Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
The holiday season has officially arrived and seeing shows with your loved ones is a great way to celebrate. We've rounded up a dozen festive productions for different types of audiences, so whether you're with the kids, out on a date, or looking to drink, laugh or sing along, there's a production for you. Bonus: At press time, many of these shows were offering discounts to TDF members. During this busy time of year, it's best to check our offers daily as ticket availability changes frequently.
FOR FAMILIES: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue at 32nd Street
Runs December 13-30. Tickets are occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
The stage adaptation of Dr. Seuss' iconic holiday tale returns to New York City with a two-time Tony nominee as the grumpy green lead: Gavin Lee, who was so awesomely angsty as Squidward in Broadway's SpongeBob SquarePants. This one-act musical expands on the popular TV special with new songs in addition to classics "You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome, Christmas."
FOR COUPLES: Nutcracker Rouge
Théâtre XIV, 383 Troutman Street between Wyckoff and Irving Avenues in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Runs through January 13, 2018.
Leave any kids at home and your inhibitions at the door! Company XIV's burlesque and circus-filled, NC-17-rated take on the classic Nutcracker tale returns for its annual holiday run. With sumptuous design, liberal libations and lots of sex appeal, this show is sure to heat up your holidays.
FOR REALITY TV JUNKIES: Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show
Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
Runs December 7-30. At press time, discount tickets were available for Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show. It's also occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
American Idol BFFs Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken share backstage stories and seasonal songs in this concert-style Broadway special. Yes, the cheese factor is probably high (they promise Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra-type banter), but for fans of these quippy Season 2 competitors, this three-week engagement is must-consume comfort food.
FOR CIRCUS FREAKS: Big Apple Circus
Damrosch Park, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza near 62nd Street
Runs through January 27, 2019. At press time, discount tickets were available for the Big Apple Circus. It's also occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
Even Christmas trees aren't as sparkly and spectacular as this seasonal staple. Save for veteran animal trainer Jenny Vidbel and her adorable animal menagerie, the other acts are all new this year, including statuesque ringmistress Stephanie Monseu, vaudevillian clowns Adam Kuchler and Mark Gindick, and Duo Fusion, a husband-and-wife balancing team where the traditional roles are reversed: she lifts him! It's a one-ring, two-act wonder that captivates all ages.
FOR FIRST-TIME THEATREGOERS: A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Secret Theatre, 4402 23rd Street near 44th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens
Runs December 14-30. At press time, discount tickets were available for A Charlie Brown Christmas.
With its brief running time, inexpensive tickets and familiar Peanuts characters, this stage adaptation of the beloved holiday TV special is aimed at the sippy-cup set. An ideal holiday show for preschoolers.
FOR MUSICAL MAVENS: Christmas in Hell
The York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street
Runs December 4-30. At press time, discount tickets were available for Christmas in Hell. It's also occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
This twisted tuner follows the Mephistophelian misadventures of an eight-year-old boy who mistakenly ends up in Hell. When he returns to Earth, he's more devilish than ever, so his dad heads down below to take it up with the Devil. The brainchild of a former Simpsons writer, and directed by Bill Castellino (Desperate Measures, Cagney), Christmas in Hell sounds like a tart antidote to holiday treacle.
FOR MAGIC LOVERS: The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays
Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway at 46th Street
Runs November 23-December 30. At press time, discount tickets were available for The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays. It's also frequently available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
These tricksters put the magic in the holidays -- literally. Marvel at awesome escapes, amazing feats of mentalism and over-the-top illusions in this Vegas-style revue. Although you can catch a lot of these acts on YouTube, they're much more impressive live on stage.
FOR LIT LOVERS: A Christmas Carol
Merchant's House Museum, 29 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Lafayette Street
Runs November 27-December 29.
The ultimate old-school version of Charles Dickens's holiday classic, this one-man Christmas Carol is mounted in the 19th-century Merchant's House Museum. In this historic setting, actor John Kevin Jones plays Dickens performing all of the characters, just like the Victorian author did back in the day. It's an intimate show and tickets always sell out well in advance, so if you want to go, get buying.
FOR LIQUOR LOVERS: The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails
The Producers Club Theaters, 358 West 44th Street near Ninth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Runs through December 29. Tickets are occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
Get ready to indulge at this alcohol-infused Christmas tale set the day after Scrooge gets woke. The reformed curmudgeon plans to throw the best holiday bash ever -- but has no idea how to go about it. So Marley returns as party planner and takes Scrooge and the audience on a tour of cocktails past.
FOR DANCE FANS: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
Runs November 28-December 30. At press time, discount tickets were available for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. It's also occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
The lauded dance company returns to City Center to celebrate the holidays and its 60th anniversary. Each program features a selection of works from the troupe's expansive repertory, including Alvin Ailey's renown "Revelations," as well as new pieces by acclaimed contemporary choreographers, including Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown and Jessica Lang.
FOR THE IRREVERENT: The Truth About Santa
The Tank, 312 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
Runs December 14-30. At press time, discount tickets were available for The Truth About Santa.
From the wonderfully warped mind of Urinetown co-creator Greg Kotis comes this "apocalyptic holiday tale" that dredges up Kris Kringle's dirty laundry, including illegitimate kids, evil powers and a disturbing lack of Christmas cheer. Bad Santa's got nothin' on this dirty old St. Nick.
FOR TRADITIONALISTS: Radio City Christmas Spectacular
1260 Sixth Avenue at 50th Street
Runs through January 1, 2019. At press time, discount tickets were available for Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It's also frequently available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
Although Santa, the Three Kings and lots of local landmarks put in appearances, this extravaganza is all about the Rockettes and their stunning synchronized dance numbers. A New York City tradition since 1933, this iconic Christmas show truly jump-starts the holiday feels -- just walking into the bedazzled Radio City is sure to put you in a holiday mood.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Philip Bryan in the 2016 touring company of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Photo courtesy of the show.