Sometimes the world is awful. Luckily, musicals are not. Here are the 10 best musicals on Netflix to brighten your day a few hours at a time.
A couple months ago, I made a little nest of pillows and blankets in the corner of my couch, sat my laptop on my legs, and devoted the entire day to casually writing articles while watching as many happy musicals as possible.
And let me be real clear, we’re talking about happy musicals here. RENT and The Phantom of the Opera and Glee do not count.
Instead, we’ll be discussing 10 glorious musicals that bring nothing but joy. Think Disney. Think empowerment. Think happily ever after.
The 10 best musicals on Netflix in 2018
If you are looking for lighthearted and fun, there’s nothing better than popping in Mamma Mia! and running around your house singing all the best Abba songs. I dare you to stay still while listening to “Dancing Queen” or “Mamma Mia” or basically half the songs in the movie. I’ve never finished Mamma Mia! feeling anything but warm and fuzzy, but the most playful song has to be “Lay All Your Love on Me,” sung by Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried. It starts with just the two of them on the beach, but eventually all his male friends are dancing in scuba fins on the dock and leaping en masse into the ocean. It’s peppy, it’s light, and it will make everything better. I guarantee it.
This is the first of many Disney movies on this list, and I’m going to put them in between the other musicals to pretend like half this list isn’t made up of my childhood. And while Moana is clearly a newer Disney film, it 100% deserves to hang with the rest of them. Moana’s story isn’t based around a love interest, and instead finds her on a sometimes harrowing journey that ultimately helps her discover who she truly is. The songs in this movie are incredibly powerful and “How Far I’ll Go” always brings me to tears.
ABC’s Galavant — which ran for just two seasons — was an absolute delight from start to finish. With clever and catchy songs by Alan Menken, including its self-titled theme song, and subverted tropes at every turn, it kept its audience riveted, though the series was seriously short-lived. Each character had their own journeys to embark on, which never quite shook out as you might expect, and ended up with several friendships and relationships that were deeply touching, but absolutely out of the norm. We defy you to come out the other side not singing “Jackass in a Can” or “Lords of the Sea” or any of the other songs on repeat.
Classic Disney. Mulan needs no introduction, but I have an article to write, after all. Though this one has a little more romance to it than Moana, it also follows Mulan on a sometimes harrowing journey that ultimately helps her discover who she truly is. This musical drums up feelings of patriotism, feminism, honor, and solidarity. I’m not trying to play favorites here, but “I’ll Make a Man out of You” is the perfect song to raise your spirits and get you super pumped.
The journey of Newsies from screen to stage and back to screen again is an interesting one — the original iteration, a 1992 movie musical starring Christian Bale and based on the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City — was expanded upon as a fully-fledged Broadway show in 2011. This version, starring Supergirl’s Jeremy Jordan, was, in turn, shot for cinema broadcast in 2016, and the quality of this filmed production is a terrific example of how Broadway theater can be made accessible to all without losing any of its integrity. Alan Menken’s songs are addictive and empowering, particularly the iconic rally-cry “Seize The Day,” as well as the Broadway addition “Watch What Happens.” You’ll be recharged and ready to fight the man in no time.
I told you there was going to be a lot of Disney movies on this list, and you better watch them before they all move off of Netflix and onto Disney’s own streaming service. Until then, however, you can enjoy Pocahontas as many times as you want. It’s about being one with nature and learning more about a culture other than your own. It’s by no means a perfect movie, but “Colors of the Wind,” always makes me feel like a better person.
Critics liked Trolls a little more than audiences did, but I was delightfully surprised when I saw it in theaters. I honestly went for Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake but stayed for the peppy songs and wonderful message about self-love and acceptance. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is the obvious standout here, but I have a soft spot for “True Colors,” which comes at a poignant time in the film.
If you know anything at all about me, it’s probably that I’m obsessed with Hercules. It’s a hugely underrated Disney movie, and you all should be grateful it’s on Netflix for your absolute convenience. This movie is also about self-acceptance, heroism, sacrifice, and learning what’s truly important in life. There are so many great songs throughout this entire film, but “Zero to Hero” and “A Star is Born” are probably tied for the songs that pump me up the most.
Sing is about a guy who’s down-and-out but finds a way to inspire an entire town with music. He puts on a talent show and it brings together all sorts of people who weren’t sure they’d make the cut. When they’re all given a chance to shine, however, they sing their hearts out and even the toughest old cronies can’t help but smile. Taron Egerton’s “I’m Still Standing” will undoubtedly get you moving in your seat.
‘Beauty & the Beast’
Unlike the other Disney movies on this list, when I say Beauty & the Beast, I mean the recent live-action film starring Emma Watson as Belle. I know this wasn’t a hit for everyone who loved the original movie, but the story itself is delightful, regardless. Even if you don’t love every aspect of this adaptation, to see the songs performed by real life people always gets me excited. There’s just something about Emma Watson’s “Belle” that feels empowering, but I have to admit I have a soft spot for “The Mob Song,” too.