This month, a slew of films that inspired stage adaptations are coming to streaming from Legally Blonde to The Color Purple. In addition, at least two stage-to-screen works, Dreamgirls and August: Osage County, are now available to watch.
There's plenty of new content this month, too. HBO presents two new limited series with theatre-stacked casts: the sci-fi thriller Made in Love and the small-town detective mystery Mare of Easttown. Meanwhile on Netflix, David Alan Grier and Jamie Foxx star in the new sitcom Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!.
Check out the options for theatre lovers below. Titles are available April 1 unless noted.
When a superstar (Whitney Houston) discovers she is being stalked, she hires a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) to protect her. While not a musical per se—although there are plenty of musical performances—the film inspired a stage adaptation that opened in the West End, starring Tony winner Heather Headley (Aida). Despite having not yet made it to Broadway, The Bodyguard remains a popular choice for regional, touring, and international venues.
The Color Purple
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple follows Celie, a Black, Southern woman who embarks on a decades-long journey of self-acceptance and love despite a series of hardships. Enjoy the original film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg, before the movie musical adaptation (based on the 2015 Broadway revival) hits theatres. (Also available on Hulu April 1.)
Made For Love
Stage favorites and Tony nominees Cristin Milioti (Once) and Billy Magnussen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) star in this new series centering on a thirty-something woman who’s on the run after ditching her horrible marriage to a controlling tech billionaire who has implanted her with a tracking device that allows him to follow her emotional data. Based on Alissa Nutting’s 2017 novel of the same name, the 10-episode series is written by Patrick Somerville with Christina Lee as showrunner.
For the first time, all six seasons of the beloved '90s sitcom will be available to stream in one place. Starring Fran Drescher and Charles Shaughnessy, the show follows Queens local Fran Fine who finds herself working for the stuffy Maxwell Sheffield (a Broadway producer) and his family. The ensemble also features Daniel Davis as the caustic butler Niles and Lauren Lane as the icy C.C. Babcock, along with the three Sheffield children played by Nicholle Tom, Benjamin Salisbury, and Madeline Zima. Early in 2020, Drescher announced that a musical was in the works with Rachel Bloom and the late Adam Schlesinger attached to pen the score.
Mare of Easttown (April 18)
A small-town Pennsylvania detective investigates a local murder while trying to keep her own life from unravelling in this limited series starring Kate Winslet, Tony nominee John Douglas Thompson, Jean Smart, Evan Peters, Guy Pierce, James McArdle, Neal Huff, and Eisa Davis. Look out for Waitress and Girl From the North Country star Caitlin Houlahan, who appears in several episodes as missing girl Katie Bailey.
Dreamgirls (April 24)
Based on the 1981 Broadway musical, Dreamgirls charts the meteoric rise of a Supremes-like girl group in the 1960s, and features an all-star cast including Beyoncé Knowles, Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. Jennifer Hudson made her screen debut and won an Academy Award for her performance as Effie White, and her wrenching take on “And I Am Telling You” is not to be missed.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
This is the story of two con men—one elegant and one slovenly—who scheme to bilk rich women out of their money on the French Riviera. Steve Martin, Michael Caine, and Glenne Headly star in this comedy that inspired the musical that opened on Broadway in 2005. Directed by Frank Oz, the film features a screenplay by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro, and Paul Henning. The movie also inspired The Hustle, a 2019 film starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, also available on the streamer.
The Preacher’s Wife
This is another ‘90s hit movie-with-music and Whitney Houston vehicle that has inspired an in-development stage musical. The film follows one woman as she struggles to find her voice and strengthen her preacher husband, played by Tony winner Denzel Washington, during a moment of financial and emotional turmoil for the church community at-large. The supporting cast features a slew of theatre favorites including Tony winners Courtney B. Vance and Gregory Hines, along with Loretta Devine and Jenifer Lewis.
Younger (April 15)
Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster stars as Liza Miller, a 40-something mom who passes as a 20-something to restart her career in publishing, with her secret gradually unraveling, in this comedy series now in its seventh and final season. Hilary Duff co-stars as Kelsey, with Nico Tortorella as Josh, Miriam Shor as Diana, and Debi Mazar as Maggie. (Also streaming on Paramout+)
Wild Mountain Thyme (April 23)
Based on John Patrick Shanley’s play Outside Mullingar, this movie follows Rosemary and Anthony, two Irish farmers who grew up as neighbors, played by Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan. Now they’re adults, and Rosemary is in love with Anthony, but he doesn't seem to notice. Things get even more complicated when Anthony’s dad decides to sell the farm to Anthony’s cousin Adam.
The Handmaid’s Tale (April 28)
The war to bring down Gilead from the inside continues as Season 4 in the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel. Theatre vets Elizabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, Yvonne Strahovski, O-T Fagbenle, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Joseph Fiennes, Bradley Whitford, and more all return for the upcoming slate of episodes, promising more trauma on our screens than is probably necessary in these COVID times.
While there might not be anyone around to bend and snap for during quarantine, that’s no reason to skip out on this 2001 comedy favorite that inspired the musical of the same name. Reese Witherspoon reached bonafide stardom with her performance as the perky sorority girl-turned-lawyer Elle Woods. Joining her on camera are a number of Broadway favorites including Victor Garber and Holland Taylor.
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! (April 14)
2020 Tony nominee David Alan Grier joins Jamie Foxx as a father-son duo in this Netflix original comedy. Brian Dixon (Foxx), successful business owner and bachelor, just unexpectedly became a full-time father to his teenage daughter Sasha (Kyla-Drew). Determined to turn over a new leaf, Brian’s going to need all the help he can get from his dad and sister (Porscha Coleman) — and Sasha’s going to need all the help she can get learning how to fit into her new, lovingly imperfect home.
August: Osage County (April 27)
Tracy Letts’ film adaptation of his own Pulitzer and Tony–winning play stars Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, and Julianne Nicholson as a trio of sisters who must deal with their grieving, pill-popping mother—played with relish by Meryl Streep in another Oscar-nominated performance. The cast is stacked with more theatre favorites like Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, and Sam Shepard.