Best Christmas Musicals – Classical Music

Party musicals are definitely a thing, but maybe they’re not as important as you think they are, and maybe they’re not getting the recognition they deserve. Here in the UK, the holidays mean Panto season, so a Christmas musical might be the last thing we think about.

That hasn’t stopped composers from tempting Christmas on Broadway and the West End, but it’s perhaps the big-screen musicals that remain the most memorable. Who doesn’t like snuggling up to a cocoa pod to watch Michael Caine sing along with the Muppets? More on them later.

As with “ordinary” musicals, the stage and screen have regularly fed on each other, which means that there are Christmas musicals based on Christmas movies based on musicals. . Confused? Don’t worry, take another chocolate out of the box and discover our selection of the best Christmas musicals…

The best Christmas musicals

How the Grinch Stole Dr Seuss Christmas

(1966/94/2006)

Who wants to grab Christmas, when we can just steal it? Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book is a perennial favorite, adapted for the screen in 1966, 2000 and 2018. This musical made a cameo appearance in the 90s, having a slightly bigger impact on Broadway in 2006/7 , before being filmed for a TV Special in 2020. Music and songs are by Mel Marvin, with lyrics by Timothy Mason. It uses the 1966 songs “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas”, written by Albert Hague, with lyrics by Dr. Seuss himself.

Best song… “You’re a bad guy, Mr. Grinch”

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The nightmare before Christmas

(1994)
If you’re one of those people who like to start Christmas early, here’s a great one to start things off in October. That’s right, Tim Burton’s animated cult classic musical is set on Halloween and Xmas. Composer Danny Elfman wrote the songs and the score for this dazzlingly dark tale about the King of Halloweentown, who decides he too wants to grab Christmas and bring some joy to his fellow ghouls.

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Best song… ‘What is this ?!’

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Scrooge

(1970/92)

The late composer / lyricist Leslie Bricusse adapted A Christmas Carol, creating this seminal seasonal musical. Originally a Oscar nominee 1970 film with Albert Finney in the title role, Bricusse returned to it in 1992 and reimagined it as a staging. The classic story of miser Ebenezer Scrooge has come to life on screen and on stage, the latter being seen around the world in numerous touring productions.

Best song… “Thank you very much”

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A Christmas Carol

(1994/2004)

Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) turned his hand to Dickens for a new story musical in 1994. With lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, the show was an annual fixture at Madison Square Garden in New York City for a decade. He drew some big names in the lead role, including F. Murray Abraham, Jim Dale, Roger Daltrey and Frank Langella. It was adapted into a TV movie in 2004, starring Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge. Concerts of the show have also been held since.

Best song… “Christmas together”

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The Muppets’ Christmas Carol

(1992)

The story is familiar, but the faces are a bit more blurry. Michael Caine plays Scrooge in this memorable tale of the festive and chilling story of Dickens. Gonzo the Great guides us through history, which is peppered with catchy songs by Oscar-winning songwriter / songwriter Paul Williams – a regular with the Muppets, having written Kermit’s classic “Rainbow Connection”.

Best song… ‘One More Sleep’ til Christmas’

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Buy the soundtrack on Amazon

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Elf

(2010)

Yes Elf is also a musical. This Broadway musical by Matthew Sklar and Chad Begulein is fast becoming a modern classic. Based on the hugely popular 2003 film of the same name, starring Will Ferrell, it tells the same story of Buddy – a human raised by elves who returns to New York City to find his father.

Best song… ‘Sparklejollytwinklejingley’

Buy the original recording of the London casting

Meet me in Saint-Louis

(1944)

(1944)

Released in time for the American vacation in 1944, Meet me in Saint-Louis is not just about Christmas. That said, this Year in the Life of the Smith Family (1903/04) has Christmas at its heart and presents what has become one of the most universally loved Christmas carols. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was written for the film by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, and is memorably performed by Judy Garland. She sings it to her little sister, who is sad to move to a new city and fears Santa Claus won’t find them.

Best song… ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’

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White christmas

(1954/2000)
Rather, the title gives the most famous song from this musical, although Irving Berlin didn’t write it for it. He actually appeared in a 1942 film titled Holiday Inn, but was brought back for this fully seasonal offering with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. A musical about Broadway stars putting on a show at a Vermont hotel over Christmas to help out an old army buddy, it’s as charming, warm and funny as you’d expect. It also features the popular “Sisters” issue. It was adapted for the stage in 2000.

Best song… ‘White Christmas’ (obviously)

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The Polar Express

(2004)
Okay, so it’s not a wall-to-wall song and dance, but there are its moments… and some of them are a little dark. Based on the children’s book of the same name by Chris van Allsburg, director Robert Zemeckis broke new ground with this film. Using the very latest in performance capture technology, it was animation like audiences had never seen before. Tom Hanks plays multiple roles in the story, which follows a mysterious / magical train that gives kids the ride of a lifetime on a memorable Christmas night. The original songs are by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard.

Best song… “When Christmas comes to town”

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Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

(1964)
It has become somewhat of an institution in the United States, where it has been shown on television every year since its premiere in 1964. It of course tells the story of everyone’s favorite reindeer – the one with the very bright nose. This song is at the heart of the story, but it features a string of other numbers, also written by “Rudolph” composer Johnny Marks, which have become synonymous with the season for millions of people.

Best Song… ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’

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Want to snuggle up and watch some of these family Christmas musicals? So look at our sister title The Christmas section of Your Home Style for ideas and inspiration. Here are some of our favorites below

Best Image Credit: Getty Images


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