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Theatre lovers' 2021 Christmas gift guide

Looking for inspiration for presents for those theatrical friends this year?

Ben Forster and Kimberley Walsh in Elf the Musical
© Tristram Kenton

It's officially the most wonderful time of the year and the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! So, it begs the obvious question: have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?

If you're struggling to find a gift for the theatre lovers in your life this festive season, then WhatsOnStage has got you covered. Here are 20 theatre-themed recommendations that Buddy the Elf himself would be proud of...

1. Kristin Chenoweth: Happiness is...Christmas!

The Tony Award-winning Broadway favourite released her latest Christmas album at the end of October, giving us all plenty of time to get into the festive spirit. We've got a feeling this one is gonna be "Popular" this year!

2. Tickets to the 22nd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards

We may be a little biased, but we can't think of a better night out in the New Year than a trip to the 22nd annual WhatsOnStage Awards, to be held on Sunday 27 February 2022 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the heart of the West End. Tickets went on sale yesterday.

3. Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story

This year DK published a new edition of "Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story" and it features a foreword by the one and only Elaine Paige. This is the encyclopedia for musical theatre aficionados!

4. The Shows Must Go On! Ultimate Musicals Collection Box Set

Remember back in the lockdowns when The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel kept us all going with weekly doses of digital theatre? Well, now you can own the entire box set collection, which includes The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, Love Never Dies, Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Miss Saigon, By Jeeves and Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration.

5. 100 Songs Every Theatre Nerd Should Know card game

What better way to have fun with your friends and test your musical theatre knowledge at the same time?! And you can choose between the classic deck and the modern deck of cards depending on your musical tastes (or how long in the tooth you are)!

6. Samantha Barks: Into the Unknown

Samantha Barks, current leading lady of Disney's Frozen, recently cast a spell over musical theatre fans by releasing a fantastic studio album of show tunes, including numbers from the likes of SIX, Dear Evan Hansen, Ghost the Musical and Once.

7. Hamilton and Me: An Actor's Journal by Giles Terera

Featuring a foreword by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, Giles Terera's book is simply a must-have for all you Hamilton fans out there. Released this past summer, the journal is an insightful reflection on the actor's journey to West End stardom and to an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr...sir!

8. WhatsOnStage Theatre Club membership

The London Palladium
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

If you're a member of the WhatsOnStage Theatre Club already, then why not gift a membership to a loved one so you can make theatrical memories together to last a lifetime?

9. My Theatre Memories: Logbook & Journal for the Theatre Shows You've Seen

Speaking of making memories, you could also gift a loved one this journal so they can write down their thoughts on every single show they see! Let the memory live again, as Grizabella would say...

10. West Side Story original motion picture soundtrack (2021)

Somewhere in a friend's Christmas stocking there's a place for a physical copy of the new West Side Story soundtrack, which will be released next Friday, 10 December, as previously reported.

11. Stage Left-Stage Right cosmetic bag

Omigod You Guys! Is this cosmetic bag fit for a drama queen or what?!

12. Don't Keep Clam, Be Dramatic tote bag

And if your dramatic friend needs something to keep their dramatic cosmetic bag in, then look no further than this tote bag with their life motto on it: Don't keep clam, be dramatic!

13. Keep Calm or I'll Use My Theatre Voice hoodie

This hoodie says it all really... in a very loud, theatrical voice, in fact!

14. Dramatic Exchanges: Letters of the National Theatre

This treasure trove of a book is brimming with remarkable behind-the-scenes correspondences between some of the most celebrated actors, directors and playwrights who have ever worked at the National Theatre, including the likes of Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Tom Stoppard and Alan Bennett. And if that wasn't enough already, it also features a foreword by Helen Mirren.

15. tick, tick...Boom! original motion picture soundtrack

Physical copies of the original motion picture soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda's lauded film adaptation of tick, tick...Boom! are available to purchase from today. The semi-autobiographical Jonathan Larson musical features the vocal talents of Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry and more.

16 . In the Heights: Finding Home

In the Heights: Finding Home is a perfect gift for any Lin-Manuel Miranda fan. The book offers an intimate look at the creative process behind the much-loved, Washington Heights-set musical, both on stage and on screen. It reunites Miranda with Jeremy McCarter, co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution, and Quiara Alegría Hudes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist of the Broadway show and screenwriter of the film.

17. Les Misérables: The Staged Concert

The cast recording of Les Misérables: The Staged Concert has just recently been nominated for a Grammy Award but if you gift them a physical copy of the show itself, your friends will not only hear the people sing, they'll be able to see them sing too! The cast is led by Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Matt Lucas.

18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: The Journey: Behind the Scenes of the Award-Winning Stage Production

A perfect present for all your muggle friends, this is the official behind-the-scenes book for the multi-award-winning play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Discover the secrets of this original Potter story that has bewitched theatregoers across the globe.

19. Broadway Musicals colouring book

Need something for the little ones? Why not get them hooked from an early age with this Broadway-themed colouring book?

20. Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), Vol. 1

Finally, we couldn't finish this list without a respectful nod to the late great Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), Vol. 1 was released towards the end of October of this year and includes acoustic renditions of the man's greatest work, from "I'm Still Here" and "Sunday" to "Being Alive" and "Send in the Clowns".