Disney, being Disney, is used to making films with musical sequences, and many of its animated masterpieces are famed for their amazing soundtracks (as well as compelling storytelling, of course). Disney has redone various animated musical films throughout the years, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella, offering fans a fresh new perspective on songs and moments they know and love. However, the streaming service has created live-action musical films that are not remakes of well-known storylines. Not only that, but it also includes a few musical films that were not originally animated.
Since its premiere in 2019, Disney+ has been home to nearly every Disney film and television show ever made. With its success has come a slew of original programming, ranging from grim Marvel shows to the typical happy cartoons. Disney is continuing its run of producing new content, with Better Nate Than Ever, a new musical, due to launch in April. Here are some live-action musicals that you can watch right now on Disney till the premiere of the forthcoming film, as well as many more.
8. Annie (1999)
Annie is a remake of the 1982 hit and is based on the Broadway musical. It tells the story of a teenage orphan living in the slums of New York who is given the opportunity to spend the holidays with an uptight millionaire. Despite her growing attraction to the wealthy Oliver Warbucks, she remains certain that her parents are still alive and searching for her. Annie is the ideal family film, with a great soundtrack that includes the popular song “Tomorrow,” as well as charming song and dance sequences performed by the cast of both children and adults. Annie was first broadcast as a television special on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1999, and it went on to win several honors, including two Emmys.
7. The Greatest Showman
The Greatest Showman, a 2017 blockbuster from 20th Century Fox, is based on the actual story of PT Barnum, the founder of the Barnum & Bailey circus. Hugh Jackman leads an all-star cast that includes Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zac Efron, and Zendaya in the historical drama. Barnum’s tribulations as a poor, orphaned youngster are chronicled in The Greatest Showman, which follows him from childhood to adulthood. The narrative also addresses topics of racism and acceptance in a lighthearted, colorful manner set to the music of a Grammy-winning record.
The lovely cartoon Princess Giselle finds herself amid the mayhem of live-action New York City in Enchanted, a self-parody of classic-era Disney films. Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, depicts what it’s like for fairytale characters in real life, with the princess falling in love with an awkward, single father/lawyer as her Prince Charming pines for her. A sequel, dubbed Disenchanted, is now in development and is expected to air on Disney+ in 2022, over 15 years after the film’s release.
5. Freaky Friday (2018)
The Disney Channel premiered the fourth and most latest adaptation of the mother-daughter switcheroo film in 2018. The stage production Freaky Friday, which debuted in 2016, was greatly influenced by this rendition of Freaky Friday. The plot follows the traditional movie formula: an obstinate, rebellious adolescent daughter and her strict, workaholic mother butt heads all the time and are given a taste of their own medicine when a magical enchantment changes their bodies. While the film did not have the same level of popularity as Disney’s 2003 remake, which starred Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, it still earned great reviews, and considering that there are so many Freaky Friday movies to select from, this one adds to the list.
4. High School Musical
There have been several musical programs on Disney Channel, but High School Musical was by far the most popular, with its own spinoff show. Zac Efron plays basketball star Troy Bolton, and Vanessa Hudgens plays genius Gabriella Montez in High School Musical. The trilogy follows the two and their pals throughout the school year and summer, culminating in their graduation. The High School Musical franchise is chock-full of unforgettable musical performances with a soundtrack that’s impossible not to sing along to.
3. Into the Woods
The Broadway musical of the same name by Stephen Sondheim inspired the 2014 film Into the Woods. Meryl Streep, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, and a slew of other celebrities feature in the film. Into the Woods is a modern retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, merging the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, with Corden and Blunt playing a husband and wife who want to start a family but have been cursed by a witch (Streep).
2. Mary Poppins
When Mary Poppins was released in 1964, it was the highest-grossing picture of the year. The narrative follows the arrival of a fanciful nanny to look after Jane and Michael Banks’ children. The film has both animated and live-action elements, but unlike Enchanted, the two are used concurrently. The film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke, was based on PL Travels’ children’s book of the same name, and the tale of its adaptation to film is told in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks. In 2018, a sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, was released, starring Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins is still a treasured classic, with songs like “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and notably “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” enduring the test of time and winning two Grammy Awards for the film’s music.
1. The Sound of Music
Another of Julie Andrews’ vintage musical films is The Sound of Music. She played Maria, a young lady who becomes the guardian of seven mischievous children after failing to become a nun. Her charisma and upbeat attitude transform the rigid family into a pleasant setting, with each youngster idolizing her and eventually changing their harsh father’s heart. The American Picture Institute voted The Sound of Music the fourth-greatest musical film of all time when it was released in 1965.