I have been a theater lover for as long as I can remember. I had posters of Bernadette Peters, Terrance Mann and Patti LuPone in my room along with The Bangles, River Phoenix, Ricky Schroeder (before he was Rick), Rick Springfield and Toni Basil.
I grew up in the heart of New York City so for birthdays, I could ask for tickets to Broadway shows– Les Miserables (with aforementioned Terrance Mann), CATS (with Betty Buckley), Dreamgirls (with Jennifer Holiday), The Tap Dance Kid (with Alfonso Riberio) and Into The Woods (with Peters and Joanna Gleason)–we’re talking early / mid 1980’s and my parents were theater lovers too so they were happy to oblige. I also saw my share of productions that were probably too “adult” for a child–La Cage Aux Folles with George Hearn in 1983, which would have made me eight–but when I heard him sing “I Am What I Am,” and I could listen to it again and again and my eyes would well up every single time, I just knew that…well…there was something a bit different about me. I was a theater geek.
Below are gifts that I can say, with some authority, are great options for the Broadway Baby in your life (cue Bernadette Peters’ version now…).
Karaoke: One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given was a karaoke machine ($99, Amazon) with a ton of discs, including one of show tunes, but now there are other options like karaoke games for XBox 360, PS3 and Wii. Glee Karaoke ($29.99), Karaoke Revolution ($29.99) and American Idol Karaoke Revolution ($29.99 Amazon) are fun console game choices.
Books: For a real enthusiast, if you’re looking for a book, you have to find the right book. Playbill–the guide that is handed out when you go to a show–has a hardcover book highlighting 110 years of their special section, “At This Theatre.” (List Price $38.99). For the Wicked fans out there, “Wicked: The Grimmerie” (List Price $40 Barnesandnoble.com) is a fantastic hardcover book that is a behind the scenes look at the show, the story and the phenomenon.
See A Show: Not everyone lives near Broadway, but there are fantastic touring companies all over the country. A Ticketmaster gift card makes it possible for a recipient to decide where, when and what (starting in denominations of $25 Ticketmaster.com).
Playbill Binder: And since you’re helping them add to their Playbill collection, how about a place to keep all their Playbills crisp and clean in a special binder–especially if they get them signed, like I do ($33.95 Playbillstore.com).
Rare Gems: The iTunes Store has amazing videos like the Original Broadway Cast of Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park With George (each priced at $12.99). For a Sondheim fan (which I am) this is like discovering a diamond mine right underneath your sofa. To them give as a gifts, when in iTunes, simply select “Gift this Movie” from the “Buy Movie” drop down.
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