Tickets. You can’t go wrong if you give a theater lover the chance to see more shows and this year Telecharge has introduced a new gift card that can be used to buy tickets online, by phone or in person at the box office. The cards are available in any amount from $25 to $500 at telecharge.com.
The American Theatre Wing Presents the Play That Changed My Life: Americas Foremost Playwrights on the Plays That Influenced Them. Every theater lover has a story about the play that first made him or her fall for theater. In this collection, 19 of America’s best playwrights share the stories about the shows that made that difference for them. $12.91 at amazon.com. And for an extra goodie, you might add a ticket to the playwrights reading on Sunday, Jan. 10 at the Times Center in the New York Times building where Beth Henley, Donald Margulies and John Patrick Shanley will read their stories. $30 at artsandleisureweekend.com
A Theatergoer’s Journal. Even in this world of blogs and tweets, there’s room for an old-fashioned journal where you can record your thoughts about the plays you’ve seen. This one even helps you out with a ratings chart where you can grade your favorite actors, composers and designers. $16.95 at shakespearesden.com
The Playbill Broadway Yearbook. Imagine Broadway as the high school you wish you’d gone to and this as its annual keepsake filled with 6,000 photos and an insider’s view of all 78 shows that opened or ran on Broadway between June 2008 and May 2009, plus all the season’s major theatrical events from the Tony Awards ceremony to the Broadway softball championship. $22.95 at playbillstore.com
A Personalized Marquee Print. Your name (or that of your favorite theater lover) can appear in lights on this custom-made print of a theater marquee. Prices range from $24.95 for an 8x10 copy mounted on poster board to $159.90 for a framed print on canvas from that’smyticket.com. It takes 2-3 weeks to produce each print so you need to order now if you want to get one before the end of the year.
The Sound of Music Pop-Up Book. The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic debuted at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre 50 years ago and now this new book commemorates the occasion with an illustrated picture book based on scenes from the musical. Each page includes mini-pops with lyrics from such songs as “Do-Re-Mi” and “Climb Every Mountain.” $17.81 at amazon.com
Walkin’ Broadway. This anecdote-filled audio tour through the Broadway theater district features an all-star group of guest guides who include the too-many-great-shows-to-name-here director and producer Hal Prince and Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz. $7.95 at CityListen.com
Free for All: Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told by Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp. I haven’t yet read this oral history of the theater impresario Joe Papp and his founding of the Public Theater, where such landmark shows as Hair and A Chorus Line were incubated. But I feel confident about recommending the book because I haven’t been able to pry it out of my husband K’s hands since he got a copy for his birthday last month. $26.37 at amazon.com
Olivier's Shakespeare, the Criterion Collection. Most theater lovers have heard how great a classic actor Laurence Olivier was but this boxed set gives you the chance to see that for yourself. Just his Richard III alone, as deliciously over-the-top as a double-fudge layer cake with chocolate ice cream à la mode, is worth the price of the set. $71.99 at amazon.com
Finally, I hope you’ll forgive me if I toot my own horn, but there are also some really fun (and affordable) gifts, such as the tan tote above, at the Broadway & Me store at http://www.cafepress.com/broadwayandme