Christmas Week on Broadway

Rockefeller Christmas treeThe week of Christmas is always unusually busy on Broadway, but performance schedules often change during this time, so it is important to keep this in mind if you or your family plans to catch a Broadway show during the holidays.

December 24, Christmas Eve Day, which is a Tuesday this year, will see very little activity on Broadway. Most plays and musicals are canceling performances on that day. The only exceptions are Betrayal, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Lion King, Newsies, and Spider-man all have 2pm matinees on the 24th. Macbeth will have a 7pm performance that night.

On Christmas Day, December 25, roughly half the shows on Broadway will have evening performances, but several will be canceling their normal evening shows. Even though it’s a Wednesday, when matinees are usually plentiful, no Broadway shows have matinees scheduled for Christmas Day.

To make up for performances canceled right over the Christmas holiday, many shows will be adding a matinee on Thursday, December 26 and a handful of other shows will add a Friday matinee.

To see the complete Christmas holiday schedule, click here.

Billy Porter, Laura Osnes To Appear on Carols for a Cure CD

Broadway's Carols for a CureThe “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure” recording has become a beloved holiday tradition for Broadway fans who like to support a good cause (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) while enjoying holiday-themed tunes from theater’s best. After several years of providing show tune lovers with the perfect CD to play during Christmas time, this year will be no exception, offering tunes recorded by stars from Broadway shows, both old and new.

“Broadway’s Caroles for a Cure, Volume 15″ will feature the original singing Spider-man himself, Reeve Carney, performing “A Savior is Born; Broadway stalwart Faith Prince singing “Children Go Where I Send Thee” with the cast of Annie; Cinderella‘s Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Rebecca Luker, and Ann Harada singing “Happy Christmas, Little Friend”; and Billy Porter and Harvey Fierstein of Kinky Boots crooning “Carol of the Boots”.

Cast members from most Broadway shows, including Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Motown, Matilda, Newsies, Wicked, Once, First Date, Soul Doctor, and Rock of Ages, are also expected to record songs for the album. The all-stars of Northport, New York’s John W. Engeman Theater and The Broadway Boys will participate as well.

There will also be a special selection from web gossip guru and sometime actor Perez Hilton, who performed Off-Broadway in the revue NEWSical recently. Hilton will perform a number titled “Perez’s 2013 Holiday Dishlist,” which has original lyrics by George Howe and Lynn Pinto (who created Broadway’s Caroles for a Cure), with music composed by Jason Michael Webb.

“Carols for a Cure” will be available to order through Broadway Cares by calling 212-840-0770 (ext. 238) at broadwaycares.org. CDs are priced at $23 each.

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.

Broadway Schedule Changes For Christmas

A Christmas Story Broadway MusicalThe Christmas holiday, which is right around the corner, is a popular time for seeing Broadway shows.  However, if you are thinking of finally buying some Broadway tickets so that you can take your visiting family to a show, or if you’re considering making a last-minute trip down to the box office to snag seats, you should bear in mind that Broadway tends to change its schedule around during major holidays like Christmas.

Very few Broadway shows will have performances on December 25, Christmas Day, or on December 24, Christmas Eve Day.  If you are determined to spend Christmas on Broadway, though, there are a few notable exceptions.  A Christmas Story, Newsies, and Spider-man Turn Off the Dark will all have matinee performances on Monday, December 24.  On Tuesday, December 25, Chicago, Evita, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will all perform in the evening, providing a perfect activity for families who have spent all day feasting and are ready for a little entertainment.

Many Broadway shows will make up for their “lost” Christmas Day performances by scheduling matinees on Thursday and/or Friday, days that rarely offer matinees.  With many people taking all of Christmas week off for vacation, these could prove to be very popular performances for Broadway shows, especially the more family-oriented ones.

See the entire Christmas Week Broadway performance schedule here.

Broadway’s Elf Celebrates 12 Days of Christmas

Starting with tonight’s performance, the Broadway musical Elf will be celebrating its own version of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ in honor of the holiday season.  At the conclusion of select performances of the Christmas-themed musical taking place between now and December 13, a member of the show’s cast will choose a random seat number.  The person sitting in that seat will win a prize, courtesy of a participating partner.

The prizes being given away (each of which is worth at least $250) include a dessert class at chocolatier Jacques Torres, a $250 Macy’s gift card, a spa package, a $500 luxury designer gift basket, a Hard Rock Cafe prize package, a two-night stay at Doubletree Metropolitan, a Warner Brothers DVD package, and a M&M’s World prize package.

These are the performances in which the special prizes will be given away:  11/27 at 7pm, 11/28 at 2pm & 7pm, 11/29 at 7pm, 12/4 at 7pm, 12/5 at 2pm & 7pm, 12/6 at 7pm, 12/11 at 7pm, 12/12 at 2pm & 7pm, and 12/13 at 7pm.  All one has to do to be eligible is buy a ticket to see Elf on Broadway on one of those dates and times.  Furthermore, even the audience members who don’t win the special prize at those performances will still get an assortment of offers from the show’s participating partners.

Another Show Entry Into The 2012 Holiday Broadway Schedule

As we mentioned previously, the holiday season will be featuring a few special Christmas shows on Broadway. Now another seasonal show has been added to the list: Elf the Musical. A holiday success when it debuted on Broadway two years ago, Elf is now back for a limited run at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where it will play from November 9 to January 6.

Based on the 2003 family film starring Will Ferrell, Elf is about a human who is raised at the North Pole among Santa’s elves and then goes off to New York City to find his birth family. With a charmingly funny book by Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Thomas Meehan (The Producers, Hairspray, Annie), and a tuneful score by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, Elf the Musical did well on Broadway when it first debuted in 2010 for a limited engagement.

Unlike the other Christmas shows (e.g. Radio City Christmas Spectacular), which conclude at the end of December, Elf the Musical will actually be playing into the New Year. This can be a gamble on the part of a Broadway show. On one hand, it can be a smart choice since some families are still assembled for the New Year and will be looking for Broadway entertainment in early January. On the other hand, it can backfire since January is a notoriously slow month on Broadway and most people are focusing on work after the holiday. Since Elf will be the only holiday show still running, though, the gamble might pay off.