Movies

From Dancing Queen To Singing Witch: Meryl Streep's 10 Biggest Music Moments

Meryl Streep
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Meryl Streep, dressed as Donald Trump, performs onstage at the 2016 Public Theater Gala at Delacorte Theater on June 6, 2016 in New York City. 

It’s pretty clear that Meryl Streep is one of the most iconic actresses out there, but her talents don’t stop at just acting. Streep has starred in a number of films where she gets to showcase her diverse musical talent.

As the first trailer for the Mamma Mia! Sequel dropped today (Dec. 21) it’s important to take a look back on Streep’s other iconic roles and musical numbers. If she ever wanted to quit acting, good to know she has a backup career waiting for her in the recording industry.

1. Mamma Mia

In this 2008 musical comedy, Streep starred as Donna Sheridan, a mother prepping for her daughter’s wedding. But her daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried, has other plans -- she invited her mom’s former lovers to the wedding, hoping to find out which one is her real father. Of course, this spawned a number of iconic musical numbers, including the famous “Dancing Queen” sequence with Streep, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.

2. Into The Woods

In an uncharacteristic but wildly entertaining move for Streep, she played the evil and conniving witch in 2014’s fairytale movie Into The Woods, based on the musical of the same name. In the film, Streep’s character placed a curse on a young couple, which leads to an epic musical number where she tries to steal a baby from James Corden and Anna Kendrick. This vengeful role earned her an Academy Award nomination.

3. Florence Foster Jenkins

In this 2016 film, Streep played the title character, who is known for her dreadful singing skills. She begins to take up singing lessons with St. Clair Bayfield, played by Hugh Grant. Despite being a talented singer off set, Streep managed a perfectly off-key performance in the film.

4. Trump impersonation 

In June 2016, Streep showed up at the Shakespeare in the Park Public Theater Gala...dressed as Donald Trump. Complete with a fake tan, fat suit, and comb over, Streep performed “Brush Up On Your Shakespeare," alongside her Mamma Mia! Costar Christine Baranski.

5. Postcards From The Edge

In this 1990 comedy, Streep starred as an actress who is also a recovering drug addict, trying to put her life back together after leaving rehab. In the closing scene of the film, Streep performs “I’m Checking Out,” a country song that was later nominated for an Academy Award.

6. Ironweed

In this period drama, Streep and Jack Nicholson starred as a homeless couple during the Great Depression. While singing at a bar, Streep’s character Helen imagined her performance ending with a standing ovation, but instead, she receives a few weak claps. Still -- the performance is a powerful one given the context of the movie and the emotion Streep evokes.

7. The Deer Hunter

This Oscar-winning war movie is by no means a musical, but features a very emotional closing scene where Streep and the rest of the cast sing “God Bless America” in an empty pub.

8. Death Becomes Her

In this black comedy from 1992, Streep starred as an actress who performs an elaborate musical number on Broadway, before taking a magical potion that promises to grant her eternal youth -- as one does, of course. 

9. Ricki And The Flash

Ricki And The Flash is a 2015 comedy-drama film that starred Streep as a middle-aged woman who leaves her life behind to pursue a career as a rock star. Not only did Streep get to show off her guitar skills, she also got to work alongside real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who played her estranged child in the movie.

10. Music Of The Heart

Not only has Streep demonstrated her singing skills, but she also got to perform as a violinist in the 1999 Wes Craven film Music Of The Heart. The film is based on the true story of Roberta Guaspari, played by Streep, who worked to get music funding in New York City public schools. In addition to Streep's own musical work, the film featured a smash hit in *NSYNC and Gloria Estefan's rendition of the movie's title track, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.