Holidays: Shows

I keep telling my kids that some people dream their whole life of coming to NYC during the holidays, so don’t take those holiday windows for granted. We are especially spoiled with live theater and dance options to celebrate the season. Quality classics like The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center or Radio City Christmas Spectacular are worth a splurge, but more intimate, less expensive and less traditional options are also available.
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The Three Bears Holiday Bash

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park (West 79th Street & Central Park West)
$12, $8/ages 18 months - 12 years, free/under 18 months
Through Dec 30
Tuesday–Friday 10:30 am & 11:30 am
Saturday & Sunday 1 pm

Drawing from the stories of Hanukkah, the Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, the holiday production at the historic, cozy Swedish Marionette Cottage has song, dance, puppetry and a “12 days of Christmas” sing-a-long.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Lincoln Center (65th Street & Broadway)
Through Dec 31
Tuesday–Thursday 7 pm
Saturday 2 pm & 8 pm
Sunday 1 pm & 5 pm
Select Weekdays Dec 20-29 2 pm

The lavish New York City Ballet Nutcracker that started it all in 1954 is a rightly beloved American tradition. The first act is full of action with (actual) children playing at a party, mischievous giant mice battling toy soldiers, and a blizzard of ballerinas. The costumes, sets and dancing are stunning in the Land of Sweets second act. Pricey but priceless; though wait until your kid is able to sit very still and quiet for 2 hours.

A Christmas Carol the Musical

The Players Theatre (115 MacDougal Street)
$32-$52, $21 for select performances
Through Dec 30
Thursday, Friday & Saturday 7 pm
Saturday 3 pm
Sunday 11 am & 2 pm
With additional holiday shows

Players Theatre presents a lively musical stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas story. Grumpy old miser Ebenezer Scrooge finds a second chance to become a loving, generous, kind human being through the aid of four ghosts who visit him in turn one Christmas Eve, each teaching him valuable lessons. Featuring updated, British pantomime-inspired scenic design.

Seven In One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid

Axis Theater Company (One Sheridan Square)
$15/adults, $5/children
Through Dec 20
Friday 7:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 3:00 pm

Adapted from the classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, this interactive play with music features a blend of advanced technology and live performance. Children in the audience will be encouraged to participate in many of the Kid’s challenges with singing and organized “shout outs.”

Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi

Guggenheim (1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street)
December 2–3 & December 8–10
2:30 pm & 4:00 pm

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi narrates Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic accompanied by Ensemble Signal as a dancing cast costumed and directed by Mizrahi brings the lively tale of animals and instruments to life.

Black Glove

Gene Frankel Theatre (24 Bond Street )
$29, family discounts available
Saturday & Sunday 2 pm & 5 pm through Dec 16

Even people familiar with August Strindberg may be surprised to learn that he wrote plays for children. In Strindberg’s lyrical fantasy, a lost black glove found in the entryway to a large apartment building the day before Christmas Eve mystically passes through the hands of many of its residents as it bestows a Christmas spirit.

Elf: The Musical

The Theater at Madison Square Garden (4 Pennsylvania Plaza)
$35-$130 $45-$75 tickets available for some performances
Through Dec 29
Matinees & evenings

See a musical adaption of the hilarious tale of Buddy, who crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts as a child and is mistakenly transported to the North Pole. Buddy grows up thinking he’s an elf, but between his lousy toy-making abilities and enormous size, he begins to realize he’s not like the others. With Santa’s blessing, Buddy sets off on a whirlwind journey through New York City to find his birth father and learn about his past.

The Knickerbocker Suite

Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (248 60th Street)
Dec 16 – Dec 17

Based on the jocular story by artist Elliott Arkin, this original ballet is a timely tale of American values and folklore with New York City at the center of attention. The first act opens with a satirical animated film narrated by Tony award winning actor, Michael Cerveris, revealing a series of imaginative contemporary visual scenarios and characters following in the tradition of the Nutcracker story. In the second act, the Knickerbocker Suite weaves clever modern NYC interpretations of the land of sweets. The arts, sports, fine dining, parks and even pigeons are set to the classic Tchaikovsky score.

Hanna and the Moonlit Dress

14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street at First Avenue)
$40, half off with code WEEKEND
11 am & 1 pm
Through Feb 11

See a musical revealing the mysterious power of good deeds based on the classic Israeli tale “Hanna’s Sabbath Dress”. Children are invited to help create Hanna’s interactive world and take part in the moonlight magic.

Hansel and Gretel

Lincoln Center (65th Street & Broadway)
Dec 28 & Jan 6 1:00 pm

A Met English-language holiday presentation, Richard Jones’s clever production of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera is based on the Brothers Grimm story. Donald Runnicles conducts the sweeping score and a delightful cast, including the legendary Dolora Zajick as the wayward siblings’ mother. Before the show, connect with some of the designers, singers, dancers, musicians, and technical wizards behind the production.

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