Our Favorite Things: Holiday Gifts for the Theater Fan In Your Life
Stick these presents under your tree and you'll make the theater geek in your life very happy.
Don't know what to get the theater geek in your life this holiday season? Need a last-minute present to send to your cousin in Oklahoma? Here are 8 (and change) potential gift items that will help the young, old, and everyone in between give their regards to Broadway.
1. A Membership to TheaterMania Gold
TheaterMania Gold is the gift that keeps on giving for theater fans. As a member, you or your loved one will get a full year of access to a private list of shows to see in New York City, all for around $5. And it's not just theater, either, in addition to Broadway and off-Broadway musicals and plays, TheaterMania Gold will get you in to see operas, cabarets, concerts, films, and even the occasional baseball game. Sign up here for $9.99/month or $79.99/yearly.
2. The Book of Mormon Ugly Holiday Sweater
Hello! Do you believe in ugly holiday sweaters? If you do, we would like to share with you the most amazing one, directly from TheaterMania's merchandise store. Buy the sweater here, and peruse the full inventory of our store here — but be advised, to get the package in time for Christmas, you have to order by December 13.
3. Original Cast Album: Company and Other Criterion Collection Releases
The Criterion Collection is a haven for film buffs, but every now and then, they make a crossover into the theater sphere. Case in point, this year's release of D.A. Pennebaker's legendary documentary Original Cast Album: Company, which takes viewers inside the studio as Dean Jones, Elaine Stritch, and more record the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical for posterity. Not to be outdone, the DVD and Blu-ray release is loaded with extras, including the hilarious Documentary Now parody featuring John Mulaney. (If that's not your bag, try some other Criterion releases: the 2001 film of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, James Whale's 1936 film adaptation of Showboat, Jacques Demy's gorgeous musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, or the Bob Fosse classic All That Jazz.
4. Autographed Broadway CDs
Broadway Records, one of the major music labels for cast and solo albums, has a wide assortment of signed CDs available for the theater geek in your life, all at very reasonable costs (prices range from $25-50). Among the selections are signed solo albums by Jessica Vosk, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sierra Boggess, cast albums like Once On This Island, Anastasia, and Big Fish, all featuring the signatures of their companies and/or composers. Check out the list here.
5. Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George
James Lapine takes readers behind the scenes at the creation of his and Stephen Sondheim's beloved musical in this no-holds-barred oral history, which chronicles the show's two-year creation process. Sondheim was already a legend when Lapine, then at the beginning of his career, crossed his path, and after deciding to write a show inspired by a Georges Seurat painting, the rest is history. Lapine and Sondheim are both extremely candid in the pages of this tome, and so are the people Lapine interviews, including stars Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. Purchase the book here.
6. When the Lights Are Bright Again: Letters and images of loss, hope, and resilience from the theater community
As the Covid-19 pandemic shut down theaters across the world, Andrew Norlen began asking arts workers to pen letters to themselves as a way to grieve and explore their feelings at such a dark time. The resulting coffee table book features 200 notes from Broadway veterans, theatergoers, fans, ushers, and more, chronicling the resilience of the community at the darkest time imaginable. Featuring photographs by Matthew Murphy, a portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit the Actors Fund. Buy it here.
7. Audrey II Funko Pop Vinyl Figure
Funko, makers of action figures, vinyl toys, and other pop culture apparel, has released a new series of vinyl figures inspired by the beloved movie-musical Little Shop of Horrors. Seymour, Audrey, and Orin Scrivello DDS, are available, as is the man-eating plant, Audrey II. This is the ideal, relatively inexpensive gift for the toy collector in your family. Don't feed the plants, but buy one here.
8. Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way
Author Caseen Gaines explores the triumphant true story of how writers Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, Flournoy Miller, and Aubrey Lyles overcame racism, violence, and poverty to create the Harlem Renaissance-era hit Shuffle Along. The first all-Black musical to succeed on Broadway, Shuffle Along launched the careers of performers ranging from Josephine Baker to Paul Robeson, and new book gives this runaway hit the history it deserves while tackling how its legacy set the path for the contemporary theater we know today. Get it now.
The purchase links above are part of the Amazon affiliate program.