Three top holiday picks for the upcoming week from NYC

The holiday season has arrived and there are three must-see shows from NYC in the upcoming week, both in person and on TV, that are sure to dazzle.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting – Last year, due to COVID-19, the iconic tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center was closed to the public, but viewers are welcome once again this year to witness the annual show in person, on Wednesday, December 1, beginning at 8 pm. The big event features a 79-foot tall Norwegian Spruce from Elkton, MD, which arrived in NYC on November 13, and has since been decorated with more than 50,000 LED lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star.

The lighting will be preceded by performances from stars Carrie Underwood, Mickey Guyton, Harry Connick Jr., Brad Paisley, Alessia Cara, Norah Jones, Rob Thomas, and, as always, The Radio City Rockettes. After the festivities, the tree will be illuminated daily from 6 am-midnight, for a full 24 hours on Christmas Day, and from 6 am-9 pm on New Year’s Eve.

If you’re not able to attend on site, you can watch the 89th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center broadcast on NBC TV, starting at 7 pm, with NBC 4 News co-anchors Natalie Pasquarella and David Ushery hosting a pre-show, along with Access Hollywood‘s Mario Lopez. Then Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker will take over the prime-time festivities at 8 pm.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting takes place on Wednesday, December 1, 8-10 pm, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (at 49th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues), NYC. Viewing is free. To protect against COVID-19, everyone in attendance is encouraged to be fully vaccinated, to wear a mask, and to maintain social distance.

Annie Live! – On Thursday, December 2, at 8 pm, NBC TV will present a performance of the seven-time Tony Award-winning hit Annie as part of its ongoing series of live Broadway musical specials. Based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, the original Broadway production, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan, opened in 1977, and ran for nearly six years.

Set in NYC in 1933, it tells the story of the eleven-year-old eponymous orphan, who runs away from the orphanage and its mean keeper Miss Hannigan, is found by the police and returned, and then is adopted for Christmas by billionaire Sir Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, along with her stray dog Sandy, to begin a new life and a better “Tomorrow.”

Produced by Chloe Productions and directed by the Obie winner Lear deBessonet, the TV broadcast features an all-star cast that includes Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty, Nicole Scherzinger, and Vanessa Hudgens, led by Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan and Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks. The prodigious Celina Smith stars as Annie, following her stellar live appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The artistic design features choreography by Sergio Trujillo, costumes by Paul Tazewell, and sets by Jason Sherwood.

Annie Live! plays on Thursday, December 2, beginning at 8 pm, on NBC TV.

The Boy Band Project: Holiday Edition – What could bring more joy to the season than four hot guys from the NYC stage delivering the authentic sounds, moves, and steamy good looks of your favorite boy bands with an intimate concert of holiday songs from the hit guy-group albums of the ‘90s and beyond? Nothing. Oh, wait; mixing in some tongue-in-cheek humor, screening vintage videos of the era, adding their own original holiday video single to the set list, and spreading the love by getting up close and personal with their adoring fans. Yeah, that’ll do it!

Following a spectacular debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below in August, the Broadway World Award-winning “Best Group” returns to the popular nightclub for a one-show-only appearance that will heat up the cold winter night and ignite your holiday spirit. The special seasonal edition features top-level Broadway talents from the rotating BBP cast recreating the perfect boy-band harmonies and synchronized choreography, while embodying their signature personality types and heartfelt feelings: Christopher Brasfield as The Boy Next Door; Sam Harvey as The Sporty One; Jesse JP Johnson as The Bad Boy; and Boy Band Project founder Travis Nesbitt as The Sensitive One.

Christopher told me, “This is my first Boy Band Project Christmas Show and I’m most excited about our song ‘Jingle My Bells.’” Travis agreed, “Our Holiday Edition is my favorite to perform every year. Obvi, my favorite song to perform is ‘Jingle My Bells!’ It’s kinda a bummer that we only get to do it for a month.” And Sam (who did not appear in the August show) added, “I’m really looking forward to getting on stage and spreading some boy-band holiday cheer at 54 Below. I especially love performing ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ by *NSYNC. It has it all – a little booty shakin’, the tune gets stuck in your head, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face!”

The Boy Band Project: Holiday Edition plays Monday, December 6, 2021, at 9:45 pm (doors open at 9 pm), at Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, cellar, NYC. For tickets (priced at $25-60, plus a $25 per person food and beverage minimum), go online. Audience members are required to show proof of vaccination and a valid photo ID before entering the club.


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