While the sun shines brightly and the warm summer breeze dances around us, it may seem odd at first to start thinking about the holiday season. After all, the days are longer, and thoughts of snowflakes and jingle bells seem far away. However, believe it or not, this is the perfect time to embark on the annual quest to find the perfect holiday play or musical for your theatre. So, gather your fellow creative minds, grab your Santa hats, turn up the Christmas tunes, and don’t forget to bring a beach towel as you sit by the pool, for today we invite you to dive into the magical world of theatrical merriment. Join us as we explore some of our favorite holiday shows that will have your audience singing carols and dancing with glee during this holiday season.
HOLIDAY PLAYS & ONE-ACTS
The Gift List by Kyle Nesbit
The Story: Santa isn’t the only one who has to check his Christmas list twice. After siblings Keith and Caroline ask for an unwieldy seventy-nine presents from Saint Nick, two elves arrive to tell the kids they can’t have everything they want. Luckily, Keith, Caroline, and their parents are prepared to negotiate. Funny and charming, The Gift List is a one-act play about dreaming big and making holiday wishes come true.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
The Story: A sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set two years after the novel ends, Miss Bennet continues the story, only this time with bookish middle-sister Mary as its unlikely heroine. Mary is growing tired of her role as a dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love.
The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
The Story: In this delightful companion play to Miss Bennet, Gunderson, and Melcon once again bring Austen’s beloved characters to the stage for a yuletide sequel to Pride and Prejudice. While Miss Bennet depicted the newlywed Darcy’s Christmas gathering on the ground floor of Pemberley, The Wickhams take audiences to the downstairs servants’ quarters for that same celebration. Mrs. Reynolds, a no-nonsense housekeeper; Cassie, an eager new maid; and Brian, a lovesick footman, are busy preparing for holiday guests. But their work is interrupted by the midnight arrival of the definitely not invited Mr. Wickham—Lydia’s rogue of a husband and Mr. Darcy’s sworn enemy. The Wickhams is a charming holiday tale that explores the confines of class and the generosity of forgiveness.
Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
The Story: The third and final play in the Pemberley trilogy. Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished pianist but wary of romance. Kitty Bennet is a bright-eyed optimist and a perfect best friend. These two younger sisters are ready for their own adventures in life and love, starting with the arrival of an admirer and secret correspondent. Meddlesome families and outmoded expectations won’t stop these determined friends from forging their own way in a holiday tale filled with music, ambition, sisterhood, and forgiveness.
A Sherlock Carol by Mark Shanahan
The Story: Moriarty is dead, to begin with. And Sherlock Holmes is a haunted man. But, when a grown-up Tiny Tim asks Holmes to investigate the death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his gifts to solve a Dickens of a Christmas mystery! Six actors take on the beloved characters of Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens in this heartwarming and highly theatrical holiday treat for all ages!
The Miracle of Chanukah by Sheri Wilner
The Story: Ryan’s mother Marilyn has invented a Chanukah ritual to ensure her family acknowledges the holiday’s true meaning; after the first candle is lit, each person must talk about a miracle that happened to them during the year. When Ryan’s new girlfriend Leila describes a miracle that’s too fantastic for the others to believe, she forces them to accept the limits of their faith.
A Seussified Christmas Carol by Peter Bloedel
The Story: A whimsical reinvention of Dickens’ most beloved Christmas story in wacky rhymed couplets. With zoot fruited juices and binka bird geese, from Bed-Headed Fred to Timmy Loo Hoo, this tale of glorious holiday cheer is similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with — if he ever had his way with the story. A one-act version of this play is also available.
A Krampus Carol by Brent Holland
The Story: On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus’s oft-forgotten demon partner, Krampus, is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, who hopes to get him to see the error of his ways. But the joke’s on Marley: Krampus loves his life! So, what if his method for punishing kids who misbehave lost him the respect of his family, friends, and the elves who work for him? He doesn’t have a problem with that, and spying on the past, present, and future isn’t going to change his mind! Hilarious and irreverent, A Krampus Carol pits Dickens’s classic redemption tale against a stubborn holiday fiend who doesn’t think he needs to be saved.
Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge by Christopher Durang
The Story: In this departure from Dickens, the Ghost of Christmas Past is played by a sassy African American woman with enough attitude to portray all three spirits (which she does). She tries to show Scrooge his past, present, and future in order to change him, but her magic keeps malfunctioning in Durang’s version of the beloved holiday classic, and they consistently find themselves transported to the wrong time and place. She tries to take Scrooge back to see his old employers, the Fezziwigs— “always an audience favorite” —but instead she and Scrooge keep appearing in the present at the Cratchit’s pathetic home. Mrs. Bob Cratchit, a minor character in Dickens, takes center stage here. No longer loving and long suffering, Mrs. Bob is in a rage: She’s sick of Tiny Tim, she hates her twenty other children (most of them confined to the root cellar), including oversized Little Nell, and she wants to get drunk and jump off London Bridge. As the Ghost loses more control, the plot morphs into parodies of Oliver Twist, The Gift of the Magi, and It’s a Wonderful Life. And to make matters worse, Scrooge and Mrs. Bob seem to be kindred souls falling in love. With a dénouement that is two parts Touched by an Angel and one part The Queen of Mean, Scrooge’s tale of redemption and gentle grace is placed squarely on its head.
The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon by Don Zolidis
The Story: Christmas: a time for magic. A time for the traditions we cherish. A time to watch as many original TV movies as a human being can possibly endure. But now with The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon, you can enjoy the sugar rush of six Christmas movies all at once! Welcome to Hopewood Falls, Vermont, where singles in adorable sweaters converge to look for love. Can disguises help royalty and/or movie stars find the down-to-earth connections they crave? Will evil city slickers destroy charming inns and/or Christmas tree farms? Isn’t it a little creepy for a meet-cute to depend on one person being in a coma? Grab a hot chocolate and your favorite wise single friend to find out in this wildly entertaining parody of holiday rom-coms.
Glitz! The Little Miss Christmas Pageant Musical by Bert Bernardi and Justin Rugg
The Story: In the true spirit of Christmas, get a behind-the-scenes look at the backstabbing mothers and fiercely competitive daughters in the ‘Little Miss Christmas Pageant,’ an annual competition where ten girls (and their outrageous stage moms) compete for the coveted Christmas crown. Sequins, shiny shoes, and a can of hairspray aren’t all it takes to win this battle. These diva daughters and pushy moms are armed with sheer grit and a thirst for victory. However, when the value of truth, honesty, and love is learned, the Christmas spirit becomes the true winner in this heartwarming new holiday classic.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner
The Story: The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world–so when they crash Sunday school and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, the whole town panics. There’s not supposed to be biting or cigar-smoking in Bethlehem, and while these kids have never even heard the Christmas story, they definitely have rewrites! Soon, everyone is calling for reluctant director Grace Bradley to cancel the whole thing. It’s up to the Bradleys and the Reverend to help their community see the Christmas story and the Herdman kids through new eyes in this buoyant musical adaptation of the funny and touching holiday classic.
Winter Wonderettes by Roger Bean
The Story: The Wonderettes are back! This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls use their talent and creative ingenuity to save the holiday party! Featuring great ’60s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Winter Wonderland,” the result is, of course, marvelous! This energetic and glittering holiday package is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages.
FIVE GOLDEN RINGS: A Greeting Card Channel Holiday Musical by Stephen Garvey and David Abbinanti
The Story: Holly, a business exec from “the big city” gets snowed in at a quaint Vermont B&B for Christmas and begins to fall for its non-threateningly rugged owner. The issue: it’s the very B&B her company is supposed to take over! Everything you want (and expect) in a cable-TV Christmas movie, from flannel shirts to flirtatious snowball fights to overt product placement, mixed with fun songs and a lot of holiday cheer!
The Great Christmas Cookie Bake-Off! by Rick Hip-Flores
The Story: The Great Christmas Cookie Bake-Off combines the time-honored tradition of Christmas cookies with the ever-popular phenomenon of reality baking competitions. In this musical, eight young cookie chefs have been selected from all over the country to battle it out for first prize at the Cookie Coliseum. Just as no two cookies are the same, each contestant reveals their unique personality through song. Suspense mounts as the chefs are eliminated one by one, by three distinguished celebrity judges. Over the course of the competition, feelings of intense rivalry give way to virtues of charity, family, and forgiveness, as the chefs learn what really makes for a winning Christmas recipe.
It’s a Wonderful Life – The Musical by Keith Ferguson and Bruce Greer
The Story: Based on the beloved 1946 film, this musical faithfully follows George Bailey’s life from his childhood dreams to his midlife disappointments and beyond, as we all take a journey to discover whether his life has mattered at all. Cinematically scored and theatrically staged, this adaptation breathes musical life into a familiar story, while retaining the warmth, humor, and pathos of the original. A new holiday classic for devotees and newcomers alike. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is based on the story, ‘The Greatest Gift’ by Philip Van Doren Stern.
MERI/CHRIS: A Modern Magi Musical by David Abbinanti and Jill Abbinanti-Burke
The Story: Loving spouses Meredith and Christopher each give up huge career opportunities in order to support the other’s goals, unbeknownst to each other. Once the consequences of these seemingly selfless acts (the threat of eviction, dead-end jobs) appear, it leads to anger and blame… until Meri and Chris remember to once again put love at the center of their marriage, leading them to happiness beyond their wildest dreams.
A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration by Paula Vogel and Daryl Waters
The Story: It’s 1864, and Washington, D.C. is settling down to the coldest Christmas Eve in years. In the White House, President and Mrs. Lincoln plot their gift-giving. On the banks of the Potomac, a young rebel challenges a Union blacksmith’s mercy. In the alleys downtown, an escaped slave loses her daughter just before finding freedom. This musical by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel intertwines many lives, showing us that the gladness of one’s heart is the best gift of all.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Peter Rothstein, Erick Lichte, and Timothy C. Takach
The Story: The Western Front: Christmas 1914. Out of the violence of World War I, a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace. An a cappella chorale, All Is Calm is a remarkable true story in the words and songs of the men who lived it.
Assisted Living The Musical: The Home…For the Holidays by Rick Compton and Betsy Bennett
The Story: The hilarious comedy team of Compton and Bennett are off their walkers once again in this all-new, hysterical holiday sequel to the runaway hit about the nursing home and beyond. Christmas and retirement will never be the same.