PLAYBILL PICKS: The Stage's Ten Greatest Christmas Scenes

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25 Dec 2013

Phyllis Newman in Subways Are for Sleeping.

Subways Are for Sleeping
This oddball 1961 Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne musical is best remembered the beneficiary of a particularly inspired bit of David Merrick chicanery (he invited citizens with the same names at the major theatre critics to come of review the show), than for its quality. The fairly ludicrous plot involves a group of homeless people who live on the subway, and the undercover reporter who infiltrates their numbers. But it contains one memorable yuletide tune, called "Be a Santa," in which the homeless ringleader, Tom Bailey, encourages everyone to be like Kris Kringle and thus contribute to the world's general happiness. Even by Comden and Green standards, the lyrics are pretty giddy and goofy, but the song can bring a smile to your lips. (Listen to it here.) Phyllis Newman, who won a Tony Award for her work in the show, said of the number, "I think what made it work so well was, first of all, visually, there was a stage full of Santas. It was a witty song teaching people how to be a Santa, and then an inventive, genuinely jolly, dance choreographed by Michael Kidd."


What are your favorite theatrical moments set at yuletide? Let us know on our Facebook page or on Twitter @Playbill.

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