Holiday gift shopping is a pain in the neck. There are long lines, things are out of stock, your friends are complicated, you’re broke. We’ve all been there. The good news is: The Nerd League is releasing a holiday gift guide for every kind of nerd in your life. If you enjoyed our theatre list, make sure to check out the rest of the guide!
The Hamilton Mixtape – $11.88
Let’s get it out of the way right now. These might be the most asked for theatre presents of the year. The Hamilton Mixtape is a masterpiece that takes the beloved songs from the Original Broadway Cast Recording and add the pop, R&B, and rap artists that Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired by. My pick from it is Andra Day’s “Burn,” but all of it is wonderful for the lover of the ten dollar founding father in your life.
Hamilton: The Revolution – $27.00
If they prefer a book, you can’t go wrong with Miranda and Jeremy McCarter’s Hamilton: The Revolution, which takes the reader through the process of creating the musical and provides full annotation for all of Miranda’s lyrics. Of course, if they prefer to read a more academic take on the situation, might I suggest Joanne Freeman’s Affairs of Honor. Or the biography that started it all: Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. Both should please those who are looking to find out the history behind the show.
Ladies of Theatre Merch – $17.56 to $150
Kendyll Romine is an artist who took up a challenge in 2016 – draw a different woman from musical theatre every day for the year. Her Tumblr (ladiesoftheatre) has created a huge following, including articles on the project on Playbill. She has a Society6 store where she sells prints and merchandise of these lovely ladies of the stage. My favorite is the “At the Ballet” art from A Chorus Line, but all of them are wonderful.
The Great Comet: The Journey of a New Musical to Broadway – $20.80
Being hailed as the best musical since Hamilton according to Charles Isherwood of The New York Times, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 takes a 70-page chunk of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and transforms it into an electro-pop opera with an immersive set designed by MacArthur “Genius” Grant awardee Mimi Lien. Currently running on Broadway with Josh Groban, this book is a look at the journey to bring Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 to life as well as a fully annotated script.
Plays of August Wilson – $8.75+
Now, I’m not going to suggest you purchase the $200 set of the Century Cycle, but do your loved one a favor and give them the gift of one of August Wilson’s plays. Wilson, one of the twentieth century’s greatest playwrights, wrote about the African-American experience for the stage in a way that had not been seen before. All of his plays are worth a read, but my picks for this holiday season are Fences (coming soon to a movie theatre near you thanks to Denzel Washington), Jitney (soon to be back on Broadway) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Shakespeare-Themed Gifts – $10.44+
This year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and what better way to commemorate one of the English language’s greatest writers than by giving the gift of his words. There are thousands of items that use Shakespeare as reference, and I’ve chosen two that I love. The first is a typographical poster that uses the three witches’ prophecies from Macbeth in a really cool way, and the second is a bracelet with the famous line from The Tempest: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” Either would make a great gift for the Shakespeare lover in your life, or use their favorite of the Bard’s words as inspiration!
Of course, the best gift of all would be to give the present of live theatre to your loved one this season. Google theatres in your area and support them by buying tickets to see a show you might know nothing about! I promise, it will be worth it. Theatre only exists when there is an audience, so make you and your loved one a part of the magic that only happens on a stage.