Giving It Your All!
TheaterMania has plenty of tips for finding the right last-minute present for theater lovers from Idina Menzel's new single to CDs by Norm Lewis, Stew, and Patti LuPone, to a host of special DVDs.
Has that Wicked fan you know gone Behind The Emerald Curtain? While the Saturday morning tour doesn't venture backstage, it nonetheless is a must-do. Make the day extra-special by presenting a copy of Wicked: The Grimmerie, David Cote's top-selling behind the scenes look at the popular musical. And you can do a good deed and throw in an iTunes gift card to pay for original star (and Tony Award winner) Idina Menzel's brand new single "Hope," since half of the proceeds from the song go to benefit Stand Up 2 Cancer.
Even if you can't score tickets to the super-hot Lincoln Center Theatre production of South Pacific (or even if you can), you can satisfy that show lover's holiday craving by giving the New Broadway cast CD,the just-released book The Complete Lyrics Of Oscar Hammerstein II, the DVD of South Pacific In Concert At Carnegie Hall, starring Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell, and the 2-disc Collectors Edition DVD of the 1958 film version of South Pacific, which includes hours of special features.
Give that highly creative [title of show] fan the gift of higher learning by way of the Die Vampire Die! Workshop with star Susan Blackwell, to be held on the morning of January 10. Supplies are included, but why not arm your vampire slayer with some extra special Dixon Ticonderoga pencils? And you can send him or her there in style with the eye-catching Die Vampire Die! t-shirt.
That Passing Strange fan you know wants to see Stew (and Heidi Rodewald) go non-stop to the real when they gig as part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series on March 6. You can also stuff a stocking with one of Stew's solo CDs, such as The Naked Dutch Painter And Other Songs(which includes a track that would later evolve into two of the songs in the score) or pre-order Passing Strange: The Stew Musical, due out in paperback before the end of the year.
For the diva worshipper in your life, get the just-released DVD, Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle, a fabulously entertaining documentary that is overloaded with musical numbers from Gaynor's TV specials from the 1970s; the Collector's Edition DVD of Liza With a Z, a legendary hour of television with an equally high sequin glare quotient; and the CD of Patti LuPone at Les Mouches, a recently unburied treasure from the diva's late night Evita-era nightclub gigs.
Young wordsmiths with plenty of free refrigerator surface will make the most of Magnetic Poetry: The Shakespeare Edition, or they can chew on the Bard's words with Shakespearean Insult Gum. If your gift-getter would rather savor those words, consider the excellent DVD of the Shakespeare In The Park production of King Lear, originally broadcast live on television in 1974 and starring James Earl Jones and Raul Julia.
If there's a Chekhov lover on your list, consider the absolutely brilliant version of The Seagullon DVD starring Frank Langella, Blythe Danner, and Lee Grant, based on a 1975 production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. If you'd rather take your brooding Chekhovian out on the town, you're in luck: consider tickets to Tom Stoppard's new version of Uncle Vanya, starring Denis O'Hare, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Mamie Gummer.
If you're comfortable being set back a couple of grand, give one of Amy Arbus' phenomenal limited edition prints, such as Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris in Sweeney Todd or Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens. If you aren't feeling so recession-proof, hand out Arbus' fabulous photo book The Fourth Wall, which includes dozens of highly dramatic photos of actors in character from such recent shows as The Light In The Piazza, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, and The Coast Of Utopia.
Grown-up fans of the original cast of Disney's Tituss Burgess, Norm Lewis, and John Treacy Egan, as well as tickets to co-star Sherie Rene Scott's upcoming show Everyday Rapture at Second Stage and City Center Encores! upcoming production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Music in the Air featuring Ariel herself, Sierra Boggess, as part of its star-studded cast.
Finally, if you're doing any holiday online shopping at Gap, Home Depot, Overstock, or about 700 other e-tailers, you can do some good for theater at the same time at shopping portals such as iGive.com. After registering, a portion of each purchase is donated to your chosen charity, and many theaters are already on the approved list.