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Holiday Theatre Hot List! 2019

Date: Nov 25, 2019

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.

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. New for 2019: See a complete list of seasonal spectacles we're selling by logging in to your TDF account and clicking the "Holiday" filter.


FOR TRADITIONALISTS: Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes
1260 Sixth Avenue at 50th Street

Runs through January 5, 2020. At press time, discount tickets were available for Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes. 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, like the awesome Toy Soldiers. 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.


FOR COUPLES: Nutcracker Rouge: A Burlesque Confection
Théâtre XIV, 383 Troutman Street between Wyckoff and Irving Avenues in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Runs through January 26, 2020.

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 FAMILIES: Twas the Night Before...
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue at 32nd Street

Runs December 12-29.

Cirque du Soleil's brand-new Christmas spectacle centers on a young holiday hater named Isabella, who journeys to a fantastical land where she connects with characters from Clement Clarke Moore's namesake poem. Expect an array of jaw-dropping acts and dazzling design that will leave you as wide-eyed as a kid on December 25.


FOR WHIMSY LOVERS: Slava's Snowshow
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 West 43rd Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue

Runs through January 5, 2020. At press time, discount tickets were available for Slava's Snowshow. It's also frequently at the TKTS Ticket Booths.

Russian performance artist Slava Polunin brings back his beloved clown show for the holidays, previously seen on Broadway a decade ago (and Off-Broadway before that). A wordless romp celebrating winter filled with balloons, bubbles, balls and a doozy of a fake blizzard, this spectacle charms the young -- and the young at heart.


Damrosch Park, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza near 62nd Street

Runs through February 2, 2020. 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 as this seasonal staple, which features all new acts for its 42nd edition. Ringmistress Storm Marrero presides over the proceedings with her powerhouse pipes, as acts adorable (America's Got Talent finalists the Savitsky Cats, acrobatic horse riders Caleb Carinci and Renny Spencer) and awe-inspiring (Jayson Dominguez on his Wheel of Death, hand-to-hand balancing duo Dupla Mão na Roda) astound audiences. It's a one-ring, two-act wonder that captivates all ages.


The Secret Theatre, 4402 23rd Street near 44th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens

Runs December 19-January 4, 2020. 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 OBSCURE MUSICAL MAVENS: The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood
15 West 28th Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue

Runs through December 15. 

Think you know every Jule Styne tuner? Bet you haven't heard of this one. Written by Styne and Bob Merrill as a 1965 TV special starring Liza Minnelli, this hour-long musical has been adapted for the stage by TADA! Youth Theater. In this comical take on the old fairy tale, Lone T. Wolf tells his side of the story about how Red and her animal pals were the ones who mistreated him over the holidays. While this production stars kids and is aimed at families, grown-ups will get a kick out of the humor, and it's a treat to hear these obscure songs by musical theatre masters. Plus you may spot a future star: Jordan Peele, Kerry Washington and Ricki Lake are all TADA! alumni!


FOR MAGIC LOVERS: The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays
Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

November 29-January 5, 2020. At press time, discount tickets were available for The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays. It's also occasionally 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. Yes, you've probably seen some of these acts on TV (America's Got Talent semi-finalists Dom Chambers and sleight-of-hand master Eric Chien are both in the lineup this year), but they're much more impressive live on stage. If you're got little illusion lovers, there are 90-minute, no-intermission family matinees on select dates at 11am.


Aaron Davis Hall, 160 Convent Avenue near 135th Street

Runs December 4-21.

Granted, there is a cornucopia of Christmas Carols playing around town, including a starry Broadway spectacle, a one-man incarnation at a historic house, a musical for families and a queer take. But the Classical Theatre of Harlem puts a modern-day, gospel-infused spin on Charles Dickens' iconic tale that cleverly examines the ramifications of gentrification, making the story feel more urgent and poignant than ever.


FOR LIQUOR LOVERS: The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails
The Producers Club Theaters, 358 West 44th Street near Ninth Avenue, 2nd Floor

Runs through December 28. Tickets are occasionally available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.

Get ready to indulge at this alcohol-soaked Christmas tale set the day after Scrooge gets woke. The reformed curmudgeon plans to throw the best holiday bash ever -- but he 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: Ailey Revealed
New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues

Runs December 4-January 5, 2020. 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 for its annual holiday run. While the venerable troupe of breathtaking dancers always puts its best footwork forward, the pieces run the gamut from harrowing (two politically charged world premieres about race and gun violence) to uplifting (Alvin Ailey's renowned Revelations). Peruse the programs carefully to figure out which is best for you.


FOR SOLO SHOW FANS: The Santa Closet
Teatro Circulo, 64 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue, 3rd Floor

Runs December 3-22. At press time, discount tickets were available for The Santa Closet.

Playwright-performer Jeffrey Solomon embodies all of the characters in this LGBTQ holiday tale of a little boy who asks Kris Kringle for a gender-nonconforming present for Christmas. Soon Santa-Gate ensues. Will Big Red give the greatest gift of all and stand up for civil rights?


For other ways of buying tickets, including full-price sales, lottery and standing room info, peruse our list of holiday shows on TDF Show Finder

Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes. Photo courtesy of MSG.