‘Tis the season to be…entertained, and there’s no better way to summon up glad tidings and good cheer than by taking your seat at one of New York City’s holiday theater performances. This year’s acts promise to dazzle you with music, dance, acrobatics, traditional Christmas stories and riffs on children’s books and fairytales.  Whether you’re looking for something old or new, classic or reimagined, scroll down to find the perfect entertainment for your family. (Looking for productions of The Nutcracker? Head here for more than a dozen to choose from!)

photo: MSG Productions

Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, MSG

Parents and kids will find their hearts growing a few sizes (along with the Grinch’s heart, of course) when they witness the magic of the holiday tale set to music. Max the Dog serves as the story’s narrator as the scheming Grinch plans to steal Christmas away from The Whos, the loveable characters that understand and embrace the true meaning of the holidays. When the Grinch realizes that he can’t steal Christmas from Who-ville by taking presents, he returns the gifts and decorations and joins the festivities, proving all it takes is a little kindness to un-Grinch anyone.

Madison Square Gardens, Hulu Theater
Tickets: from $50
4 Pennsylvania Plaza,
New York, NY
Tel: (212) 465 6741
Dates: December 13th - December 30th, 2018
Online: msg.com

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photo: Juliana Crawford

Big Apple Circus, Lincoln Center

Roll up, roll up! The Big Apple Circus brings together the most acclaimed acts from all over the world. All the seats are within 50 ft of the performers so you'll get an intimate view of the horizontal juggling, award-winning aerial acrobatics, the astonishing quadruple somersault on the flying trapeze, horses and dogs, clowns, and many more wonders — all in a one-ring big top tent.

Lincoln Center
Tickets: from $29
10 Lincoln Center Plz,
New York, NY
Tel: (212) 875 5456
Dates: now through January 27th, 2019
Online: bigapplecircus.com

photo: Apollo Theater

Kwanzaa Celebration, Apollo Theater

This celebration of African heritage has been a holiday hit for more than a decade and is packed with energetic dance and music as well as stunning visuals and costumes. The performance showcases the high impact Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and runs for two shows only. This is a beautiful and much-loved celebration of family, community, and culture for the holiday season.

Apollo Theater
Tickets starting at $20
253 West 125th Street,
New York, NY
Tel: (212) 531 5305
Dates: December 29th at 2pm and 7.30pm
Online: www.apollotheater.org

photo: courtesy of New York City Children's Theater & Nadav Wiesel

The Emperor’s New Clothes and More Magical Stories, Theater Row

A normal day at the park becomes so much more when a young girl gets swept away into four of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tales: The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Nightingale and The Ugly Duckling. This 60 minute show is geared towards kids aged between five and eight years old.

Dates: Weekends November 24th - December 22nd, 11 a. m. and 2 p. m.
Theatre Row, a program of Building for the Arts NY, Inc.
410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
Tel: (646) 998-8041
Tickets: $29.25
Online: nycchildrenstheater.org

photo: On Stage At Kingsborough/Sunpro Inc

The Wizard of Oz, On Stage At Kingsborough

This one-hour adaptation of Dorothy's adventures will delight children of all ages. Families get to rediscover the joy of following the yellow brick road with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and munchkin puppets, as they travel through Oz. For extra fun, there's a meet and greet with the cast after the show.


On Stage At Kingsborough
Tickets: $13
2001 Oriental Blvd,
Brooklyn, NY
Tel: (718) 368 5596
Dates: November 17th at 2 p.m.
Online: onstageatkingsborough.org

photo: Che Chorley

Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams, The New Victory Theater

Everyone will be grinning from ear to ear as agile tumblers ricochet around the stage, elastic contortionists twist into unfathomable shapes and expert jugglers exchange an endless array of objects. There is an infectious joy and effervescent energy to Ethiopia's astonishing circus artists who will warm your heart and inspire you to dream big this holiday! 

The New Victory Theater
Tickets: from $22
209 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
646-223-3010
Dates: November 30th - December 30th, 2018
Online: newvictory.org

photo: MSG Productions

Radio City Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall

If there's a show that will make even a Grinch go gooey for the holidays, it's the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Little ones get to see live animals on stage, festive musical numbers, high-kicking Rockettes dressed as toy soldiers, snowfall and yes, the 3D arrival of Santa before he magically steps on stage! There's so much sparkle and joy you'll be lit up inside for days!

Radio City Music Hall
Tickets: from $70
1260 Ave of the Americas
New York, NY
Tel: (800)  745 3000
Dates: November 9th - January 1st, 2019
Online: rockettes.com

photo: Boing-Farrows Creative

Boing!, The Duke on 42nd Street

For the city's youngest theater-goers, there's some bouncing excitement that'll be all too familiar to them in this playfully imaginative dance theater production. Brothers Joêl and Wilkie are WAY too excited for snoozing the night before Santa rolls into town! Rambunctious pillow fights, robot dance battles and silly sibling shenanigans do nothing to wear out these two bouncy brothers! This is the perfect show for 2-5 year olds.

The Duke on 42nd Street
Tickets: from $20
229 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
Tel: (646) 223 3010
Dates: December 7th - 23rd, 2018
Online: newvictory.org

photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The Magic Flute, Met Opera

Now a holiday tradition, this family-friendly adaptation of Mozart’s operatic musical tells of Prince Tamino who must go through a series of tests, accompanied by his goofy sidekick, in order to marry the princess Pamina all the while battling the evil and mysterious Queen of the Night. For the matinee performances, doors open at 10 a. m. for some exclusive pre-show activities where kids get to learn how sets are built, pet the props, meet the cast, and get a taste of what it's like behind the scenes at the Met Opera.

Met Opera
Tickets: from $30
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts,
30 Lincoln Center Plaza,
New York, NY
212-799 3100
Dates: December 19th - January 5th, 2019
Online: metopera.org

photo: Julieta Cervantes

The Hard Nut, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Mark Morris Dance Group’s beloved retro-modern reimagining of The Nutcracker comes back to BAM for the holidays. A cascade of wit and wintry beauty, this lavish, production transports us to the swinging 70s, with raucous parties, dancing G.I. Joes, whimsical costumes, and a Waltz of the Snowflakes like no other. Based on the book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and featuring Tchaikovsky’s complete original score, this modern retelling playfully preserves the warm spirit of an essential holiday tradition.

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Tickets start at $25
30 Lafayette Ave,
Brooklyn, NY
Tel: (718) 636 4100
Dates: December 14th - December 23rd, 2018
Online: bam.org

The Christmas Show, St George Theatre

This two-hour production is a high energy, rhinestone-studded medley for the whole family, now in its 15th year! Featuring local talent, with over 100 performers, a scene from “The Nutcracker”, a master juggler, an aerialist, and Staten Island's answer to the Rockettes, the story is a magical journey through New York scenes to a living Nativity. Packed with song and dance this is a show for the whole family.

St George Theatre
Tickets: from $15
35 Hyatt Street,
Staten Island, NY
718-442-2900
Dates: December 14th at 7 p. m. and 15th and 16th, 3 p. m and 7 p. m.
Online: stgeorgetheatre.com

photo: Courtesy of Velocity

Velocity, The New Victory Theater

Two illustrious Irish tap dancers come together in a no-nonsense jam session of impossible scuffles and shuffles, backed by a rocking Celtic band and a scratch DJ. This music, dance and light show is recommended for kids aged 8 yrs and up. 

The New Victory Theater
Tickets: start at $17
209 West 42nd Street
Tel: 646-223-3010
Dates: November 16th - 25th, 2018
Online: newvictory.org

photo: Carol Rosegg

Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Kings Theater

This is a show with elaborate acrobatics and equally dynamic costume changes. There are snowmen, penguins, candles, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, Santa and ornaments…flying, balancing and stretching the imagination.  Cirque brings it's own brand of gymnastics and illusions to this magical family show. Dates: November 29th - December 2nd, 2018 Kings Theater 1027 Flatbush Ave (718) 856-5464 Tickets: starting at $29.50 Online: kingstheatre.com

photo: Tim Norris

Hip Hop Nutcracker, Kings Theater

A modern dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky's timeless music, this show is a unique holiday smash – the classic Nutcracker story with innovative visuals and hip hop choreography. The performers celebrate the magic of the season combining the old and the new with rap legend Kurtis Blow as special guest MC.

Date: December 23rd
Kings Theater
1027 Flatbush Ave
(718) 856-5464
Tickets: starting at $29
Online: hiphopnutcracker.com

— Emily Myers

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