Top 19 Movie Musicals Theatre People Should Watch Now

Written by Tiffany Wilkie

February 7, 2018

We’ve compiled a list of movie musicals from 2000 – present that we feel every theatre person should see.

1. Dancer In The Dark (2000)

Selma (Bjork) is a Czech immigrant, a single mother working in a factory in rural America. Her salvation is her passion for music, specifically, the all-singing, all-dancing numbers found in classic Hollywood musicals. Selma harbors a sad secret: she is losing her eyesight and her son Gene stands to suffer the same fate if she can’t put away enough money to secure him an operation. When a desperate neighbor falsely accuses Selma of stealing his savings, the drama of her life escalates to a tragic finale.

2. Moulin Rouge (2001)

A celebration of love and creative inspiration takes place in the infamous, gaudy and glamorous Parisian nightclub, on the cusp of the 20th century. A young poet (Ewan McGregor), who is plunged into the heady world of Moulin Rouge, begins a passionate affair with the club’s most notorious and beautiful star (Nicole Kidman).

3. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

A transgender punk-rock girl (John Cameron Mitchell) from East Berlin tours the U.S. with her band as she tells her life story and follows the former lover/band-mate who stole her songs.

4. Chicago (2002)

Murderesses Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

5. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

A young soprano (Emmy Rossum) becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. He kidnaps the soprano and forces the owners of the play to keep her as the lead role of the play.

6. The Producers (2005)

After putting together another Broadway flop, down-on-his-luck Producer Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) teams up with timid accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) in a get-rich-quick scheme to put on the world’s worst show.

7. Rent (2005)

This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.

8. Dreamgirls (2006)

A trio of black female soul singers cross (Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and Lorrell Robinson) over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way.

9. Hairspray (2007)

Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

10. Across the Universe (2007)

The music of The Beatles and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for the romance between an upper-class American girl (Evan Rachel Wood) and a poor artist (Jim Sturgess).

11. Once (2007)

A modern-day musical about a busker (Glen Hansard) and an immigrant (Markéta Irglová) and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.

12. Sweeney Todd (2007)

Evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) lusts for the beautiful wife of a London barber (Johnny Depp) and transports him to Australia for a crime he did not commit. Returning after 15 years and calling himself Sweeney Todd, the now-mad man vows revenge, applying his razor to unlucky customers and shuttling the bodies down to Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who uses them in her meat-pie shop. Though many fall to his blade, he will not be satisfied until he slits Turpin’s throat.

13. Mama Mia (2008)

Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter’s wedding (Amanda Seyfried) with the help of two old friends. Meanwhile, Sophie, the spirited bride, has a plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother’s past in hope of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day.

14. Les Misérables (2012)

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean  (Hugh Jackman) who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe), after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.

15. Into the Woods (2014)

A witch (Meryl Streep) tasks a childless baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

16. The Last Five Years (2014)

A struggling actress (Anna Kendrick) and her novelist lover (Jeremy Jordan) each illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair.

17. La La Land (2016)

While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone) fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.

18. The Greatest Showman (2017)

Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary (Hugh Jackman) who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Tiffany Weagly-Wilkie is the Director of Theatricals for She also serves as the Casting Director for The Imagination House.