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September 7, 2022

Your Guide to Holiday Shows!


’Tis the season for winter season planning! Whether you’re looking for large-cast musicals or intimate plays, the Concord Theatricals catalog is sure to have a show that’ll fill your audience with holiday cheer. In this handy guide, we’ve assembled a list of titles — from nostalgic classics to contemporary tales — that leave us longing for pumpkin spice, presents and cozy meals with the family. You tell us about your cast and audience, and we’ll give you handpicked suggestions.

“I have a small cast of powerhouse performers.”

John Leech’s Illustrations for Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Small Cast: Nostalgic Tales

A Christmas Carol by Alan Harris (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 10 m or f)
It’s Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Scrooge is miserable – will he ever get into the Christmas spirit? Set in North Wales, this version of Dickens’ festive classic tale explores a living, breathing Victorian community. This adaptation by Alan Harris is a funny, immersive family show filled with music and mystery that whisks away the audience to a dream world where anything can happen and ghosts are just around the corner…

A Christmas Carol by Michael Paller (US)
(Full-Length Play / 2f, 5m, 3 boys or girls)
This fresh approach to the classic tale faithfully conveys the magic of Dickens. On Christmas Eve in 1843, friends and family gathered at Dickens’ home ask him to tell a story, but he refuses to work on Christmas Eve. If there is going to be a story, each must take a part in its telling. And so the story unfolds with the cast of 10 playing over 40 parts.

A Christmas Carol by Patrick Barlow (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m)
Patrick Barlow, writer of the Broadway and West End hit The 39 Steps (US/UK), has retold Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. This thrilling adaptation uses only five actors to bring some of Dickens’ most beloved characters to life. From Scrooge and Tiny Tim to Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Fezziwig, Barlow’s A Christmas Carol uses nothing more than some simple props, fresh physicality, and the power of imagination to convey this timeless story of redemption.

An O. Henry Christmas (Musical) by Peter Ekstrom (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 2m)
This holiday favorite, set in turn-of-the-century New York City, features two heart-warming one-act musicals based on the classic O. Henry stories, each capturing the true spirit of giving: The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf.

Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 1f, 5m)
A hilarious, heartwarming holiday entertainment! On Christmas Eve 1944, frazzled employees of the BBC scramble to present a Country Christmas show when America’s favorite singing cowboy, Tex Riley, fails to show.

Gift of the Magi by Brainerd Duffield (US)
(Short Play, Drama / 3f, 1m)
This short play is a beautiful, sympathetic and warmly human account of O. Henry’s well-known story.

The Gift of the Magi by Richard Adler and Wilson Lehr (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 2m +Ensemble)
Richard Adler, co-composer/lyricist of Broadway hits like Damn Yankees and The Pajama Game, created this musical version of O. Henry’s short story for a 1958 telecast. Set in 1905, the stage musical is a full-length, two-act adaptation of the tale, featuring two newlyweds and a flexible ensemble of supporting roles. Both festive and poignant, The Gift of the Magi includes the holiday gem “Christmas In Your Heart.”

2018 Playwrights Horizons Production of Noura (Joan Marcus)

Small Cast: Contemporary Stories

A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2m)
In this hilarious sequel to Greater Tuna, it’s Christmas in the third-smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK news personalities Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie report on various Yuletide activities, including the hot competition in the annual lawn-display contest. In other news, voracious Joe Bob Lipsey’s production of A Christmas Carol is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills. A Tuna Christmas is a total delight for all seasons, whether performed by two quick-changing comedians, as it was on Broadway, or by a cast of 20 or more.

A Twisted Christmas Carol by Phil Olson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 3m)
It’s Christmas Eve in a small west Texas town, and cantankerous barbecue joint owner Buford Johnson gets hit by a twister, setting off a Dickensian adventure with a Texas twist.

Balls by George Cameron Grant (US)
(Short Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 1m)
This short dramatic comedy – a hilarious conversation among five very eccentric, multi-colored Christmas ornaments – explores what happens when the ornaments, tucked snugly in a box, discover just how fragile their existence really is.

Farndale Avenue … Christmas Carol by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin, Jr. (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 4f, 1m)
In a festive mood, the ladies of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society mount another assault on the classics with their stage version of A Christmas Carol. They enthusiastically portray a dizzy array of characters from the Dickensian favorite (and a few which aren’t), engineer some novel audience participation while bravely contending with an intrusive PA system and — a real Farndale first — rap their vocal cords and feet around two original, show stopping songs.

Ken Ludwig’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 3m)
“’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” But wait! A mouse is stirring – because Santa missed his house last year. Before you can say “Merry Christmas,” we’re off on the wild adventures of a mouse, an elf and a spunky little girl who just won’t take no for an answer. Don’t miss this joyful tribute to the holiday season, from the two-time Olivier Award-winning author of Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo and the stage version of Murder on the Orient Express.

Noura by Heather Raffo (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 2m, 1 boy)
As Noura and her husband Tariq prepare to celebrate a traditional Christmas, she looks forward to welcoming a special guest—Maryam, a young Iraqi refugee. But the girl’s arrival opens wounds the family has tried to leave behind, forcing them to confront where they are, where they’ve been and who they have become.

Promises, Promises by Neil Simon, Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, Burt Bacharach and Hal David (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m)
A musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, this romantic dramedy features a groove-tastic score from Burt Bacharach and Hal David. (“I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” recorded by Dionne Warwick, reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.) The show is set in the corporate world during the holiday season—in fact, all of Act Two takes place on Christmas Eve. The effervescent score includes “Turkey Lurkey Time,” one of the wackiest holiday songs ever written.

Season’s Greetings by Alan Ayckborn (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 4f, 5m)
In Alan Ayckborn’s wry, cynical comedy, petty and not-so-petty squabbles break out at Neville and Belinda’s intimate Christmas gathering. When a young writer named Clive arrives, trigger-happy Harvey mistakes him for a burglar, with comical results. Other hilarious highlights include a chaotically incompetent puppet show and a midnight love scene that sets off a fearful din from some mechanical Christmas toys.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 3f, 5m)
Looking for something different for the holidays this year? This is the script for you: in The Eight, eight reindeer dish about the real Santa. All those rumors you’ve heard about him and the elves? About Rudolph’s little secret? About Vixen’s story that was leaked to the press? All true. Yes, the reindeer finally speak up and – believe us – they do not hold back! This comic collection of monologues is a huge hit with schools and young performers.

“I have a large ensemble, and want everyone to share the spotlight.”

2008 Bas Bleu Theatre Company Production of A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol (William A. Cotton)

Large Cast: Nostalgic Tales

A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol by Walton Jones, David Wohl and Faye Greenberg (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 6m)
It’s Christmas Eve, 1943, and the Feddington Players are now broadcasting from a hole-in-the-wall studio in Newark, NJ, and set to present their contemporary take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Whether it’s the noisy plumbing, missed cues, electrical blackouts, or the over-the-top theatrics of veteran actor – but radio novice – William St. Claire, this musical is an entertaining excursion into the mayhem and madness of a live radio show.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Jeremy Brooks, Adrian Mitchell and Dylan Thomas (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 7f, 13m)
This enchanting play with music, adapted from the short story by Dylan Thomas, uses a variety of carols and well-known Welsh songs to conjure up the pure magic of Christmas for audiences of all ages. On Christmas Eve, young Dylan and the Thomas family host their relatives for a holiday celebration. Apart from a potentially major hiccup when the turkey catches fire, the traditional Yuletide festivities are enjoyed by all.

A Christmas Carol by Sheldon Harnick and Michel Legrand (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 9m, 3 girls, 3 boys)
Academy Award-winning composer Michel Legrand teamed up with Sheldon Harnick, one of the theatre’s most celebrated Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettists, and the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s prophetic Christmas Eve is reborn. From the pages of Dickens comes this scintillating musical adaptation of the Yuletide classic that continues to touch hearts and minds the world over.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Ludlam (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 14f, 17m)
A ridiculous but surprisingly faithful rendition of the Dickens classic. Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by the ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. Faced with his own mortality and the evil results of his misanthropic, miserly ways, Scrooge is redeemed, reconciled with his nephew and his neighbors, and becomes a second father to his assistant’s son, Tiny Tim.

A Christmas Carol by Lynn Stevens (US)
(Full-Length Play / 9f, 9m)
By suggesting famous Christmas carols, this talented author incorporates appropriate music for the re-telling of this classic story. This is an inspiring musical that captures the essence of the great tale, and of the meaning of Christmas.

Christmas Crackers by John Godber (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m, 10 any gender)
In this dramatic comedy, it’s Christmas time and early morning outside a hospital A&E department. Security guard Keith sees a cross-section of patients come and go, including a clown and a drug addict, but his thoughts are with recently widowed nurse Kath. Kath finds two plane tickets to Prague in her handbag and decides to take a younger nurse, Hollie, with her on a festive getaway.

Irma La Douce by Alexander Breffort, Marguerite Monnot, Julian More, David Heneker and Monty Norman (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 1f, 8m +Ensemble)
This 1956 romantic comedy was originally written in French and then translated to English for its hit West End and Broadway runs. Nestor, a poor Parisian law student, falls for “Sweet Irma,” a successful call girl, and assumes the disguise of a wealthy older gentleman to win her over. After plenty of crazy antics, the story concludes during the holiday season.

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn by Irving Berlin, Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 1 boy +Ensemble)
In this stage adaptation of Irving Berlin’s perennial classic, a hoofer named Jim leaves the bright lights of show business to settle down in his farmhouse in Connecticut. Of course, Jim can’t resist the urge to put on a show, so he markets the inn as a holiday getaway, featuring musical spectaculars for each celebration through the year. The guests thrill to songs like “Easter Parade,” “Blue Skies,” and “Heat Wave,” but the beating heart of the show is Berlin’s yuletide masterpiece, “White Christmas.”

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas by Irving Berlin, Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, David Ives and Paul Blake (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5f, 6m, 1 girl +Ensemble)
Based on the beloved, timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features seventeen Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. The dazzling score bursts with well-known standards like “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the iconic title song.

Mame by Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Jerry Herman and Patrick Dennis (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 6m +Ensemble)
This blockbuster musicalization of Auntie Mame features one of the most famous Christmas songs of all time: When the stock market crash takes its toll on Auntie Mame and young Patrick, Mame declares “We Need A Little Christmas,” and the entire household joins in celebration. Jerry Herman’s holiday classic has been recorded by hundreds of artists, including original Mame Angela Lansbury, Johnny Mathis, Percy Faith and The Muppets.

Meet Me In St. Louis by Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, Hugh Wheeler and Sally Benson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 7f, 5m)
This charming classic about a middle-class family and the 1904 World’s Fair boasts several hits by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, including “The Trolley Song” and “The Boy Next Door.” But one song stands out above all the others. Considered by many to be the greatest of all Christmas songs, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM feature film.

Scrooge In Love! by Duane Poole, Larry Grossman and Kellen Blair (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 9m)
The perfect sequel! A year after the events of A Christmas Carol, the four ghosts (Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future) return with a new goal: to reunite the new and improved Ebenezer Scrooge with his long-lost first love, Belle. All of Dickens’ familiar characters return in this romantic and festive follow-up to the perennial classic.

Scrooge! by Leslie Bricusse (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 10m or f +Ensemble)
In 1970, renowned writer/composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) adapted A Christmas Carol into the hit screen musical Scrooge! Later adapted into a stage musical, this sure-fire audience pleaser is available in two versions: a full-length two-act and a 55-minute adaptation.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Glyn Robbins (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 5f, 8m)
This stage adaptation of the C.S. Lewis classic is a perennial holiday favorite. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy travel through the wardrobe to a magical adventure in the wintry land of Narnia. There they encounter several characters, including Father Christmas; the White Witch, representing the forces of evil; and Aslan the lion, representing all that is good and right. In the end, the forces of good to triumph over evil in the play’s bittersweet, inspirational conclusion.

The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder (US/UK)
(Short Play, Dramatic Comedy / 7f, 5m)
The Long Christmas Dinner – nine decades long – showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family. Wilder breaks the boundaries of time as we measure it, and invites us to partake of “one long, happy Christmas dinner” – past, present and future. As generations appear, have children, wither, and depart, only the audience appreciates what changes and what remains the same.

The Nutcracker by David Perkins and Jenifer Toksvig (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical / 12 girls, 12 boys)
It’s Christmas: the best time of year for toys and stories. But all over the world, the magic of Make Believe is fading. Only the toys know the truth: the Queen and King of mouses have stolen the Christmas Star and used its magic to turn the Prince of Make Believe into a wooden Nutcracker. Can Clara and her brother Fritz bring the Nutcracker back to life, help him defeat the House of Mouse, and restore him to the throne? First, they must believe…

A production photo of Nuncrackers, courtesy of author Dan Goggin

Large Cast: Contemporary Stories

A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas: The Musical by Kris Bauske (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 4f, 6m)
What if the three wise men weren’t really all that wise? What if they were just three ordinary guys, avoiding conflicts at home, who happened upon the greatest story ever told? Now add some country western music, set the entire story in modern-day America, sprinkle in a little redneck humor, and you have this smash musical comedy. In this 90-minute tuner, Bill, Dave and Jimmy leave their wives on Christmas Eve for a little hunting and a lot of beer. It’s gonna take a Christmas miracle to get these redneck families back together!

A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas by Ralph Covert and G. Riley Mills (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 5m)
The classic E.T.A. Hoffman tale has been brought into the Xbox age in this rockin’ holiday treat from Ralph Covert of “Ralph’s World” and Jeff Award winning playwright G. Riley Mills. A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas is a fun, fresh holiday spectacular for the entire family. This contemporary adaptation follows Fritz and the Nutcracker through Christmas Wood. When trouble arises with the dastardly Mouse King, Fritz and Nutcracker must save the day, and young Fritz will learn there’s more to life than just boys playing video games!

Hanukkah Holiday by Rosalind Friedman (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 1f, 1m, 10 any gender)
Hanukkah Holiday features nine original songs that tell the exciting, touching and timeless story of Hanukkah. While a teacher is relating the story to the children in her classroom, a student named Judah scoffs at the tale. Left alone to study and write a report, Little Judah is visited by a costumed Judah Macabee, who relates his deeds and sacrifices. In song and speech, this hero helps the past come alive.

Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 11f, 6m, 1 girl)
Mary Page Marlowe leads an unremarkable life. As an accountant in Ohio with two children, few would expect her life to be inordinately intricate or moving. However, it is choices, both mundane and gripping, and where those choices have taken Mary Page Marlowe that make her life so intimate and surprisingly complicated. This heart-wrenching tale of a woman’s life features poignant scenes set during the holidays, but is less overtly festive than many other shows on this list.

Mashed Potatoes and Davey by Megan Orr (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 2m, 5girls, 5boys)
This year, in a stroke of good will, Mr. Masterson invites Davey Bryant over for Thanksgiving dinner. The Masterson kids are appalled; Davey, the biggest bully the kids at Faith Baptist Church have ever seen, is coming to eat at their house! Together, the four Masterson kids (and guests) hatch an anti-Davey campaign to get rid of the pest for good.

My Big Gay Italian Christmas by Anthony Wilkinson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 8f, 2m)
My Big Gay Italian Christmas brings the holidays into the mix for the continuing adventures of the Pinnuziato family. This time, it’s Christmas and on the menu is a bisexual love triangle, heated political conversations run amuck, over-the-top characters, and a crushing snow storm… all of the perfect ingredients for a hilarious night out.

Nuncrackers by Dan Goggin (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5f, 1m, 2 girls, 2 boys)
The Little Sisters of Hoboken are back! They’ve gathered in the studios of WCON-TV Hoboken – formerly known as Mt. Saint Helen’s Convent Basement – to tape their brand-new Christmas TV special, which features songs like “Santa’s Little Teapot,” “Twelve Days Prior to Christmas,” and “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House.” Dan Goggin’s hilarious holiday tuner, featuring the show biz-loving sisters and a slightly tipsy Father Virgil, will keep everyone’s Christmas merry and bright.

Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical by Sue Townsend, Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 1 girl, 3 boys)
Based on the classic bestselling novel by Sue Townsend, this critically acclaimed West End musical brings Britain’s best-loved spotty teenager’s story to life for a new generation of theatregoers. With dysfunctional parents, ungrateful elders and a growing debt to school bully Barry Kent, Adrian Mole’s life simply couldn’t get any worse! Though the show isn’t all Christmas-focused, it does contain one hilarious Nativity scene.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 6f, 4m, 9 girls, 8 boys)
In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids – probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! This delightful comedy is adapted from the best-selling Young Adult book, and has become a holiday staple for groups across the United States. Features plenty of great roles for children and adults, a few favorite Christmas carols, and a lot of laughs!

The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood by Jule Styne, Bob Merrill and Robert Emmett (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 4 any gender +Ensemble)
This musical retelling of the Red Riding Hood story premiered as a 1965 TV holiday special starring Cyril Ritchard, Vic Damone and 19-year-old Liza Minnelli. It’s Christmas Eve and the Big Bad Wolf, who was not invited to the animals’ party, decides to tell his side of the story. The delightful Jule Styne/Bob Merrill score includes “Ding-a-Ling” and “We Wish the World a Happy Yule.”

The Great Santa Kidnap by Roy Chatfield (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 12m or f)
It is Christmas Eve and Fergus, Santa Claus’s Chief Forebrownie, is bustling about preparing Santa’s sleigh. However, three goblins — Sneergripe, Snottle and Bug — are plotting to kidnap Santa Claus and hold him to ransom! The goblins stage the kidnap and it is up to Tommy and Anna to find Santa and safeguard Christmas for the children of the world.

Times Square Angel by Charles Busch (US)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 7m)
Charles Busch’s hilarious and heartwarming spoof of early Hollywood’s brand of holiday fare continues to delight audiences year after year. In New York, 1948, Irish O’Flanagan is the tough-as-nails redheaded headliner of the Club Intimé. A lifetime of hard knocks has left her bitter and with a chip on her shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore. In the spirit of film fantasies like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Bishop’s Wife, an angel in the form of a sexy vaudeville magician named Albert comes down to show Irish the error of her ways.

For more great shows, visit the Concord Theatricals website in the US or UK.
(For more holiday shows, click “Advanced Search” in the upper left corner of the Concord Theatricals website, then select PRODUCTION DETAILS | Subgenre | Christmas/Holiday.)

Header Image: 2019 US National Tour production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Jeremy Daniel).