As you may have heard, the best-known family-oriented holiday show in New York City, “The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” prematurely ended its annual run at Radio City Music Hall last week due to breakthrough COVID cases. Numerous Broadway shows have also been cancelling performances due to the current situation.
That being said, if you are a parent or grandparent looking to take children to the theater over the holidays, there are still quite a few other shows to consider – though you will absolutely need to keep yourself updated regarding any future performance cancellations due to COVID and carefully review each show’s health and safety requirements.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker: While “The Christmas Spectacular” may temporarily be out of commission, NYC Ballet is still presenting its iconic and lavish version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, full of children, toy soldiers, snowflakes, a giant Christmas tree, and a sugar plum fairy. Last year marked the first year that the company had not performed the ballet since 1954. David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, through Jan 2, nycballet.com.
The Big Apple Circus: The beloved big top circus returned this year under the ownership of high wire artist Nik Wallenda. As directed by Philip WM. McKinley (“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” “The
Boy from Oz”), its revamped format includes new acts featuring “Big Little Ringmaster” Alan Silva, comic daredevil Johnny Rockett, and Ethiopia’s Yab Brothers. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, through Jan. 30, bigapplecircus.com.
Winnie the Pooh: The well-known Disney version of A.A. Milne’s stories about Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Rabbit, and the rest of the gang is being presented Off-Broadway with life-size puppets in a production by Jonathan Rockefeller (who previously created and directed stage versions of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Paddington”). Theater Row, 410 W. 42nd St., through Jan. 30, winniethepoohshow.com.
Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas: Based on a 1977 TV musical directed by Jim Henson and with songs by Paul Williams, Ma and Emmet Otter of Frogtown Hollow try to win a Christmas Eve talent competition. The stage adaptation has direction by Christopher Gattelli (“Newsies”) and puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St., through Jan. 2, newvictory.org.
Cinderella and The Magic Flute: The Metropolitan Opera is currently offering abridged, English-language versions of two fairy tale operas: Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (with Julie Taymor’s puppet-infused dreamscape staging) and Massenet’s “Cinderella.” Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, through Jan. 5, metopera.org.
A Jolly Holiday: For those in New Jersey, the Paper Mill Playhouse (which has staged many Disney musicals in recent years, including the world premiere of “Newsies”) now presents a feel-good, low-key musical revue of hit songs from Disney films-turned-stage shows such as “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Mary Poppins,” “Aladdin,” “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Hercules” (which the theater will produce next season). Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ, through Jan. 2, papermill.org.
A Sherlock Carol: In Mark Shanahan’s new play, Sherlock Holmes is tasked by an adult Tiny Tim with investigating the mysterious death of Ebenezer Scrooge – an assignment that involves new visits by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., asherlockcarol.com.