5 Musicals to Watch After ‘In the Heights’

musicals to watch after in the heights

Director Jon M. Chu‘s vibrant, joyful film adaptation of the musical In the Heights hit theaters and HBO Max one week ago. If you’ve seen that movie but want to continue to immerse yourselves in the singing, dancing, and wonderfully choreographed world of musicals, here is a list of five musicals to watch after In the Heights.

west side story remake rita moreno

West Side Story

West Side Story is one of those films like Citizen Kane or Casablanca: movies you’ve heard about so often that they might initially seem too imposing or like homework, but when you actually sit down to watch them, they blow your damn socks off. This 1960s riff on Romeo and Juliet is a thrilling, spirited exploration of young love amid two rival gangs in the streets of New York City, and it’s every inch as terrific as its reputation suggests.

Where to watch it: HBO Max

Brigadoon

Gene Kelly and Van Johnson play two American travelers who get lost in the Scottish highlands and stumble upon a mysterious town that only appears once every 100 years. It’s a cheesy story, but its charm – and the flowing dancing from Kelly and the great Cyd Charisse – make this worth checking out. Plus, there’s an upcoming AppleTV+ series called Schmigadoon! that parodies this concept, so watching this will put you ahead of the curve.

Where to watch it: $3.99 rental on most digital platforms

Sing Street band

Sing Street

Irish filmmaker John Carney’s semi-autobiographical coming of age story is as much in love with its central love story as it is with capturing the creative high one gets when one crafts a great song out of nothing. This is not a typical “everyone bursts into song” type of musical, but instead the story of a teenaged boy who quickly forms a band in order to impress a local girl – and the band’s music absolutely rules. I love every last song in this movie, and it has a moment we consider to be among the best movie moments of the 2010s.

Where to watch it: $2.99 rental on Amazon

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Every single word in this gorgeous Technicolor masterpiece is sung, though not in a typical rhyming pattern – it’s just normal discussions, performed in song. Admittedly, that takes a bit of getting used to. But very quickly, writer/director Jacques Demy pulls you into this world through his astounding use of color and the tremendous performances he gets from Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo. I don’t think anyone has ever looked as good as Deneuve looks in this movie, but Castelnuovo is a close second. Super hot actors, a devastating love story, bright colors, incredible production design…what more could you want?

Where to watch it: HBO Max, The Criterion Channel

Streets of Fire

If you took the Marlon Brando movie The Wild One and envisioned it as a rain-soaked ’80s comedy/western/action/musical, you might come close to capturing the uniquely glorious vibe of Streets of Fire, a self-described “rock and roll fable” from The Warriors director Walter Hill. The Jim Steinman soundtrack is full of unimpeachable bangers, the cast is full of recognizable faces like Willem Dafoe and Diane Lane and Rick Moranis, and the entire film somehow feels like it was ripped from another universe.

Where to watch it: Netflix

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