November 27, 2010

Holiday Gifts for Theater Lovers-The 2010 List

They say it’s not the gift but the thought that counts.  Still, the gifts that tend to be the most fun to get—and give—are the ones that are mindful of what will most please the recipient. If you’ve got theater lovers on your list, you already know you can’t lose if you give them tickets to a show.  And, as usual, the folks at Telecharge  and TKTS are offering special holiday gift cards.  But there are other treats that will also delight your favorite show queen (or king) and so here are a few of them on my annual list of 12 gift ideas ( you can find other still goodies on last year's list and the one for 2008). As usual, there's one idea for each day of Christmas, although I suspect that those who prefer to celebrate Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ashura or just the Winter Solstice would be happy to get them too:

“GLEE STUFF:  Know a Gleek? That's what fans of the hit TV series about a high school glee club call themselves. The show has become must-see TV for theater lovers because it showcases show tunes and star turns from stage folks like series’ regulars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele as well as guest appearances by such Broadway faves as Kristin Chenoweth, Jonathan Groff, Cheyenne Jackson and Idina Menzel.  So either a “Glee” wall calendar or the show’s Christmas album (12 songs from “We Need A Little Christmas” to “O Holy Night”) are sure to make welcome stocking stuffers. Both are just $9.99 at

SHOW MASKS JEWELRY: The ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy date back to the Greeks but over the millennia, designers have never seemed to tire of coming up with new ways to portray them. The folks at Showbits, an online gift shop for theater lovers, have collected over two dozen masks in the form of cuff links, earrings, lapel pins, key chains, and money clips. None is priced higher than $20 at

SHAKESPEARE COASTERS.  The Royal Shakespeare Company is offering a clever set of drink coasters, engraved with appropriate sayings from the Bard.  There is, as you might expect, "If music be the food of love play on" from Twelfth Night but also "The Tartness of his face sours ripe grapes" from Coriolanus. The set of six costs £5.45, or about $8.50 at the current exchange rate, although that doesn’t include the shipping.

BE A BROADWAY STAR BOARDGAME. Who wants to just acquire property and land on Boardwalk in "Monopoly," when they can acquire fans and maybe end up in the Broadway Hall of Fame with the new board game created by the industrious producer Ken Davenport? "Be A Broadway Star" is an interactive game that recreates each step of the actor’s journey from training in acting school to winning a Tony and, along the way, players have to actually perform songs and dialog. The winner is the one who ends up with the most fan cards.  It's $35 at

WII'S DANCE ON BRAODWAY:  Rock fans have "Guitar Hero" and now people who love musical theater have our own music video game too. You need a video console like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3 if you want to indulge your fantasy of being a Broadway showgirl or guy. But the game offers a fun workout as players dance along to choreographed routines for 20 Broadway numbers including "Let The Sunshine In" from Hair, "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray, and “Roxie” from Chicago. Plus it’s great to see Broadway tipping its toe back into mainstream pop culture. The games are available at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy and at, where it cost about $21 at

THE BROADWAY MUSICAL QUIZ BOOK  Serious theater lovers can’t help boasting about how much they know about old shows.  And so the ones on your list are bound to be delighted—and challenged—by this terrific collection of quizzes on every aspect of the Broadway musical from the name of the island that provided the setting for Sunday in the Park with George to the name of the only musical inspired by a work of Anton Chekhov. It’s like the Sunday Times crossword puzzle for theater geeks and for only $11.55 at

FINISHING THE HAT BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM.  There are shelf loads of theater books that would make great holiday presents. But it will be hard this year to beat this compilation of lyrics that Sondheim wrote between 1954 and 1981 (that’s West Side Story through Merrily We Roll Along, with stops along the way for Gypsy, Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd, among others).  Just the chance to read the lyrics is a treat but Broadway’s resident genius has sweetened the experience by annotating them with his memories about making the shows, anecdotes about his collaborators and some pointed remarks about his peers, all for just $23.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN'S AMERICAN SONGBOOK DVD. Feinstein has been a tireless advocate for the songs, many of them written for Broadway musicals from the ‘20s through the ‘60s, that form the Great American Songbook but never more so than in this three-part documentary that ran on PBS.  The two-DVD set includes not only Feinstein’s performance of tunes by Cole Porter, Frank Loesser and the Gershwins but rare archival footage of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat King Cole that he’s collected over the years. It's $39.95 from the PBS shop at

BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS SNOW GLOBE:  The folks at the theater community’s leading service organization come up with a new goodie each Christmas and this year’s is a collectible snow globe designed by the Tony-winning set designer David Gallo. It features an imaginative cityscape of the Theater District complete with logoed posters, taxi cabs and dancing chorus girls.  $80 at

BROADWAY LEGENDS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS:  These special-edition figurines of Carol Channing in her signature role from Hello, Dolly! and Chita Rivera as Anita in West Side Story, will look good both on and under the tree. Chita (Item# OR750) cost $50 and Carol (Item# OR751) $55 but the money goes to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

PLAYBILL WRAPPING PAPER  I realize that I’m running the risk of coming off as a shill for Broadway Cares by including this third item from its store.  But I can’t resist the idea of wrapping paper (Item# GW423) decorated with the Playbills of classic shows ranging from Annie Get Your Gun and the Music Man to Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia!  It’s $10 a roll (26 inches wide by 10 feet long) at

VINTAGE PLAYBILLS:  In an act of incredible generosity, my friend Joy gave me a birthday gift of the complete set of Playbills from my birth year. It’s a wonderful treat because you not only get to see who appeared in the show, which you can do on, but the ads, the prices that restaurants were charging for dinner and the feature articles, which are full of information and insight about the theater of the time.  You needn’t be as munificent as Joy, just one carefully chosen Playbill can delight the fan of that show.  Prices start for as little as 99 cents on eBay

 Finally, I hope you’ll forgive me for making this a baker’s dozen by tooting my own horn but I can't help reminding you that there are also some really fun (and affordable) gifts at the Broadway & Me store at http://www.broadwayandmestore

So, happy shopping.  Happy holidays. And, of course, happy theatergoing.

1 comment:

rashid1891 said...

Broadway interesting and beautiful