39 Best Christmas Musicals

Cyrano

You probably never would have guessed that the author of A Clockwork Orange wrote the lyric book to the 1973 musical, Cyrano. Though short-lived, Cyrano was critically acclaimed and featured Christopher Plummer as the large-nosed protagonist.

The song fitting for Christmas here is Autumn Carol, which is appropriate to listen to when Christmas is on the horizon. 

Cyrano

Pickwick

A Christmas Carol isn’t the only Charles Dickens work to see a musical adaptation. While Pickwick isn’t a fully-fledged Christmas story, it does feature Christmas as an important plot device.

Pickwick even has a song titled, That’s What I’d Like For Christmas, which is sung near the beginning of the musical. 

Pickwick

The Woman In White

The Woman In White made its debut in 2004 and is notable for featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This musical’s plot line is somewhat steeped in mystery and features tales of a ghostly woman.

Christmas plays a minor role here, being set as a date for a wedding. The Christmas song, Holly And The Ivy, is one of the musical numbers sung during Act 1. 

The Woman In White

Starting Here, Starting Now

Starting Here, Starting Now is a revue, rather than a bona fide musical production like most of the titles mentioned here. The revue focuses on the trials and tribulations of the romances of its characters.

I Don’t Remember Christmas is a song that is all about not remembering the little, intimate details one would only know about another had they been in a relationship.

Starting Here, Starting Now

Rex

Henry VIII is the subject of the 1976 musical, Rex, which features music by the legendary Richard Rodgers. Though the musical featured actress Glenn Close’s Broadway debut, it was relatively short-lived.

One of the scenes in Act 1 of Rex is entitled, Christmas At Hampton Court, which depicts a royal holiday celebration.

Rex

Pipe Dream

The dynamic duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein was not always successful, as is evident with Pipe Dream. This is despite having its material based directly on a novel written by the great American writer, John Steinbeck.

Pipe Dream is not set during the winter, though its song, The Happiest House On The Block, is sung during a scene where one of its characters is ordering Christmas cards in July. It just goes to show that the holiday spirit can be alive and well during Christmas In July. 

Pipe Dream

Now Is The Time For All Good Men

Now Is The Time For All Good Men is a musical from 1967 that centers around Mike Butler, an English teacher at a high school. His teaching methods are rather unconventional, though people start to come around to respect him.

Act 2’s opening scene takes place amidst Christmas carolers where the town drunk appears with a gun. The song from this scene is entitled, My Holiday.

Now Is The Time For All Good Men

Legs Diamond

Everybody loves a good gangster story, and 1988’s Legs Diamond has become sort of an obscure cult classic. Legs Diamond follows the story of a notorious bootlegger from the 1930s. 

The standout Christmas-related song from this musical is entitled, Speakeasy Christmas, which is sung by dancing girls in an illegal drinking establishment. 

Legs Diamond

Greenwillow

The 1960 musical, Greenwillow, has sort of a meta-Buddhist plot line where a family’s eldest son must go off on his own sort of vision quest. Of course, this isn’t always easy, as the main character has to leave behind the love of his life, with whom he wishes to reconnect.

Greenwillow has a number of seasonal songs to depict the length of time that the lovers are apart. The song, Greenwillow Christmas, is sung at the end of Act 1. 

Greenwillow

Judy’s Scary Little Christmas

Are you somebody that appreciates good satire? If so, the 2000 musical, Judy’s Scary Little Christmas, will be right up your alley, especially because its characters are based on real-life celebrities.

While Judy Garland is the main character, everyone from Richard Nixon to Bing Crosby makes an appearance. And, as you’d guess from the musical’s title, there are plenty of Christmas-oriented show tunes to be heard here. 

Judy’s Scary Little Christmas

Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical

1985’s Nunsense might be the only musical that originally started out as a greeting card. Since then, the musical has spawned numerous spin-offs, including the hilarious Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical.

This musical is about a group of nuns who are recording a TV show at a local station. If you attend this, you’ll get to be a part of the show by singing a few Christmas songs with the cast. 

Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical

A Tuna Christmas

Are you familiar with the Tuna trilogy? These musicals feature 2 male members who play 20 different characters between them (yes, including women).

As you might guess, 1989’s musical A Tuna Christmas is downright ridiculous. Interestingly enough, it was performed at the White House for President Bush, Sr.

A Tuna Christmas

Dee Snider’s Rock And Roll Christmas Tale 

If you’re into classic rock and metal, you’re probably all too familiar with Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. He’s one of the greatest frontmen in the history of rock music.

Dee is no stranger to theatrical arts, but nobody could have predicted the 2014 debut of Dee Snider’s Rock And Roll Christmas Tale. As you might guess, this musical features a live band complete with real electric guitars and drums.

Dee Snider’s Rock And Roll Christmas Tale

Top Christmas Musicals, Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that Christmas will always be featured in musicals for as long as musicals continue to be written. As you’ve seen, Christmas can play a minor role and still induce that holiday spirit.

Thanks to films and revivals, many of these musicals are widely available for audiences of all eras. This ensures that the legacy of these works will live on, no matter how obscure they may be.

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