Film & TV NewsOctober 2021 Streaming Guide: Diana the Musical, Rita Moreno Documentary, Theatre-Stacked The Sopranos Prequel, MoreWhat’s coming to Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and more this month.
Dan Meyer, Logan Culwell-Block
October 01, 2021
As theatre lovers settle in for sweater weather, there’s plenty of entertainment to enjoy on screen (when they're not making up for all that lost time away from the stage during the shutdown).
Among the highlights this month are the film capture of Diana the Musical, about the Princess of Wales. Fans can watch at home and decide whether to venture to Broadway to see it in person when previews begin November 2.
Also arriving to streamers are the documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It and the Sopranos prequel featuring a theatre-stacked cast. In case you missed it over the summer, In The Heights returns, too.
Check out the listings below. All titles are released October 1 unless otherwise noted.
Amazon Prime Video
American Masters: Raúl Juliá: The World's a Stage This portrait of the late stage and film actor follows the Nine star and four-time Tony nominee from his native Puerto Rico to the creative hotbed of 1960s New York City, to prominence on Broadway and in Hollywood. Juliá’s career, which helped pave the way for many Latinx actors today, was cut short by his untimely death 25 years ago at age 54.
The Graduate Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft star in this classic film about a 21-year-old college graduate who is seduced by an older married woman while becoming infatuated with her daughter. Behind the camera, the film is directed by stage favorite Mike Nichols. The film has gone on to become one of the rare films to be adapted for the stage as a straight play, with Kathleen Turner starring as Mrs. Robinson opposite Jason Biggs on Broadway in 2002.
Black Widow (October 6) In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller, Tony winner Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow to confront the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. The cast also features Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz.
Muppets Haunted Mansion (October 8) Gonzo and Pepé visit one of Disney’s most beloved attractions for a spooky adventure just in time for Halloween. Along with Muppet regulars like Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzy Bear, the special featuring Darren Criss, Justina Machado, John Stamos, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ed Asner, Yvette Nicole Brown, Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Metz, Will Arnett, and more.
Billy Elliott Before it became a smash hit on Broadway and in the West End, Stephen Daldry and Lee Hall’s coming-of-age story, about a boy who wants to be a ballerino, premiered on screen in 2000. Jamie Bell stars in the title role, with Gary Lewis as his dad Jackie, Jamie Draven as Billy’s brother, Tony, and Julie Walters as his ballet teacher, Sandra. Just like its musical counterpart, the film scored a number of accolades, including Outstanding British Film, Leading Actor (Bell), and Supporting Actress (Walters) in addition to three Academy Award nominations.
Cats Nearly two years after its debut in cinemas, the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jellicle Ball returns 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.
Doubt The stage-to-screen adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony–winning play isn’t exactly what one would call comfort viewing, but it captivates nonetheless. Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman give career-defining performances in this tale of a congregation whose collective faith is rocked when allegations surface against their priest.
The Many Saints of Newark Head back in time to learn the origins of Tony Soprano in this prequel to David Chase’s hit HBO series The Sopranos. A number of stage and screen favorites star in the film, including Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr., Tony nominee Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll, Alessandro Nivola (The Elephant Man), Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, John Magaro, and Michael Gandolfini—the latter stepping into the shoes of his late father, James Gandolfini. The plot follows a teenage Tony as his family fights in a gang war against the backdrop of the race riots in the New Jersey city.
Misery Be sure to hide any sledge hammers before watching Tony nominee Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in one of the most memorable horror films of the ‘90s. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, the story follows a popular writer (James Caan) who ends up stranded in a log cabin with one his biggest fans. Decades later, a stage adaptation (penned by Misery screenwriter William Goldman) starring Laurie Metcalfe and Bruce Willis opened on Broadway, chilling audiences to the bone eight times a week at the Broadhurst Theatre.
In the Heights(October 28) Adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Tony-winning musical, the film sees rising star Anthony Ramos stepping into the role of Usnavi. Olga Merediz reprises Aunt Claudia from the Broadway production, welcoming newcomers Melissa Barerra as Vanessa and Leslie Grace as Nina. Broadway favorite Daphne Rubin-Vega plays Daniela, with Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Patrick Page, Javier Munoz, Scott Speedman, and the late Doreen Montalvo making cameos.
Waitress Before Sara Bareilles created music for a blockbuster stage adaptation, this film starring Keri Russell was an indie favorite around the States. Written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, Waitress follows Jenna, a small-town Southern gal with an uncanny knack for making pies as she seeks to flee her unhappy marriage and her disappointing life. Russell’s co-stars include Nathan Fillion as Dr. Jim Pomatter and Eddie Jamison as Ogie, the latter returning to the role on Broadway for a limited time in 2019.
Dopesick (October 13) The national opioid crisis is dramatized in this limited series about a small mining town affected by OxyContin, created by Purdue Pharma. The company intentionally encouraged misuse of the drug to increase profits by marketing the painkiller as non-addictive. Tony nominees Phillipa Soo, Sean Allan Krill, Will Chase, Mare Winningham, Raúl Esparza, and Carolee Carmello all make appearances in the series. Soo, Krill, and Carmello play characters involved in the initial selling of the drug to pharmaceutical reps and their medical clients while Chase plays Purdue Pharma marketing executive Michael Friedman. Winningham plays mother to Kaitlyn Dever, a coal miner who becomes addicted to Oxycontin, and Esparza plays husband to Rosario Dawson's DEA agent character. The cast also features Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, and Jake McDorman.
Queens(October 19 on ABC, available on Hulu October 20) Broadway alum Brandy Norwood returns to the music scene in this drama about a group of hip-hop legends who reunite their girl group to recapture their magic. The show co-stars Eve, Naturi Naughton, and Nadine Velazquez.
Diana the Musical Broadway’s Diana the Musical has been filmed live on stage and is hitting Netflix ahead of its return to Broadway November 2. Filmed last fall at the Longacre Theatre, the capture will include the original cast, led by Jeanna de Waal in the title role, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and Tony winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth. Diana features a book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan. The creative team includes director Christopher Ashley, choreographer Kelly Devine, music director Ian Eisendrath, scenic designer David Zinn, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Natasha Katz, and sound designer Gareth Owen.
Hairspray You can’t stop the beat in this 2007 movie musical adaptation of the 2002 Best Musical Tony-winning show, about a plump teenager who brings inclusion to a 1960s Baltimore-area teenage dance TV show. Its all-star cast includes performances from John Travolta as Edna, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma, Christopher Walken as Wilbur, and Zac Efron as Link, among others. The film also introduced Nikki Blonsky as Tracey and Elijah Kelly as Seaweed.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It(October 12) EGOT winner Rita Moreno is in the spotlight in this documentary, which chronicles the West Side Story film star from her early years in Puerto Rico through her childhood as an immigrant in New York City and the racial bias she faced in the studio system, while breaking down barriers and overcoming sexism and identity discrimination with integrity. In addition to Moreno, the film features George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Karen Olivo.
Grease Fans still cheer for this 1978 blockbuster, based on the 1971 Broadway musical—and there’s no better time to revisit it now that the prequel, tentatively titled Summer Loving, is in development. The high school musical stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Didi Conn, Jeff Conoway, and many others. Once you’ve done the hand-jive, hop over to Prime Video where Grease 2, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield, is streaming.
Back to the Future Trilogy Now that the musical version has zoomed into London’s West End at 88 MPH, check out the original trio of films starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The first installment follows Marty McFly after he accidentally travels back in time to the ‘50s and must make his way back before it’s too late. The soundtrack features hits like “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode,” which made their way into the stage adaptation, who also features a book by co-screenwriter Bob Gale and music by the film’s composer Alan Silvestri.