39 Best Christmas Musicals

Meet Me In St. Louis

After The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was at the height of her career when she starred in Meet Me In St. Louis. The film features numerous musical segments and would end up being one of MGM’s best-performing films of the decade.

Meet Me In St. Louis is significant because it saw the debut of one of the holiday’s most famous songs, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. In 1989, the film was adapted for the stage, with the iconic song appearing near the end of Act 2. 

Meet Me In St. Louis

Holiday Inn

You’d be wrong to assume that the famous Bing Crosby song, White Christmas, originated in the film of the same name. In fact, it actually came about nearly a decade before in the film, Holiday Inn.

Holiday Inn would find itself being adapted to the stage, making its debut in 2014. All of the great Irving Berlin tracks from the original film are featured here, with White Christmas making an appearance toward the end of Act 1.

Holiday Inn

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

You’re not wrong in thinking that a brothel is probably the last setting you’d expect Christmas to make an appearance in. But 1978’s The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas has an iconic song called, Hard Candy Christmas near the musical’s finale.

The song would find new popularity in 1982 with the release of the film version starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. Parton even released the song as a single, which ended up on countless Christmas song compilations thereafter. 

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

Flahooley

Flahooley is a bit of an obscure musical that is almost like The Santa Clause (starring Tim Allen) mixed with Aladdin. This musical is centered around a toy company employee and a genie from a lamp.

What ends up happening is that the main character decides that he wants to be Santa Claus. While the musical does have political undertones, its song, Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus, is perfect for the holiday season. 

Flahooley

Black Nativity

Debuting in 1961, Black Nativity is a Langston Hughes musical that has since become a yearly tradition for many communities. As you might guess from its name, the story follows that of the birth of Jesus Christ, but with a cast that is exclusively black. 

Much of this musical’s soundtrack will be familiar to anyone who is well-versed in Christmas music. Aside from a few original tracks, you’ll hear many of your favorite carols sung throughout Black Nativity. 

Black Nativity

I Love My Wife

I Love My Wife is an interesting musical that is almost like anything else to be found on the stage. Starring just 4 cast members, the plot focuses on a pair of married couples who decide they want to explore their sexuality together on Christmas Eve.

Needless to say, what results is equally hilarious and thought-provoking. The 2nd Act song, Lovers On Christmas Eve is just one of the tracks that mentions Christmas outside of the fact that its plot takes place during the holiday. 

I Love My Wife

It’s A Wonderful Life

The story of George Bailey and his hopelessness has become a holiday tradition for those who watch It’s A Wonderful Life every year. By means of divine intervention, Bailey’s debated suicide is staved off as he is shown how much of an impression he’s left on those in his community.

Just about everybody who is at least a little self-conscious has pondered their own importance, which is why the film is so relatable. In 1986, the film made its way to the stage in the form of a musical, which continues to have frequent productions around the holidays.

It’s A Wonderful Life

Black Friday

Black Friday is a recent musical, which debuted in 2019 and had its production costs raised and covered by a Kickstarter campaign. As you can guess, Black Friday derives its name from the biggest holiday shopping day of the season, as people storm the stores to complete their gift lists.

Because of that, Black Friday is tilted toward Christmas, especially considering that a Christmas movie plays a central role in its plot. This is a holiday horror musical that is sure to be one of your modern favorites. 

Black Friday

Promises, Promises

If you’re a fan of Burt Bacharach and want something to get you in the holiday spirit, check out Promises, Promises. This musical debuted in 1968 and has been enjoying a lengthy series of revivals in recent years.

The plot involves a company Christmas party as well as the events surrounding a suicide attempt on Christmas Eve. Perhaps the most iconic sequence in the musical involves the song, Turkey Lurkey Time. 

Promises, Promises

Subways Are For Sleeping

Debuting in 1961, Subways Are For Sleeping is another fairly obscure musical that was somewhat short-lived but has experienced a recent revival. The musical finds a writer exploring the topic of homelessness, and professionals who live in the subways and manage to get work from a central figurehead.

Christmas works its way into the plotline, where the iconic song, Be A Santa is performed, which explains the honor of wearing the red costume.  

Subways Are For Sleeping

Billy Elliott: The Musical 

When Elton John decides to write music for a production, you know you’re going to have a smash hit on hand. This 2005 musical is based on the film that came out 5 years beforehand.

The song, Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher, is sung at the beginning of Act 2, during a children’s Christmas program. Elton John has released a version of this song with his own vocals. 

Billy Elliott: The Musical

Scrooge

While A Christmas Carol is indeed a musical, there happens to be another one focused on old, grouchy Ebenezer, called Scrooge. This musical made its debut in 1992 and takes most of its inspiration from the similarly-titled 1970 film.

You already know how this story goes, but this adaptation manages to keep things fresh. 

Scrooge

Call Me Mister

Call Me Mister isn’t a traditional musical in the sense of a grand production, though it does feature music and was performed on Broadway. Rather, Call Me Mister is a series of short sketches that use music and dancing to drive its entertainment factor.

The song centered around Christmas is the track, Yuletide, Park Avenue. In 1951, the production would be made into a film though only a few of its songs survived the adaptation.

Call Me Mister

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