Deck the Green: A musical Christmas

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl


Anyone who knows me knows it’s no surprise when I say that I love musicals. If my large abundance of musical theater t-shirts doesn’t show it, then you know because I never stop talking about the soundtracks buzzing in my head or of my favorite Broadway peeps who I may or may not be obsessed with.

This season is my favorite of all and it’s not just because it’s the holiday time but also because it’s the holidays and the holiday musicals are in season. Sure, we all know the classic Christmas songs, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Frosty the Snowman,” but what about “Christmas Bells” from Rent or “We Need a Little Christmas” from Mame? “We Need a Little Christmas” has actually made its way onto the long list of Christmas classics but even “Christmas Bells” puts me in the holiday mood. Who doesn’t love a many-part harmony between one of the best original Broadway casts ever? Plus they make Rudolph the reindeer antlers with their middle fingers. It’s just great.

Even better than the one song within a musical, there are a few musicals and even more musical movies that are great to listen to and watch this holiday season. So in no particular order, here are the Christmas musicals you should look for on Broadway and in stores in DVD form.

1. Elf the Musical
Elf is quite possibly the best modern holiday film. Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is hilarious, heart warming and spectacular. We were introduced to the best diet of all time and now know what Santa is not supposed to smell like — beef and cheese! So combine my love of this film with musicals and you have a surefire hit. The musical adaptation ran on Broadway in the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Christmas seasons. Can there really be anything better than a musical adaptation of a comedy hit?

2. A Christmas Story: The Musical
Another musical adaptation of a Christmas classic. You won’t be able to stop tapping your toe to “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” and laughing as Ralphie speeds his way through “Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun.” This adaptation stems from the minds of composing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a duo who I claim to be the best composing minds of the 21st century.

3. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
You can’t talk about Christmas and Broadway and not talk about the Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular. It is celebrating its 80th birthday this year since the spectacular Spectacular began way back in 1933. Featuring dozens of incredibly talented dancers and extremely lavish sets, the Christmas Spectacular is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Watching the Rockettes for only a few minutes, you’re instantly captivated by their stunning precision and talent, so I can only assume that a 90-minute revue has to be unbelievable. If you’re in New York this holiday season, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be at Radio City Music Hall. I’d be there every year if I could.

4. Meet Me In St. Louis
Technically, this isn’t a holiday film, however it does consist of one of the best Christmas songs this world will ever know. And I’m not just saying that because Judy Garland sang it. OK, maybe I am. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is hands down one of my favorite Christmas ballads and knowing that Garland originated it makes me love it a million times more. Plus, this film is just fantastic in and of itself so meet me at the fair and pick up a copy today!

nx_011JackLights5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
What can be better than a film that is perfect for two holidays? Nothing. Especially when it’s the all time classic that is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The songs are magical, the animation is awe striking and the storyline is the epitome of creative genius. “This is Halloween” is perfect to get you in the mood for the frightful holiday. “What’s This?” is a perfect song to make you feel as if you’re experiencing Christmas for the very first time each time you listen to it. You should already be in love with this film so you all know what I’m talking about.

6. White Christmas
Though Holiday Inn had Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” first, you can’t beat the classic White Christmas. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, can you even dream up a better singing and dancing team? “White Christmas” will forever go down as one of the best Christmas songs in the world — and this is popular opinion, not just because I love Crosby — plus we have great comedy from Kaye all around and the “Sisters” act which is pure gold. It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a marathon of White Christmas.


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