Looking to buy a Christmas or very late Hannukah gift for a theater-savvy friend? Below are some recent cast albums, books and other items that ought to do the trick.
Plenty of newly released cast albums are available, including the Broadway version of "Matilda" (as opposed to the previous London cast recording), the trendy pop opera "The Great Comet of 1812" and the "Pippin" revival. Short-lived productions from last season that were thankfully recorded include "Hands on a Hardbody" and "Dogfight." For the real traditionalist, the long-delayed complete recording of Kurt Weill's "One Touch of Venus" can finally be purchased digitally.
Jennifer Ashley Tepper's "The Untold Stories of Broadway (Vol. 1)," made up of hundreds of interviews with actors, directors, writers, producers and other theater personnel about their memories and experiences in specific Broadway theaters such as the Winter Garden and the Lyceum, is an embarrassment of riches for any theater lover and highly recommended. Other hot new books include Alisa Solomon's "Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof," Ethan Mordden's "Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre" and Sam Wasson's "Fosse."
"The Sound of Music" stuff
NBC's live television broadcast of "The Sound of Music" was released on DVD earlier this week. For those who would like to enjoy it without having to deal with Carrie Underwood's lack of acting ability, check out the cast album, which was recorded separately from the television broadcast. Other "Sound of Music" possibilities include the original Julie Andrews film or the Broadway cast album with Mary Martin.
While you can also purchase tickets for any show that is now running, including holiday-themed ones like "A Christmas Story" or the perennial "Radio City Christmas Spectacular," upcoming spring productions that are likely to be popular include "A Raisin in the Sun" with Denzel Washington and "Aladdin." You could also give someone a membership to Off-Broadway's Public Theater, which is tax-deductible and allows savings on full-price tickets.