SCROLL DOWN FOR OUR GIFT GUIDE FOR THEATER LOVERS
That virtuoso symbol of spunky optimism, Little Orphan Annie, is back on Broadway just in time to boost spirits today—and “Tomorrow” —as she overcomes the machinations of the evil Miss Hannigan (two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran) and her cohorts—during The Great Depression, no less—to become the adored adopted daughter of billionaire Daddy Warbucks. Christmassy Climax: the grand finale takes place at the Warbucks mansion filled with holiday decorations, gifts, pint-sized guests, and smiles galore, culminating with the upbeat number “A New Deal for Christmas.” (Winner of 7 previous Tony Awards including Best Musical, the 2012 production is directed by Tony, Drama Desk and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine,) anniethemusical.com
A Christmas Story, The Musical
The Broadway adaptation we’ve been waiting for as we don our bunny pajamas and switch on our leg lamp is here! Based on the 1983 cult film that continues to convert new generations to the yuletide universe of young Ralphie Parker—the 1940s “everykid” whose goal is to find a Red Ryder Air Rifle under the family Christmas tree—has arrived on the Great White Way wrapped in triple-dog-dare holiday flare. Directed by Tony winner John Rando, this heartfelt new show has been produced by Peter Billingsley, the film’s original Ralphie, and features Dan Lauria (the Dad on The Wonder Years) as onstage narrator (voiced by Jean Shepherd in the film, whose semi-autobiographical stories it was based on). achristmasstorythemusical.com
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical
12/13 to 12/30
That naughty-to-nice Seussian villain known as the Grinch is making his third NYC appearance 2006, when he and his unwilling sidekick, Max the Dog, made their Broadway debut. This time around, the furry green one is hatching his evil plot to hijack Whoville’s favorite holiday at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Keep your ears peeled for songs from the classic animated version: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.” theateratmsg.com/grinch
Elf the Musical
Will Ferrell may have started it all with his 2003 film, but ever since its record-breaking Broadway run in 2010, this charmer of a show about Buddy, a human baby who grew up at the North Pole believing he was an elf, has been claimed as a first-rate asset by musical theatre fans and fans-to-be. As the story goes, Santa (now played by Seinfeld’s Newman, aka Wayne Knight) gives Buddy permission to travel to NYC to find his birth father (a name on the infamous “naughty list,” no less). Featuring a “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” score, Elf the Musical is packed with Tony-honored talent, including: director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw; book writers Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin; and actress Beth Leavel reprising her role of Emily. elfmusical.com
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
The 2012 edition of this cherished holiday production is unique in that it commemorates 85 years of the Radio City Rockettes in New York, which means that in addition to such annual traditions as the Rockettes’ famous “March of the Wooden Soldiers” number, The Nutcracker scene and the Living Nativity, this year also boasts a Rockette costume retrospective celebrating their many unique looks throughout the decades. radiocitychristmas.com/newyork
Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical
Author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig’s beloved mouse heroine and friends return to Vital Theatre in their popular holiday production where they sing, dance, and discover the true spirit of season isn’t about the gifts you give, but the cheer you spread to others. vitaltheatre.org
The Apollo Theater’s Christmas & Kwanzaa Festivities
12-15 through 12/26
December 15: Coca-Cola Holiday Special, 3 to 7pm (free to all with Santa, giveaways and choir performances!); Amateur Night Holiday Special, 7:30pm (young musicians, singers, and dancers ranging in age from 11-18 take the stage); December 20: Sweet Honey in the Rock, 8pm (this female a cappella group’s stunning harmonies celebrate all things holiday from faiths and religions across the globe; December 28: Kwanzaa Celebration - Regeneration Night, 7:30pm (The Apollo pulls out all the stops with this evening of dance and music honoring Kwanzaa’s principles of family, community and culture). [Note: Kwanzaa officially begins 12/26] apollotheater.org
Mummenschanz: NYC Holiday Engagement
12-11 through 1/6
Celebrating 40 years of imagination and visual magic, this worldwide phenomenon returns to New York with a beguiling show highlighting both their well-known witty and weird creations along with a number of “playful, colorful creatures that have rarely been performed in the USA and Canada.” mummenschanz.com
Poppy Seed Players’ Judy and the Maccabees
On December 9th (the second night of Hanukkah), check out this charming re-imagining of the ancient Hanukkah story in which a feisty young girl leaves her father to help the Maccabees in their fight against King Antiochus. kaufman-center.org
December, January and February – typically quiet months when it comes to The Great White Way – are breaking with tradition this year thanks to six starry new productions.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
previews 12/18/12; opens 1/17/13
A major revival of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning classic starring Scarlett Johansson* as Maggie the Cat, Benjamin Walker as Brick, Ciarán Hinds. as Big Daddy and Debra Monk* as Big Mama. catonahottinroofbroadway.com
HANDS ON HARDBODY
previews 2/23/13; opens 3/21/13
Based on the 1997 documentary of the same name, this new musical about a competition at a car dealership marks the return of both Keith Carradine+ (The Will Rodgers Follies) and Hunter Foster +(Urinetown) to Broadway. handsonahardbody.com
MANILOW ON BROADWAY
previews 1/18/13; opens 1/24/13; thru 2/9/13
Grammy-winning pop superstar Barry Manilow returns to his hometown (he was born in Brooklyn, after all) for a limited 17-performance concert engagement. Act fast… Manilow is a major sell-out magnet! manilowonbroadway.com
THE OTHER PLACE
previews 12/11/12; opens 1/10/13; thru 2/24/13
Three-time Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf+ stars in this Broadway premiere by Sharr White, directed by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello+ and co-starring Daniel Stern. theotherplacebroadway.com
previews 12/14/12; opens 1/13/13; thru 2/24/13
William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece in its second Roundabout Theatre revival (the first was in 1994) with Ellen Burstyn*, Sebastian Stan, Maggie Grace, Reed Birney, Elizabeth Marvel and Mare Winningham in her Broadway debut. roundabouttheatre.org
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA
previews 1/21/13; opens 2/21/13
The Broadway premiere of the sparkling musical originally written for television in 1957 by the legendary composing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Starring Laura Osnes+ in the title role, Santino Fontana as the Prince, Victoria Clark* as Cinderella’s fairy godmother, and Harriet Harris* as Madame, the heroine’s stepmother. cinderellaonbroadway.com
To view the pages in pdf form, click here.
Gift Guide for Theatre-Lovers: The Ultimate, Last-Minute, Seriously Helpful Christmas Countdown
You’ve been bombarded by emails, Apps, and TV ads – not to mention fliers, newspapers, magazines and crafty friends (or non-crafty friends with crafty relatives). It’s down to the wire and still, you’re coming up dry for your coveted collection of friends who adore all things theatre. So to help your pedal-to-metal final lap around the holiday track, here are a handful of savvy solutions to your stage-struck shop-a-thon. Get ready to be a star gifter!
Performance of the Century: 100 Years of Actors Equity Association and the Rise of American Theater - An intelligent, eclectic, century-spanning look at American actors, performances, issues and insights as seen through the kaleidoscope heritage of Actors Equity – the union whose members have defined and protected stage artists rights since 1913.
Written and compiled by Robert Simonson, this 240-page coffee table book already ranks high on my list of must-have (and must-give) theatre books, not only for its straightforward rhetoric, but also its awesome array of contemporary and rare vintage photographs (like a 1959 shot of Paul Newman covering first base for the Broadway Show League), quotes from celebrated actors and behind-the-scenes professionals, along with tips, trivia, posters and beyond. (Applause Books, September 2012, $42.50 -- however, for a deal you can’t pass up – 25% off the list price – be sure to place your order through playbillstore.com/peofce100yeo.html).
Annie – Not just tickets to the show (although these are guaranteed to please theatregoers from four on up), but an inspired souvenir that a) offers a contemporary twist to the show’s Great Depression-era setting and b) won’t break the bank. Designed for the kid running around with a naked iPhone, the Annie Heart iPhone Skin is only $15 and absolutely adorable. Check it out – along with other Annie-logo-ed goodies at the show’s website: anniethemusicalshop.com.
IN THE PRESENT: A Gotham-centric Gift in Words and Images - Creative collaboration – a concept more familiar in theatrical endeavors than photographic ones – comes full-circle in The Outdoor Museum (Not Your Usual Images of New York), a seductive coming together or two artistic visionaries: Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway lyrist Sheldon Harnick and his wife, actress/dancer/painter/photographer Margery Gray Harnick. Together, the couple has produced a remarkable coffee table book celebrating the offbeat and eye-catching in their beloved City that Never Sleeps: Sheldon with vivid poetic renderings; Margery with haunting photographic brushstrokes. Featuring a foreword by Mike Nichols, the book comes with a CD of a poetry reading by Mr. Harnick. [Beufort Books: List Price, $29.95; available in bookstores and online.]
FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: ALIVE AND KICKING, The UN-Original Cast Album - The recording is available for download for $9.99 on iTunes; individual tracks are available for $.99 each. For more information, visit drgrecords.com; and to see what all the parody hilarity -- from Book of Mormon to Newsies to Once! -- is about, visit the show’s website at forbiddenbroadway.com!
TICKETS, TICKETS, TICKETS: Always the perfect gift for every member of the family, from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (for superhero wannabes) to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (for thrill-seeking fans of serious drama) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (for everyone with a pulse)! And don’t forget Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions, either.