBye Bye BirdieThe King and ICats, and The Phantom of the Opera. BroadwayHD also hosts the full catalog of American Film Theatre, a mid-1970s project that created high-quality film versions of great American plays to screen at movie theatres across the United States.


For buffs of classic British performances, Digital Theatre provides an assortment of plays from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Old Vic plus modern must-sees such as the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Into the Woods. You can also find productions of shows by American playwrights, such as Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

For a well-rounded performing arts experience, Digital Theatre also hosts opera, dance, and classical music performances. Subscriptions are approximately $12.50 per month.


Marquee TV, a U.K.-based, multigenre streaming service, expanded to the United States in early 2020. Designed for culture lovers and the art-curious, the service offers masterpieces of theatre, dance, opera, music, and documentary film. Its theatre category includes productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, and more. After a 30-day free trial (expanded in response to recent world events), viewers can continue streaming for $8.99 a month.


Amazon Prime’s collection of theatre classics rivals that of more specialized platforms. For example, viewers can stream at least seven different versions of King Lear and two versions of Into the Woods. Its collection also includes titles from the BBC’s Shakespeare archive, including John Cleese’s The Taming of the Shrew, as well as many musicals including ChicagoFiddler on the RoofCinderellaNewsies, and The Wizard of Oz. Amazon Prime costs $119 a year, but you can sign up for just Prime Video for $8.99 per month. A 30-day free trial is available.


You can enjoy adaptations of several Broadway shows on the popular Netflix platform, such as Shrek the MusicalJersey BoysAmerican Son, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. You can start streaming Netflix with a free 30-day trial and continue for $8.99 a month.


Following in the grand tradition of radio plays, L.A. Theatre Works has recorded more than 500 live performances, from Shakespeare to Arthur Miller. Each week, LATW offers a free broadcast via public radio stations across the country, but you also can purchase individual podcasts, streaming audio, and radio shows for $4.99 each.


For a limited time, Audible Theater is offering free audio versions of recent stage productions narrated by original cast members, from Lauren Gunderson’s The Half-Life of Marie Curie to John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons to Sean Hayes in David Javerbaum’s An Act of God. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial subscription, followed by $14.95 per month.

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