The holidays are headed our way, and that means loads of family-friendly theater and shows are about to take to the stage all over NYC. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas classic, an entirely new production, something for the youngest of kids or maybe a little older, there’s a show for you, from circus, puppetry, Disney on Ice and Rudolph, to Rockettes, Scrooge, KIDZ BOP and beyond. Our advice no matter what?: book now! (Looking for Nutcrackers? Click here for our roundup of classic and new takes on the ballet!)
Radio City Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes
Embrace the tradition and see this NYC Christmas show for the first time—or the 50th. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular returns on November 8 and keeps on kicking all the way to January 5. Little ones get to see live animals on stage, festive musical numbers with New York flair, high-kicking Rockettes dressed as toy soldiers, snowfall and yes, the 3D arrival of Santa before he magically steps on stage! There's even something called Party City Santa Hat Day, when audience members get a free holiday hat! Show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.
Tickets: from $25
1260 Ave of the Americas
Radio City Music Hall
Big Apple Circus
The Big Apple Circus is back, featuring all new acts and one of the most diverse circus lineups we've ever seen. Afro-Latina Storm Marrero steps in as Ringmaster, overseeing an international crew of circus pros that will tumble, fly, juggle, and balance to your amazement. Plus: acrobatic horseback riding, the "Wheel of Death", a real live circus scholar and even the Savitsky Cats. (Meow!) All the seats are within 50 ft of the performers so you'll get an intimate view of all the action in this one-ring big top tent.
Through Feb. 2, 2020
10 Lincoln Center Plz.
Fox Fables with Wonderspark Puppets
Glorious puppetry tells the story of a fox who loses his precious tail, and with it, his identity. He tries to be several other animals instead —with hilarious results—before realizing the moral lesson of this classic ancient fable. The show runs 60 minutes.
Tickets: $17; $14 for members
Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
2537 Broadway at 95th St.
Upper West Side
KIDZ BOP World Tour
You've likely heard them in your living room, now see the KIDZ BOP Kids live in Westchester! The poppy quartet will perform some of today’s biggest global pop hits live, one night only. Producers promise awesome set design, costumes, exciting choreography, and tons of cool surprises.
Nov. 8, 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.)
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave.
White Plains, NY
For Amazing MUMMENSCHANZ: Re:Play
The Swiss masters of wordless, playful productions, MUMMENSCHANZ makes its New Victory Theater debut with this collection timeless vignettes. See why the troupe has been entertaining audiences around the globe for over four decades (including three stints on Broadway). Recommended for ages six and up; runs an hour with no intermission.
Nov. 15 - Dec. 1
Tickets: $17 and up
New Victory Theater
209 W. 42nd St.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
It's the classic, heart-warming animated Christmas special on stage, with the bonus of a live trio playing the jazzy and enchanting music of Vince Guaraldi. Adapted from Charles M. Schulz’s timeless story of the spirit of Christmas, the show also includes a concert of beloved holiday carols performed by the Peanuts characters.
Nov. 17, 2 p.m.
On Stage At Kingsborough
Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center
2001 Oriental Blvd.
For a Road Trip with Mickey and Friends: Disney On Ice
The Disney gang is hitting the road (and the ice.) Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations such as the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack, the sun-soaked Motunui with Moana, and the plains of Africa with The Lion Kinf pride. Plus: Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine. Other highlights include a comedic carnival with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky, and the Disney edition of Road Trip Karaoke as with Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana.
Tickets: $25 and up
620 Atlantic Ave.
The Delbert Anderson Trio, DDAT
For a high-energy music show that combines hip hop, jazz, funk and soul with an original southwestern feel, check out DDAT at Flushing Town Hall. The group consists of four talented musicians - Chris Bidtah (Navajo) on vocals, Delbert Anderson (Navajo) on trumpet, Nicholas Lucero on drums, and Mike McCluhan on bass. Performances by DDAT are full of energy and excitement, with dancing, improvisation, and more. (P.S. teens get in free to this show!)
Tickets: $14/adults; $8/kids
Nov. 16, 2:15 p.m.
137-35 Northern Blvd.
Flushing Town Hall
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Yes, it's the Rankin-based holiday television special come to life on stager! Come see all of your favorite characters from the show including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf/wannabe dentist, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph. It’s an adventure with a message that what makes you different can also be what makes you special. Show is 90 minutes with a 20-minute intermission.
Tickets: $29 and up
Dec. 1, 1 & 4:30 p.m.
1027 Flatbush Ave.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
For a classic Christmas story with an added musical twist, check out this downtown tradition, now in its 11th year. The Charles Dickens’ holiday tale follows the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge on an enlightening emotional journey, as he is visited by four forewarning ghosts. Spoiler alert: he has a change of heart, with the joy of community triumphing over selfishness. Attend the Sunday matinee at 11 a.m. and come an hour early for a pre-show family workshop when you can meet the cast and creative team, and do a craft to keep or give as a gift.
115 MacDougal St.
28th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic
The 28th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic presented by the National Double Dutch League, returns to the Apollo stage—bringing together national and international communities of jumpers. Act fast! This sells out and tickets are getting snapped up!
Sun., Dec. 8
253 West 125th St.
The Apollo Theater
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Calling all members of Camp Half-Blood and mythology fans everywhere! The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, based on the bestselling novel by Rick Riordan is leaving town soon. The show tells the story of Percy, a son of Poseidon, who has newly- discovered powers he can’t control. With monsters on his trail he's on a quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt to prevent a war between the Greek gods. Expect a high-energy original rock score, with an onstage company of seven playing more than 47 characters. The Lightning Thief is an action-packed theatrical adventure about accepting that "normal" is a myth and embracing the superpowers inside all of us. Run time is two hours with one intermission, with an age recommendation of eight and up. P.S.: the show has matinees on Wednesdays, Thursday and Saturdays, and an early 7 p.m. showtime on Fridays.
Through Jan. 5
Tickets: $39 - $199
220 W. 48th St.
42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels
Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Cirque Mechanics brings high-flying fun to the New Victory for the holiday season. See a man so strong he juggles trees, an acrobat so light she floats on air, as well as a brilliant blur of sequined stilts, feathered frocks and flashing circus stripes. The troupe makes its New Victory debut with this show, which runs an hour and 45 minutes with one intermission. Recommended for kids ages five and up.
Tickets: $22 and up
Dec. 6 - Jan. 5
New Victory Theater
209 West 42nd St.
'Twas the night Before from Cirque du Soleil
It's hard to believe, but this is Cirque du Soleil's first-ever Christmas show! It tells the story of Isabella, a curious girl who’s become jaded by the hoopla surrounding Christmas. She's whisked away to an upside-down, inside-out world, where she meets characters inspired by the original timeless poem. Expect messages of sharing and friendship with that special Cirque flair.
Tickets: $40 and up
Dec. 12 - Dec 29, various times
Hulu Theater at MSG
4 Penn Plaza
Theater created especially for young audiences (kids ages three to eight), OGO is from Canadian company Theatre des Petites Ames. Small scale and intimate, the show is a bit like "Waiting for Godot" for the toddler set. Yes, three players wait, for the titular character, OGO. Seating is general admission.
Dec. 14 & 15; 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Clark Studio Theater
165 W. 65th St.
The Christmas Show, St George Theatre
This two-hour production is a high energy, rhinestone-studded medley for the whole family, now in its 16th 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, and affordable, too!
Dec. 13-15, various times
St George Theatre
35 Hyatt St.
For an Immersive Adventure: Pip's Island
Pip's Island, the interactive and immersive show that premiered back in 2016, has returned to New York City! The fantastical production is designed for kids ages 4 -10. Audience members move through imaginative environments, help characters along the way, and play a part in helping save the day. (Lots of positive messaging is throughout the show as well.) Pip's Island is in a new home on 42nd Street, and while it maintains much of the original story, sets, and characters, it’s been updated and improved. Take the kids on a special date, or book the best birthday ever for up to 50 kids! Tickets are $49 online, and $59 at the box office. Read our full review from its first NYC run here!
Tickets: $49 in advance; $59 at box office
400 W. 42nd St.
The Magic Flute, Met Opera
Now a holiday tradition, this family-friendly adaptation of Mozart’s operatic fairy tale features eye-popping puppetry and stunning visuals—and clocks in at under two hours. The Julie Taymor production tells the story of Prince Tamino, who must go through a series of tests, accompanied by his goofy sidekick, in order to marry the princess Pamina. Along the way, he must battle the evil and mysterious Queen of the Night. For the December 28 matinee performance, doors will 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.
Tickets: from $30
Dec. 15- Jan. 4
30 Lincoln Center Plaza
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night
Hosted by Imhotep Gary Byrd, this celebration of African heritage has been a holiday hit for more than a decade. It's packed with energetic dance and music as well as stunning visuals and costumes. The performance showcases the high impact work of Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and guests, and runs for two shows only. This is a beautiful and much-loved celebration of family, community, and culture for the holiday season.
Tickets: $25 & $40
Sat., Dec. 28, 2 & 7:30 p.m.
253 West 125th St.
The Apollo Theater
— Mimi O’Connor