“We need a little Christmas”? Well, we have a whole lot of Christmas for Broadway musical fans. With the holiday season upon us, we at Broadway Direct thought we’d compile a list of the many Broadway musicals that have featured Christmas. From Christmas-themed musicals to unlikely shows that included the yuletide in the plot, here are 18 of them that are guaranteed to put you in the holiday mood.
It started as a popular comic strip, the story of a plucky orphan who finds a new home with a wealthy billionaire. Little Orphan Annie longs for her birth parents, and despite wanting to adopt the child himself, Daddy Warbucks initiates a nationwide search to find them. Ultimately, we learn they are deceased, and Annie accepts Warbucks’s offer to be her father. The 1977 musical Annie culminates in a Christmas celebration and with the joyous Charles Strouse–Martin Charnin song “A New Deal for Christmas.”
Billy Elliott: The Musical
A little boy growing up in a coal-mining community wants to be a dancer and must make his family see that this is his passion. The U.K. miners’ strike of 1984–1985 made for a difficult Christmas for those involved. In Billy Elliott: The Musical, the strikers gather in the local union hall where the kids put on a holiday show, singing “Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher,” a pointed indictment of then prime minister Margaret Thatcher. The number by Elton John and Lee Hall was accompanied by a gigantic, cartoonish puppet of the song’s despised subject.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
The 1978 musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas might seem like an unlikely place to find Christmas music, but the Carol Hall number “Hard Candy Christmas” is one of the most potent holiday-themed show tunes to play on the Broadway stage. When Miss Mona learns that her popular brothel, known as “The Chicken Ranch,” is being closed down by the Texas government, she and her employees must say goodbye through this heartbreaking number. The song found a wider audience when Dolly Parton recorded the song for the 1982 film version.
A Christmas Story
We all know the film is played to death around the holidays, but the musical adaptation of A Christmas Story has its own pleasures in store. Our boy Ralphie is still pining away for his Red Ryder BB gun and working the system to ensure Santa brings him one. However, the stage production brings the story even more vividly to life through the Benj Pasek and Justin Paul score, with holiday-related gems such as “It All Comes Down to Christmas,” “Up on Santa’s Lap,” and the title song. A Christmas Story played a limited engagement on Broadway in 2012 and was then made into a television film.
The comedy Elf starring Will Ferrell has been a holiday staple since it hit screens in 2003. In 2012, Matthew Sklar (music), Chad Beguelin (lyrics), and Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan (book) adapted the screenplay for the Broadway stage. Songs such as “Christmastown,” “Sparklejollytwinklejingley,” “A Christmas Song,” and “There Is a Santa Claus” helped to tell the story of Buddy, the elf from the North Pole who sets off in search of his birth father.
A short-lived musical with a superior score by Sammy Fain and E.Y. Harburg, the 1951 musical Flahooley took place at B.G. Bigelow, Inc., a toy manufacturer getting ready for the big holiday release of their laughing doll known as Flahooley. A satirical indictment of capitalism and the McCarthy witch hunts (in which Harburg had been a major target), Flahooley was a surprisingly whimsical musical full of puppets, a genie, an Arabian princess, and a parade of wonderful songs, including “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus?” Flahooley also launched the Broadway career of Barbara Cook.
The author of the single greatest musical with a parade, Meredith Willson (The Music Man), decided to tackle another story about a famous parade. The composer-lyricist turned the holiday film classic Miracle on 34th Street into the Broadway musical Here’s Love, which opened in 1963 and ran for just less than a year. Set during the festive time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade insists that he is the real Kris Kringle, attempting to work his magic to bring happiness to a sad and skeptical little girl. In the musical, you will find Willson’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” a song he wrote in 1951, combined with the song “Pine Cones and Holly Berries.”
The 1942 film Holiday Inn told the story of a retired performer who opens a Connecticut inn that is only open during the holidays. There, he and his performer friends sing and dance and re-create the act they did in NYC. A handful of Irving Berlin songs, most tethered to one holiday or another, made up the score. Of course, the film’s highlight was “White Christmas,” which won the Academy Award for best song. Holiday Inn was turned into a stage musical and made it to Broadway in 2016, courtesy of the Roundabout Theatre Company.
I Love My Wife
A musical about married folks mate-swapping in Trenton, New Jersey, may have very little to do with Christmas, but I Love My Wife was written in 1977, it was a different time, and swinging was in fashion. A Christmas Eve dinner between two married couples evolves into a foursome, with comedic implications and reflective moments. I Love My Wife features a score by Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart. Among the songs in the show is the bluesy “Lovers on Christmas Eve.”
“We Need a Little Christmas” is one of the many showstopping numbers in the 1966 musical comedy Mame. The Jerry Herman ditty has become a staple of Christmas, offering optimism and merriment any time of the year. In the musical, the proactive, outgoing Auntie Mame refuses to let the Great Depression get her down, even though she has gone bankrupt. Thanksgiving is a week away, but she decides to pull out the tinsel and holly and bring some cheer to her nephew and devoted house staff.
Meet Me in St. Louis
The 1944 MGM film classic Meet Me in St. Louis boasted a memorable score by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, including the now-classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” introduced by the great Judy Garland. Meet Me in St. Louis was given a Broadway adaptation in 1989, expanding the story of the Smith family, who are facing leaving their beloved hometown when their father is offered a promotion in New York City. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” served as an emotional climax in the stage production, a reminder that family and friends are what the season is all about.
Though there has been much debate recently over whether the song “Turkey Lurky Time” is a Thanksgiving or Christmas song, the debate can be squelched in the context of the musical Promises, Promises. The song is sung at an office Christmas party for Consolidated Life, where the lonely Chuck Baxter is hoping to advance to the company’s upper echelons. With a score by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and a book by Neil Simon, Promises, Promises is adapted from the screenplay for the Academy Award–winning film The Apartment.
The 1996 Broadway musical sensation Rent follows a group of Bohemian artists struggling to stay in their home in Alphabet City rent-free. The close bond between these spunky characters is deeply felt when they spend Christmas with little money, but somehow find the spirit of the season. Jonathan Larson’s rock musical features a Christmas Eve celebration of all things that go against the grain in “La Vie Bohème,” and the second act commences with the characters reflecting on the new year with “Seasons of Love.”
She Loves Me
The 1963 Broadway Musical She Loves Me, set in a Hungarian parfumerie in the months leading up to Christmas, finds its pivotal romantic moment amid the holiday’s arrival. Georg and Amalia are coworkers who despise each other, but little do they know they are also in love with each other through an anonymous pen-pal relationship. The revelation of their true feelings happens right after closing the shop on Christmas Eve. She Loves Me features a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joe Masteroff adapted from the beloved 1937 Miklós László play Parfumerie.
Not many people know that the hit George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play The Man Who Came to Dinner was turned into a Broadway musical in 1967. The result was the short-lived Sherry!. When famous orator and radio personality Sheridan Whiteside breaks his hip at the Ohio home of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, his recuperation involves taking over their home and ruining their Christmas. A parade of celebrities shows up at the house to pay homage to the star, running roughshod over the Stanleys to deliver holiday tidings to their dear “Sherry.”
Subways Are for Sleeping
Another musical that only die-hard theater buffs know, Subways Are for Sleeping was a 1961 Broadway show with a score by Jule Styne (music) and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics). The musical follows a news reporter writing an article about well-dressed homeless people who are sleeping on the subways of New York City, and about their leader who finds them odd jobs. Set during the winter, Subways Are for Sleeping of course ventures into Christmas and the parade of street corner Santas ringing bells for charity. The song “Be a Santa” is a lively celebration of what it means to wear the uniform of the iconic Mr. Claus.
Irving Berlin composed one of the most recorded holiday songs of all time when he penned the classic “White Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby. The song appeared in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, then became the basis for the 1954 film musical White Christmas, starring Crosby and Danny Kaye. That film, like so many movie musicals, finally found its way to the Broadway stage. In 2008, the story of two World War II veterans turned Broadway performers who set out to help their former military superior turned innkeeper delighted audiences with such songs as “Happy Holidays” and, of course, the iconic title song.
The Who’s Tommy
Poised for a Broadway revival in 2021, the rock opera The Who’s Tommy tells the tale of the “deaf, dumb, and blind kid,” scarred by a traumatic incident, who grows into a pinball-playing sensation. In a sequence set during the holidays, Tommy’s family reflects upon how the child is left out of the joys of the season due to his conditions, claiming “Tommy doesn’t know what day it is” in the song “Christmas.” The song features music and lyrics by original The Who member Pete Townshend.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, was published October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
Introduction and Your Acceptance of These Terms
Information We Collect
Information we collect directly from you: Your provision of your personal information to Us is completely voluntary; it is not a statutory or contractual requirement. Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is information that is uniquely identifiable to you, such as your name, address, email address, phone number, credit card number and other personal information that is not otherwise publicly available. Certain features of Our website may require that you provide Us with your personal information, including:
Mobile Alert Sign-Up (SMS)
Contact Us (email)
Public forums (e.g. message boards)
E-commerce (ticket purchases)
Your use of any of the features above;
New content on Our website;
News that We think may interest you about Us;
Responses to your questions/comments to us; and
Information relating to a ticket purchase.
We may use your demographic information for in house statistics, advertising and marketing target information. Our processing of your personal information is necessary for the performance and fulfillment of the contract between us and to provide you with Our services. We will also process, transfer, disclose and preserve personal information when We have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary, to resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and otherwise required by law. You can always opt-out of receiving future promotional communications from Us; see the Choice/Opt-out section below.Information We Collect Automatically: Even if you don’t use any of the features above, when you visit Our website, We may collect certain information about you.
From your Browser. For example, Our servers keep an activity log that tracks all visitors to the website. The information in the activity log does not identify you individually. The information collected may include among other data: your IP address, your registered domain or home server, time of access, date of access, web page(s) visited, number of clicks, software crash reports, type of browser used, session identification number, search terms, search results, access times and referring website’s address. We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with Our server and to administer Our website. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information, such as country of origin and geographic location. We use such data in the aggregate to run internal analyses to improve upon your experience on Our website.
Tracking Tags (also known as “web beacons,” “action tags” or “single-pixel gifs”). Our website may also use tracking tags. Tracking tags are invisible graphics embedded in the pages of Our website that are programmed to collect non-personal information about your use of Our website. Like cookies, tracking tags provide overall usage patterns for Our website that We use for analysis and to provide personalized services and advertising content.
We comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising set forth by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You can opt-out of targeted advertising from certain providers at www.aboutads.info/consumers.
How We Use Your Personal Information
The personal information We collect allows Us to keep you posted on updates to Broadway Direct. It also helps Us to improve Our services, content, and advertising. If you don’t want to be on Our email list, you can opt out anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or sending an unsubscribe email to [email protected]. From time to time, We may use your personal information to send transactional emails, such as communications about purchases and changes to Our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Broadway Direct, you may not opt out of receiving these communications. We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Broadway Direct’s services, and customer communications. If you enter into a sweepstakes, contest, or similar promotion We may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
Information Collected By/Shared With Third Parties
Third Parties Doing Work for Us. Third parties have no rights to use any data We have collected on your behalf. However, We may employ other companies or individuals to perform functions on Our behalf, such as sending postal mail, email, and text messages, conducting sweepstakes/contests, prize fulfillment and promotional activities, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. These outside suppliers, agents and vendors have access to your personal information only as needed to perform their functions.
Third Parties with Links from Our Website. From our website, you may be able to click on links to third party sites to buy tickets and merchandise and for other purposes. These third party sites may collect information, including personal information. We are not responsible for, nor do we have access to the information they collect. The collection of this information is governed by the privacy policies on the applicable third party sites.
Social Networking Services. Our website may integrate with social networking services. We do not control such services and are not liable for the manner in which they operate. While we may provide you with the ability to use such services in connection with our website, we are doing so merely as an accommodation and, like you, are relying upon those third party services to operate properly and fairly.
When necessary. We may also release personal information when we believe, in good faith, that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ourselves, Our clients, Our users, or others. We may disclose personal information about you to law enforcement, other government officials, or other third parties, as We, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal or may expose Us to legal liability.
Transactions With Third Party E-commerce Partners, Vendors and Advertisers
Delivery of Advertising and Other Content
In addition to ads and content that We may serve you directly, We use third-party advertising companies and marketing services companies to serve ads and other content when you visit Broadway Direct and elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both We and these companies may use information about your visits to Broadway Direct and elsewhere to serve ads and other content to you. In the course of doing so, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser by such companies. In addition, We and these companies may use Web beacons to help manage Our online advertising and content. These Web beacons enable Us and the third-party companies to recognize a browser’s cookie when a browser visits this Site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website and to serve you ads that you may find of interest elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both Broadway Direct and these companies may use information obtained from your visits to Broadway Direct or other websites, and information received from you offline in order to provide advertisements about goods and services and other content of interest to you across the internet and in other media. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used in this manner by Our third party advertising companies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and/or www.aboutads.info/choices. European users may opt out of receiving targeted advertising by visiting http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/. In addition, we may provide PII and Anonymous Information to marketing services companies. This may include information we received from you offline or online. These companies may combine information we provide (including PII and Anonymous Information) with personal and anonymous information they may have about you, using cookies they place or that We place on their behalf, as described in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. We require these companies to delete the PII we provide them. These companies may use the resulting non-personal information and such cookies for their own marketing purposes, and they may provide the same to their customers for their customer’s marketing purposes. Some of Our emails may contain tags that allow Us and Our advertisers and other partners to determine the types of content that may be of interest to you. Those tags may contain PII and may be shared with others to the same extent indicated in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. Those tags may not be deleted but you can opt out of receiving the emails.
Use of This Site by Children
The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and We request that such individuals do not provide personal information through the Site. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided Us with PII without the parent or guardian’s consent by, for example, misrepresenting his or her age, that parent or guardian should contact us at [email protected]. If Broadway Direct determines that it has collected personal information of children under the age of 13, Broadway Direct will immediately delete such information and any accounts believed to be held by children under 13. In addition, we may not collect or process information from a citizen of an EU member state under the age of sixteen (16) without such person’s parental consent. If you are a citizen of an EU member state under the age of 16, please tell your parents that you are using the Site and have your parents email Us at [email protected] so that We may delete any information We may have collected about you.
California Civil Code § 1798.83 permits California residents to request information about whether we have disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. California residents have the right to request in writing: (a) a list of the categories of Personal Information, such as name, email address and mailing address and the type of services provided to the customer that a business has disclosed to third parties (including affiliates that are separate legal entities) during the immediately preceding calendar year for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes and (b) the names and addresses of all such third parties. To make a request, please contact Us at the following email address: [email protected].
Rights of EU Data Subjects
If you are a resident of the European Union, under the GDPR, European Union residents, as data subjects, have the following rights:
Right to access – This right allows individuals to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning him or her is being processed and provide access to such personal information. It also allows individuals to request details of the processing of his or her personal information, including, without limitation, categories of recipients to whom the personal information have been or will be disclosed and purposes of processing.
Right to rectify – This right allows individuals to rectify any inaccurate personal information about him or her.
Right to restrict processing – This right allows individuals to block or suppress processing of personal data under certain circumstances.
Right to be forgotten – This right is also known as the “right to erasure”. It is an individual’s right to have personal data erased or to prevent processing in specific circumstances.
Right of data portability – This right allows individuals to move, copy or transfer personal data from one place to another in a secure manner without interrupting the integrity and usability of the information.
Right to object to processing – This right allows individuals to object to certain types of processing, including direct marketing, profiling and providing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.
An EU resident has the right to access his or her personal data that We hold and to ask that their personal data be corrected or erased and to port their data. An EU resident may also have the right to object to, or request that We restrict certain processing or to withdraw consent previously provided. If you would like to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please contact us at [email protected]. If you are an EU resident and have a concern about our processing of your personal data that we are not able to resolve, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Authority where you reside. For contact details of your relevant local Data Protection Authority, please see http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=612080
Security of Your Personal Information
Broadway Direct employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for personal information collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Broadway Direct takes all appropriate steps to safeguard personal information under Our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, We cannot guarantee that personal information supplied by users will not be accessed on Our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to Us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers.
We will retain your information for as long as your account or inquiry is active and for a reasonable time thereafter in accordance with Our standard procedures or as necessary to comply with Our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce Our agreements. Even if We delete some or all of your Personal Information, We may continue to retain and use aggregate or anonymous data previously collected and/or anonymize or aggregate your Personal Information. Please note that We will not be liable for disclosures of your data due to errors or unauthorized acts of third parties.
This Site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from Us, at any time, by email at [email protected], or by clicking the unsubscribe link in any email communication. The Site gives users the following options for removing their information from our database, to not receive future communications or to no longer receive our service, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715.
Users can opt-out of receiving future newsletter emails from Us by selecting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our email. However, We are not responsible for removing your information from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided with your information or is collecting your information through their cookies. You have the right to withdraw your consent for Our processing for your personal information by contacting us at [email protected].
This website gives users the following options for changing and modifying information previously provided, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715
In the event that We are, or any component of our operations is, merged with, or is acquired by, another entity, then any such successor or acquiring entity may become the successor to Our obligations with respect to the personal information that you have provided to Us, which would be necessary for the entity to effectively continue our business. By using this website, you consent to any transfer and use of such personal information by an entity assuming control of Our operations as a result of a merger, purchase of assets, or liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency.