Remembering Stephen: 10 Sondheim Musicals You Can Stream Online

Remembering Stephen: 10 Sondheim Musicals You Can Stream Online

November 26th marked the one year anniversary since the passing of the legendary composer, songwriter, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Today we're celebrating his memory and the many great live captures of his greatest works.

When browsing our database, you will easily notice Sondheim is perhaps the most documented composer of the '80s, pioneering the commercial filming of Broadway musicals. Sondheim's shows were taped for commercial release long before it was a trend set by Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton.

As most of Sondheim's musicals were never huge commercial successes they still managed to gain global recognition thanks to their filmed stage captures which often aired on public television.

Here is our list of all the Sondheim musicals you can now stream:


Sweeney Todd (1982)

The chilling Sweeney Todd factory whistle is something PBS viewers were not prepared for when the filmed stage production aired in the '80s.

The filmed production stars Broadway legends Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, who both appeared in the original production at the Uris Theatre. The show was filmed during its first National Tour.


Follies (1985)

While the original Broadway production of Follies closed after a short run in the '70s, an all-star staged concert was produced at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center years later following major changes to the book and score.

The all-star concert stars Barbara Cook as Sally, George Hearn as Ben, and Mandy Patinkin as Buddy. Joining them are the unforgettable Carol Burnett as Carlotta, Elaine Stritch as Hattie Walker, and Liz Callaway as Young Sally.

The 2017 London revival of Follies was recently filmed at the National Theatre, and we are still awaiting the release of that recording through National Theatre at Home.



Sunday in the Park with George (1986)

Based on the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte", the capture of Sunday is one of the most-loved stage captures of all time.

Filmed originally for PBS' American Playhouse series (the '80s equivalent of "Great Performances"), generations of theater kids grew up watching the musical on repeat through their local stations.

If you haven't watched the capture yet, this is probably the first one to catch from our Sondheim list. The show stars Broadway legends Mandy Patinkin as George and Bernadette Peters as Dot / Marie.



Into the Woods (1991)

Selling out Broadway's St. James Theatre these days is Sondheim's magical Into the Woods. The original Broadway production was also part of PBS' American Playhouse series and helped introduce theater to millions of Americans through public television.

The live capture stars Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, and Joanna Gleason. Years after the broadcast, the performance was released on VHS/DVD and then re-released on Blu-Ray (in standard definition) in 2014 thanks to the growing popularity of the musical following the Disney adaptation with Meryl Streep.



Passion (1996)

Stephen Sondheim's Passion, a Tony Award winner for Best Musical, failed to find an audience during its initial Broadway run and closed after just 5 months.

In hopes of giving the show life beyond the Broadway stage, producers filmed the musical days after closing, without an audience (unlike Diana, this capture actually managed to make that work).

Passion was released on VHS and DVD, preserving the beauty of Donna Murphy and Marin Mazzie for generations to come.



Putting it Together (2001)

Putting it Together, produced on Broadway by Cameron Mackintosh, was a Sondheim musical revue with an all-star cast that included Carol Burnett's return to Broadway after more than 35 years.

The cast also included George Hearn as Husband, beloved British actress Ruthie Henshall as Young Woman, John Barrowman as Young Man, and Bronson Pinchot as Observer.

Musical numbers featured in the show include selections from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with GeorgeGypsy, West Side Story, and many more.



Sweeney Todd in Concert (2001)

Another document of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is the Lonny Price-directed staged concert from 2001 with George Hearn (who also appears in the original 1982 capture) and Patti LuPone.

The production also features Neil Patrick Harris and Davis Gaines, who are all accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony.

The production aired in 2001 on PBS, and managed to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program. It was later released on DVD & Blu-Ray from Shout! Factory.



Candide (2005)

A Lonny Price-directed staged concert of Candide from 2004, starring Paul Groves as Candide, Kristin Chenoweth as Cunegonde, Thomas Allen as Dr. Pangloss, and Patti LuPone as the Old Lady.

The New York Philharmonic accompanied the actors on stage. The musical was filmed during its first public performance and broadcast on PBS' Great Performances series several months after. A DVD/Blu-Ray is available through Shout! Factory.


Company (2007)

Raúl Esparza gives an unforgettable performance in John Doyle’s 2006 elegant revival of Company, captured at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre during its last week of performances in 2007.

While Company attracted many different captures over the years (including the beloved 2011 production with Neil Patrik Harris), this production uniquely followed Doyle's concept from his 2005 production of Sweeney Todd which had actors playing their own instruments.



Into the Woods (2010)

The London revival filmed at Regent’s Open Air Theatre opened to great acclaim in 2010 and was captured live by Digital Theatre.

Uniquely performed outdoors in a wooded area, the subtext of the plot was slightly altered by casting the role of the Narrator as a young school boy lost in the woods after a family argument.

The cast includes Hannah Waddingham as the Witch, Mark Hadfield as the Baker, Jenna Russell as the Baker's wife, Helen Dallimore as Cinderella, and Judi Dench as the Giant.



Company (2011)

A Lonny Price-directed staged concert with Neil Patrick Harris as Robert, Stephen Colbert as Harry, and Patti LuPone. The production features the New York Philharmonic.

Compared to the filmed 2007 capture, the staged concert featured the original Broadway orchestrations with Paul Gemignani conducting a 35-piece orchestra.

The three-night concert was filmed and released to theaters in June 2011, later receiving a DVD and Blu-Ray release from Image Entertainment. 



Gypsy (2015)

The only live stage version available of what is known as "the mother of all musicals", this Gypsy stars Imelda Staunton as Rose, Peter Davison as Herbie, and Lara Pulver as Louise.

The London revival opened at the Savoy Theatre in 2015 for a limited run, which had to be extended multiple times due to extremely strong demand. Directed by Jonathan Kent with choreography by Stephen Mear, the production was captured before closing by Ellen M. Krass (Sweeny ToddShe Loves Me) and is now streaming for free.