The best Christmas shows in NYC this holiday season

Here’s a handy guide to holiday stage fun: lots of Nutcrackers and details on the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Photograph: Courtesy MSG Entertainment
Advertising

Christmas shows are on everyone’s mind as New Yorkers prepare for the holidays. How can you have Christmas in New York without a new edition of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and a whole bunch of Nutcrackers and A Christmas Carols? We scoured our listings to find appropriate Christmas-themed theater and dance shows. There's a revival of a  Broadway musical about the Grinch, two takes on Charlie Brown, multiple irreverent looks at Santa Clause, an American Idol reunion concert and, for those with literary tastes, a site-specific adaptation of James Joyce’s short story “The Dead." Get in the yuletide spirit and find the holiday show that’s right for you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC

Christmas shows to see in NYC

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes
Photograph: Paul Kolnik for MSG Entertainment
Theater, Musicals

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

icon-location-pin Radio City Music Hall, Midtown West
icon-calendar

You’ll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, dazzlingly precise Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes and advanced technology have been introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance. 

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Kolnik
Dance, Ballet

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

icon-location-pin David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side
icon-calendar

This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. In the end, however, Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.

Advertising
Nutcracker Rouge
Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Flannigan
Dance

Company XIV: Nutcracker Rouge

icon-location-pin Théâtre XIV, Bushwick
icon-calendar

Austin McCormick and his risqué neo-Baroque dance-theater group Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of the classic holiday tale, complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. The word nutcracker has customarily conjured innocent wonder; now be ready to add glitter pasties, stripper poles and comically large stuffed penises to the toys in wonderland. Definitely leave the kids at home.

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Photograph: Courtesy Allen Weeks
Theater, Musicals

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

icon-location-pin Sheen Center, East Village
icon-calendar

Writer-director Peter Rothstein draws from patriotic anthems, war songs, Christmas carols and madieval ballads from multiple countries—as well as texts written by World War I soldiers—in his original musical about the 1914 ceasefires between British and German troops.

Advertising
The Dead, 1904
Photograph: Carol Rosegg
Theater, Drama

The Dead, 1904

icon-location-pin Irish Repertory Theatre, Chelsea
icon-calendar

The Irish Rep presents a return engagement of its 2016 adaptation of James Joyce's short story about a holiday meal in Dublin, staged immersively at an intimate Upper East Side townhouse. Admission includes dinner and drinks.

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
Photograph: Courtesy Carol Rosegg
Theater, Musicals

A Child's Christmas in Wales

icon-location-pin Irish Repertory Theatre, Chelsea
icon-calendar

Irish Rep chieftain Charlotte Moore directs her own concert adaptation of Dylan Thomas's holiday prose poem, buttressed by traditional Irish music, in the company's cozy production, which it has previously presented in 2010, 2011 and 2015.

Advertising
A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House
Photograph: Joey Stocks
Theater, Drama

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

icon-location-pin Merchant's House Museum, East Village
icon-calendar

John Kevin Jones plays Dickens in this one-hour account of the novelist's classic holiday ghost story, adapted with director Rhonda Dodd. The Merchant's House Museum, formerly the home of a wealthy 19th-century family, provides an atmospheric candlelit setting for Jones's sixth annual engagement.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: Navidad—A Mexican-American Christmas
Photograph: Courtesy Julieta Cervantes
Dance, Folk & ethnic

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: Navidad—A Mexican-American Christmas

icon-location-pin Thalia Spanish Theatre, Sunnyside
icon-calendar

The folk-dance company, guided by artistic director Alberto Lopez Herrera, debuts a new piece that celebrates the holiday season as it is experienced by a child of Mexican-American immigrants in New York City. In styles that range from Aztec-inspired movement to ballet, and to music from mariachi to Tchaikovsky, 16 dancers perform sequences created especially for this show by Mexican and Mexican-American choreographers. 

Advertising
Los Nutcrackers
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Palma
LGBT

Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo

icon-location-pin Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The Bronx
icon-calendar

Now in its 15th year, Charles Rice-González's holiday play—which subverts The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol—imagines a queer Latino couple caught in a journey through time one trippy Christmas eve. Witness ’80s flashbacks, Martha Stewart dinner parties and plenty of angelic divas to light the way. 

Christmas in Hell
Photograph: Courtesy Carol Rosegg
Theater, Musicals

Christmas in Hell

icon-location-pin York Theatre Company at St. Peter's Church, Midtown East
icon-calendar

In this irreverent original musical by Gary Apple, a desperate father makes a deal with the Devil after his eight-year-old son goes to hell and back. Not intended for kids, Apple's musical has previously been seen in New York as part of the Fringe Festival and the New York Musical Theatre Festival; Bill Castellino (Desperate Measures) directs a fuller production for the York Theatre Company, with a cast that include Scott Ahearn, Elijah Rayman and Gettin' the Band Back Together baddie Brandon Williams as the Prince of Darkness.

Show more

Working on your Christmas list?

Advertising