We Can Sing Again: Nine Movie Musicals Coming Out in 2021 | Features


“Respect”

Release date: August 13

Platform: Theatrical

Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Mary J. Blige

Director: Liesl Tommy, the first woman of color to be Tony-nominated for Best Direction of a play for 2017’s “Eclipsed,” making her feature film directorial debut

What’s the big deal? Aretha! Hudson returns to the movie musical genre after winning an Oscar for her powerhouse performance as temperamental soul diva Effie White in “Dreamgirls” with hopes that a biopic of the great Ms. Franklin could repeat that success. She has dabbled in other musical roles, including being the saving grace of the reviled big-screen version of “Cats,” where she nailed the show’s signature song “Memory.” Could she claim a lead Oscar for Best Actress now that she has much more experience under her belt? We will hear and see.

“Cinderella”

Release date: September 2021

Platform: Amazon

Cast: Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, James Corden, John Mulaney, Missy Elliott, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan

Director: Kay Cannon, the force behind the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, with a script based on a story idea by James Corden

What’s the big deal? The big twist is that Porter of TV’s “Pose” fame plays a character called Fab G., a genderless fairy godparent along with diverse casting. Also, besides original music provided by Cuban pop star Cabello, such well-known pop songs such as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics and “Good Times” by Chic will be performed.

“Diana: The Musical”

Release date: October 1

Platform: Netflix

Cast: Jeanna de Waal, Erin Davie, Roe Hartrampf, Judy Kaye

Director: Christopher Ashley, the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse

What’s the big deal? This musical about Diana, Princess of Wales, was supposed to open on Broadway on March 21, 2020, but the production was shut down due to the pandemic. While a new opening night date of November 17 was chosen, the production also opted to film a stage version of the show with safety protocols in place and no audience—much like how last year’s “Hamilton” for Disney+ was shot. A former bodyguard for Diana, who was upset that the show focused on “untruths, scandal and sex,” urged her son Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle to ask Netflix to pull the screening. The couple recently signed a $100 million deal with the streaming giant. As it now stands, the show will go on.

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