5 Best Live TV Musicals

Broadway Street Sign New York City

Live musicals have been a growing trend. Ever since the success of Sound of Music Live, networks have been trying to recreate that magic blessing us with several great adaptations of Broadway musicals. Here are our picks at TPE for the top five live TV musicals.

5. The Sound of Music Live

Let's start with the one that started it all. This was a risky venture, TV had not done anything like it successfully but boy did it pay off. It had its problems, Carrie Underwood is a wonderful singer, but she can not act, but what it did well was gave us a great modern take on the classic musical and opened the door for all of the live musicals that followed.

4. The Wiz Live

This musical brought us a new Dorothy amongst a star-studded cast to give us a great adaptation of the musical. It did not have as impressive of a set as some of its predecessors, but more than makes up for it by using stars that can actually sing as well as its faithfulness to the original musical. Having the original Dorothy in the cast certainly helps as well. This musical truly takes you away to Oz every time.

3. Hairspray: Live

This took the model that made The Wiz great and improved on it. It gave us an unknown actress as Tracey surrounded by stars who can actually sing and act. I mean they got Jenifer Hudson for this one. The opening scene is one of the best in any live musical and showcases the best of what the live TV musicals can do when they take risks doing a full scene outside with relatively few cuts. The show took risks and it paid off.

2. Grease: Live

Grease Live Set Rydell High School

Grease: Live had a lot going against it. A star's father tragically passed the night before the show. Downpours and wind complicated the outdoor sets that were to be prominently featured in the show. But it all worked out to create one of the best TV live musicals yet. The cast was great with not even a single weak member. The staging was brilliant and the sets were great. This show was also the first to prominently feature a live audience which really lived up the show giving it, for the first time, the feeling of an actual live performance.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Live

I will say it was close between this Grease, but this one tops Grease Live. It featured probably the best use of a live audience in any live musical yet. It fully embraced an industrial warehouse design. It used a combination of great pop stars like John Legend and great theatre stars like Brandon Victor Dixon, and Sara Bareilles who is both. The show offered probably the closest version of a live Broadway show that will ever be done on television, on top of the best finale any of these musicals has produced so far where Brandon Victor Dixon completely steals the show from an incredibly talented cast.