Pajama Parties, Christmas Cookies and Santa! Broadway's Littlest Stars Share Their Too-Cute Holiday Traditions

News   Pajama Parties, Christmas Cookies and Santa! Broadway's Littlest Stars Share Their Too-Cute Holiday Traditions
We couldn't help but wonder what Broadway's youngest cast members love most about this magical time of year. They share their most cherished ways of celebrating — so be prepared to say "Awww."


There's nothing like the holidays when you're a kid, so we took this opporutnity to experience the season through the eyes of a child. The kids of The King & I, Fun Home, Kinky Boots, School of RockMatilda The MusicalOn Your Feet! and Finding Neverland share their favorite ways to celebrate.

The King and I

Christie Kim, Ensemble
My favorite thing about the holidays is getting presents from Santa Claus. I like to decorate sugar cookies to give to Santa, and we put the cookies out with milk by the fireplace. Then I go to sleep late to try to see Santa, but I have never, ever seen him. In the morning, I run into the living room and I see all these great presents and the cookies are gone!

Ethan Halford Holder, Ensemble
Enjoying all of the yummy food, especially the Sugar Cream Pie, which has been brought to NYC direct from Indiana!

The kids of <i>King and I</i> with Kelli O'Hara
The kids of King and I with Kelli O'Hara Photo by Paul Kolnik

Lynn Masako Cheng, Ensemble
My favorite holiday tradition is going to the Macy's Santaland every year with my family. The atmosphere is very festive, and the best part is meeting Santa Claus. He would ask me and my brother what we want for Christmas. Then we take a picture and use it as our Christmas card every year. We did this for eight years, and it never gets old.

Jake Lucas, Louis
Since my sister and I started performing on Broadway, our holiday traditions have changed a bit. In the past, we'd gather with my maternal grandpa's family over Thanksgiving (he was one of nine children, so we had lots of cousins to play games with), or we'd go to my paternal grandparents' house for Christmas. But since 2012, when I first started working on Broadway, we haven't been able to travel as much during the holidays. So we've come up with some new traditions. I love participating in the Secret Santa gift exchange with my Broadway company. We also enjoy New Year's Eve parties. Those always brings back fond memories of lots of laughter. As for holiday food, my favorite is stuffing. I must have it, and I don't care who makes it!

Jake Lucas and Kelli O'Hara
Jake Lucas and Kelli O'Hara Photo by Paul Kolnik

Fun Home

Presley Ryan, Understudy Small Alison, Christian, John
My family celebrates Hanukkah. My favorite tradition is getting together with my family and lighting the candles. I also love eating latkes that my mom makes.

Presley Ryan
Presley Ryan

Alessandra Baldacchino, Understudy Small Alison, Christian, John
Every Christmas Eve my family spends at my Aunt Darr's house. All the kids sit at her big kitchen table and decorate gingerbread houses. We have so much fun creating our masterpieces and, of course, eating the candy! After we are all done we always have an amazing dinner, and then before we leave we always gather around the fireplace and she reads us "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" before we head back home.

Alessandra Baldacchino
Alessandra Baldacchino

Zell Steele Morrow, John
I love to visit Santa with my sister each year. Sometimes I ask for a few things, but this year I just wanted one gift. A 2X2 Rubik's Cube! But I love how my family sits around the tree and spends time together. Christmas is my favorite holiday!

Zell Steele Morrow in <i>Fun Home</i>
Zell Steele Morrow in Fun Home Photo by Joan Marcus

Gabriella Pizzolo, Young Alison
My favorite New Year's tradition is to go to my grandparents' house in Pennsylvania. We stay up to watch the ball drop, play games, stay in our PJs, and have a huge sleep over with my cousins. 

Gabriella Pizzolo and family
Gabriella Pizzolo and family

Kinky Boots

Devin Campbell
My favorite Christmas tradition is "10 books to Christmas." My mom wraps ten books and puts them under the tree ten days before Christmas. I (or my sister) pick one book each night to open, and my mom reads it to us. When we run out of books then we know the next day is Christmas!

Devin Campbell
Devin Campbell

Jeremy Villas
My favorite holiday tradition is putting up the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. We put on Christmas Carols and decorate the tree and house.

Jeremy Villas
Jeremy Villas

Graham Montgomery
[I love] family cuddling up on the couch Christmas Eve and dad reading "The Night Before Christmas." Then on Christmas Day we make a huge pot of gumbo, and family and friends come over to celebrate.

Graham Montgomery
Graham Montgomery

Jake Katzman
My favorite holiday tradition is having a party and staying up late to celebrate the New Year with my family and friends! We make lots of noise and hug everyone to bring us luck for the New Year!

Jake Katzman
Jake Katzman

Matilda The Musical

Mattea Conforti, Matilda
My favorite Christmas tradition is watching "The Polar Express" with my grandma and grandpa, my brother and sister and all my little cousins. Everyone comes to our house, and we snuggle on the couch and watch the movie in our PJs! I love this tradition because it is simple, and I get to spend quality time with my family.  

Alexandra Vlachos, Matilda
My favorite holiday tradition is picking out and decorating my Christmas tree because we play holiday music and have a very fun family time together. We prepare for Santa's visit by baking cookies, putting out milk and preparing our tree and stockings. On Christmas Eve, my family always goes to my grandma's house. My favorite dish is my grandma's lamb; it is really tasty. We play grab bag with my cousins and have a great time. On Christmas day, we wake up, run downstairs and open gifts, have a brunch with my grandparents, then dress up and go to church. Later in the day we go my aunt's house, and all the family members make a different soup, and we have a soup party and exchange gifts.

Rileigh McDonald, Mattea Conforti, Alexandra Vlachos and Mimi Ryder
Rileigh McDonald, Mattea Conforti, Alexandra Vlachos and Mimi Ryder Photo by Joan Marcus

Mimi Ryder, Matilda
My favorite tradition is going to Christmas Eve Mass. I go with my mom, sister and brother, and we are thankful for Jesus' birth, the true reason we celebrate Christmas. After church we open one gift, which is always new PJs. Then we put out milk, cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer and head to sleep excited for Christmas Day.

Rileigh McDonald, Matilda
My family celebrates Christmas, and my favorite holiday tradition is decorating our Christmas tree. We put on Christmas music, light candles, make hot chocolate and get to work making our house feel like Christmas. We decorate with ornaments and decorations my big brother and I have made over the years since we were babies! Every decoration has a story, and we end up laughing and talking about our memories of making them. When we're done, the tree looks like it's telling the story of our family, one Christmas at a time. This tradition really brings us together in a way that is better than any present that ends up under the tree!

School of Rock

Taylor Caldwell, Shonelle
Christmas in the Caldwell household is about celebrating family and the gift of life. Every year on Christmas Eve we open up one gift, and it is always a new pair of pajamas. After my brother and I go to bed, my mom and dad gather all the gifts that were bought and put them in front of the fireplace and take a picture of all of them. Then on Christmas morning, before me and my brother wake up, they hide them, and we have a scavenger hunt for all the gifts. Me and my brother always race to see who can find the most gifts. Then the rest of the family comes over, and we eat too much food and play games all night.

Alex Brightman with the kids of <i>School of Rock</i>
Alex Brightman with the kids of School of Rock Photo by Matthew Murphy

Luca Padovan, Billy
On Christmas morning, my sister and I get up very early and make our parents coffee and breakfast because they won't get out of bed unless we do. We always watch the Walt Disney Christmas Day parade. Then my mom wants to take a family photo in pajamas in front of the tree with all of the presents around us, but she can never get the camera to focus so we have to keep retaking the photo. If you haven't guessed at this point, no one is smiling. After we open up our gifts, we usually go to my grandparents' house for a delicious meal and more gifts, and I bring my guitar. My entire family sings Christmas carols around the fireplace each year. I love singing with my sister and my cousins every Christmas Day.

Carely Gendell, Marcy
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is decorate our Christmas tree because it always puts me in the holiday spirit! For as long as I can remember, I have always been in charge of decorating the Gendell tree, even though I need help reaching the top! I love choosing just the right branches to hang each special ornament that my family has collected over the years. I wasn't sure if we would have room for a tree in our apartment this Christmas, but I came home one night a few weeks ago, and my parents had surprised me with a beautifully lit tree! I will finish decorating it on Christmas Eve when my whole family will be together and can help me — I can't wait!

On Your Feet!

Alexandria Suarez, Little Gloria
My favorite holiday tradition is to put on Christmas music with the "fire log burning" TV channel on after dinner while wrapping presents and getting all nostalgic and excited for the holidays. It's been hands-down my favorite part of the holidays, since forever – the vibes of happiness and the unity of families. 

Alexandria Suarez and Fabi Aguirre at <i>On Your Feet!</i>
Alexandria Suarez and Fabi Aguirre at On Your Feet!

Fabi Aguirre, Standby for Little Gloria
Christmas is my favorite holiday. On the 24th, we bake and decorate Christmas cookies for Santa.  Then we go to mass and have Christmas Eve dinner — my mom always makes turkey with "arroz con choclo," which is an Ecuadorian side dish made out of the rice, corn and melted cheese on top. It is my favorite! Before going to bed, my brother and I leave our best-looking cookies to Santa, along with a letter to him and Baby Jesus. On Christmas Day, my family stays in PJs all day long! My brother and I wake our parents early in the morning and run to see our presents. My mom makes hot chocolate using a special chocolate from Ecuador, which we enjoy while opening our presents. I am so excited about spending my first Christmas in NYC — but we will have to change out of our PJs because we are going to see the Rockettes at Radio City on the 25th!

Finding Neverland

Alex Dreier, Michael/Jack
When I'm with my family at home, we light eight menorahs that are on a round glass table. In the past, when I've been in shows during Chanukah, I "light" a wooden menorah in my dad's office in the city — which isn't as much fun. But this year, Finding Neverland's AWESOME stage manager, Matt Stern, arranged for menorah candle lightings after call time. So each night of Chanukah at the Lunt-Fontanne [Theatre], I actually got to light the candles in costume as a Llewelyn Davies boy!

Alex Dreier with Stage Manager Matt Stern, lighting candles at the theatre
Alex Dreier with Stage Manager Matt Stern, lighting candles at the theatre Photo by Caroline O'Connor

Casey Butler, George
Every Christmas Eve, I like to listen to my father read stories from our big Christmas book and eat a candy cane while decorating the tree.

Casey Butler
Casey Butler

Christopher Richards, Jack/Peter/George
My favorite holiday tradition is going on a family Christmas Eve walk.  We start at the Rockerfeller Tree and then check out all the amazing store windows on Fifth Avenue. Then we go to the Swedish Church (my mom is Swedish) for some special Swedish treats. From there we go to St. Patricks Cathedral, Trump Tower, FAO Schwartz and end up at Church for Christmas Eve service followed by a great meal at our favorite restaurant. What a great day!

Christopher Richards' Holiday Card
Christopher Richards' Holiday Card

Jackson Demott Hill, George/Peter
One of my favorite holiday traditions is building the gingerbread house that my grandma brings to us every year. My sister and I each decorate our own side with candy and icing — although we do end up eating most of the candy before it is done!

Jackson Demott Hill
Jackson Demott Hill

Eli Tokash, Jack/Michael/Peter
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is going to Wigilia (a Polish Christmas dinner) on Christmas Eve with the Polish side of my family. Following Wigilia and a gift exchange we would go home, get changed into our PJs and go over to my Italian/Serbian side of the family and eat more food and exchange gifts. Just being around your whole family is special. That's the hardest part of this career, being away from family during the holidays. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Eli Tokash
Eli Tokash

Christian Michael Camporin, Michael
We usually go to my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve with my two aunts and uncles and five cousins and eat dinner and open up presents, but there is a lot of eating going on. (We are Italian, ya know.) It's a really fun night because there is wrapping paper all over the room and us kids having fun with each other. On Christmas Day my parents and brother and sister open up our presents. My grandparents come for dinner, and we just eat and spend the day with each other. My mom is in the kitchen at least two weeks before making all kinds of cookies, and we give them out to friends and family. She is the best baker ever!

Christian Michael Camporin
Christian Michael Camporin

These answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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