Friday, November 23, 2018

The Friday 5: 5 Favorite Places to Christmas Shop for Theater Lovers

Before you start your first day of Thanksgiving leftovers, you are probably going to do what millions of others will do - Christmas shop! I, like many of you, do most of my shopping online, but I have to admit there's something about going to the stores in search of that perfect gift. Picking it yourself off the shelf, selecting the exact one you want (I never take the one in front on the shelf if I can help it...), and bringing it home to wrap. I have some wonderful memories of going to the mall with my parents and grandparents - the decorations, the shop windows, Santa... Even the annoying aspects - the crowds, the lines, the rude people - feel nostalgic.

A lot of my friends are fellow theater fans, so I like to hit the specialty shops for the perfect gift. Here are my 5 favorites:

5 Favorite
Broadway Shops for the Holidays

5. Books - a - Million: This is for those of you who aren't near the city. A dying breed, these stores are sprinkled around the east coast, from the mid-Atlantic to New England. They have an enormous selection of books as the name implies, but they also have a wonderful selection of games, toys...and theater stuff! It's the only store where you can get the OBCR of Avenue Q on vinyl, and they have many other cast recordings on vinyl, too. Of course, you can go online from anywhere, too:

4. Triton Gallery: A few years ago, this place would have been at the top of my list. Man, do I miss their quaint little store across from the Hirschfeld Theatre... but their new little space is fine, if not a little difficult to get to. It's in a mid-block office building, with sign-in security. But the space itself is fun - window cards adorn every inch of wall space, and it is library quiet. The personal service is excellent; they pack your purchases nicely.

  • Address: 690 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor (between 43rd and 44th Streets)
  • Phone: 212-765-2472
  • Store Hours: They vary weekly
  • Online:

3. One Shubert Alley: The one that started it all! It's tiny. More than 4 customers at once makes it crowded. But it is amazing how they utilize every inch of space (even the floor!) to offer a big selection of theater goodies!  And it is convenient - Shubert Alley really is the heart of Broadway.

  • Address: 222 West 45th Street
  • Phone: 212-944-4133; phone orders: 212-391-7075 9 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday
  • Store Hours: 10 AM - 11 PM, Monday - Saturday, 12 PM - 6:30 PM, Sundays
  • Online:

2. Theater Circle: Sister store to One Shubert Alley, this place is probably four times as big, with a selection to match. Be sure to go to the back room for bargains and hundreds of play scripts, musical librettos and theater books. They also have a big selection of cast recordings on CD, window cards, programs and other memorabilia.

  • Address: 268 West 44th Street, #1
  • Phone: 212-391-7075
  • Store Hours: 10 AM - 11 PM, Monday - Saturday, 12 PM - 7 PM, Sundays
  • Online:

1. Drama Book Shop: Sadly, it looks like this one won't be on next year's list, as the place is closing in early 2019, after over 100 years in business. The owners say they hope to re-open in another location, so let's be optimistic. This is the place to find scripts, librettos and theater related books. The selection is enormous - lots of rarities and obscure titles - and they can find you just about anything you need. They have lots of events, too. And their store windows are always great, loving tributes to current and historic productions. Get there before you can't anymore!

  • Address: 250 West 40th Street, #1
  • Phone: 212-944-0595; phone orders: 212-391-7075 9 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday
  • Store Hours: 10 AM - 7 PM, Monday - Saturday, 10 AM - 8 PM, Thursdays, 12 PM - 6 PM, Sundays
  • Online:

Happy shopping! And happy holidays to all of you!

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