Watch Broadway stars in these Christmas movies
Has your favorite movie made its way onto Santa’s nice list?
Cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa to watch a Christmas movie is a timeless pleasure. Sure, the plots may be as predictable as jokes in a Christmas cracker. But, the fun and frivolity of a holiday flick is unmatched; they’re sparkling with enough light and cheer to illuminate all of New York City.
As well as the classics like Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street, there’s a ton of Christmas movies that feature Broadway actors. From Disney classics, Hallmark Christmas movies, and series which have become associated with the season, check out the famous faces in festive blockbusters. Who knows? You could plan your own advent of Christmas films!
12 Men of Christmas
Kristin Chenoweth plays a New York City publicist living in Montana in this Christmas romcom, made for Lifetime Television. As she tries to save the small town, her character almost inevitably falls in love with a hunky Montana man. It’s everything you’d expect from a simplistic film, but it’s worth watching by the fire.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
Finding Neverland’s Kelsey Grammer plays Ebenezer Scrooge in this 2004 television adaptation of Charles Dickens’s seasonal story. He’s joined by a roster of Broadway talent including Jane Krakowski as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jesse L. Martin as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley. Okay, the period costumes may be a little distracting, but it rings true to the original novel in ways that other productions have easily missed.
A Christmas Love Story
Youth choirs across the land are familiar with a Christmas hymn or two. But, what about the finale number? Kristin Chenoweth steps in as the director, crafting a big song for the Christmas Eve show led by a golden-voiced boy. There’s even a soundtrack you can listen to, perfect for mixing up the holiday playlists.
A Christmas Dance Reunion
If you loved High School Musical in your childhood, you'll be delighted to know that Chad and Taylor are sharing the screen again. Now, Monique Coleman plays a successful attorney who goes to the Winterleigh Resort to celebrate the hotel's final Christmas before closing. While there, she meets Barrett Brewster (played by Bleu), her childhood partner for a traditional Christmas Dance, and they're tasked with recreating the tradition. Bleu's been on Broadway in In the Heights, Godspell, Holiday Inn and Kiss Me, Kate!
A Christmas Story, Live!
The 1983 movie of the same name was given a Tony-nominated musical adaptation with music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul that became a live musical in 2017. Fans enjoyed this updated version starring Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, and Chris Diamantopoulos. If you want to get a flavor of the show, listen to the Emmy Award-nominated track “In the Market for a Miracle."
A Christmas Treasure
This 2021 Hallmark movie stars Jordin Sparks, who had a stint as Jenna in Waitress on Broadway, as a writer who's contemplating a move to New York City to further her career. She starts to consider changing her plans when she finds a 100-year-old time capsule and meets a winsome chef back home.
A Christmas Wedding
Wintry weddings are popular with couples all over the world, and that’s the case for the leads in this romantic comedy. Sarah Paulson plays Emily, a young woman who is called away for work before the big day. Can her fiance Ben sort everything out? Will Emily get to the church on time? Paulson hasn’t been on Broadway since Collected Stories in 2010, but we love watching her on screen.
A Kiss Before Christmas
Desperate Housewives fans will watch this film, about a man who accidentally wishes to go back and take a career opportunity that prevents him from meeting his wife, for its leads, James Denton and Teri Hatcher. But theatre fans will watch for the scene-stealing Marilu Henner, a Hallmark veteran and a Broadway one, having performed in Pal Joey, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, The Boys in the Band, and more. Hatcher, too, was in Bye Bye Birdie in 1999!
Broadway crooner and all-around entertainer Harry Connick. Jr starred in the family drama Angels Sing in 2013. He plays Michael, a history professor who struggles to feel happy after a tragic accident. It’s down to Nick, his friend who gives him an inspiring, joyous gift. Make sure you watch the whole movie to listen to Connick sing "When I'm Home" — it really is magical.
Christmas in My Heart
Dreamgirls, Wicked, and Thoroughly Modern Millie star-turned-Broadway-producer Sheryl Lee Ralph lends her indomitable talent to Christmas in My Heart, which is all about the power of music. She plays Ruthie, the mother-in-law of a country music star who's preparing his daughter to perform in a holiday concert.
Christmas in Tahoe
Mean Girls's Kyle Selig stars alongside Laura Osnes in this 2021 Hallmark film. Claire (Osnes), is a talent booker tasked with hiring a band to play in her family hotel's struggling Christmas show. So she has to reach out to her ex-boyfriend, who plays guitar for a famous band that fired her as their manager years before, and convince them to help her.
If you’ve not seen Elf, then have you been hiding under a rock? After a childhood raised by elves, Buddy heads to New York City to reunite with his father. Will Ferrell brings this spritely character to life in the movie, alongside James Caan and Zooey Deschanel. Ferrell’s only been in one Broadway show, though, taking on George W. Bush at the Cort Theatre. Even so, Elf is a genre-defining film that rightfully deserves its place on this list.
Idina Menzel gives a career-defining performance as Elsa in Frozen, performing an Academy Award-winning rendition of “Let It Go.” The Wicked alum is joined by a variety of Broadway stars, including Kristin Bell as the little sister Anna, Hamilton’s Jonathan Groff as Kristoff and Sven, Tootsie’s Santino Fontana as Hans, and The Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad as Olaf. The Frozen soundtrack is essentially a compilation of the biggest names on the Great White Way.
Harry Potter franchise
It’s hard to think of an actor that hasn’t appeared in at least one of the Harry Potter movies. Undeniably, Daniel Radcliffe got his break as the titular boy wizard, later appearing in Broadway productions of Equus and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. There are eight movies in total, plus the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spin-off movie series, so it’s a perfect set of films to binge over the Christmas period.
One of 2020’s buzziest Christmas films, Holidate follows two singletons as they look for love throughout the season, while agreeing to be "platonic plus-ones." There’s a star lineup in this Netflix piece, including Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, but once again we can watch out for Kristin Chenoweth, this time playing Aunt Susan.
Holidays for Heroes
Another Hallmark movie for you to enjoy here, starring Frozen’s Patti Murin as Pam. There’s a veteran theme to this heartwarming tale, as a woman and soldier finally meet after a year of sending letters to each other. We’re not sure when we last wrote letters to a stranger, but it’s an endearing premise.
Holly & Ivy
The Tony Award-nominated actor Jeremy Jordan plays Adam in this Hallmark flick, which premiered in 2020. He helps Melody, a woman who is looking to adopt two children by renovating her property. Will the housework build into a stable, loving relationship? We’re just hoping that Jordan gives a few impromptu vocal performances too.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
When a toymaker's apprentice steals toys destined for kids at Christmastime, all seems lost. But, it's up to the toymaker and his granddaughter to reawaken the magic within themselves. Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose star in this 2020 Netflix film, where anything can happen if you believe.
Set to the music of English singer George Michael, Last Christmas was one of 2019’s festive smashes. The movie follows Kate (played by Emilia Clarke) working as an elf in a shop, stumbling across a stranger who changes her life for the better. There’s a star-studded cast including Emma Thompson and Henry Golding, but we love all the scenes with Broadway legend Patti LuPone. Do we need to tell you how incredible LuPone is? Just think of a Broadway musical and she’s probably been in it.
Mrs. Santa Clause
Think it’s just Santa that delivers your presents on December 24? Think again. There’s help from Mrs. Santa Clause too, portrayed by Angela Lansbury in this 1996 film. Getting involved with the local community, she eventually rescues seasonal spirit for those around her. Like Santa, Lansbury is somewhat of a legend too, having appeared in Broadway shows for over 50 years.
One Royal Holiday
Laura Osnes plays Anna, a young woman who offers a mother and son shelter in a perilous snowstor. Learning that her new housemates are royals, Anna shows the son (played by Aaron Tveit) how to have a small-scale Christmas. With these two Broadway powerhouses leading the cast, we’re sure it’ll be a fan favorite for years to come. The pair duet “Winter Wonderland” together too, and we’re obsessed.
The Bitch Who Stole Christmas
There's plenty of overlap between theatre fans and RuPaul's Drag Race fans, and this is the perfect holiday film for the people that love both. Smash, The Addams Family, and She Loves Me star Krysta Rodriguez leads this movie as a fashion journalist (whose editor is none other than RuPaul) who goes to report on a cutthroat Winter Ball competition in a Christmas-obsessed small town. The fierce competitors and townsfolk include 20 Drag Race alums, including Peppermint, who starred as Pythio in Head Over Heels. This film is sure to slay — er, sleigh.
The Christmas Blessing
The middle film in a trilogy may not be the best place to jump into a series. But, Neil Patrick Harris steals the show here as Nathan, a doctor who volunteers in his local community after a case changes his life. As well as the Hedwig and the Angry Inch actor, there are supporting performances by Rebecca Gayheart and country music from Blake Shelton. It’s that sickly sweet movie you’ll be cooing over for days.
The Family Stone
When the eldest Stone son wants to propose to his girlfriend with a family heirloom, chaos inevitably ensues. Will everything be perfect for the grand affair? Sarah Jessica Parker plays the girlfriend, Meredith, in this 2005 film, and was even nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. Parker’s returning to Broadway in 2021 with Plaza Suite alongside her husband Matthew Broderick. But, if you want to reminisce over her early performances with a Christmas choice that you can switch off with, this is the movie for you.
Continuing the now-annual tradition of NBC’s live musical affairs, the network tackled a Christmas classic in 2020. Matthew Morrison attempted to steal Christmas in the eponymous role, which was be filmed live from London. The production featured tons of sparkle and Morrison’s cheeky charm.
The Knight Before Christmas
The premise for this one’s a bit far-fetched, if we say so ourselves. A present-day science teacher helps a medieval knight in the modern world to eventually get back home. Vanessa Hudgens plays the science teacher in this wacky movie, as she coincidentally embarks her own quest to find a knight in shining armor.
The Princess Switch franchise
Can't get enough of Vanessa Hudgens? She stars in the The Princess Switch films, too — and double! She plays both the baker Stacy and Lady Margaret Delacourt, a duchess who's soon to become a princess. The two meet and decide to trade places for a few days so the duchess can have some time out of the royal spotlight. The Princess Switch also has two sequels, also starring Hudgens: The Princess Switch 2, in which she also plays Margaret's cousin Fiona (a third lookalike!) that wants to steal her crown, and The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star, in which the trio have to track down a jewel thief.
‘Twas The Night
Disney Channel original movies don’t come better than ‘Twas The Night. Bryan Cranston plays Nick, whose life is turned upside down when criminals attack him. Deciding to steal Santa’s sleigh, it’s in Nick’s hands to save Christmas, eventually getting his dream present on December 25. It’s rare to see Cranston in a jolly role — after all, he played the frenetic Howard Beale in Network and President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way on Broadway.