Holiday Theater Hot Spots Across the Country
Christmas is in the air — and on stages — all across the United States. Take a look at what holiday offerings are at your closest theater hub.
Irving Berlin's White Christmas The Musical (Wang Theatre): The classic 1954 film, featuring Bing Crosby in all his crooning glory, is a staple of the holiday season. Boston audiences can now get their fix live at the city's historic Wang Theatre, which dates back to 1925 — nearly three decades before the Haynes sisters donned their unwieldy feather fans.
Meet Me in St. Louis (Stoneham Theatre): Seventy years after Judy Garland originated the role of Esther Smith in MGM's 1944 movie musical, young actresses are still pining after "The Boy Next Door" on stages around the country. This season, Boston audiences get to have themselves a "Merry Little Christmas" with the wholesome holiday tradition.
Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You! (Goodman Theatre): Goodman Theatre patrons in search of some Christmas cheer have a few options. If you're a traditionalist, you can stop by the theater's annual production of A Christmas Carol, headlined by Larry Yando. Or you can take a chance on this satirical twist on the Dickens classic, performed by Chicago's famous Second City improv troupe.
Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale (Broadway Playhouse): You wanna rock? Go to this holiday show by the Twisted Sister front man.
A Q Brothers Christmas Carol (Chicago Shakespeare Theater): It's certainly not your traditional production to come out of a theater with Shakespeare's name on the door, but the hip-hop rendition of the oft-produced Dickens tale offers a refreshing spin on an old chestnut.
Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (Goodspeed Musicals): The world premiere musical was originally slated to have already closed at the East Haddam theater, but audience demand has kept it open through Christmas. Take advantage of the extra performances and check out the staged mounting of the 1942 film before it bids Connecticut farewell for good.
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight (Pasadena Playhouse): For all of you Brits-at-heart, Panto at the Playhouse is back and armed with an updated version of the popular Grimm fairytale. Contemporary music from Jessie J to Pharrell Williams even finds its way into the production. But if you're in the market for classic Americana, check out the playhouse's Twilight Zone Unscripted: Holiday Edition by Impro Theatre.
The Magic of Christmas (La Mirada Theatre): The Young Americans, a 300-member show choir with representatives from 39 states and 14 countries, come together for this annual Christmas tradition at L.A.'s La Mirada Theatre. Classical tunes meet contemporary favorites in this high-tech production boasting more than 6,000 costumes, 45-foot-high LED walls, and an impressive host of young talent.
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin (Geffen Playhouse): Rather than just listening to "White Christmas" on a loop until New Years, check out solo artist Hershey Felder musically tell the story of the Russian immigrant who came to epitomize the American dream.
Elf The Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse): "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Paper Mill is taking that advice to heart in its musical mounting of Will Ferrell's cult holiday hit.
A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre): The title inevitably pops up in every corner of the country during the Christmas season, but the McCarter production, which puts a unique stamp on the classic story, has become a tradition for New Jersey audiences.
New York City
A Christmas Memory (DR2 Theatre): Irish Rep performs a new musical adaptation of Truman Capote's short story, set in Depression-era Alabama. Beyond its literary roots, the production boasts a stellar cast, including Tony Award winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) and Broadway's talented young Annie veteran, Taylor Richardson.
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical (Madison Square Garden): Each year, the Manhattan megatheater hosts a holiday offering, and this year, it's Dr. Seuss' iconic Christmas villain. Grinch purists can rest easy knowing the green crank has been placed in the capable hands of Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley (Oklahoma!, Waiting for Godot), who has already convinced TheaterMania that he's the right man for the job.
The 7th Annual Joe Iconis Christmas Spectacular (54 Below): It's not the same brand of spectacular as you might see at Madison Square Garden (or Radio City for that matter) but Joe Iconis and his "merry band of musical theater misfits" always know how to put on a good show. Especially at Christmastime and with the holiday cheer flowing at the 54 Below bar. Here's what happened when they stopped by the TheaterMania kitchen — and our fridge stocks only milk.
A Christmas Carol (Walnut Street Theatre and Hedgerow Theatre): And here it is again — Philadelphia residents have two options if they're in the mood for some good old-fashioned Dickens.
Scrooge: The Musical (Ritz Theatre): The Christmas Carol adaptation tells the same classic story, but includes a score by Oscar-winning writer-composer-lyricist Leslie Bricusse — the man behind the music of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as well as Broadway's Victor/Victoria and Jekyll & Hyde.
Beauty and the Beast (Arden Theatre Company): If you don't want to oversaturate yourself with Christmas, the Arden Theatre's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast is an excellent alternative that still feels sufficiently festive.
Seasonal Disorder (Source): Washington Improv Theater is offering its regulars a whole slew of seasonal treats to celebrate this yuletide. One of these is a comic homage to the holiday rom-com, Love Actually, so lovers and haters of the film alike can enjoy the show on their own terms.
A Christmas Carol (Ford's Theatre): If you're going traditional, it's best to do it in a historic venue like D.C.'s Ford's Theatre. The holiday mainstay feels right at home in the 150-year-old space.
The Gift of Nothing (Kennedy Center): Young theatergoers are getting a brand-new musical this Christmas. The world premiere, starring characters from the comic strip MUTTS, is a quick 60-minute venture that families can enjoy together in a presidential setting.
A Revolutionary Christmas (Maryland Ensemble Theatre): Set on a German farm during the Revolutionary War, this world-premiere play, written by Reiner Prochaska, adds a family drama to the holiday mix.