ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Feature
Holiday Theater Roundup
By Julia Furay
New York City has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to holiday theatre: anything you can imagine, from comedy to dance and drama, from the tiny to the enormous, and from family-friendly to x-rated and raunchy. There are the staples, of course, like Nutcracker and The Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center, the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. There are more recent favorites like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Wintuk, and new versions of classics like A Child's Christmas in Wales,The Gift of the Magi or that old standby, A Christmas Carol. In the something new category, diversity is the watchword here, with Classic Theatre of Harlem's adaptation of Langston Hughes's The Black Nativity, New Victory's New Shanghai Circus, Symphony Space's Scandinavian Christmas Revels, and Holiday Wonders, an eastern pageant at the Beacon.
Below is our roundup of holiday listings. First up are the family-friendly productions; next a listing of more irreverent grown-up fare.
500 CLOWN CHRISTMAS
PS 122, 150 1st Avenue (@ Corner of 9th Street), (212) 352-3101
Composer/musician John Fournier joins 500 Clown to create 500 Clown Christmas, which bills itself as a clown-rock-pop-jazz-theatre-concert-party. Diving into the dark and light sides of the all consuming consumer-driven yet still surprisingly touching Christmas season, 3 clowns and a 3-piece band throw a celebration to make Fezziwig proud, complete with a holiday toast, gift-giving, and original live music written by John Fournier. From 12/21/07; Closing 12/31/07. Friday, December 21 at 7:30pm; Saturday, December 22 at 4pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, December 23 at 4pm; Thursday, December 27 at 7:30pm; Friday, December 28 at 7:30pm; Saturday, December 29 at 4pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, December 30 at 4pm; Monday, December 31 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10-$20.
AMERICAN GIRLS HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
American Girl Place, 609 Fifth Avenue, 1-877-AG PLACE
The American Girls Holiday Celebration features eight friends preparing to go caroling. As they practice together, they travel through time — sharing holiday traditions and classic songs from each American Girl character's time period. Recommended for ages 6+. From 11/24/07; Closing 12/22/07. November 24, 27, 28; December 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 22; shows at 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm. Tickets are $26.
Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue, (212) 352-3101.
This is a funny, inspiring and unforgettable contemporary Hip Hop retelling of Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. It tells the story of Hip Hop mogul Set 4 Life, who must, like Scrooge, decide between redemption and damnation. On the night that Set is crowned before millions of television viewers with numerous awards for his multi-platinum album, Pimpin' Ain't Easy he is visited by three mysterious visitors who will change his life. Auction Block is ultimately a hilarious, heartbreaking, triumphant tale of the rescuing of love from the tragic consequences of the legacy of slavery and domination. Can love redeem Hip Hop? From 12/16/07; Closing 12/30/07. Saturdays at 4:00pm and 7:00pm, Sundays at 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $45.50.
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
Damrosch Park 62nd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam) (212) 721-6500
Let's Celebrate! The 30th Anniversary season of the Big Apple Circus is a time to party under the Big Top! Pop the cork, toss the confetti, let the revelry begin — our hometown circus is throwing itself a big birthday bash, and you're invited to join the Big Apple acrobats and aerialists, horses and dogs, jugglers and buffoons, dancers and their very own Grandma the Clown for high-flying, side-splitting, world-class fun! From 10/19/07; Closing 1/13/08. Schedule varies; see website for details. Tickets are $28-$125.
Duke Theater, 229 W. 42nd St. (212) 721-6500
This is one of playwright Langston Hughes' most beloved works. The Classical Theatre of Harlem's adaptation, set on 42nd Street in 1973 against a backdrop of lost souls and hustlers, tells the soulful story of the universal search for peace on earth. From 11/30/07; Closing 12/30/07. Tuesday through Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, and Sunday at 1:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $50. Paulanne Simmons will be reviwing the show for Curtainup shortly.
THE BLUE BIRD
Urban Stages, 259 W. 30th St., (212) 868-4444
Written by Stanton Wood and Lori Ann Laster, adapted from the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, and directed by Heath Cullens. It's Christmas Eve and a mysterious visitor leads a materialistic city girl named Martha on a fantastical journey in search of the "blue bird of happiness""in this multimedia musical extravaganza. Armed with a magic hat that reveals the "true nature" of things and accompanied by her household pets, Martha's journey of exploration features innovative scenic design by world famous Russian artist Andrey Bartenev and music by composer Colm Clark. From 12/14/07; Closing 1/13/08. Schedule varies, see website for details. Tickets are $40.
THE BLUE CARBUNCLE WITH SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
WorkShop Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 4th fl. (212) 352-3101
JB Theatrical Productions in association with WorkShop Theater Company will present a special evening of Holiday classics: a double feature of The Blue Carbuncle with Sherlock Holmes, a play about forgiveness and friendship restored, and The Gift of the Magi, based on the famous O. Henry story about sacrifice and love. The plays have been newly adapted for the stage by Andrew Joffe and are directed by Kathleen Brant. Music directed and arranged by Jeffrey Buchsbaum will underlie the evening. From 12/06/07; opening 12/06/07; Closing 12/20/07. Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinees Saturday at 2:00pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and students. TDF vouchers accepted.
A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES & 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd St. (212) 727-2737
This Christmas season, you and your family/friends are invited to The Irish Repertory Theatre's presentation of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales & Twas the Night Before Christmas, adapted and directed by Charlotte Moore, with traditional and original music, December 5 — 30, 2007. From 12/05/07; Closing 12/30/07. Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 8pm. Tickets are $35.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
13th Street Repertory, 50 W. 13th St., (212) 352-3101.
This production is adapted by Sandra Nordgren and directed by Craig Anthony Bannister. It's the classic Christmas tale of the old miser Scrooge, the ghosts who help him transform, and the little child who touches his heart. Set in 1843 with period costumes & sets, it's filled with Christmas music and the carols we know and love! From 12/7/07; Closing 12/22/07. Friday December 7 at 8:00pm, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, December 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 at 8:00pm, December 9, 15, 16, 22 at 2:00pm, December 11, 12, 16, 18, 19 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10-$20.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
TBG Arts Complex, 312 West 36th Street, (212) 868-4444.
Performance Space Theatrics' unique and moving examination of Dickens' words entwined with the soaring songs of the season returns to New York after a two-year hiatus. From 12/7/07; Closing 1/6/08. Friday through Saturday at 7:00pm, Sunday at 3:00pm. Tickets are $13-$17.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE NEW MUSICAL
Sanford Meisner Theater, 164 11th Avenue, (212) 352-3101.
Another Christmas Carol. This one by Drama Desk nominated Vortex Theater Company is set in present day North Carolina during a December heat wave. This new musical version explores Dickens' original themes of greed, social responsibility and redemption replaces the aging misanthropic archetype with a modern day twist on Scrooge—-- a corporate philanthropist who must examine what it means to do good in a country facing environmental destruction and corporate domination. From 11/29/07; Closing 12/22/07. Thursday through Friday at 8:00pm, with additional performances December 1 at 8:00pm, December 2 at 5:00pm, and December 17th at 8:00pm. Tickets are $12.
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square Park South (646) 429-0901
This is a December perennial for 14 years is an oratorio based on the Christmas story as presented in the four gospels. The music by the late Al Carmines covers genres from country to classical to blues to gospel, plus a tango to show tunes. It's directed by Russell Treyz, with choreography by Thom Fogarty. From 12/05/07; Closing 12/20/07. Week beginning 3 Dec: Wednesday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6pm. Week beginning 10 Dec: Tuesday - Thursday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday 7pm. Week beginning 17 Dec: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 8pm. Tickets are $18.
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400
The Christmas Revels, a celebration of the Winter Solstice, journeys to the Northlands — the region stretching from Iceland, across Scandinavia, to Karelia in Northwest Russia. Gather with us around a roaring Yule log fire, hear the poetry of the mysterious Kalevala legend, see the magical dancing of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and sing with us to welcome back the sun after the longest night of winter! From 12/7/07; Closing 12/9/07. Friday December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, Sunday December 9 at 2:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $19-$45.
CUT TO THE CHASE
59E59, 59 E. 59TH St. (212) 279-4200
A troupe of madcap performers attempt to put on the biggest wee show in town, creating a backstage adventure filled with comic chaos and fast-paced action. It incorporates music, magic, tap and slapstick in a rollicking speed-of-light comedy for the whole family and stars Joel Jeske (of The Big Apple Circus). From 12/06/07; Closing 12/30/07. Tuesday through Saturday at 7:15pm, Sunday at 2:15 and 5:15pm, with an added performance on Wednesday, December 19 at 3:15pm. Tickets are $35 ($15 for children and seniors).
DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!
St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (212) 239-6200
The Grinch is back —and yes, so is Patrick Page, this time at the St. James Theater. See our review and the show's website. From 11/01/07; Opening 11/09/07; Closing 1/06/08. Schedule varies; see website for details. Tickets are $25.00-$111.50.
Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, (212) 307-1000
Start your December celebrations this year with New Tang Dynasty's Holiday Wonders, a multicultural pageant of performances blending the divine charm of the East with the holiday spirit of the West. Bringing together hundreds of dancers, vocalists, and musicians along with a live orchestra. From 12/18/07; Closing 12/26/07. Tuesday December 18 through Saturday December 22 and December 26 at 7:30pm, matinees Saturday December 22 at 1:30 pm, and December 23-25 at 4pm. Tickets are $48-$200.
INNOCENT DIVERSIONS, A CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT WITH JANE AUSTEN AND FRIENDS
Theater Ten Ten, 1010 Park Ave., (212) 352-3101
It is December 1803. Join Miss Jane Austen and her family & friends, who have arrived at Manydown Park, the Hampshire estate of the Bigg-Wither family, for a Christmas celebration. At the persistent urging of her hosts, Jane has consented to be Mistress of Ceremonies and preside over their Holiday theatricals, which are to highlight her own outrageously funny early writings. From 11/16/07; Closing 12/16/07. Thursday at 7:00pm, Friday to Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $20. TDF vouchers accepted.
KIDS AND YIDDISH: ODE TO OY!
Jewish Community Center, 334 Amsterdam, (212) 279-4200
The '07 edition of the multi-media holiday show that gleefully mixes Jewish folk traditions with popular culture, introduces new characters, new songs, up-to-the minute satire of the latest fads on TV, and some of the long-running series' greatest hits. From 12/2/07; Closing 12/30/07. Sundays at 11:00am. Tickets are $17-$20.
THE LITTLEST LIGHT ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE
McGinn Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway, 4th floor. (212) 352-3101.
From Vital Theatre: Littlest Light is a musical about two unforgettable friends, a discarded Christmas bulb and an eight-year-old boy who finds him and takes him home. When the town suffers a blackout from a fierce winter storm, Little Light triumphs over all odds to 'shine' the way for others 'to see the light'. From 12/8/07; Closing 1/6/08. Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00am and 1:00pm. Tickets are $18.
NEW SHANGHAI CIRCUS
New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St. (646) 223-3020
The New Victory Theater presents The New Shanghai Circus, an innovative and internationally renowned troupe of Chinese acrobats, aerialists and athletes. The program replaces the previously scheduled Golden Dragon Acrobats. The New Shanghai Circus previously appeared at the New Vic in 1999 and 2002 and is back with a thrilling spectacle of Chinese circus arts. These astounding acts, dating back to the harvest festivals of 2,000 years ago, combine with show-stopping choreography, dazzling lighting, enchanting scenery and powerful music to create a dynamic and fantastic performance, sure to amaze. From 11/30/07; Closing 1/6/08. Schedule varies; see website for details. Tickets are $15-$50.
New York City Ballet at New York State Theater, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, (212) 870-5570.
Little Marie at the Christmas party. The marching toy soldiers and the adorable mice. The Sugar Plum Fairy and Mother Ginger in her 85-pound dress. A dreamy on-stage snowstorm and Tschaikovsky's memorable music. So many beautiful ballet dancers, so many magical sets and the one-ton Christmas tree that no one can ever forget. From 11/23/07; Closing on 12/30/07. Schedule varies, see website for details. Tickets are $20-$120.
RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, (212) 307-1000
This year, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular invites you to a celebration 75 Years in the making! From the moment you enter the doors snow will fall, the glow of fireworks will light up the stage, and the Rockettes will debut three new dazzling numbers as part this year's spectacular celebration. T From 11/9/07; Closing 12/30/07. Schedule varies; see website for details. Tickets are $40-$100.
SCROOGE & GILBERT & SULLIVAN
Fashion Institute of Technology, 227 W. 27th St., (212) 352-3101
From Village Light Opera Group: It's like this: Old Scrooge is in a fix, "a fine pickle,""you might say. And his conscience needs a prick, or he'll pay on Judgment Day! Who'll he heed? Old Scratch or Good St. Nick? Therein lies the journey -- and the fun! It's yet another variation of the Dickens story deftly recounted through 22 rollicking, haunting, heart-rending tunes, adapted from 11 different Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, including Pirates, Pinafore, Yeomen, and more. From 12/2/07; Closing 12/9/07. Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinee Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets are $20-$40.
WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue at 32nd Street (212) 307-7171
A brand new Cirque du Soleil production, created exclusively for the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. This new production is a winter tale of a boy's quest for snow in a land called Wintuk. The show weaves acrobatics, theatrical effects and songs together in a touching story line that brings the boy and his companions on an extraordinary journey to Wintuk. From 11/1/07; Closing 1/6/08. Schedule varies. Tickets are $30-99.
Manhattan Theatre Source, 177 MacDougal St., (212) 501-4751
Witch Christmas! features two evil hoarders, Poopilda and Smellina, who fill their creepy old house to the rafters with an abundance of useless stuff. A missed phone call pitches them into hysteria and they are determined to turn over a new leaf. Unable to depart with their beloved junk, the two harridans adopt three innocent children from the local orphanage to make sense of their massive collection of useless items. Set to verse and narrated by award wining British actor, John Windsor-Cunningham, running time is 55 minutes. From 12/21/07; Closing 12/30/07. Friday December 21, Saturday December 22 at 8pm, Sunday December 23 at 8pm, Saturday December 29, and Sunday December 30 at 8pm. Tickets are $18.
HOLIDAY SHOWS FOR GROWN-UPS
THE BABY JESUS ONE-ACT JUBILEE: SECOND COMING
Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, 212-352-3101
After the success of 2005's original Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee, The Brick is reviving this tradition with a brand-new evening of original holiday-themed ten-minute plays. As with the previous installment, this Jubilee will be divided into two separate programs of six plays each, that can be seen together or separately. From 12/6/07; Closing 12/22/07. Thursday through Saturday at 7pm and 9pm. Tickets are $10, or $15 to see both programs on one night.
THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES
The Red Room, 85 E. 4th St., 3rd Floor, (212) 868-4444.
Sex, Lies & Santa — the Reindeer Spill All! Dysfunctional Theatre's 3rd annual production continues its inventive re-imagining of Jeff Goode's modern Christmas classic The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. Santa's reindeer gather at their private North Pole watering hole, and as the booze flows, the scandal grows. Alternately hilarious & disturbing, nothing is held sacred as the reindeer expose all of Santa's (& their own) indiscretions. Screaming, crying and WAY too much eggnog... isn't that what Christmas is all about? From 11/29/07; Closing 12/21/07. Thursday through Saturday at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15-$18.
A MURRAY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
Zipper Factory, 336 W. 37th St., (212) 352-3101
Everyone is invited as Murray Hill re-creates one of his infamous holiday cocktail parties, live on stage. The show will be a cozy, chestnut warming, homey affair direct from his bachelor pad living room (one large enough to accommodate 10 merry musicians, 6 crooning carolers, 3 strutting Santa showgirls, two singing stars, and one showbiz legend named Murray Hill). A Murray Little Christmas is a cocktail-style variety show packed with silver bells and holiday hi-balls. From 12/8/07; Closing 12/15/07. Saturdays at 7:30pm and 10:00pm. Tickets are $25-$50.
NAKED HOLIDAYS NYC
EndTimes Underground Theatre, 24 Bond Street, Online sales only.
Think the holidays are already a circus? Wait until you check out Naked Holdays NYC, a darkly comic Yuletide bacchanalia featuring the Naked Holiday Opening: a multicultural melange outlining the contrasting traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa climaxing in a semi-clothed chorus line. Also, the dirty truth about holiday office parties, Santa's elves forced to wear electric shock collars, and more! From 12/20/07; Closing 12/30/07. Thursday through Saturday at 9:30pm, with matinees at 3pm on Sundays. Tickets are $18 at the door or $15 with student ID or email reservation.
NUTCRACKER: RATED R
Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, (212) 352-3101.
Nutcracker: Rated R returns for its second season to crack open the heart of the classic children's ballet to uncover drugs, sex, family secrets and all the other delights that make the Holidays so special. Little ballerina Clara is now a rebellious teen. Her disdain for her bourgeois family is challenged when her uncle Drosselmeyer takes her back in time to early 1980s New York. There, she discovers the seamy underground club scene and her family's untold history. Echoes of the original Tchaikovsky score mix with contemporary, unexpected beats to complement a range of movement from ballet to breakdance and burlesque. From 11/29/07; Closing on 12/23/07. Thursday through Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinee Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are $10-$15.
REV. BILL AND BETTY HOLLAND'S INTERFAITH CHRISTMAS SHOW
45th Street Theater, 354 W. 45th Street Online tickets only
Rev. Bill and Betty Holland are the creation of PUNCH 59's founder, Marty Hill and Bill and Betty's "Interfaith Understandings," provide a twisted, satirical ultra-right-wing take on a diverse array of topics, including Passover ("when God passed over the Jews and went right to the Christians"), Rock and Roll ("Mick Jagger and Satan are Mexicans who have come to steal American jobs"), and Mormons (who are "ruining the American institution of starter wives and trophy wives"). From 12/6/07; Closing 12/22/07. Thursday December 6-Saturday December 8 at 10:30pm, and December 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 8:00pm and 10:30pm. Tickets are $15.
A VERY MARY CHRISTMAS
Don't Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St., (212) 352-3101
A Very Mary Christmas is a musical retelling of the months leading up to the birth of Christ, as told by the Virgin Mary. With the help of her sidekicks -- the jazz trio The Three Weissmans -- Mary also shares the intimate details of her relationship with her boyfriend God, her love for her husband Joey, and her journey to stardom. The show features parodies of holiday songs including "We Need A Little Christmas," " Like A Virgin" and "Joy To The World. " Highlights include a finger puppet show and an audience sing along. From 12/19/07; Closing 12/30/07. Wednesday December 19 at 9pm, Saturday December 22 at 11pm, and Sundays December 23 & 30 at 9pm. Tickets are $15 plus a two drink minimum.
A VERY NOSEDIVE CHRISTMAS CAROL
Red Room Theatre, 85 E. Fourth Street, 3rd Floor, (212) 352-3101
This version of the Dickensian classic opens on the ghost of Jacob Marley lamenting his fate at having to teach Scrooge the same lesson, year after year, and of having to tell the same story to audiences year after year. The spirits haunting Scrooge have done this countless times, every Christmas, over and over again -- and they're tired. So, the ghosts may be a little late this year. Hey, they have auditions to go to. From 12/6/07; Closing 12/15/07. Thursday to Saturday at 11pm. Tickets are $12-$18.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
The Playbill Broadway YearBook
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide