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.

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.

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.