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Gift Guide for Theatre-Lovers: The Ultimate, Last-Minute, Seriously Helpful Christmas Countdown

You’ve been bombarded by emails, Apps, and TV ads – not to mention fliers, newspapers, magazines and crafty friends (or non-crafty friends with crafty relatives).  It’s down to the wire and still, you’re coming up dry for your coveted collection of friends who adore all things theatre. So to help your pedal-to-metal final lap around the holiday track, here are a handful of savvy solutions to your stage-struck shop-a-thon. Get ready to be a star gifter!

Performance of the Century: 100 Years of Actors Equity Association and the Rise of American Theater - An intelligent, eclectic, century-spanning look at American actors, performances, issues and insights as seen through the kaleidoscope heritage of Actors Equity – the union whose members have defined and protected stage artists rights since 1913.  

Written and compiled by Robert Simonson, this 240-page coffee table book already ranks high on my list of must-have (and must-give) theatre books, not only for its straightforward rhetoric, but also its awesome array of contemporary and rare vintage photographs (like a 1959 shot of Paul Newman covering first base for the Broadway Show League), quotes from celebrated actors and behind-the-scenes professionals, along with tips, trivia, posters and beyond. (Applause Books, September 2012, $42.50 -- however, for a deal you can’t pass up – 25% off the list price – be sure to place your order through playbillstore.com/peofce100yeo.html).

Annie – Not just tickets to the show (although these are guaranteed to please theatregoers from four on up), but an inspired souvenir that a) offers a contemporary twist to the show’s Great Depression-era setting and b) won’t break the bank. Designed for the kid running around with a naked iPhone, the Annie Heart iPhone Skin is only $15 and absolutely adorable. Check it out – along with other Annie-logo-ed goodies at the show’s website: anniethemusicalshop.com.

IN THE PRESENT: A Gotham-centric Gift in Words and Images - Creative collaboration – a concept more familiar in theatrical endeavors than photographic ones – comes full-circle in The Outdoor Museum (Not Your Usual Images of New York), a seductive coming together or two artistic visionaries: Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway lyrist Sheldon Harnick and his wife, actress/dancer/painter/photographer Margery Gray Harnick. Together, the couple has produced a remarkable coffee table book celebrating the offbeat and eye-catching in their beloved City that Never Sleeps: Sheldon with vivid poetic renderings; Margery with haunting photographic brushstrokes. Featuring a foreword by Mike Nichols, the book comes with a CD of a poetry reading by Mr. Harnick. [Beufort Books: List Price, $29.95; available in bookstores and online.]

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: ALIVE AND KICKING, The UN-Original Cast Album - The recording is available for download for $9.99 on iTunes; individual tracks are available for $.99 each. For more information, visit drgrecords.com; and to see what all the parody hilarity -- from Book of Mormon to Newsies to Once! -- is about, visit the show’s website at forbiddenbroadway.com!



TICKETS, TICKETS, TICKETS: Always the perfect gift for every member of the family, from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (for superhero wannabes) to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (for thrill-seeking fans of serious drama) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (for everyone with a pulse)! And don’t forget Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions, either.

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