‘Tis the season for holiday spirit in NYC’s performance halls.


The holiday season is here, NYC! Every year, limited run, elaborate and expertly crafted productions pop up throughout the city, spreading holiday cheer and nostalgia throughout Manhattan. This December, take the family to a holiday-themed outing that’s sure to evoke smiles, warmth, and the reverence that transpires from witnessing music and art in its highest form.

Originally opened in 1968, the Theater at MSG has played home to some extraordinary family-friendly musicals. In 2012, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! occupied the theater for a limited time, making its triumphant return to NYC after a five year absence. Last year, A Christmas Story brought some holiday cheer to theatergoers, channeling the 1983 classic film to great effect. This year, the Grinch musical will once again be taking over the theater. Narrated by Max the Dog and featuring hit songs, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch musical has a spectacular set that was specifically designed for the Theater at MSG and costume design that is inspired by Dr. Seuss’ illustrations. Watch as the scheming Grinch plots to steal Christmas away from the lovable Whos of Who-ville. (12/5-12/28, The Theater at MSG)

If ballet is more to your liking, there is no greater holiday feat than watching the New York City Ballet – one of the world’s foremost dance companies – take on George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”.  Written to music by Tchaikovsky and based on the Alexander Dumas pere version of E. T. A. Hoffman’s 1816 tale, this elaborate two-act production is brought to life through 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and a plethora of immensely talented ballet students.  Balanchine himself is widely considered to have been the world’s greatest choreographer and is a founding father of the New York City Ballet.  Enjoy this visually stunning classic with the whole family and watch as a one-ton Christmas tree grows from 12 to 40 feet right before your eyes. (Through 1/3, David H. Koch Theater)

Also gracing the stage this holiday season is Handel’s Messiah, a holiday favorite and choral masterpiece that has purveyed through centuries of musical evolution.  In fact, Handel’s Messiah is so well regarded that it will be featured for five days by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and will be featured by other major choruses and orchestras at Carnegie Hall as well.  George Frideric Handel is one of history’s great composers, having composed more than 40 operas in over 30 years.  The Messiah has remained popular and relevant to this day, having been prominent in countless films, television shows and commercials.  Hallelujah!  (12/16-12/20, Avery Fisher Hall)

Lastly, celebrate the magic of Christmas at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a dazzling annual musical holiday stage show starring the legendary, high-kicking women’s dance troupe known as The Rockettes.  For over 85 years, this world-renowned and energetic celebration has inspired awe and wonder in the hearts and minds of New York City’s diverse residents and visitors.  Last year, The Rockettes added an exhilarating new dance number, “Snow”, to their lineup of cherished classics.  Watch as the stage is transformed into a glistening winter wonderland through state-of-the-art set design, special effects and costumes. (Through 12/31, Radio City Music Hall)

(Photo Credit: Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”)