For this latter group of die-hard theatre fans, the picking can be pretty slim come Dec. 25—like most working stiffs, actors tend to prefer to stay at home that day. Still, in New York City, the determined can find any sort of entertainment, whatever day, whatever time of year.
The classic standby for the Christmastime ticketbuyer is, of course, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The show is now in its 70th year at the Music Hall in Midtown. Attendees can expect such long-standing sights as the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and the "Living Nativity."
Christmas Day offers three show times: 1 PM, 4 PM and 7 PM. To purchase tickets call (212) 307-1000.
Considerably younger that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, but on its way to becoming a Gotham yuletide tradition, is the Alan Menken-Lynn Ahrens musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The late Mike Ockrent directed and his widow, Susan Stroman, did the choreography for the show, now in its ninth year. Each season has seen a new Scrooge. This year's is F. Murray Abraham.
The cast also features Nick Corley as Bob Cratchit, Paul Kandel as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, Justin Brill as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Gerry Mcintyre as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Catherine Batcheller as the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Be. The run began on Nov. 29. The production offers a 2 PM matinee on Dec. 25. Call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171. For more information, visit www.thegarden.com.
For those who like a little irony with their holiday cheer there's Christmas With the Crawfords, as in monster Mommie Dearest Joan. The show returned to Off-Broadway with a run Nov. 22-Dec. 28 at the Producers Club II.
The campy comedy, which takes place during a holiday broadcast led by actress Crawford and gossip goddess Hedda Hopper in the former's home, features drag and performance art legend Joey Arias. Richard Winchester, Mark Sargent and Wayne Buidens created the script, which ran in 2000 at New York City's Grove Street Playhouse and in 2001 at the Chelsea Playhouse. A Chorus Line's Donna Drake directs and choreographs with musical direction by Joe Collins.
The Dec. 25 show is at 8 PM. For reservations, call (212) 315-4743.