PLAYBILL PICKS: The Stage's Ten Greatest Christmas Scenes

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25 Dec 2013

This 1966 Jerry Herman musical actually doesn't take place during the holiday, but it contains one of the greatest manufactured Christmas moments in theatre history. The ebullient Auntie Mame has lost her fortune in the Crash of 1929. It's still November, but the indomitable dame decides that she and her young nephew Patrick "need a little Christmas now." Hence, the show-stopping number, "We Need a Little Christmas," which has since become a holiday radio favorite. Sample lyric: "It hasn't snowed a single flurry/But Santa, dear, we're in a hurry." "This is the perfect Christmas number because it is decidedly not about Christmas," said Steven Suskin. "It's about the need for Christmas, and Christmas spirit. The magic in the original number was not only from the song and the sterling performers; it also came in the arrangement and orchestrations, which were exuberant and lit up the theatre." Here's a clip from the film version that starred Lucille Ball.

Angela Lansbury, Jane Connell, Sab Shimono and Frankie Michaels in the original Broadway production of Mame.
photo by Friedman-Abeles


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