The many holiday shows being produced this month run the gamut from traditional, family-friendly fare to wild, experimental offerings. Below are our top five recommendations.
1. Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes
The latest annual edition of the lavish 90-minute holiday pageant (which debuted in 1933 and has become a New York icon) combines time-tested segments (including “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” “12 Days of Christmas” and “The Living Nativity”) with striking displays of modern technology (culminating in a finale with 100 “shooting star” mini-drones). As always, it is led by the high-kicking Rockettes and a large orchestra. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., rockettes.com/christmas. Through Jan. 1.
2. A Christmas Carol
For the sixth year in a row, actor John Kevin Jones will perform a dramatic reading of “A Christmas Carol” while taking on the persona of Charles Dickens (who himself read aloud the tale in New York City in 1867). The hourlong performance is held in a candlelit Greek Revival parlor, adding period-style ambience. Merchant’s House Museum, 29 E. Fourth St., merchantshouse.org. Through Dec. 29.
3. Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce
The outrageous and critical-minded performance artist Taylor Mac — who performed a 24-hour, decade-by-decade exploration of American popular song and culture (“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music”) in Downtown Brooklyn two years ago — will return to Town Hall for the second year with a variation on his grand opus that focuses exclusively on the traditions of Christmas. Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., thetownhall.org. Dec 11.
4. The 11th Annual Joe Iconis Christmas Extravaganza
Songwriter Joe Iconis (whose sci-fi teen musical “Be More Chill” will transfer to Broadway later this season) will return to Feinstein’s/54 Below with a large collection of his pals (including “Be More Chill” cast members Will Roland, George Salazar and Lauren Marcus) for a rambunctious annual holiday show that is intended to be “part rock concert, part theater piece and part theme park attraction come to life.” Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 W. 54th St., 54below.com. Dec. 14-16.
5. The Hard Nut
The Mark Morris Dance Company’s offbeat and sexually charged reinterpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” (which premiered in 1991 and has since received frequent revivals) resets the ballet to a swinging 1970s party, with a cartoonish atmosphere inspired by comic book artist Charles Burns. The famous score is performed by a 53-piece orchestra. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, bam.org. Dec. 14-23.