THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 22-28: A Guide to Holiday Theatregoing

By Blake Ross
22 Dec 2012

Jordan Gelber in Elf.
Jordan Gelber in Elf.
Photo by Joan Marcus

'Twas the WEEK AHEAD of Christmas, and all through Broadway
Many creatures were stirring, catching a musical or play.
Here for you now is your holiday guide
Of shows that might make life a merrier ride!
So from all of us at Playbill, let me be the one to say:
Have a merry theatregoing time and a very happy holiday!

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HOLIDAY PLAYS, MUSICALS & REVUES

GO→ The holiday musical Elf, based on the Will Ferrell movie of the same name, returns to Broadway in an updated version from director Casey Nicholaw and songwriters Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. This time around, "Seinfeld" star Wayne Knight stars as ol' St. Nick with Jordan Gelber starring as Buddy the Elf, a larger-than-life human who dreams of being one of Santa's little helpers. (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)



GO→ A Christmas Story, storyteller Jean Shepherd's famous fable about a Midwestern family and their perfectly imperfect Christmas, takes musical form thanks to songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and librettist Joseph Robinette. Johnny Rabe plays Ralphie, a boy on a mission for the perfect Christmas present, An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. Those telling Ralphie he'll shoot his eye out are The Old Man (John Bolton), Mother (Erin Dilly) and his tap-dancing teacher (Caroline O'Connor). Dan Lauria plays the narrator. (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Aves. Info/tickets.)

GO→ Tony winner Alice Ripley and Bob Stillman star as Mary Todd and Abe Lincoln in A Civil War Christmas, a new play from Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel. (Through Dec. 30, New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St., btwn. 2nd Ave. & Bowery. Info/tickets.)

GO→ The Grinch is back! Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical returns to New York, this time at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Urinetown star Jeff McCarthy plays the fuzzy green meanie who terrorizes the Whos of Whoville with a hatred of all things Christmas. (Through Dec. 30, Theatre at Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza at W. 32nd St. Info/tickets.)

GO→ The quintessential New York holiday show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, returns to New York's Radio City Music Hall, with Santa and all those shiny, high-kicking Rockettes in tow! This revamped version of the 85-year-old holiday mainstay features new 3D elements and a Rockette tango with a New York City Sightseeing bus! (Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Ave., btwn. W. 50th St. and W. 51st St. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Lilla Crawford in Annie.
photo by Joan Marcus

GO→ The classic Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin musical Annie gets a "New Deal For Christmas" with this newest Broadway revival from director James Lapine. 11-year-old Lilla Crawford stars as the famous redheaded moppet who stirs up trouble for orphanage proprietress Miss Hannigan (two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran), when she leaves her "Hard Knock Life" for Christmas at the mansion of Oliver Warbucks (Anthony Warlow). (Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway, btwn. 46th & 47th Sts. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

GO→ "Project Runway" star Chris March, known for his over-the-top and ostentatious costume designs, sets his version of the famous tale "The Nutcracker" inside a trampy trailer park for The Butt-Cracker Suite. Expect dancing pink flamingos, cans of Spam and ugly Christmas sweaters galore! (Through Dec 28, HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Ave., south of Spring St. Info/tickets.)

GO→ The classic Dickens tale about Mr. Scrooge and the many ghosts of Christmas, A Christmas Carol, takes musical form thanks to songwriters Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell, in an intimate Greenwich Village venue. (Through Dec. 30, The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St., btwn. 3rd and Bleecker. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

GO→ The new comedy by Brian Gianci, Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas, follows the rich Grandma Cathy (Roxie Lucas) and her greedy family who tries to off her just in time to have a really Merry (and money-filled!) Christmas. (Through Dec. 30. Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 W. 46th St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

GO→ Broadway vets Marc Kudisch and Jeffry Denman star in a new variety show The Holiday Guys in Happy Merry Hanu-Mas. Celeb guests like Tyne Daly, Carson Kressley, Michael Riedel, Bobby Steggert, Ted Chapin and John Weidman show up from time to time to join the duo for the sketch-and-music-filled show celebrating every conceivable holiday! (Through Dec. 31. York Theatre at Saint Peter's 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th St. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

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