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Holiday Theatre Preview Plays, musicals, and dance to put you in the holiday spirit

By MARK BLANKENSHIP


When it comes to the holidays, are you more "traditional tree" or "sassy Santa?" Either way, New York has got a show that's right from you. From rousing family musicals to naughty underground plays, there's a wide range of holiday fare coming to the stage this season.

Here are some holiday musicals, plays, and dance to look forward to.

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Broadway

* Donny and Marie: A Broadway Christmas
(Marriott Marquis; December 9-30; all ages)

Like a live version of one of their fabulously kitschy television specials, this show promises holiday songs, production numbers, and banter galore from the famous Osmond siblings.
 

* Elf
(Al Hirschfeld Theater; now-January 2; all ages)

The composers behind  The Wedding Singer  are back on Broadway with this adaptation of Will Ferrell's popular holiday film. Sebastian Arcelus stars as Buddy the Elf, who leaves the North Pole after he discovers he has human parents. George Wendt co-stars as Santa Claus, and the cast also features Broadway favorites like Beth Leavel, Mark Jacoby, and Amy Spanger.

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Off Broadway 

* Black Nativity Now
(Theatre at St. Clements; December 3-January 2; all ages)

Alfred Preisser, co-founder and artistic director of the Classical Theater of Harlem, co-wrote and directs this holiday gospel pageant, which features choirs, dancers, and gospel, pop, funk, and soul music.

* A Child's Christmas in Wales
(Irish Repertory Theatre; December 8-January 2; all ages)

Billed as a "re-invention" of Dylan Thomas' classic holiday tale, this adaptation blends the story with traditional and contemporary Christmas music. Charlotte Moore, artistic director of the Irish Rep, writes and directs.

*A Christmas Carol
(Players Theatre; November 27-December 30; all ages

A new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' perennial favorite about Scrooge, Cratchit, and all those ghosts.

 

* Lula Belle in Search of Santa
(Manhattan Children's Theatre; now-January 3; all ages)

This original comedy follows Lula Belle, a spunky little girl who decides to save the world after Santa Claus goes missing. The show blends physical comedy and gentle satire to appeal to children and parents alike.

 

* Radio City Christmas Spectacular
(Radio City Music Hall; now-December 30; all ages)

This is arguably the most iconic holiday show in New York City. A tradition for over seventy-five years, it features Santa, songs, special effects, and of course, The Rockettes.


* Wintuk
(Theater at Madison Square Garden; now-January 2; all ages)

Thanks to its songs, acrobatics, and theatrical effects, Cirque du Soliel's story of a boy looking for snow has become a holiday staple. If you believe what you hear, then this is your last chance to see it in New York.

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Dance 

* The Hard Nut|
(Brooklyn Academy of Music/Opera House; December 10-19; all ages)

Staged as part of Mark Morris Dance Group's 30th anniversary season, this production, which hasn't been in New York for eight years, puts a lively twist on The Nutcracker.

* The Nutcracker
(Laguardia Performing Arts Center; December 18; all ages)

For one night only, December 18, the Laguardia Performing Arts Center presents the classic ballet.

* The Yorkville Nutrcracker
(Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College; December 9-12; all ages)

Dances Patrelle is presenting a fifteenth-anniversary production of choreographer Francis Patrelle's unique spin on the classic ballet. This version shifts the piece to New York in 1895, and it features dancers of all ages.

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Off-Off Broadway 

*Brothers and Sisters and Motherfu**ers: A Dynasty Handbag Holiday Special
(PS 122; December 15-19; ages 18+)

Performance artist Dynasty Handbag plays a host of cracked characters in this show, which follows a family that spills secrets during a holiday dinner.

 

 *Looking at Christmas
(The Flea; now-December 30; ages 15+)

In this offbeat, world-premiere comedy, two struggling artists meet while they stare at the holiday windows on 5th Avenue. What they don't realize is that the cute little creatures in the windows are staring back.

 

*Moisty the Snowman Saves Christmas
(Dixon Place; December 3-11; ages 18+)

This zany (and naughty) comedy is an original musical about a flamboyant New York snowman who saves Christmas.

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Mark Blankenship is TDF's online content editor