On top of film captures like What the Constitution Means to Me and David Byrne’s American Utopia, Broadway stars are appearing in a number of brand-new film and TV projects this October. Ashley Park, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Danielle Brooks, Phillipa Soo, Armie Hammer, Michael Urie, and many more shine on the screen this fall.
Plenty of Broadway inspiration can be found in older titles, too, like The Color Purple, The Phantom of the Opera, and William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Joining them is the Jellicle Ball itself, Cats, the immediate cult favorite that premiered in 2019.
Nostalgia seekers should look no further than a reunion of The West Wing on HBO Max, featuring the cast in a re-staging of a Season 3 episode. Series creator Aaron Sorkin shows up twice on this list, with the Netflix premiere of The Trial of the Chicago 7, featuring no less than four Tony-winning actors.
Below, check out what’s coming that’s sure to delight Broadway and film and TV buffs alike.
The Color Purple (Oct. 1)
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.
The Phantom of the Opera (Oct. 1)
Can’t catch the drive-in presentation of The Phantom of the Opera in NYC? Check out the movie musical adaptation starring Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, and Patrick Wilson, along with a scene-stealing Minnie Driver as Carlotta.
Siempre, Luis (Oct. 6)
This documentary follows Luis A. Miranda, Jr., a longtime fighter for Latinx communities who also happens to be the father of Hamilton and In The Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (also featured prominently in the film). Siempre, Luis hails from director John James and shares Miranda, Jr.’s journey from Puerto Rico, to the halls of government as a powerful lobbyist in NYC, and later as a leader in relief efforts following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Click here to watch the trailer.
Cats (Oct. 10)
Nearly a year after its cult-like debut in cinemas, the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jellicle Ball comes to HBO. The film includes an all-star cast, including Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, James Corden, and Judi Dench. Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler, who worked on the show's 2016 Broadway revival, provides all-new choreography. Tom Hooper directed, creating digital fur technology to transform the performers into felines.
The West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (Oct. 15)
Two weeks before the U.S. presidential election, cast members Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Janel Moloney, and Richard Schiff reunite to present a staged production of Season 3’s “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode. The event will also feature act breaks Lin-Manuel Miranda, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, and President Bill Clinton. Series creator Aaron Sorkin wrote new material for the special, with Thomas Schlamme directing.
David Byrne’s American Utopia (Oct. 17)
The Spike Lee-directed film captures the Broadway production that ran at the Hudson Theatre during the 2019–2020 season. Featuring choreography by Annie-B Parsons with Alex Timbers as production consultant, the show explores the ideas of human connection, self-evolution, and social justice. Joining the former Talking Heads frontman on stage are a band of 11 global musicians. Click here to watch the trailer.
Equal (Oct. 22)
This four-part docuseries celebrates trailblazers who fought for justice and equality in the queer community of post-war America and the pre-Stonewall uprising. Directed by showrunner Stephen Kijak, the cast includes Cheyenne Jackson as Dale Jennings, Anthony Rapp as Harry Hay, Samira Wiley as Lorraine Hansberry, Keiynan Lonsdale as Bayard Rustin, and Jai Rodriguez as José Sarria. Click here for more information about the series.
The Witches (Oct. 22)
After a theatrical release was scrapped due to the pandemic, the new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel heads directly to HBO Max. Starring are Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer, Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci, Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, and Jahzir Bruno, with Chris Rock as the narrator. Robert Zemeckis directs the film, about a young boy and his grandmother who happen upon a group of witches intent on exterminating all children through various spells and curses, from placing them in paintings to turning them into mice.
Leaving HBO Max October 31: Amélie, The First Wives Club, Barefoot in the Park, Dangerous Liaisons, Swing Time, Top Hat
Emily in Paris (Oct. 2)
The new romantic comedy series from Darren Star (Younger, Sex and the City) stars Lily Collins and Tony nominee Ashley Park (Mean Girls), as twenty-something Emily (Collins), an Americanwho relocates to Paris for a job, and fellow ex-pat Mindy, an au pair. Click here to watch the trailer.
Song Exploder (Oct. 2)
Based on the podcast by Hrishikesh Hirway and directed by Oscar winner Morgan Neville and Nicola B. Marsh, the series weaves in-depth interviews, archival footage, and raw recordings as each artist breaks down their song and their personal inspiration for it. The show features Hamilton and In The Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (whose “Wait For It” is explored in one episode), Alicia Keys, R.E.M., and Ty Dolla $ign.
Saturday Church (Oct. 6)
Broadway alum Luka Kain, Pose stars Mj Rodriguez (Rent Off-Broadway) and Indya Moore, and Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor, feature in this 2017 film about a shy, 14-year-old being raised by his strict aunt who finds escape in a fantasy life of music, dance, and a lively transgender youth community. Writer-director Damon Cardasis makes his big screen debut with music by Nathan Larson.
The 40 Year Old Version (Oct. 6)
The feature film debut from Radha Blank arrives on the streamer with a story about a down-on-her-luck playwright desperate for a breakthrough before 40. When she foils what seems like her last shot at success, she’s left with no choice but to reinvent herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime. Written and directed by and starring Blank (Seed), the comedy also features Tony winner Reed Birney, Peter Kim, Oswin Benjamin, Imani Lewis, Haskiri Velazquez, and more.
Social Distance (Oct. 15)
Broadway stars are taking over Netflix in its newest anthology series, including Hamilton alum Okieriete Onaodowan and Tony nominees Daphne Rubin-Vega and Danielle Brooks. The series, comprised of standalone episodes, is set during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a swift reliance on remote communication to keep in touch with loved ones. Becky Ann and Dylan Baker, Max Jenkins, Oscar Nunez, Guillermo Diaz, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Mike Coulter, Asante Blackk, and Steven Weber also star.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Oct. 16)
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin (To Kill a Mockingbird), this movie follows the real-life story of seven men put on trial in 1969 for conspiracy against the U.S. government in their attempts to protest the Vietnam War. The cast includes Tony winners Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella, and Alex Sharp. Joining them are recent Emmy winners Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong, along with Sasha Baron Cohen, Ben Shenkman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Rebecca (Oct. 21)
Stage and screen stars Armie Hammer, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, and more take on this psychological thriller, based on the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier (quickly turned into a Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchock). The story follows a young woman who marries the widower Maxim de Winter. When she arrives at the family estate in England, she finds herself overshadowed at every turn by the legacy of her new husband’s first wife. Rebecca is directed by Ben Wheatley with a screenplay by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse.
Over the Moon (Oct. 23)
A bright young girl builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess. There she ends up on an unexpected quest, and discovers a whimsical land of fantastical creatures. Tony nominee Phillipa Soo (Hamilton), Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I), Cathy Ang, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn, Artt Butler, and Sandra Oh lend their voices to the new animated film, directed by Oscar winner Glen Keane.
Leaving Netflix October 31: Burlesque, Magic Mike, Sleepless in Seattle.
What the Constitution Means to Me (Oct. 16)
Heidi Schreck’s Tony-nominated play, filmed in the final week of its Broadway run last year, lands exclusively on the streamer in a screen capture directed by Marielle Heller. In the play, Schreck resurrects her teenage self—when she put herself through college by giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution—to trace the effects of the founding document on generations of women. Schreck starred alongside Mike Iveson and New York City high school students Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams.
Cyrano, My Love (Oct. 17)
This French-language film details the development of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Thomas Solivérès stars as the down-on-his-luck author scrambling to write a play, promised to a prominent French actor. Written and directed by Alexis Michalik, and produced by Alain Goldman, the cast also includes Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, and Lucie Boujenah.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrman (Oct. 1)
Before Baz Luhrmann brought Moulin Rouge! to the big screen, he contemporized Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers in a ‘90s blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. While the movie retains the original dialogue, the film changes the setting to America, with the Capulets and Montagues portrayed as mob families using modern weapons, exchanging steel for bullets.
What Else is coming?
2020 Olivier Awards (Oct. 25)
The best of the London theatre in 2019 will be celebrated after initial plans for the spring ceremony were canceled due to the pandemic. The evening is hosted by Jason Manford (a frequent emcee for the festivities) on ITV and Magic Radio. The majority of the show will be pre-filmed in the days leading up to the broadcast, with a number of West End favorites set to perform in and around the London Palladium.
Nora Highland (Oct. 26)
The screen adaptation of Ryan Spahn’s play will premiere virtually during the 2020 NewFest New York LGBTQ Film Festival. Spahn directs and adapts his script for the screen, shot remotely during the pandemic. The cast includes Spahn’s partner Michael Urie, Urie’s Torch Song co-star Michael Hsu Rosen, and Tony nominee Marin Ireland. Nora Highland follows the casting process of a notable gay character in an upcoming Broadway revival and explores the phenomenon of straight performers being lauded for their work in queer roles.