Entertainment Guide: Savor the Holiday Season in the Big Apple

22601384785_ced51f536b_zPhoto by Matthias Uhlig via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

With all due respect to Grandmother’s house (“Over the river and through the woods”), no destination does the holiday season quite like New York City. From Eloise’s unbridled joy at the Plaza Hotel to the breathtaking tree at Rockefeller Center; whimsical windows on Fifth Avenue to skating in Central Park’s Wollman Rink; the hush of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to New Year’s Eve’s standing room only mob at Times Square.

If you can make merry here, you can make merry anywhere.

The city’s “Great White Way” is especially exciting during the holidays. You can order Broadway tickets online in advance of your visit; try TheaterMania for a menu of current shows and ticket offers. Or, take a lesson from thrifty locals and visit the TKTS booth for deeply discounted same-day seats. The Theatre Development Fund offers helpful tips here. Bring an open mind and several choices. Plus, you can download the “What’s at the Booth” app to your smart phone for real-time updates about what’s available.

Broadway Musicals
No question, the hottest ticket in town right now is Hamilton. With rave reviews and weekly celebrity sightings, the show is sold out and online resale tickets run as high as $1,000 or more. So, unless you ordered tickets months ago  — or your great Uncle Ebenezer had a change of heart and left you his fortune — you’ll probably want to wait a while. But, not to worry, Hamilton promises to run for a long time. And, there are plenty of other options.

Broadway’s most popular musicals include longer-running family favorites like The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin, Matilda and Phantom of the Opera. Any of these would prove a delightful holiday choice (and one nice thing about bigger musicals is that you can sit fairly far back or high up in the auditorium and still enjoy the show). Other recommendations include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the Tony-winning “knock ‘em dead” musical comedy about getting away with murder; Something Rotten, set in Shakespearean London; Andrew Lloyd Weber’s School of Rock; plus much-anticipated revivals of Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof and The Color Purple.

Broadway Plays
It’s often easier to get good seats for plays than musicals, and this season has many powerful dramas to choose from. On the top of my list are The Gin Game with stage and screen legends Cicely Tyson (age 91) and James Earl Jones (age 84), and King Charles III, an imagined look at Prince Charles’ late-in-life reign (assuming Elizabeth Regina ever moves on to her great reward). Fans of Bruce Willis and/or Stephen King will relish the stage adaptation of Misery (also starring the phenomenal Laurie Metcalf), and young Oscar-winner Lupito Nyong’o makes her Broadway debt in Eclipsed. Revivals of Fool for Love and A View From the Bridge are worth considering too.

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