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The Top 10 New York Shows to Catch This Holiday Season

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


December is nearly upon us, so here are our top Broadway & Off-Broadway show picks

The snow is falling, the windows of Macy’s and Bloomingdales are all aglow with festive décor, and the smell of roasted chestnuts is wafting from the vendors near Central Park. The holiday season is here, and NYC is brimming with things to do. Of particular note, there is always the theatre scene to rely upon to bring some extra magic into our lives. As part of your holiday revelry, consider taking in a play or musical. Here are ten not-to-be-missed offerings that we suggest this December, guaranteed to give you your theater fix.

The cast of ‘Frozen’ is singing up a storm on Broadway this season (Photo: Deen van Meer)

The cast of ‘Frozen’ is singing up a storm on Broadway this season (Photo: Deen van Meer)

Frozen 
It may have been around for a while now, but nothing beats the wide-eyed reception of your child experiencing the spectacle, music and heartwarming story of Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. Add to this the fact that the musical’s frosty wonderland that walks hand-in-hand with the holidays, and the December release of the movie Frozen II, and a trip to the Nordic world of Arendelle is a great way to celebrate the yuletide. The film score has been augmented by original Academy Award-winning composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, with parade of enchanting new songs working in tandem with such well-known numbers as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let it Go.”

Jagged Little Pill
Eagerly anticipated and officially opening on Dec. 5, Jagged Little Pill is quickly becoming a hot ticket of the season. Boasting an Alanis Morissette score inspired by her album of the same name, director Diane Paulus (Pippin, Waitress) takes audiences for an intense ride through the lives of the Healy clan, a seemingly perfect family whose secrets lead to their unraveling. The musical also features choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (who has frequently worked with Beyoncé), and a book by Academy Award-winning writer Diablo Cody (Juno). The cast includes such talents as Elizabeth Stanley, Derek Klena, Sean Allan Krill, Celia Rose Gooding and Antonio Cipriano.

Little Shop of Horrors
There is a great deal of fun and nostalgia revisiting a musical theater classic, and Little Shop of Horrors at the Westside Theatre holds a host of treats for audiences. From the time-honored Alan Menken/Howard Ashman score that includes such musical theater standards as “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly Seymour,” to the campy sci-fi plot and delightful performances by Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard and Tony winner Christian Borle, this a must-see for anyone who enjoys great musical theater in an intimate setting. The show was initially slated for a limited engagement ending Jan. 19, 2020, but recently announced that it will run through Mar. 8, 2020. Gideon Glick (To Kill A Mockingbird) will take over for Jonathan Groff. 

The Inheritance
The two-part play The Inheritance is a moving, epic story by Matthew Lopez that came to Broadway this fall after a celebrated, Olivier Award-winning premiere in London. It boldly re-envisions E.M. Forster’s celebrated novel Howard’s End, setting the action in the 21st century. Two thirty-something men are on the precipice of engagement when an older man and a younger man show up in their lives. The former reveals a haunted past and the latter an obsession with the future. Their entrance into their world links three generations, taking this couple through surprising twists and turns in one of the season’s most-riveting plays. The Inheritance is directed by Stephen Daldry.

Harry Connick, Jr. – A Celebration of Cole Porter
Harry Connick, Jr., star of stage and screen, makes a return to Broadway to once again enchant audiences with his silky voice in A Celebration of Cole Porter. Of course, pairing this talent with the enduring songs of a great American songwriter, is a masterstroke of theatrical genius. The composer-lyricist behind such musical theater gems as Anything Goes, Kiss Me, Kate!, Can-Can and a bevy of other bright and beautiful musicals, Porter is a legend. Filter his ditties through Connick’s vocal cords, and you have a night of pure magic. Performances begin December toward a Dec. 12 official opening.

Grand Horizons
Beginning previews in late December (Dec. 23), the Bess Wohl play Grand Horizons promises to be a not-to-miss theatrical event, with such sparkling talents as Jane Alexander, James Cromwell, Priscilla Lopez, Ben McKenzie, Ashley Park, Maulik Pancholy and Michael Urie in the cast. The next installment in Second Stage Theater’s compelling season, Grand Horizons takes us into the marriage of Bill and Nancy, who, after 50 years of matrimony, decide to call it quits. Both funny and poignant as it explores how our happiness weighs against the expectations of those closest to us, Grand Horizons is a thoughtful investigation into what embracing our own mortality means to each of us.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Everyone is cheering for Adrienne Warren’s performance as the title character in Broadway’s latest jukebox musical biography Tina – The Tina Turner Musical. With a book by  Katori HallFrank Ketelaar & Kees Prins, as well as parade of hits from the music superstar Tina Turner, the musical tells her life story, from her beginnings in a small town in Tennessee, to her rise to the deserved title of Queen of Rock ‘n” Roll, with all  the ups and downs along the way. Tina -The Tina Turner Musical is directed by Phyllida Llloyd, who also ushered Mamma Mia! to the musical stage.

A Christmas Carol
The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol has come to the Broadway stage in many forms, and the latest incarnation has been adapted by playwright Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly curmudgeon who despises Christmas, only to have his outlook altered after three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve, is as much a part of the spirit of the season as singing carols, decorating the tree and drinking eggnog. Campbell Scott stars, with Tony winners Andrea Martin and LaChanze also lending their talents to the festivities. Under the direction of Matthew Warchus (Matilda), A Christmas Carol runs through Jan. 5, 2020.

West Side Story
Director Ivo Van Hove’s revival of one of the great musical theatre classics of all time, West Side Story, is one of the most talked-about productions of the season. Beginning performances on Dec. 10, 2019, this is the first revival of West Side Story to feature new choreography that doesn’t follow the original Jerome Robbins creations. Tightened into an intermission-less production of growing intensity and urgency, this is a West Side Story like you’ve never quite seen it before. The Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim score remains as poignant as ever, with such favorites as “Maria,” “Tonight,” “Something’s Coming,” “America” and “Somewhere” telling the story of two star-crossed lovers and the gang rivalry and ethnic differences that tragically get in the way of their happiness.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
And no show quite evokes December in New York City better than the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This annual tradition has become a mainstay of the Big Apple Christmas, a yuletide extravaganza of epic proportions. Holiday music, breathtaking spectacle and the famed, high-kicking Rockettes make for the perfect entertainment to get your family in the merry mood of the season. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular plays the iconic venue through Jan. 1.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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