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The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special
Photograph: Matt Baume The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

The best Christmas shows in NYC this holiday season

Our guide to holiday stage fun in 2020, with plenty of streaming Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers to yuletide you over.

By Adam Feldman
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Christmas shows are on everyone’s mind as New Yorkers prepare for the holidays. Theaters are still closed this year, and how can you have Christmas in New York without a generous array of Nutcrackers and A Christmas Carols? With that in mind, we've scoured the internet to find dozens of the best holiday-themed theater and dance shows that you can stream this year to help you stay in high spirits, from shows aimed at kids to a few that are definitely not. Check out our chronological list of holiday shows and find the ones that are right for you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC

Christmas Shows to Stream in 2020

Ballets Ruses: The Slutcracker
Ballets Ruses: The Slutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Ballets Ruses: The Slutcracker

Dance Burlesque

Director-choreographer Vanessa White presents the lucky 13th edition of her version of the classic holiday ballet: an adults-only, feminist, body-positive depiction of the grown-up Clara’s adventures in sexual freedom, in which toys play an important but quite different function than before. The Boston-area cast includes burlesque performers, belly dancers, hula hoopers and others along with the usual ballet types. This year’s filmed version, assembled from archival recordings of last year’s live show, can be streamed from Thanksgiving through the end of the year for $10. 

Estella Scrooge
Estella Scrooge
Photograph: Tyler Milliron

Streaming Musicals: Estella Scrooge

Theater Musicals Online,

Betsy Wolfe (Waitress) plays the title character, a Wall Street predator who just might have a thing or two to learn about the Christmas spirit, in an original holiday musical by Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre) and director John Caird (Les Misérables). The project was shot remotely during the pandemic, using green screens and other technological workarounds. The cast of Broadway pros also includes Clifton Duncan, Lauren Patten, Carolee Carmello, Patrick Page and—as Estella’s famous ancestor Ebenezer—the beloved Danny Burstein. The show lifts characters and story ideas from several Dickens works beyond its principal source, A Christmas Carol. Tickets cost $25 for a three-day rental.

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Jefferson Mays in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Jefferson Mays in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Photograph: Chris Whitaker

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Theater Drama

The marvelous Jefferson Mays, who played a mere eight characters in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, ups the ante to 50 in this solo version of Charles Dickens’s holiday chestnut, adapted by the Tony-winning actor with Susan Lyons and director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening). The show—let’s call it I Am My Own Ghosts—premiered at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse in 2018 and has been filmed for streaming this year as a benefit for regional theaters across the country whose own holiday programming has been upended by the pandemic. Tickets cost $50 and proceeds are distributed to participating partner theaters according to ZIP code. (If you’d rather buy through them directly, you can find a list of them here.)  

 

The Nice List
The Nice List
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

The Nice List

Theater Musicals

James Monroe Iglehart, who won a Tony as the Genie in Aladdin, plays another magical wish-granter—jolly old Saint Nick himself—in a free new family musical that explores the inner workings of the toy workshop at the North Pole. Telly Leung, Ann Harada, Julia Mattison, Jennifer Barnhart, Nick Kohn and Don Darryl Rivera play the elves who have to deal with inventory and classification problems while the big man is away. Alan Muraoka directs the show, which features a book and lyrics by Phoebe Kreutz and original tunes by Gary Adler.

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The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special
The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special
Photograph: Matt Baume

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

Theater Musicals Online,

Two of Drag Race's most legendary dames serve nog till you gag in this virtual edition of their now-annual holiday camp fest. The plot of the hour-long spectacular finds the queens at odds over the direction of a Christmas TV special they are creating together. Expect plenty of musical comedy and spiked punchlines. Two-day rentals cost $14.

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

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Dance Ballet

New York City Ballet's magical 1954 production of The Nutcracker, set to Tchaikovsky's gorgeous score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and dozens 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, George Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together: It's enchanting, and the show has become an annual tradition for many NYC families. Live performance is out of the question this year, but NYCB is teaming up with the arts-oriented streaming platform Marquee TV to offer a full recording of the production, filmed at Lincoln Center last year. The cast includes Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. Tickets cost $25 in the United States (the price may vary elsewhere) and includes a free month-long trial subscription to Marquee TV for viewers who are new to it.

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All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (PBS)
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (PBS)
Photograph: Dan Norman

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Theater Drama Open run

Writer-director Peter Rothstein draws from patriotic anthems, war songs, Christmas carols and medieval 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 that brought temporary yuletide goodwill to the Great War. Having played in more than 50 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada since its 2007 premiere (including Off Broadway in 2018), the show has now been recorded as a PBS special that premieres on TV on November 27 and becomes available for streaming on December 15.

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