Broadway’s Best Shows has all the holiday recs you could wish for. There’s something out there for every type of theater kid this holiday season (of love)…
For the Super-Fan
When Broadway shows close, materials such as curtains, flooring, and vinyl posters would normally get thrown out, but small business Scenery Bags works with set designers and technicians to preserve these materials and transform them into fun accessories for fans. They feature bags made from the sets of shows like Ain’t Too Proud, Pasadena Playhouse’s Sunday in the Park With George, and Hello Dolly, among many others. They also sell all sorts of accessories, including this keychain made out of Phantom of the Opera banners, or this coffin-shaped ring made from the stage floor of Beetlejuice’s DC run.
For the Theatre Artist in Your Life
For your friend who works in the theater, and has been through tech rehearsals and production meetings, Scenery Bags sells “I’m Sorry for What I Said During Tech” and “Nothing For The Group” zip bags, great for storing pencils or makeup, or for travel. The materials are recycled from multiple off-Broadway scenery backdrops.
Your actor or arts worker friend probably spends a lot of time in Midtown, so they’ll also appreciate a gift card for Hell’s Kitchen bakery and coffee spot Amy’s Bread.
For Your Friend who Loves Theater Gossip
Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers, published posthumously by Rodgers with assistance and additional material from New York Times theater critic Jesse Green, is a hilarious and wide-ranging book by the beloved composer of Once Upon A Mattress, who also grew up surrounded by theater royalty, as the daughter of Richard Rodgers. It’s full of juicy stories and cameos from Golden Age legends like Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince, and even what Leonard Bernstein was complaining about at a cocktail party! Now out in paperback.
For the New Parent, Grandparent, or Aunt/Uncle
Start a child’s love of theater early with these picture books that introduce Broadway to kids:
Broadway Bird, by Tony-winning director Alex Timbers, tells the story of a parakeet who dreams of being a Broadway star.
A is for Audra and B is for Broadway, both by John Robert Allman, are beautifully illustrated alphabet books that introduce young readers to leading ladies (think “P” is for “Patti LuPone”) and the theater world at large (“C” is for “choreography.”)
For your Monty Python-Loving Dad
For Your “Old Friend” Who Knows Their Theater History
Merrily We Roll Along offers this sweatshirt, which harkens back to the iconic costume design of the original, short-lived 1984 production.
For Your Friend Who Loves New Plays
Let them buy all the plays, theater biographies, and memoirs they want with a gift card to The Drama Book Shop. They can shop the latest scripts from Samuel French, like recent Pulitzer Prize winners Fat Ham and English. Gift cards can be purchased in-store or by calling (212) 944-0595, and can only be used in person. Unfortunately, gift cards cannot be used to purchase items at the cafe, like their monthly rotating Broadway-themed drinks (we recommend the Carolee Carmello Caramel Latte), but the baristas at the Shop will also have excellent book recommendations.
For Your Friend Who Loves Really New Plays
For just $12 per year, buy your friend a membership to New Play Exchange. A database created by theaters around the country, it offers access to over 50,000 scripts by emerging and established playwrights. This is also a great gift for a playwright friend, who can upload their work to the site so that it can be discovered around the world.
For the Friend Who’s Seen Everything
For your friend who loves storing all of their Playbills, or tracking every show they see in the Notes app or Mezzanine, let them show off how much they’ve seen with this scratch-off poster featuring 100 contemporary and golden-age musicals.
For the Wicked Superfan
These “Shiz University” sweatpants are cozy and relaxing, but nice enough to wear out and about. Your friend could even wear them to the multiplex next Christmas to see the Wicked movie! Also, if they weren’t able to make it to the 20th anniversary celebration, Playbill is still selling the special programs.
For your favorite New Yorker
Now that single-use plastic bags are banned in NYC, reusable tote bags make for an incredibly thoughtful and handy gift.
- This tote bag from Gutenberg! says, “we’re on the weird side of 7th avenue.” Gutenberg is now playing at the James Earl Jones, one of only five Broadway theaters east of 7th avenue – great for a theater lover who knows the Theatre District like the back of their hand.
- Or, for a friend who loves a powerful statement, check out this Purlie Victorious tote bag, with the quote from the play, “make civil rights from civil wrongs.”
For Your Millennial Sibling/Niece/Nephew/etc
Tap into their late-nineties nostalgia with this faux candy necklace, made by the Kimberly Akimbo merch store. Or, for more childhood-themed fun, this Broadway-themed coloring book for adults features 24 pages of Mamma Mia, Hamilton, Seussical and many more shows to color in.
For Your Friend Who’s the Life of the Party
These Shucked shot glasses are hilarious yet functional.
For Your Friend Who Has A Detailed Ranking of Elphabas
This shop doesn’t just sell Waitress Playbill earrings. It offers half a dozen different Waitress Playbills as earrings, so you can make sure you get your friend’s favorite Jenna. Choose between Jessie Mueller, Katherine McPhee, Katherine McPhee’s Pridebill, Sara Bareilles’ 2017 or 2021 Playbill covers, Ciara Renee and Joshua Henry, or West End star Allison Luff.
…and For your Theater Twitter Friend Who Has Opinions About the 2017 Tony Awards
These earrings are also a Spotify scan code that links to “No One Else” from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.