It’s the holiday season once again, and we know that finding the right present for the theater geek in your life is a delicate task. If you don’t know what to get that person, here are some suggestions of our favorite new merchandise and shops to peruse.
TheaterMania Gold Subscription
You may already know about TheaterMania’s incredible daily discounts to shows on Broadway and beyond, but do you know about Gold? TheaterMania’s members-only club offers complimentary and deeply discounted tickets to theater across New York. Gold has something for everyone — theater, concerts, lectures, comedy, dance, and other cultural events. You can see as many shows as you like over the course of your membership, which is $79.99 per year. Help someone special make memories all year long with a Gold membership by clicking here.
Alongside Gold, we also have a nifty Broadway merchandise store, featuring all the products you’d see at the back of the house in a Broadway theater: programs, pins, hats, socks, posters, and many others, with shows ranging from Beetlejuice to Some Like It Hot, and this season’s hit productions of Gutenberg!, Merrily We Roll Along, and Spamalot. Get your gifts here.
Streaming Theater Subscriptions
If you love seeing shows but can’t regularly make it in person, a streaming theater subscription might be the next best thing. Here are two services that will undoubtedly satisfy your craving:
Direct from London, National Theatre at Home features the professionally filmed productions from this legendary venue, with new titles added each month. For $12.99/month or $129/year, you’ll have access to productions like Angels in America starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, All About Eve with Gillian Anderson and Lily James, All My Sons with Sally Field and Bill Pullman, Best of Enemies with Zachary Quinto and David Harewood, a pair of Frankensteins with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen in King Lear and No Man’s Land (opposite Patrick Stewart), and The Seagull with Emilia Clarke and Indira Varma, among many others. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, BroadwayHD has announced a pair of exciting titles arriving on its platform this holiday season: the recent West End musical The Prince of Egypt, featuring a new score by Stephen Schwartz, and the long-running UK tour of Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s Titanic the Musical. In addition, they have recent hits like Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night, Laura Benanti in She Loves Me, and Kevin Kline in Present Laughter, alongside all-time classics including Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Liza with a “Z,” Nicholas Nickleby starring Roger Rees, and the original production of Pippin. You can subscribe for $19.99/month or $199/year. Click here for more information.
Founded by Laura Heywood (better known as social media personality BroadwayGirlNYC) and Susan Vargo, Applause Shop is a charitable online marketplace that re-homes theatrical paraphernalia including programs, sippy cups, opening night gifts, merchandise, and more, with a portion of sales going to organizations like Broadway Cares, Cancer Support Community, Planned Parenthood, and more. It’s run as an eBay store, so if you’re really desperate for something, you’ll have to place the highest bid — but you might just be able to attain that coveted How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying board game of your dreams.
Coffee Table Books, Plays, and Literature
We all know that Barbra Streisand’s memoir is at the top of most people’s gift lists this year, but here are some other suggestions for the theater-inclined in your life.
Beginning in the late 1960s, artist David Edward Byrd pioneered a visual style that have come to design the poster art of legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead, alongside the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and the original Broadway productions of Follies, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Little Shop of Horrors. In the new coffee table book Poster Child, Byrd’s artwork, notes, sketches, and encounters are documented together for the first time. Click here to purchase the book, and read our interview with the artist here.
This November marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Shakespeare’s First Folio, containing 36 of his plays. In collaboration with the British Library, Rizzoli New York recently released a hardcover facsimile of the book, clocking in at 928 pages. The gorgeous volume is $135 and can be purchased here.
After more than decade in the works, Tony Kushner has finally allowed his 2009 drama The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures to be published by Theatre Communications Group, and it’s a great, provocative read. If you’re a Kushner completist, this is the book for you — replete with footnotes, pre-scenes, and a long explanation about why it’s taken so long to get to print. Other recent non-Kushner TCG titles include this year’s hits Fat Ham and Kimberly Akimbo.
Other books to consider: When Broadway Was Black, the story of the making of Shuffle Along, Chita Rivera’s aptly titled memoir, Chita: A Memoir, Charles Busch’s autobiography Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy, and A Man of Much Importance: The Art and Life of Terrence McNally.
A Subscription to Your Local Theater
Look, we don’t know where you live. But we all know that local theaters are hurting in the wake of the pandemic. Consider subscribing to your neighborhood playhouse — not only will it enrich your life, but it could save them from the brink of extinction.
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