Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The best Christmas shows in NYC this holiday season

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

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. Get in the yuletide spirit and find the holiday show that’s right for you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC

A picture of the Time Out Magazine

Missing Time Out magazine?

You can still read our latest issue from the comfort of your couch

Read online

Christmas shows to see in NYC

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

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

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.

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

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

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.

Ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic
Photograph: Courtesy Manuel Harlan
Theater, Drama

A Christmas Carol

Campbell Scott plays Scrooge in the latest stage version of Charles Dickens's classic yuletide story about a miser forcibly unclenched by visions of his own grinchiness. Matthew Warchus directs this 2017 adaptation by Jack Thorne. Andrea Martin and LaChanze play two of Scrooge's ghostly guests.

Nutcracker Rouge
Photograph: Courtesy Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV: Nutcracker Rouge

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.

Eric Peters
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
Theater, Musicals

Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody

Increasingly, the world seems polarized into two factions who can barely understand each other, much less find common ground: those who cherish the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually, and those who recognize it as the extremely terrible garbage that it is. This musical spoof aims to appeal to both camps. 

Christmas Carol Cocktails
Photograph: Courtesy Russ Rowland
Theater, Musicals

The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails

The team behind the Imbible spead their cheer to the holidays with another alcohol-informational musical comedy, aimed at expanding your noggin and your noggin'. The show looks at the history and future of Christmas quaffs through a story that imagines Ebenezer Scrooge planning a party the day after his big epiphany. Admission includes three craft cocktails.

Jeffrey Solomon in The Santa Closet
Photograph: Courtesy Bree Michael Warner
Theater, Comedy

The Santa Closet

Jeffrey Solomon performs a 10th-anniversary revision of his 2009 solo Santa Claus Is Coming Out, a multicharacter, faux-documentary dissection of the media frenzy that ensues when St. Nick reveals his true sexuality. Joe Brancato directs the show, which has been updated to reflect changes in LGBTQ issues.

A Christmas Carol in Harlem
Photograph: Courtesy Jill Jones
Theater, Musicals

A Christmas Carol in Harlem

Scrooge is an uptown New York real-estate vulture in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's contemporary update of Charles Dickens's holiday novella about a miser who gets spooked into accepting the Christmas spirit. Carl Cofield directs Shawn René Graham's adaptation;  modernized carols helps keep the yuletide high.

Cirque du Soleil: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Artwork: Courtesy Cirque du Soleil
Theater, Circuses & magic

Cirque du Soleil: 'Twas the Night Before

The mammoth Québécois neocirque troupe presents its first holiday-themed production, an extended riff on Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Writer-director James Hadley's show follows a young girl who is yanked, on Christmas Eve, into a magical world where acrobatics and elaborate spectacle take the place of those boring old dancing sugar plums. 

Show more

Working on your Christmas list?


    You may also like