Top 5 – Musical Theatre Christmas Songs

Top 5 – Musical Theatre Christmas Songs

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Obviously, this house does not belong to a fan of musical theatre! Because there are so many songs from Musical Theatre that get you in the mood for Christmas. I’ve attempted to narrow this down to the top five. I raised the question as part of our Community Theatre Christmas Party and there are so many of them! And so many favourites. This top five are my favourite and controversially it does not contain ‘Christmas Bells are Ringing’ from Rent. I know there will be a few rusted-on Renter’s who’ll be disturbed by this. I’ve not included ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ because I didn’t feel that they were really musical theatre candidates – with only limited theatre exposure over the years.  Read on as we will share a link to a playlist we’ve created for you on Spotify.

  1. Twelve Days to Christmas – She Loves Me

This song is a homage to Christmas and the retail environment. Twelve Days until Christmas with plenty of time of complete your Christmas shopping. The pace is relaxed and spirited. Christmas Bells. Calm customers. Polite staff. Plenty of Time. As the song progresses and Christmas get closer (Nine days, four days…) the pace of the song increases. The Maraczek’s Parfumerie becomes frantic, the customers become stressed, staff become anxious. Just wait until the 24th… THE 24TH?! WHY DID WE LEAVE IT SO LONG!

I also enjoy the traditional ’12 Days of Christmas’ as a vehicle for this song giving not only the retail scenario some familiarity but the melody and lyrics too.

  1. Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher – Billy Elliot

A light, upbeat song celebrating the fact that it’s a day closer to a person’s death. What could be more Christmassy than that?

This 2nd Act opening number from Billy Elliot sets the scene exceptionally well. Set during a miners’ strike the whole family join to have “the best Christmas party ever” by celebrating the eventual death of their political rival – whatever works, right?

Whilst the above doesn’t sound very pleasant, Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher celebrates family, unity and hope. It’s irreverent, sarcastic and appropriate to the story. It’s a fun ensemble production number. Merry Christmas, Maggie!

  1. Surabaya Santa – Songs for a New World

Would you like to be married to Santa Claus? Supposedly It’s not all that that it’s cracked up to be!

Whilst SFANW has ‘Christmas Lullaby’ as part of its offering – I prefer Surabaya Santa – because it’s funny! I love the idea of Christmas from Mrs Claus’ point of view. Things are a little frosty at the North Pole! This song has a clever structure – putting the much beloved Santa Claus in an unlikely and uncomfortable position of not being the nice, jolly man that we all believe. Having also seen some very talented (and funny) women perform this song – Surabaya Santa is a song I’ve always enjoyed. Strong music, clever lyrics, perfect rhymes, light and shade – it’s simply a very well written song. Well done, Mr Brown!

If you’re a strong comedy character actress, I highly recommend you adding this song to your repertoire.

  1. We Need a Little Christmas – Mame

A song that is covered by The Muppets AND Bugs Bunny is okay in my book!

This popular Christmas song originating from Jerry Herman’s Broadway musical, Mame, and first performed by Angela Lansbury in that 1966 production. It’s no doubt a standalone Christmas classic.

This song just makes me happy (not necessarily the Lucille Ball version – but that’s another story!). I love Christmas because of the positive vibes and energy it brings. The kids love putting up the tree and decorating the house. Sometimes we all need a little Christmas regardless of what time of the year it is.

Honourable mentions

Christmas Bells Are Ringing – Rent

Christmas Lullaby – Songs for a New World

Christmas is my Favourite Time of Year – Catch Me If You Can

Sparklejollytwinklejingly – Elf

  1. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Miracle on 34th Street

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” is the text book Christmas song.

It has been covered by so many performers including Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Harry Connick Jr, Big Bird, Andrea Bocelli and, not surprisingly, Michael Bublé.

Written by Meredith Wilson in 1951 and originally performed by Perry Como, it is the well know signature tune from Miracle on 34th Street. It was nominated by Rotten Tomato as the 2nd best Christmas song of all time.

Similarly, to We Need a Little Christmas, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas encapsulate the positivity of Christmas. Driving around looking at Christmas lights, the retail store decorations – do you still go into the David Jones to see the Christmas window display? – and the brightness of the decorations in your family home.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. We really enjoyed bringing you the Online Community Theatre Christmas Party. You can find the live broadcast links here.

Day 1 – Kenney Ogilvie
Day 2 – Louise Symes
Day 3 – Hannah Barn

So, have yourself a merry little Christmas! May you be surrounded by the joys of the festive period. If you’re in need of some Christmas spirit – I’ve no doubt your community theatre family will be there for you. Talk. Laugh. Celebrate. Enjoy.

Look us up on Spotify and listen to our Musical Theatre Christmas Playlist

Until next time, Be Fantastix!


Paul and Mara.

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