A Theatregoer's Guide to New Year's Eve in NYC: What to See, Where to Dine and Where to Toast

News   A Theatregoer's Guide to New Year's Eve in NYC: What to See, Where to Dine and Where to Toast
 
Looking to celebrate New Year's Eve in theatrical style? Playbill.com has you covered. Here's everything you need to know if you're planning a night of entertainment in New York City to ring in 2015.

Though Broadway theatres will skip their evening performances on the night of the 31st, there is still the chance to catch a matinee show for the following:

The Book of Mormon; 2 PM at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, 230 W. 49th St.

Jefferson Mays in <i>A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder</i>
Jefferson Mays in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder2 PM at the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.

It's Only A Play2 PM at the Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St.

Matilda the Musical; 2 PM at the Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular; 12 PM and 2:30 PM at Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas

Aladdin; 1 PM at the New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St.

In addition, you can ring in the New Year on Broadway. Several shows are offering specially-added matinees Jan. 1, 2015. Read Broadway's full New Year's Week performance schedule here.

If Off-Broadway is more your fare, continue reading for our selection of shows with evening performances on NYE. 

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Feel like sticking around after the show on New Year's Eve? There's plenty to see and do in the theatre district. 

Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

Join the millions of tourists from around the country and the world who pack into Times Square to watch the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. Be prepared to arrive very early in the day to secure a spot.

Important info about getting there: The New York Police Department will begin closing down access to Times Square starting at 43rd St. and Broadway and moving north as revelers arrive, from approximately 3 PM. Visitors are advised to enter from Sixth or Eighth Ave and to catch public transport. For more info on access and spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square, click here

If Times Square is proving too chaotic, why not wonder up to Central Park and catch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks. Launched at midnight, they can be seen from virtually any spot in Central Park. Sit back, relax and enjoy the free show. 

Continue reading for further festive suggestions.

If you don’t feel like being caught in the hustle and bustle of Times Square, there are plenty of fun and fabulous options for theatregoers to do around town. Below are some of our favorites:  54 Below Celebrates New Year’s Eve

Broadway’s Supper club will ring in the New Year with two shows, each featuring one of Broadway’s beloved talents: the legendary Charles Busch and Tony winner and all-round star Laura Benanti. Acclaimed actor and Tony-nominated playwright Busch will kick off the evening at 7 PM with a special show filled with hilarious personal stories, classic songs, music and his signature glamour. Teaming with critically acclaimed composer and music director Todd Almond, Benanti will take to the stage at 11 PM with a brand new show featuring new songs and lots of laughs. If her previous multi-award-winning solo show is anything to go by, this is sure to be a very happy new year for everybody at 54 Below. (54 Below, 254 West 54th St, Cellar, New York. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.)

Joe’s Pub

Sandra Bernhard
Sandra Bernhard

Celebrate the New Year by basking in the talents of Sandra Bernhard at Joe’s Pub. Her new live show, Sandra Bernhard is #blessed presents her own hilarious and unique blend of stand-up comedy with rock-n-roll, cabaret and a little burlesque. Bernhard’s show promises to deliver plenty of laughs and fun for you to begin your 2015. The festivities don’t end there, you’ll be sure to want to stick around for NYC nightlife legend, comedian and renowned entertainer Murray Hill and his New Year’s Eve Late Show, commencing at 1 AM. (Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, Astor Place. For more info, click here.)

Metropolitan Room

Clink your champagne in 2015 with Marilyn Maye at The Biggest Party Ever at the Metropolitan Room, New York’s premiere cabaret venue. Let Maye captivate and enthrall you with her theatrical flair, warmth and jazz-spiced chops, hitting those high notes like no other. (34 W. 22nd St. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.)

Ring In The Swing: A New Year’s Eve Dance Party

Jazz at Lincoln Center invites you to their third annual New Year’s Eve Dance Party, where guests will enjoy live music from internationally renowned jazz artists like Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, and Michael Mwenso and the Late Night Session Big Band. Hosted in the majestic Appel Room with views of Central Park, it will be a night of swing, style and fun. (Jazz at Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, New York. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.)

The Merry Widow at The Metropolitan Opera

Directed by Susan Stroman (The Producers, Bullets Over Broadway), The Merry Widow stars Renee Fleming as a beguiling femme fatale alongside Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn in Franz Lehár's operetta about a rich woman and her countrymen's attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband. Stroman and her talented design team have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing at the legendary Maxim’s in Paris. (The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, New York. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.)

New Year’s Eve Gala at the Edison Ballroom

An iconic Broadway landmark, the Edison Ballroom will host legendary big band leader, Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band. Joe’s 16-piece orchestra has traveled the world performing with show business legends like Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett. A delicious four-course meal, drinks and dancing are to be expected at this black-tie event. (Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47 St, Btw Broadway and 8th Ave. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.) 

The Carlyle Hotel

The famous Café Carlyle has long been a favorite venue for Broadway and jazz artists and this New Year’s Eve is no exception. Begin the festivities with cocktails, hors d’oevres and a live performance from Grammy-winning artist Steve Tyrell, then shimmy into the Carlyle’s Black Tie Gala Dinner where you can enjoy more songs from the singer as well as a four-course prix fix menu followed by dancing in the lobby with the Peter Duchin Orchestra.  (Hotel Carlyle, 35 E 76th St, btwn. Madison Ave & Park Ave. For more information and to buy tickets click here.) 

The McKittrick Hotel’s The King’s Winter Masquerade

Sleep No More will spend another New Year’s Eve celebrating the King’s Winter Masquerade in several rooms of The McKittrick Hotel. The event features specially created theatrical and music performances, a full open bar, live entertainment and their regular blend of surprise and enchantment. Ticket packages include their Royal Feast, show and after party. (The McKittrick Hotel, 542 W. 27th St. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.)

Queen of the Night at the Paramount Hotel

Katherine Crockett in <i>Queen of the Night</i>
Katherine Crockett in Queen of the Night Photo by Joan Marcus

The Queen celebrates New Year’s Eve and their one year anniversary with a full Queen of the Night experience and exclusive after party, a Black Tie Masquerade featuring live performances, an interactive art installation and late night dancing with DJ. The lavish theatrical feast from the producer of Sleep No More combines circus, spectacle, dance, music, food and fashion. (The Diamond Horseshoe Supper Club at the Paramount Hotel, 235 W. 46th St. For tickets and more info, click here.)

Many of the theatre district’s fine bars and restaurants are also offering fun dinner and performance packages. Top of the Strandone of the city's finest enclosed rooftops with breakth-taking views of the Empire State Building is hosting a New Year's Eve Gala. A special VIP package includes open bar, hors d'oeuvres, a live DJ and a balloon release at midnight. Some others worth checking out are the West Bank Café’s New Year’s Eve with Lewis Black; the Glass House Tavern’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Party and Chez Josephine’s grand fete.

Staying in? Continue reading for further festive suggestions from the comfort of your couch!

On Television:  If you can’t face the thought of leaving home on the 31st, here are some entertaining options to watch at home:

Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis

The 40th anniversary season of “Live from Lincoln Center” celebrates with “New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve: Gershwin Celebration.” Airing on PBS at 8 PM, the show will feature Tony nominee Norm Lewis and vocalist Dianne Reeves, performing songs from the Gershwin songbook. Willie Geist will be special guest host of the all-Gershwin program, broadcast live from Avery Fisher Hall.

Michael Feinstein New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” will air on PBS around the country at 10 PM. Five-time Grammy nominee Feinstein will host the evening featuring an all-star Broadway cast of Darren Criss, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Marilyn Maye, two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole and 17-year old “America’s Got Talent” finalist Julia Goodwin. In tribute to Frank Sinatra’s upcoming 100th birthday celebration, Feinstein and Criss have promised to perform and energized duet medley. Viewers can also expect to hear their favorite songs by Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin and more.

Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews will return for the fifth time host the festive annual New Year’s Eve celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2014. The show features melodies from the Strauss family composers and their contemporaries, marking the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’ birth. Airing on PBS at 2:30 and 8 PM.

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And lastly...

If a good night of theatre is your ideal way to celebrate the end of the year, there are some stellar Off-Broadway shows still on offer on the evening of the 31st:

Here Lies Love, 9:30 PM at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, Astor Place.

Blue Man Group, 8 PM at the Astor Place Theatre, 434 Lafayette Street, Astor Place.

Soul Doctor, 7 PM at Actors Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th St.

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