Escape the Holiday Madness with a Show

By Lauren Hoffman

Stay local this holiday season! Monmouth County has a number of great venues to choose from throughout the year for a person of any age to experience a quality show. The most joyous time of year is when the holidays are approaching, and perhaps you’re thinking of new traditions to start with your loved ones. Whether it’s your mom, grandfather, cousin, or in-law, why not check out the lineup at a box office near you? With an endless amount of options, including plays, musicals, concerts, comedy, and more, we have listed just a few of what sound like holiday hits in our area. Before you carve that Thanksgiving turkey, you may want to mark the dates and get some tickets.

Red Bank’s landmark Count Basie Theatre will hold several holiday-themed shows and concerts to keep your calendar full of Christmas cheer. It wouldn’t be right without one of the most popular pieces of fiction, “A Christmas Story.” Taking over the Count Basie stage November 11-20, the beloved Christmas tale will delight you with this humorous musical version.

Also on the Count Basie calendar:

November 21: Sirius XM Presents “The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 13th Annual Christmas Rocks!” Tour

December 3: A Holiday Doo Wop

December 17: Brian Kirk Presents “Santa For…”

December 19 and 20: Holiday Express Benefit Concert

December 21: Kenny Rogers (“The Gambler’s Last Deal” Christmas & Hits with Special Guest Linda Davis)

Visit or @CountBasieThtr.

Another location in Red Bank that brings in more than 55,000 guests every year through their doors is the Two River Theater. Whether it is a story set during Christmas of 1183 or a performance that has the stage covered in neon lights, there’s fun for the whole family. With a slightly different holiday touch, this venue will explore the season with the productions listed below.

November 12:  December 4: The Lion in Winter

December 27-30: A Very Electric Christmas

Visit or @TwoRiverTheater.

If the Monmouth County events aren’t filling up your calendar just yet, take a little drive with your family to see other holiday classics being produced right in our own backyard.

In Manasquan, we have the Algonquin Arts Theatre, which will be putting on several different holiday shows. You can accidentally transport yourself to the North Pole and eat candy for breakfast if you see one show in particular, thanks to the Algonquin Youth Ensemble.

November 26-December 4: White Christmas

December 10 and 11: A John Denver Christmas, featuring Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon

December 16 and 17: Elf The Musical, Jr.

Got to or @AlgonquinArts.

Is the holiday season truly complete without seeing one of the ultimate classics? If you head to Princeton, you will catch what has been a holiday tradition for more than 50 years, thanks to the American Repertory Ballet. If you’re one of the lucky ones to score a ticket to the select dates of the enchanted “Nutcracker,” be prepared to witness magic. As for the production of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” take the journey through Christmas past, present, and future with Scrooge.

November 23- 26: The Nutcracker

December 9-31: A Christmas Carol

Go to or @mccarter.

Before you leave out your cookies and milk for Santa this year, make sure to take your child to Freehold’s indoor family entertainment and event center, iPlay America, to have Breakfast with Santa, where he or she can put a gift on their wish list. The event will take place on December 11, with two seating times at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Don’t forget to gather around with your neighbors as your homes – and town halls, parks, and other public places – starting lighting up like a Christmas tree or menorah! Check with your township on dates and times for all of your local holiday celebrations this year.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition in Monmouth County? Tweet us @TheJournalNJ. #FromTheFrontRow