The Christmas season is a fallow time for openings Broadway, but there are plenty of holiday-themed shows to choose from this month.
New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” with the original George Balanchine choreography, would be the traditional choice. But for a comic alternative, Mark Morris’ “The Hard Nut” at BAM resets the ballet into the swinging 1970s. And the sexually-flavored “Nutcracker Rouge,” performed in Carroll Gardens, has burlesque dancers and a pole dancing Super Plum Fairy.
“The Radio City Christmas Show,” with its high-kicking Rockettes and lavish “Living Nativity” pageant, remains a classic spectacle of epic proportions. Cirque du Soleil’s “Wintuk” is stuffed with giant polar bears, aerial acts and blinding gusts of snow. For a more intimate circus experience, try “The Big Apple Circus” at Lincoln Center.
On Broadway, the sentimental musical “Elf,” based on the 2003 Will Ferrell film, follows an overgrown elf named Buddy who learns that he is human and then ventures to Manhattan to find his father. Over at the Met, Julie Taymor’s inventive staging of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is being performed in a truncated, all-English version geared toward kids.
In “Donny and Marie — A Broadway Christmas,” the siblings, now in their early 50s, perform their current Las Vegas variety show plus some added holiday tunes. For fancier digs, check out Michael Feinstein’s holiday cabaret at the Regency or Steve Tyrell at the Carlyle.
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” at the Irish Repertory Theatre features a five-member cast reciting the Dylan Thomas story alongside traditional Christmas songs. “Looking at Christmas,” a new play by “Spongebob” writer Steven Banks, observes holiday windows that magically spring to life after an out-of-work actress and writer walk past them.