Merry Christmas from the Bad Boy of Musical Theatre!

I've never done a Christmas blog post before. As far as I know, aside from limited-run special events (A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, The Grinch), there's really been only one Broadway musical about Christmas -- Here's Love, the bland and mediocre but fairly commercial musical based on Miracle on 34th Street, with a so-so score by Meredith Willson of Music Man fame and starring Herman Munster... er... I mean... Fred Gwynne.

Of course there are a fair number of cool musical theatre songs about Christmas -- "Hard Candy Christmas" from Best Little Whorehouse, "We Need a Little Christmas" from Mame, "A New Deal for Christmas" from Annie, "Lovers on Christmas Eve" from I Love My Wife, "Christmas Bells" from Rent, the biting "I Don't Remember Christmas" from Starting Here, Starting Now, "A Greenwillow Christmas" from the wonderful but almost never produced Greenwillow, and a few others.

There's a great CD called A Broadway Christmas that has pretty much all the Christmas songs that have showed up in musicals over the years. Great album!

But my favorite Christmas song from a musical -- by far -- is the manic, super-60s dance number "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises, one of my favorite shows, but one that I haven't tackled yet. With a script by Neil Simon at his darkest (there's an attempted suicide), and a fierce pop score by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, this show is everything I could ever want from a musical. And lucky for us, the original cast (including Donna McKechnie and Baayork Lee!) performed "Turkey Lurkey Time" a few times on television, so it's been preserved for us, along with its brilliant, insane Michael Bennett choreography.

There aren't many Broadway musicals about Christmas, but there are several television musicals with some great Christmas songs in them. Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer both have some solid songs. And there's always "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas and "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," though those two shows aren't really musicals. But my favorite Christmas show of all is The Year Without a Santa Claus, with the neo-vaudevillians Snow Miser and Heat Miser. Why hasn't someone adapted this show -- or any of these shows -- for the stage? Anyway, here is my favorite song from my favorite Christmas special...

I leave you with one more video, some holiday greetings from the New Liners themselves, wishing you a very happy holiday season... Enjoy...

I think Christmas and musical theatre have a lot in common. Both are about storytelling and even more specifically, about the most primal, most fundamental human questions. Both involve a lot of make-believe and a lot of ritual. Both bring enormous joy to a lot of people.

And both are better shared.

Long Live the Musical! And Merry Christmas!