Holiday Gift Guide

If you are anything like me, you don’t plan your Christmas list out months in advance. Every year when my mom asks me what I need, I come up with a mediocre list of items I end up regretting asking for come Christmas morning. To help you out (and help myself too), here’s my Top 10 list of Christmas gifts that someone in the musical theatre industry might need or want this season. That way, you too will not be stuck with a spaghetti strainer for the third Christmas in a row (I mean, I don’t even make that much pasta!).

10. Audition Planner: When you are trying to balance not only auditions, but also your survival job, family life, social life and personal wellbeing – it can become overwhelming! I appreciate a planner where I can write down my daily appointments and also keep track of details about auditions I go to, such as who was in the room, who the accompanist was, how quickly the call moved, etc. in order to be prepared in the future. A great example is the “Get to Work Book.”

9. Hardcore Water Bottle: I carry my water bottle with me all day long, so it needs to be durable, able to hold a lot, and also cheap since I tend to lose my water bottles easily. My 32 oz. Camelbak hasn’t let me down yet, but I have friends who swear by their Nalgene water bottles and Bubba Mug.

8. Audition Bag: My suggestions for what should be able to fit in an audition bag: a dance audition outfit, two pairs of shoes (dance or otherwise), your audition book, your makeup bag, your planner, and your water bottle – and you should still have room to spare. I have grown to love the good old-fashioned two-strap backpack for this purpose: Jansport hasn’t let me down since 1st grade. If you are looking for something a little more sleek, Lululemonhas professional-looking totes that have held up through years of auditioning, in my experience.

7. Show Tickets: I am all about experience gifts! One of the best things my grandparents gave 12-year-old me was a season subscription to our local theatre where all the national tours stopped. I was guaranteed a Broadway-level show every month or so! Even if you aren’t around NYC (and if you are, check out TodayTix for discount tickets and gift cards), there are most likely theatres serving your area with Broadway-caliber tours. This is also a great gift to GIVE someone who you would like to share your love of theatre with.

6. Dance on Broadway Wii Game: You mean there are other people who like to dance around and belt out “Cabaret” in their living rooms? Enough people to make a video game? I’m in.

5. Broadway: The American Musical: This is a required text/DVD for many Musical Theatre History courses, and for good reason. This is one of the most comprehensive looks at the background of musical theatre and highlights some of the most important shows, composers, directors and performers of the last 100 or so years.

4. iTunes gift card for cast recordings: Now that you know how to listen to cast recordings, it is time to put those skills to good use! Some upcoming cast albums I am looking forward to are School of Rock, Amazing Grace and Allegiance.

3. Character Shoes: A strong, long lasting and stylish character shoe is an essential part of any musical theatre performer’s wardrobe. They can also be super expensive: the current price on a pair of tan LaDuca 2 ½ inch women’s Character Shoes is $215.00. If you can’t drop that significant amount of cash at the moment, I have found that the Bloch Splitflex Character Shoes hold up very nicely and are only $95.00. Men, a pair of Capezio Oxford Character Shoes will run at $65.00, as opposed to spending around $200 on other brands. Just make sure the shoes are well-made and durable and that they help you perform at your best.

2. Broadway Musicals: Show by Show by Stanley Green: This is my go-to book for any musical theatre nerd questions. It provides statistics, facts and information about every show on Broadway. It really does cover the breadth of musical theatre history and presents it in a concise manner.  Get ready to get your nerd on! The most recent edition is the 8thedition and it was published in August of 2014.

1. Be a Broadway StarThis board game is a MUST HAVE for true musical theatre nerds. It is similar to the Game of Life, but with Broadway razzle-dazzle thrown in. While this game might destroy friendships, I can guarantee nights of fun and drama while playing. (If you want to be truly nerdy, insist on lyrics being word perfect. Then friendships truly will be at stake, at least in my experience!)

Tony Howell

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Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.