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9 Recent Broadway Shows You Can Watch at Home

Whether you live far from NYC or just want to save a few hundred bucks, you can catch these theatrical gems from the comfort of your own sofa

spinner image The cast of the Broadway show Purlie Victorious onstage during the opening night curtain call at The Music Box Theatre
Director Kenny Leon and the cast of "Purlie Victorious" during the opening night curtain call at The Music Box Theatre on Sept. 27, 2023 in New York City.
Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Broadway is rebounding since the 18-month pandemic shutdown. Average ticket prices last season hit an all-time high of $128. And there’s just so much to see: a whopping 39 plays and musicals opening in the 2023-’24 season. But you’re in luck. An increasing number of recent shows — from Pulitzer-winning musicals to whip-smart comedy specials to innovative concerts — have been filmed for posterity, and many are making their way online to your favorite streaming platforms. Here’s a watch list of nine streaming Broadway shows to scratch the theater-loving itch until the next time you’re in New York.

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The show: Diana: The Musical

Why you should watch: Musical fans hold a special fondness for notorious flops, including this 2021 Princess Diana biomusical, cowritten by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan, 62, and the Tony-winning writer of Memphis, Joe DiPietro, 63. It lasted only 25 previews and 34 post-opening performances, but it developed an instant cult-hit status, with special kudos reserved for lead actress Jeanna de Waal. As Juan A. Ramirez wrote in The New York Times: “Was Diana tasteful or poetic? Definitely not. But it was fun. Remember fun?” A filmed version was recorded for posterity, and critics weren’t much kinder: In fact, it went on to be nominated for nine Golden Raspberry Awards (the anti-Oscars) and won for worst picture, director, actress, supporting actress and screenplay.

You’ll love it if you like: The Crown, tabloid magazines, and swing-for-the-fences flops like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Watch it: Diana: The Musical on Netflix

The show: Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool

Why you should watch: You might know Birbiglia from his many stand-up specials or films (Trainwreck) and TV shows (Orange Is the New Black). He made his Broadway debut with the 2018 one-man show The New One (on Netflix), about his unlikely path to parenthood. In his 2022 follow-up, which premiered with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company before transferring to Lincoln Center, Birbiglia goes darker and deeper, with a (still very funny!) show about aging, anxiety, mortality and his family’s medical history. The show earned the comedian outstanding solo performance honors from the Drama Desk Awards and the Outer Critics Circle.

You’ll love it if you like: the confessional storytelling style of Jim Gaffigan, 57, or David Sedaris, 67.

Watch it: Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool on Netflix

The show: Mr. Saturday Night: A New Musical Comedy

Why you should watch: Three decades after releasing the film of the same name, Billy Crystal, 76, adapted Mr. Saturday Night into a new musical, which hit the Broadway stage in 2022 with music by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown, 53 (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County). A Tony winner of his own for his one-man show 700 Sundays, Crystal stars as Buddy Young Jr., a stand-up comedian who hit it big in the early days of television and tries to reclaim his former glory 40 years later. David Paymer, 69, who received an Oscar nod for his role in the film, returns for the stage version, alongside Randy Graff, 69, and Shoshana Bean, who’s currently earning raves this season in the Alicia Keys musical Hell’s Kitchen.

You’ll love it if you like: borscht belt humor and Crystal’s old-timer charisma.

Watch it: Mr. Saturday Night: A New Musical Comedy on BroadwayHD

The show: Come From Away

Why you should watch: This feel-good tearjerker of a musical seemed to come out of nowhere when it took the Broadway season by storm in 2017: Its Canadian creators, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, had previously only written the Fringe festival hit My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. Based on true events, Come From Away is set in the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the week after the September 11 attacks, when 38 planes were forced to land and the townspeople sprang into action to help 7,000 stranded passengers. It’s a cleverly scrappy production, with a cast of 12 playing myriad passengers, flight crew, volunteers and more, and the unabashedly uncynical tone is a strong reminder of how good people can be to one another when the going gets tough.

You’ll love it if you like: heartwarming human-interest stories and rootsy folk music. 

Watch it: Come From Away on Apple TV+

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The show: Purlie Victorious

Why you should watch: This raucous 1961 Ossie Davis play follows a Black traveling preacher who returns to his segregated Georgia town with the hopes of claiming his cousin’s inheritance, defeating a cruel plantation owner and buying the community’s church. It returned to Broadway last fall in the first major New York production in six decades and earned raves for its star, Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr., and breakout supporting actress Kara Young, who has been nominated for back-to-back-to-back featured actress Tonys for her first three Broadway roles. One of the most critically lauded productions of the season, Purlie Victorious earned six Tony nominations and was recorded to air on PBS as part of its Great Performances program.

You’ll love it if you like: feel-good comedies with a message — and discovering a next-big-thing star at the start of her career.

Watch it: Purlie Victorious on PBS

The show: Waitress: The Musical

Why you should watch: Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles adapted the sweet 2007 indie film of the same name into a lovable 2016 musical with a rare, all-female production team. Diner waitress Jenna is in an abusive relationship, and when she gets pregnant unexpectedly, she begins an affair with her married OB/GYN. Her dream: to parlay her love for inventing creative pies into winning a baking contest and escaping her dead-end life. It originally ran from 2016 to 2020 — meaning it lost all its Tonys to juggernaut Hamilton — but it returned to Broadway for a limited run in 2021 with Bareilles taking on the title role. The return engagement was filmed and shown in theaters, and fans can now stream it online.

You’ll love it if you like: sweet tales of female friendship and the witty lyricism of its creator.

Watch it: Waitress: The Musical on Apple TV, Prime Video

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The Show: American Utopia

Why you should watch: Former Talking Heads singer David Byrne, 72, made a name for himself in the 1970s and ’80s for his innovative and artful approach to pop music, and his outsize spirit of creativity is on full display in this theatrical concert, which British music magazine NME wrote “just may be the best live show of all time.” Byrne is joined onstage by 11 musicians from around the world, who dance, march, sing and play for 100 minutes of perpetual motion. It’s all captured on film by another New York legend, director Spike Lee, 67.

You’ll love it if you like: the 1984 Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense.

Watch it: American Utopia on HBO and Max

The show: What the Constitution Means to Me

Why you should watch it: In this warm and thought-provoking one-woman show, playwright Heidi Schreck, 52, recreates Constitutional debate speeches she delivered as a teen to earn scholarship money from the American Legion. You’ll learn a ton about the namesake founding document, as well as immigration, women’s equality, domestic abuse and the Supreme Court — topics that seem more important than ever just before the election. The show went on to be nominated for best play at the Tonys and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

You’ll love it if you like: the Emmy-winning special Nanette by Australian stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby.

Watch it: What the Constitution Means to Me on Prime Video

The show: We Are Freestyle Love Supreme

Why you should watch: Back while he was working on In the Heights in 2005, Lin-Manuel Miranda cofounded the improvisational hip-hop comedy musical group Freestyle Love Supreme, with a rotating cast that included Wayne Brady, 51, and Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs and Chris Jackson. They brought their show to Broadway in 2019-2020, but if you missed the brief run, watch the Hulu documentary on it, which includes behind-the-scenes footage and performances.

Watch it: We Are Freestyle Love Supreme on Hulu

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