The 12 Shows of Christmas: How Broadway Performers Handle Holiday Schedules

By Robert Simonson
24 Nov 2013

Rebecca Luker

As Cinderella is one of the few shows that is offering a Christmas Day performance, Luker will not get to spend the yuletide evening at home. Neither actor works on New Year's Eve this year, but they have in the past, and both remembered it as an experience not worth repeating.

"I remember doing Company at the Criterion Center for the Roundabout," Burstein said. "We had a performance on New Year Eve's — in Times Square! We had to exit through the back entrance. Just getting to work was impossible."

The New Year's throngs almost swept Luker away one night as she was trying to get to the Neil Simon Theatre, where she was performing in The Music Man. "I got caught in a crowd of people on Broadway," she recalled. "It was one of those moments where you get panicky. Finally somebody removed the barricades and we got out of there."

Prince is philosophical about the extra toil that comes with the holidays. "We're stage actors. There's a little chip missing in us that we all do eight shows a week, and then do 12 shows between Christmas and New Year's. But it's what we do."

One perk about being in a Broadway show during the holidays is that, occasionally, the producers don their Fezziwig hat and host a feast.

"They do something very nice," said Duma. "We will have a Christmas dinner. It is usually a week before Christmas."

As for giving one show Dec. 24 and two Dec. 26, it doesn't bother Duma and his wife much. "We are both from South Africa," he explained. That country does not indulge in the long celebratory roll-up to Dec. 25 that the U.S. does. "There, you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day."