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.

The Holidays Will Be Bright at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden, one of New York City’s most famed and popular venues, will be especially busy during the holiday season this year, from just before Thanksgiving and on towards the New Year.  During that time, the MSG arena will host such major acts as Justin Bieber (November 28-29), boy band sensation One Direction (December 3), and classic rockers The Who (December 5).

Meanwhile, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, MSG’s more intimate space, will feature several theatrical productions, most of them family-friendly for the holidays.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets a Job (November 16-17) – See one of the richest and most influential men in the entertainment world live onstage when writer, director, and actor Tyler Perry once again takes on his best-known role, the sharp-tongued old woman Madea, in a stage show in which Madea has to take on a job and ends up working at a nursing home.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses (November 28) – One of the original Nintendo gaming system’s signature games, Zelda has amassed a devoted following over the last 25 years.  This show allows fans to experience the video game in a unique way that offers dynamic visuals accompanied by a symphony orchestra.  The concert showcases the music of Nintendo composer / sound director Koji Kondo.

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Get the Sillies Out (November 30 – December 2) – The wildly popular children’s TV series Yo Gabba Gabba! brings its colorful and unique characters to the stage.  Along with DJ Lance Rock, they will help the young audience to jump, shimmy, and shake the sillies out in this fun, kid-friendly show.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical (December 13-30) – Mr. Grinch may be a mean one, but he remains beloved by both kids and their parents, and he takes the stage at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in this live-action musical version of the famed Dr. Seuss tale.

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.