The holidays are a time for friends and family to gather near. And while you have all those people around, why not see a show together? Here are our top 12 suggestions for plays, musicals, and holiday concerts in New York City. Whether you prefer your halls decked or your yuletide gay, there's something on this list for you.
1. Home for the Holidays
The only holiday show on Broadway this year, this limited-run concert stars Candice Glover (winner of American Idol season 12), Josh Kaufman (winner of The Voice season 6), and Bianca Ryan (winner of America's Got Talent season 1). And if that's not enough reality TV stars on one stage for you, Kaitlyn Bristowe of The Bachelorette (season 11) hosts. Also, Oscar-nominated actor Danny Aiello makes a special guest appearance. Merry Christmas, America.
2. A Middle Eastern Christmas: From the Mediterranean to the Americas
Music lovers in search of a truly unique holiday concert will find it in Amine J. Hachem's Carnegie Hall debut. The Lebanese tenor sings a program inspired by a life lived in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Expect a concert of Latin, jazz, American pop, European classical, Russian folk, and traditional Arabic music — and, of course, some Christmas favorites.
3. Who's Holiday!
Lesli Margherita plays a middle-aged Cindy Lou Who in Matthew Lombardo's comic riff on Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Fans of the children's book and cartoon can finally hear the story from the perspective of the adorable ornament-clutching tot, now 40 years wiser and living in an old trailer on Mount Crumpit.
4. The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails
Every ticket to this show comes with three craft cocktails concocted by master bartender Anthony Caporale, who also wrote the book and lyrics to this boozy retelling of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. If you're looking to make your Christmas extra festive, this is your best bet.
5. Alaska: For Heaven's Snakes!
Alaska is back for her fifth annual holiday cabaret at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Fans of RuPaul's Drag Race will notice that the title of this year's show is inspired by the emoji insult that internet trolls lobbed at Alaska after she won the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars. Since then, Alaska has reclaimed the snake as her spirit animal. Get ready for a very snaky Christmasssssss.
6. The Dead, 1904
Back for the second year in a row at the American Irish Historical Society, this immersive take on the James Joyce short story treats audiences to a full Christmas dinner in a Fifth Avenue townhouse. Guests mingle with Gabriel Conroy and his extended family as they celebrate the Epiphany in 1904 with a night of song, dance, and barely suppressed family drama. Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie stars as Gabriel's wife, Gretta. For those not lucky enough to experience their own quietly sad Irish Christmas, this is the next best thing.
7. It's a Wonderful Life: The 1946 Live Radio Play
See Frank Capra's 1946 film reimagined as a radio play, with actors in fedoras holdings scripts and reading into antique microphones. A holiday tradition at the Irish Rep, this adaptation tells the story of George Bailey, a small-town hero who gives up his own big dreams to help others. One of the great pleasures of this production is watching Rory Duffy create the live sound effects.
8. The Kinsey Sicks: Oy Vey in a Manger
The Kinsey Sicks are America's favorite Dragapella quartet: That's a cappella in drag (the Sicks prefer the term "beautyshop" to barbershop). Stuffed like a sequined stocking with the Sicks's signature song parodies, Oy Vey in a Manger mixes Jewish and Gentile sensibilities for one big, gay, irreverent holiday concert.
9. A Christmas Carol
We love John Kevin Jones's solo version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol! It's the one theatrical interpretation we can truly recommend without the aid of at least three drinks (see Christmas Carol Cocktails above). This is Jones's fifth season back at the pristinely preserved Victorian parlor of the Merchant's House Museum, which will give you the feeling of attending a private reading by Dickens himself.
10. Taylor Mac's 24-Decade History: Holiday Sauce
Following the marathon performance of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (which took 24 hours) in 2016, Taylor Mac returns to the New York stage with this selection of holiday highlights (which promises to be considerably shorter). Mac is a living, singing encyclopedia of American popular music; not only will you hear some of your favorite songs in a whole new way, but you'll learn something about them too.
11. The 10th Annual Joe Iconis Christmas Extravaganza
Can you believe it has been 10 years since composer Joe Iconis started hosting his legendary Christmas concert? Joining Iconis to celebrate a decade of holiday decadence is a cavalcade of talent, including Annie Golden, Will Roland, George Salazar, and at least 40 other performers. This is always one of the biggest shows of the year at Feinstein's/54 Below, a must-see for people in the Broadway community.
Iconis may be extravagant, but only one show in N.Y.C. is truly spectacular. Bigger than the biggest Broadway shows, the Christmas Spectacular has been going strong at Radio City Music Hall since 1933, kicked into high gear by those marvelous Rockettes. You can watch them on television every year at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but there's nothing quite like seeing them live.
- Irish Rep
- Joe Iconis
- Radio City Christmas Spectacular
- Taylor Mac
- Home for the Holidays
- Lesli Margherita
- Rory Duffy
- Summoners Ensemble Theatre
- John Kevin Jones
- Matthew Lombardo
- Danny Aiello
- Anthony Caporale
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