The Christmas Spirit
Yes, Christmas is all about giving presents (mostly so we can receive them!). But there is something else under the tree which is equally potent during the jolly season . . . nostalgia.
While Christmas is a nice time of the year, I bet you won’t find many adults who say December is their favourite months. Why? Because when you are an adult Christmas brings a whole lot of pressure. From finding the perfect presents for relatives, finding car parks at shopping centres, discovering that the perfect present is out of stock, settling for mediocre gifts from relatives and the January credit card bills, Christmas sort of loses its magical sheen.
So what does everyone in the world do during the month of December? Imagine back to the time when Christmas came without pressure, where you didn’t have to buy any gifts and everyone gave you presents. That’s right, we all reminisce about our childhood Christmas experiences!
Well, a once in a year tradition seems to happen every December on Broadway that capitalises on this need to reminisce: The Christmas-themed Broadway musical.
At first, the idea of writing a Christmas-themed musical seems rather ridiculous as it will only ever hold any relevance for the month of December. And let’s face it, we are all ready to move on from the family gatherings by the time we get to January 1st. So why would you write a musical that would only ever play for one month of a year?
To understand this we have to change the way that we measure success for shows. Broadway musicals measure success in longevity, so if a show only ran for 30 days then it would be considered quite a failure. But what if we looked at number of revivals?
Every year, the same shows seem to appear during the month of December and fill the empty theatres. Elf: The Musical, A Christmas Story and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular popped up at the end of 2012, and even though they closed on December 31 they can’t be considered a failure.
The 2012 production of Elf marked the third production since 2010, Tony-nominated A Christmas Story has just announced that it is returning (and tacking on a local tour) after its 2012 debut and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has run since 1933!
So maybe it is smart to focus on seasonality. Demand certainly increases during this period as people look to for family-oriented activities and people have more spare time to engage in this entertainment options (if they aren’t circling department stores looking for gifts, that is!). You know what they say, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year . . . for producing musicals!