10 Broadway Shows You Can't Miss If You Spend Christmas In New York

October 16, 2018

|Oliver G. Alvar
christmas in new york

Are you going to be in or around Manhattan this holiday season? Here are the top shows you must watch to enjoy all the magic Broadway has to offer!

To watch that ball drop at the stroke of the bell. To watch those beautiful lights and the great Christmas tree in one of the most exciting cities in the world. New York City sure is a special place to spend the holiday season. Home to the most prestigious Theater Circuit anywhere on Earth, Manhattan is also internationally famous for its dynamic and groundbreaking musicals and spectacular shows. If you’re lucky enough to be around during this time, there’s sure to be plenty of entertainment for you to enjoy, including the best Broadway has to offer (which is saying a lot). Not all the plays here are thematically related to the holidays, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find some off-broadway Christmas shows specifically meant to celebrate the holiday season at the end of the list. Enjoy!


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Anastasia

While many of us spend our lives trying in some way or another to find ourselves, this quest is never quite so literal as it is for Anya, this enchanting Broadway musical’s protagonist. The story is about the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov of Russia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, whose royal family was famously massacred in 1918. All grand duchesses were suspected dead except for one, as rumors circulated that Anastasia had escaped. Years later, two charismatic con men find Anya, a street sweeper who suffers from amnesia, and given the resemblance they try to pass her as the Grand Duchess herself. But soon it turns out that Anya could in fact be the real deal, as the con men got more than they bargained for. Throughout the story’s many surprises and dazzling musical numbers only one thing’s for sure: this critically-acclaimed, historical epic full of romance and adventure will not disappoint.


Get your tickets for the Broadhurst Theatre here.


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The Band’s Visit

An orchestra band, stuck with the residents of a little town in the middle of nowhere. The residents of an uneventful little town, stuck with a lost orchestra band. Their lives are mutually touched and in that short stay they will all discover a thing or two about themselves. Set in Israel, this seemingly simple yet surprisingly touching story is complemented with great acting and humble (albeit beautiful) musical numbers that will immerse you in the lives and inner world of its complex characters. The Band’s Visit debuted Off Broadway, but was moved to Manhattan’s elite theater circuit due to its superb quality and unanimously raving reviews in November 2017 —and it’s still going strong. This one’s a Broadway gem you’d regret to miss. 


You can get your tickets for the Barrymore Theatre here.


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The Book Of Mormon

One of Broadway’s most famous and economically successful shows of all time, this musical comedy became an instant classic ever since it debuted back in 2011. It has won an astounding total of nine Tony Awards and promises to keep audiences entertained for years to come. In The Book Of Mormon, two Mormon missionaries travel to a remote village in Uganda to preach their religion to an indifferent crowd far more preoccupied with poverty, warlords, and disease than with a singularly American religion. This striking contrast of priorities provides the comedic backdrop against which the whole story unfolds, and through intelligent writing and superb musical numbers it produces amusing results you are not likely to forget. 


You’ll find the play in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. As for tickets, you can get them here.


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Come From Away

In the aftermath of 9/11, 38 planes were ordered to land in a small town in Newfoundland, Canada, thereby grounding about 7,000 people indefinitely. The locals step up to harbor and care for the inconvenienced travelers and, as you would expect, micro-stories unfold that reveal their lives and woes. Come From Away is less about the grand scale of that horrific day and more about the human element of how strangers rally together when in need. If you are looking for a small and endearing reminder that there’s incommensurable human kindness even at the worst of times, this one’s for you. 


The play is being performed at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, and you can buy your tickets on this link.


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Dear Evan Hansen

Introverts know the daily struggle of dealing with the overwhelming expectations of the social world. Always supposed to live up to the standards of others, people who prefer to live in and by themselves often have more than a hard time, and it’s no wonder so many of them suffer from severe social anxiety. Evan Hansen, played by an outstanding Ben Platt, is one such person. Unable to connect with others, unable to make friends, Hansen must navigate the web of his own lie after a classmate’s suicide, bringing to the fore not only the character’s plight but social issues such as the ever-elusive subject of mental illness. After all is said and done, Platt’s award-winning performance will leave you wanting for more.


You’ll find tickets for the play here.


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Hamilton

Ever wondered what founding-father Alexander Hamilton would sound like if he rapped his way around while depicting the major events of his life? If you have, then this musical is for you. If you haven’t, then this musical is for you. In short, you won’t want to miss this musical no matter what. It’s original and exceptionally well-executed, as it tells the story of an orphan from the Caribbean who came to New York (and changed history) in a way that had never before been attempted. To say Hamilton is a critic and fan favorite award-winning show would be an understatement: in 2016 it broke records when it was nominated to 16 Tony Awards and won 11 of them! It has consistently gathered overwhelmingly raving reviews and keeps impressing audiences like almost no other musical before it. 


To go to Richard Rodgers Theatre and watch it, get your tickets here.


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Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Two decades after Voldemort’s defeat, Harry Potter and the gang are back to entertain audiences with a story by Jack Thorne, cowritten by John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling herself. With a budget of over $60 million, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child manages to bring all the magic of Hogwarts straight into Broadway in a spectacular fashion. The story is true to the essence of what Harry Potter was all about, with friendship and kindness at its core. But it also explores the painful lives of its title characters, still dealing with the aftermath of their experience, while introducing a new generation of young wizards to the mix. If you want to truly be transported into Rowling’s fantastic setting, then this show is for you. 


See it in the Lyric Theater by getting your tickets here.


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Mean Girls

It’s okay to be skeptical about theater adaptations of classic films which you could never have pictured as musicals. Hits such as The Lion King already had a musical component to begin with, but Mean Girls?! Who could possibly believe turning that one into a musical was a good idea? Well, as it turns out, it was. Or if it wasn’t, they managed to turned it into one. This adaptation from Tina Fey’s cult classic film succeeds (maybe in no small part because it was adapted by Tina Fey herself), and it does so with flying colors. It brings in new jokes and fun musical numbers without losing what made the film great in the first play: its sharp humor. If anything, fans of the original will find even more to enjoy in the musical, while non-fans might be drawn into the brutal world of a few mean girls to come out fans after all. 


You can see Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre, and you can get the tickets here.


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My Fair Lady

This beloved stage classic adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion receives yet one more revival — and it’s as good as you could possibly hope for. Laura Benanti plays Eliza Doolittle (for the holidays, at least), a poor flower girl in Edwardian England whom a misogynistic professor, in order to win a bet, will try to “educate” in the manners and bearing of an aristocrat. With a stelar direction by Bartlett Sher, this new revival features all that made this Broadway classic a marvel in the first place. So, if you’ve never seen My Fair Lady before, now’s your chance!


This revival is being performed at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (at Lincoln Center). Get your tickets now.


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Once On This Island

Through the fantastic images of a truly captivating folktale, this one-act musical brings magic to its storytelling by combining legend and myth with topics as intimate as love and as wide as class struggles. Set in a small and socially-torn island in the Caribbean, the story tells us about the divide between rich and poor, skin color, and the role of the gods (read: narrative) in shaping society. Drawing inspiration from classics such as Romeo and Juliet all the way to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, Once On This Island provides mesmerizing numbers to constitute what you’ll surely find a memorable experience you’d be wrong to miss. 


Once On This Land is being performed at the Circle in the Square Theater. Here you can find tickets.


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And now, for the Off-Broadway holiday events!


NYCB: The Nutcracker

Performing The Nutcracker has become a yearly tradition and nobody does it quite as the New York City Ballet. As far as amazing traditions go, this is one you should repeat if you’ve seen it before. And if you haven’t, then there’s no excuse: by yourself or with the family, you must experience this beloved production at least once in your lifetime. Rest assured there’s good reason for why it became a tradition in the first place.


Get your tickets here


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Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

Another annual production, the Christmas Spectacular has evolved since it first appeared in 1933 to feature more eye-catching effects and numbers that will surely draw the attention of all ages and tastes in a 90-minute show full of dance, singing, and comedy featuring famed precision-dance company The Rockettes. 


You can buy your tickets to go to the Radio City Music Hall here.


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A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House: Charles Dickens in New York, 1867

If you like small presentations in intimate atmospheric settings, this one-hour show is for you. John Kevin Jones plays Charles Dickens as he narrates one of the writer’s most famous stories. Surely a nice way to soak in some holiday spirit. 


The show’s being performed at The Merchant's House Museum, and you can find tickets here.


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Would you add anything to this list? Let us know in the comments! 


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Oliver G. Alvar

Oliver G. Alvar


Creative Writer
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