Christmas Shows Avoid Broadway This Season

A Christmas Story Broadway MusicalFor the last several years, Broadway has embraced the Christmas holiday season with special limited-run shows designed specifically to entice holiday crowds. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, and A Christmas Story have all provided warm-hearted Christmas-themed cheer to Broadway audiences.

However, this winter, it appears that while there will be at least a couple of holiday friendly musicals in New York City, they won’t be playing in Broadway theaters. A Christmas Story, which was at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theater last year, will play instead at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, which has been a popular venue for other holiday fare like a musical version of A Christmas Carol.

As usual, Radio City Music Hall will have its Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. But neither How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which was on Broadway in 2006 and 2007) nor Elf (which played Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2010 and 2012) currently plan to come to NYC. Instead, both shows will tour large regional theaters around the country.

This will be the first time since 2006 that Broadway hasn’t featured a limited-run holiday-themed show (unless something changes in the next couple months). The success of several show’s from Broadway’s spring season means that fewer theaters are available, which may be one reason for the lack of Christmas spirit on the Great White Way this year. Whether or not this is just a blip in the holiday Broadway show trend remains to be seen.

A Christmas Story Going to MSG, Not Broadway This Season

A Christmas Story, the MusicalThe Tony Award nominated musical A Christmas Story, which delighted Broadway audiences this past holiday season, will not return to Broadway this year. The show will still come to New York City, but it will play at the Theater at Madison Square Garden instead.

The Theater at MSG has been a popular venue for previous holiday-themed shows, such as A Christmas Carol the Musical and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, so it is a natural choice for the newest Christmas-themed musical. A Christmas Story the Musical will run there December 11th through the 29th.

Based on the well-loved 1983 movie of the same name, A Christmas Story is about the Christmastime adventures of a young boy named Ralphie living in 1940s Indiana. The show’s recent production at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater received three Tony Award nominations.

A Christmas Story, Bring It On, and Radio City Christmas Show Close Today

Bring It On Broadway Musical playing at the St. James Theatre As 2012 comes to a close, so do a couple of Broadway shows (Bring It On and A Christmas Story, along with one very popular show that is not on Broadway but at the Radio City Music Hall). Two of these shows, A Christmas Story and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, are holiday-themed productions that were designed to appeal to the Christmas tourist crowd visiting New York City. The Radio City Christmas show has of course been a staple of the NYC holiday seasons for many decades, and year after year it plays for approximately six or seven weeks during the holiday season, delighting audiences with the Rockettes’ precision dancing and the live Nativity scene.

A Christmas Story, on the other hand, was enjoying its first time in New York City. This musical adaptation of a beloved Christmas movie made a good impression on the critics and did excellent ticket sales (especially in December), so there is a good chance that this one could return to Broadway next holiday season and perhaps become a Christmas-time regular.

Bring It On‘s closing is not related to the conclusion of the Christmas holiday, but is simply the result of the show no longer selling enough tickets to make a continued run worthwhile. However, Bring It On, which opened in the summer, was originally scheduled for a very limited run that would have concluded in the autumn. But the competitive cheerleading themed musical received a positive response early in its run, prompting extensions that allowed the show to run much longer than initially planned.

Broadway’s A Christmas Story Announces Competition for Young Writers

In partnership with STOMP Out Bullying, the family-oriented musical comedy A Christmas Story has announced the Young Writers Competition to End Bullying.  6th, 7th, and 8th graders are invited to submit stories (five pages or less) that talk about how their lives have been affected by bullying, whether it’s a personal story, an incident that the writer witnessed, or an explanation of strategies they’ve used to avoid bullies.  Writers are asked to include at least one actionable idea that they think other kids, school administrators, or the community could implement in order to limit future bullying.

Lots of Broadway-related prizes are being offered to the contest winners.  The First Place prize winner gets a walk-on role in the Broadway production of A Christmas Story, the Musical, along with two tickets to the show, a backstage tour, a copy of the original cast album, and an award certificate.  Second and Third Place winners get two tickets, the tour, a copy of the album, and a certificate.  Ten runners-up will receive copies of the original cast album and award certificates.

This anti-bullying competition has a connection to the plot of A Christmas Story — the Broadway musical’s young hero, Ralphie, and his friends have multiple run-ins with a bully.

Students in the NYC tri-state area are eligible to enter the contest.  Entries must be received by December 8, 2012, and they can be emailed to antibullyingentry@gmail.com.

Thanksgiving Week Features Many Broadway Schedule Changes

Due to the fact that ticket buying patterns tend to change significantly over holidays, most Broadway shows are altering their schedules accordingly this week.  The biggest changes are on Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day itself, when the majority of Broadway shows are canceling performances entirely.  Notable exceptions are Chicago, A Christmas Story, and The Phantom of the Opera, which are still planning to hold shows that day.

Almost as significant are the changes made to Broadway show schedules on Friday, November 23.  To make up for the lost Thanksgiving Day performances, and to account for the fact that many families are looking for entertainment on that Friday, most Broadway musicals and plays have added matinee performances in addition to their usual Friday evening performances.

There are a few other scattered performance additions and cancellations from now through Sunday.  To see the complete Broadway performance schedule for this week, visit the Broadway League’s schedule page here.

A Christmas Story Begins Performances on Broadway

Slightly delayed following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, A Christmas Story, The Musical is now bringing holiday cheer to Broadway as it begins performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater today.  Based on the beloved and nostalgic 1983 Christmas movie of the same name, A Christmas Story is the new kid on New York City theater’s holiday block, joining perennial favorite Radio City Christmas Spectacular and returning Christmas-themed musicals Elf (also based on a movie) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Taking place in 1940s Indiana, A Christmas Story, The Musical is about young Ralphie, a boy with a big imagination and an ardent Christmas wish to have a Red Ryder BB gun.  Pink bunny pajamas, a leggy lamp, and a mean department store Santa Claus all figure into this hilarious holiday tale.  The musical stars Dan Lauria (TV’s The Wonder Years, Lombardi on Broadway) as Jean Shepherd and Johnny Rabe as Ralphie.

A Christmas Story officially opens on Broadway on November 19.  It is a limited run production, scheduled to play through December 30.

New Broadway Show Delays Due To Sandy

Hurricane Sandy didn’t only cause the cancellation of several Broadway performances early in the week, but it also caused delays for some of the new crop of shows coming to Broadway.

A Christmas Story the Musical was originally supposed to start preview performances on Monday, November 5, but the first preview is now being delayed to Wednesday, November 7.  Producer Gerald Goehring stated that, “Due to the storm, the company has lost important rehearsal time on stage. In order to assure that the company gets the necessary time that they need to rehearse at the Lunt-Fontanne, we have decided to reschedule our first performance.”  Ticket holders for the November 5 performance can exchange them for another performance at their point of purchase.

Dead Accounts, the new play starring Katie Holmes and Norbert Leo Butz, was originally scheduled to begin preview performances this Saturday, November 3.  However, the show now won’t begin previews until Monday, November 5.  To provide some consolation for the original ticket holders to the November 3 performance, the producers of Dead Accounts are offering them a coupon for a free pint of Graeter’s ice cream, which can be redeemed at D’Agostino’s grocery stores.  The coupons can be picked up at the Music Box Theatre box office, where ticket holders of the November 3 performance can also see about exchanging their tickets for another performance date.

Holiday Shows Will Light Up Broadway This Christmas

It’s still summertime, but the Christmas holiday shows have already been announced and now is a good time to start thinking about getting tickets for these often popular, limited-run Broadway shows before they start selling out.

In past years, Broadway has seen such holiday entries as White Christmas and Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk, but the main Christmas-themed Broadway show on this year’s schedule is a new kid in town, A Christmas Story. Based on the 1983 movie of the same name, which has become a TV mainstay during the holiday season, A Christmas Story follows the misadventures of young Ralphie, who desperately wants a BB gun for Christmas. A Christmas Story opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on November 19 and closes on December 30.

The stage musical incarnation of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas returns to town this winter season, playing the Theater at Madison Square Garden for a short run, December 13-30. Kids and adults who remember the classic Christmas book and the much-loved cartoon version will enjoy seeing the funny and moving story of a meanie who gains the Christmas spirit live onstage. Memorable songs from the cartoon such as “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” are also in this Grinch-y stage show.

The most prominent Christmas show on the New York City theater scene remains the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which has delighted audiences at the famed Radio City Music Hall for over 50 years. The Radio City Christmas show shakes things up a bit each year, usually adding and subtracting segments of the multimedia spectacle, so even if you have already seen it, you will find something new in each year’s showing. There are a wide range of ticket prices available, so if you don’t mind sitting on one of the upper levels, this can be one of the more affordable options for a Christmas show for the family. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular opens on November 9, with a closing date of December 30.

For theater lovers looking for holiday entertainment that is off the beaten path, keep your eyes open for the Off-Off-Broadway listings. It’s a little early yet for schedules, but the Christmas season is always full of special holiday benefit concerts, multiple unique adaptations of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, children’s holiday shows, and other Christmas goodies.

Upcoming Broadway Musicals Spotlighted at Broadway in Bryant Park

Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual summer series that features lunchtime performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, has an exciting schedule this month that will feature current Broadway shows alongside upcoming ones.  Held from 12:30pm to 1:30pm each Thursday through August 16, these free midday concerts are ideal for midtown workers and tourists who want to enjoy Bryant Park’s beautiful lawn while watching Broadway singers perform.

On August 2, long-running Broadway musical Mamma Mia! will be showcased, along with Off-Broadway hit Silence the Musical (a hilarious parody of The Silence of the Lambs), the British farce One Man, Two Guvnors, and the forthcoming bio-musical Chaplin.

August 9 will feature another long-running favorite, Chicago, along with the Off-Broadway revival of Rent (which is closing soon, so catch it now!), the new revival of Evita, and the upcoming Broadway musical Rebecca.

The last Broadway in Bryant Park concert of the summer, on August 16, will include the raunchy musical comedy Avenue Q, the delightful Gershwin charmer Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the high-energy musical Rock of Ages, along with two new Broadway shows:  Bring It On: The Musical and A Christmas Story.

Find out more about Broadway in Bryant Park and information about the park itself here.