‘Tis the season, folks! If you’re in the market for holiday entertainment options other than such world-famous mainstays as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the New York City Ballet’s legendary production of The Nutcracker, you have several theatrical options this year.
None of the family-friendly musicals that have been seen on Broadway in recent holiday seasons — How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, or White Christmas — are back this year, but we do have Cathy Rigby bringing her wonderful production of Peter Pan to the Theater at Madison Square Garden, December 14-30. Rigby is perfect as the boy who won’t grow up, and the score (featuring such songs as “I’m Flying,” “I Gotta Crow,” and “Never Never Land”) is one delight after another. For this run, we get the bonus of Broadway veteran Tom Hewitt as Captain Hook, “the swiniest swine in the world.”
From December 7 through 31, the Irish Rep (132 West 22nd Street) is offering Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales as adapted for the stage and directed by Charlotte Moore, with musical direction by John Bell. This holiday favorite features both traditional and contemporary Christmas music interwoven within the classic story of the legendary snowy Christmas Day in Wales. Says the Associated Press, “For a family-friendly holiday entertainment with high nostalgia value, look no farther.” Visit www.irishrep.org for details.
The classic Kaufman and Hart comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner is not usually thought of as a Christmas show, but the action does take place around the holiday, and there’s even a Christmas tree onstage for much of the proceedings. The Peccadillo Theater Company is now offering an Off-Broadway production of the play that’s especially praiseworthy for the performances of Drama Desk Award winner Jim Brochu as Sheridan Whiteside, Amy Landon as Maggie Cutler, Joseph R. Sicari as Banjo, and John Windsor-Cunningham as Beverly Carlton, not to mention Broadway-level set design by Dan Feiner and gorgeous period costumes by Amy Pedigo-Otto. All this for a mere $25 per ticket! The show is playing through December 18 in the Theatre at St. Clement’s (423 West 46th Street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues). For more information or to purchase tickets, phone 212-352-3101 or visit www.thepeccadillo.com.
There are also a number of great shows on tap in the city’s clubs and cabarets. At Feinstein’s at the Regency alone, Michael Feinstein himself joins up with the great Barbara Cook for a run of shows to celebrate Cook’s 2011 Kennedy Center Honor — this in addition to Mr. Feinstein’s holiday concert on Monday, December 26, and two New Year’s Eve shows (at 7:00 and 10:30pm) in which he will team up with the lovely, golden-voiced Broadway star Kelli O’Hara. (Go to feinsteinsattheregency.com to view the club’s full schedule.) Meanwhile, at Don’t Tell Mama (www.donttellmamanyc.com) on Restaurant Row, Steven Brinberg is offering a holiday edition of his ever-popular Barbra Streisand tribute show, with special guest singers Brock Harris (All-American, Lincoln Center Theater) on December 9 and Bill Coyne (Madame X, New York Musical Theatre Festival) on the 23rd. Enjoy!