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32 Theater Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now

March 30, 2020 by Abby Bien
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While we’re not able to go to the theater right now — there are so many other ways to experience the stage and behind-the-scenes magic. We’ve compiled 32 of our fave theater documentaries that are available to stream. Take a look at our list, pick your doc, and pass the time with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carol Channing, Stephen Sondheim, and (way) more.

Go to the theatre and see a show with TodayTix.

An Interview with Arthur Miller 
Arthur Miller’s one of America’s most prolific writers — hello “Death of a Salesman,” “All My Sons,” and “The Crucible” — and he was also married to Marilyn Monroe. Watch him talk about that and more in this intimate interview from his home in Connecticut. 

Watch it on Broadway HD

Bathtubs Over Broadway
While working as a writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman,” comedian Steve Young became obsessed with bizarre cast recordings from Broadway-style musicals about American corporations (think General Electric, McDonald’s, and Xerox). This interest led to a quest, and his quest led to this feel-good doc. 

Watch it on Netflix

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened 
This TodayTix staff fave follows the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” and the young cast that was forever changed by the musical and the experience.

Watch it on Netflix

Broadway Idiot
“American Idiot” is definitely the most punk rock musical Broadway’s ever seen. This documentary follows Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong as his hit album is transformed into a a rock-stars-meet-stage-stars musical blast. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Broadway or Bust
We love the Jimmy Awards here at TodayTix. This three-part series follows one year of contestants from the moment they all arrive in New York City for the program’s intensive training and rehearsals to the moment they all make their Broadway stage debuts. 

U.S.: Watch it on PBS

Broadway: The Golden Age
Watch this doc and you’ll get to see over 100 interviews with Broadway legends like Angela Lansbury and Elaine Stritch. Filmmaker Rick Mckay leads this oral history about the golden age of theater in NYC — the 1940s and 50s. 

U.S.: Rent it on iTunes

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
Speaking of Broadway legends. Debbie Reynolds, Barbara Walters, Lily Tomlin, and more celebrate the original Dolly Levi and stage superstar Carol Channing.

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Corpus Christi 
A controversial production of Terrence McNally’s play is chronicled from the show’s start in a small church to a journey across America. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
As the OG Joanne in “Company” nears her 87th birthday, a documentary crew films her thoughts about mortality and retirement — and her rehearsals for a new show. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Every Little Step
You can’t have a list of theater documentaries without this one. “Every Little Step” chronicles the casting process for the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line.” It’s the most meta must-watch.

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon.

Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles
This doc uncovers rare rehearsal footage from the original 1964 Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and contains interviews with legends about the show’s impact on musical theater and the world itself. 

Rent or buy it on Amazon

Freestyle Love Supreme
Way before there was “Freestyle Love Supreme” on Broadway with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, and more — the freestyle rap group was performing all around NYC. This new documentary takes a look at the one-of-a-kind show throughout the years.

Watch it on Hulu July 17.

The Frog Princes 
This documentary follows a Montreal theater as they rehearse an adaptation of “The Princess and the Frog.” Everyone in the cast is an actor with a disability and the film centers on the lead of the show. His name is Ray-Man. He has Down syndrome, and he is your new favorite person. 

U.S.: Rent it on Vimeo

Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway
Interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda, cast members from the original production, and more put the spotlight on parts of the show’s once-in-a-lifetime journey to Broadway that you’ve never seen before.

Rent it on Amazon.  

In the Company of Actors 
When Cate Blanchett took on the title role in “Hedda Gabler” at BAM in New York, you bet there was a documentary crew there to capture the behind-the-scenes of the risk-taking production. 

Rent it on iTunes

It Takes a Lunatic
Both the co-founder of the American Place Theater and an innovative and provocative artist, Wynn Handman’s life is worthy of a documentary. Good thing this deep dive into his career came out last year. 

Watch it on Netflix

The Last Impresario
Michael White has produced 300+ shows and movies in London. This documentary shines a spotlight on the impresario (someone who organizes the business-side of a show) and his process. 

Rent it on Amazon

Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods
In 2008, the Broadway musical “Legally Blonde” needed a new Elle Woods. Enter: an MTV competition series for the spot. It’s as ridiculous and addictive as you can imagine. Even better? The only place to watch it online is via many (many) YouTube videos.

Watch it on YouTube

Leonard Soloway’s Broadway
Leonard Soloway’s career in Broadway has spanned over 70 years; with his expertise, he’s helped stage 150 productions that have won over 40 Tony Awards, 21 Drama Desk Awards, and 2 Pulitzer Prizes. This doc tells his story. 

Rent it on Amazon.

Life After Tomorrow
If you like “Encore” on Disney+ you’ll love this. “Life After Tomorrow” is a series of interviews with grown-up women who played the title role in “Annie” as a kid. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Looking For Richard 
A documentary crew follows Al Pacino around while he works on a production of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” There are interviews with other actors, scenes are staged, and you just have to see it all for yourself. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

The Making of West Side Story
This detailed documentary shows the making of the 1985 recording of the entire “West Side Story” score. Did we mention the recording was conducted by the Leonard Bernstein who wrote the music? Yup, it’s pretty special.

Watch it on Broadway HD

Most Valuable Players 
The Freddy Awards are the Jimmy Awards of the Lehigh Valley region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Follow five contestants through their experience and then take a deep dive into Freddy Awards videos on YouTube. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

OT: Our Town
In Compton, a group of inner-city students and their teachers attempt to stage “Our Town” — the school’s first theater production in 20 years. This documentary chronicles the ups and downs of rehearsals and life itself. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years
No big deal, but in 1999 this short documentary film won an Oscar. Get to know the award-winning characters that make up a Jewish senior citizens’ theater group in New York City. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

Romeo Is Bleeding
Poet Donté Clark attempts to transcend the violence in his hometown with poetry. With the help of other youth in the city, he creates an urban adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” to help start a conversation about what his city’s going through. 

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon

ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway 
This doc follows four Broadway shows — “Wicked,” “Taboo,” “Avenue Q,” and “Caroline, Or Change” — through the 2004 Tony Awards season. Featured players include Idina Menzel, Rosie O’Donnell, and Alan Cumming.

Rent or buy it on Amazon

Six by Sondheim
This is one that our TodayTix team talks about all the time. Theater legend and director James Lapine examines the life and career of one of the best that Broadway’s got: Stephen Sondheim.

U.S.: Watch it on HBO or rent it on Amazon

Spettacolo
Escape to a tiny Tuscan town and watch as villagers confront their issues in a totally unique and perfectly dramatic way: They stage a play about themselves. It’s an annual tradition in this little village and this doc makes it easy to see why. 

U.S.: Watch it on Amazon.

Stagedoor
This is the perfect break from reality. Graduates of this camp in the Catskills include Robert Downey Jr., Natalie Portman, and the five teenagers who are featured in this documentary. 

U.S.: Rent it on Vimeo

The Standbys
Understudies and standbys are an essential part of any show. This doc highlights the skill and talent required for any actor hired to be an understudy and chronicles the experiences of three performers as they do just that.

U.S.: Rent it on iTunes

Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life
Just last week, the prolific American playwright passed away. This must-see documentary celebrates the one-of-a-kind writer and his work, including “Ragtime,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Master Class,” and “Frankie and Johnnie.”

U.S.: Watch it on PBS.

Documentary Now, Season 3 Episode 3: Co-Op

Warning: this is not a real documentary. Rather — it’s an episode of the show “Documentary Now!” which parodies famous documentaries. This episode is a recreation of the famous doc (that’s unfortunately not available to stream) “Original Cast Album: Company.” In the parody version, the fake Broadway company of a fake Broadway show record a fake cast album. John Mulaney may or may not be wearing fake sideburns.

Watch on Netflix.

Waiting For Guffman
The only way to end a list of theater documentaries is with a movie that’s not a theater documentary, right? “Waiting for Guffman” is (in our opinion) the best mockumentary from the best of the best: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and more. It chronicles a community theater production in a small town called Blaine. The show’s about their small town called Blaine. The cast is waiting for a Broadway agent to come see their show and take them to Broadway. They’re still waiting.

U.S.: Rent it on Amazon