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by Kaitlin Ahern

Related: holiday, theater, shows, family, kids, children, christmas, december, 2010, activities, calendar,

Check out our roundup of family-friendly holiday shows playing in Manhattan this December.

The cast of Elf: The Musical on Broadway


These festive shows are sure to spread some holiday cheer.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Rockettes

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a New York City tradition for more than 75 years, returns this year with an all-new show. Enjoy the flawless precision of the legendary Radio City Rockettes in numbers like "12 Days of Christmas" and "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers." Then join Santa on a magical ride to his workshop at the North Pole, where playful rag dolls come to life.
Through December 30. Show times vary; see schedule on the website. $45 and up. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue. 212-307-7171.

A familiar tale is spun in Broadway's newest holiday show, Elf: The Musical. Follow Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. When he returns to New York to find his real family, Buddy will help the city remember the true meaning of Christmas. Through January 2, 2011. Show times vary. $39 and up. Al Hirschfield Theatre, 302 West 45th Street. 212-239-6200. www.telecharge.com.

Lula Belle in Search of Santa is an original comedy that follows Lula Belle, a rambunctious little girl who takes it upon herself to save the world when Santa Claus goes missing. Lula travels from the suburbs to outer space and all points in between in search of the man in the big red suit. Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm and 2pm, through January 2, 2011. $20. Manhattan Children's Theatre, 52 White Street. 212-352-3101.

See a lively musical adaptation of the Dickens' classic tale A Christmas Carol. Follow Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. Will Scrooge catch the holiday spirit and save himself in the process? There will be an interactive arts workshop prior to the performance. Saturdays and Sundays; workshop at 10am, show at 11am. Through December 30. $25-$40 (includes workshop). The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street. 212-475-1237. www.scroogeinthevillage.com.


And of course there's The Nutcracker, in several worthy renditions.

The Yorkville NutcrackerThe Knickerbocker Suite weaves the time-honored tale of The Nutcracker together with modern New York City landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New York sports teams. Classic Nutcracker scenes like "The Land of the Snow" will be transformed into a snowy frenzy of shoppers dancing in and out of stores like Macy's and Bloomingdale's for last-minute gifts, while "Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles" will be played by the Statue of Liberty and dancing immigrants who have just arrived from Ellis Island. December 4 at 2pm and 7pm; December 5 at 2pm and 6pm. $35; $20 students. Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, 248 West 60th Street. 212-787-1178.

Dances Patrelle presents the 15th anniversary production of choreographer Francis Patrelle's unique rendition of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic. The Yorkville Nutcracker takes the audience on an action-packed tour of Olde New York's most beloved landmarks, including a holiday party at Gracie Mansion, dancing at the Crystal Palace in the New York Botanical Garden, and skating in Central Park. Lavish sets and costumes, enchanting music, and beautiful dancers from ages 5 to 65 complete this production. December 9-10 at 7pm; December 11 at 2pm and 7pm; December 12 at 12pm and 5pm. $45-$90. The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, East 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. 212-772-4448.

Presented by New York Theatre Ballet, Keith Michael's The Nutcracker is NYC's only hour-long, professionally danced Nutcracker. The show includes bright new costumes and colorful sets based on the English Toy Theatre of the early 19th century. December 11-12 and 18-19; 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm. $40; $35 children. Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street. 212-679-0401.


Also see: Our roundup of December family events in Manhattan
Our Online Calendar, for even more family activities in NYC and the New York metro area

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