Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy: The Best of NYC's Holiday Theatre + Gifts

In New York, the holiday theatre season means a feast of heavenly holiday goodies that sing, dance, jingle, and light up stages across the Great White Way and beyond. Here’s a list designed to entertain everyone from tiny tots to the young at heart. Read on for the best of NYC's holiday theatre season.

The Ultimate Theatregoers’ Guide to NY Holiday Shows

A Christmas Carol: Join Charles Dickens as he spins his famous tale in a perfect historic setting: the downtown survivor Merchant’s House Museum, built in 1832. (12/6 thru 12/24)

A Christmas Carol The Musical: Scrooge, Marley, and a trio of Ghostettes come together for a priceless holiday production for the whole family. (Thru 12/30)

The Amazing Max: A totally cool magician whose antics amuse and skills dazzleboth wee ones and grown-ups alike...up close and mind-blowing! (Thru 12/31)

New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes™: High tech, high kicks, Santa, and the Living Nativity are why this is NYC’s most famous and fabulous holiday extravaganza. (Thru 1/2)

The Dead, 1904: A Dublin holiday gathering set in a Victorian mansion where theatregoers move from room to room with music, dances, and a meal lifted from James Joyce’s original story. (Thru 1/7)

Elements of Oz: The 1939 Wizard of Oz film is a holiday standard but this techno version is where smart phones and tablets take audiences into new Ozian dimensions. Whoo-hooo!

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas: Jane O’Connor’s mini-Ms. is back with all kinds of holiday “Ooh la la!” (Thru 12/30)

The First Noel: This Harlem-based holiday musical hops genres from pop to jazz to gospel in order to tell a universal story of love and belonging. (12/10 thru 12/18)

Hanna and the Moonlit Dress: A charming family-friendly show that shines a magical light on the Hanukah season, this interactive musical theatre experience. Ages 2 to 8. (Thru 12/18)

The Illusionists—Turn of the Century™: The latest version of The Illusionists
to hit Broadway showcases world-famous magicians performing some of history’s most dangerous and provocative illusions. (Thru 1/1)

iLuminate: This season of lights gets a spellbinding twist at this theatrical phenomenon where the performers are the light show and the end result is mind-blowing! (Thru 1/8)

The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails: Raise a glass while learning how to mix cocktails past, present, and future courtesy of three Christmas Spirits. (Thru 12/30)

Madeline’s Christmas: Ludwig Bemelmans’ spunky French tot is now the heroine of a sparkling Christmas musical! (Thru 12/18)

The Magic Flute: Tony winner Julie Taymor’s colorful take on Mozart's fantasy opera brings a special magic to Lincoln Center! Family fabulous and unforgettable. (12/20 thru 1/5)

Mother Africa: My Home: Against a musical backdrop, acrobats, dancers, contortionists and more, from various African nations, fill the stage. Excitement to spare & to share with the whole family! (Thru 1/1)

Northern Pole Territory: A Santastical Bit of Holiday Nonsense: A rooftop bar serving up interactive “adults only” holiday lunacy! (Thru 12/23)

pip's island kid theatre

Pip’s Island: A wonderfully interactive adventure that lets little ones become treasure-seeking explorers. (Thru 1/8)

THE RIDE: 5th Annual Holiday Edition: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa...all come into view from your perch on this luxury coach/traveling theatre. (Thru 1/8)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical: Everything you loved about the TV classic, from the characters to the adventure, is now live and fabulous at Madison Square Garden! (12/1 thru 12/18)

Seven in One Blow: Adapted from the Grimm fairy tale, this fun show comes with funny characters and a (painless!) lesson or two. (12/2 thru 12/20)

Sing! A South African and American Musical Holiday Celebration: A joyful meshing of holiday songs and cultures. (Thru 1/1)

Young Charles Dickens: Ages 8 and up will find this musical that shows the author of A Christmas Carol as a 12 year old boy enlightening, inspiring, and wonderfully entertaining! (Thru 12/18)

2016: Year of “The Nutcracker”

Ballerina Swan and the Nutcracker: Puppetry meets ballet in this charming new musical for children. (Thru 12/18)

nutracker new york ballet

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®: The Lincoln Center original sends Tchaikovsky’s iconic score soaring as 90 dancers bring toy soldiers, the Sugar Plum Fairy, et al to breathtaking life. (Thru 12/31)

The Hard Nut: Mark Morris’s retro-modern gender-bending love letter to the seasonal classic is absolutely irresistible! See it at the Brookyn Academy of Music. (From 12/10 thru 12/18)

Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker: Tchaikovsky’s music + energetic choreography = 60 minutes of awesome for ages 3 & up. (Thru 12/11)

The Yorkville Nutcracker: Happy 21st anniversary to this blend of story and dance set against a dazzling backdrop of 1895 New York landmarks. (12/8 thru 12/11)

Gifts For Theatre Lovers (Tickets, Please...)

Blue Man Group: Three guys who know how to paint the town primary colors and spread manic fun! The perfect present for anyone ready to unleash their screwball alter-ego. At check out the prodigious array of gifts including the very swell book Blue Man World.

puffs cast school of magic

Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic: Any Harry Potter fanatics in your life? Stuff their stockings with tickets to this shabby-chic/in-joke parody.

I Want to Have the Total Broadway Kit and Caboodle Pie.” The hit Broadway musical Waitressis serving up a scrumptious five-piece package that includes the original Broadway cast recording (a 2017 Grammy nominee for Best Musical Theatre Album!), a limited-edition Waitress pie ornament, and a Fishs Eddy flour jar, butter dish, and guest check tray.

waitress musical gift kit

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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