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Enjoy these heartwarming Christmas favorites with your family

Enjoy these heartwarming Christmas favorites

Get ready to be regaled by some sumptuous musicals and joyful films

It’s time to ring the Christmas bells again! And one of the best ways to make the most of the festive cheer is to get cozy with a mug of delicious hot cocoa and enjoy delightful entertainment from around the world in your living room. Luckily, even in the streaming era, several platforms are revisiting traditional holiday favorites and nostalgia-evoking Christmas specials and musicals. Here is our pick of some yuletide classics that can regale you and your family with heartwarming and wholesome stories.

Billy Elliot: The Musical Live

‘Billy Elliot: The Musical Live’ is the filmed version of Elton John’s classic coming-of-age stage narrative. Directed by Stephen Daldry and Brett Sullivan, the musical features Elliot Hanna, Ruthie Henshall, and Deka Walmsley in lead roles. Brought to Indian Televison by Zee Theatre, the narrative of this special presentation is set in a bleak English mining town during the 1984 miner’s strike, focusing on the trials and triumphs of a boy who chooses ballet over boxing. The Broadway production of ‘Billy Elliot’ garnered 15 Tony Award nominations in 2009, captivating over 10 million viewers and earning more than 80 theatre awards globally. Recognized by TIME Magazine as the ‘Best Musical of the Decade’ in 2010, it continues to amass millions of devoted fans.
Airing on: Tata Play Theatre on December 25

The Polar Express

Set against the backdrop of Christmas Eve, this animated adventure fantasy film is adapted from Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 children’s book of the same name. Tom Hanks takes on multiple roles in the film, alongside supporting actors Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen. The film is directed by iconic director Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the screenplay with William Broyles Jr. Combining live action with motion capture computer animation, ‘The Polar Express’ remains a holiday classic, captivating audiences with its heartwarming narrative of a boy who hops on a mysterious train and discovers the miracles that only faith can manifest.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video and Jio Cinema

The Sound of Music Live!

Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, this musical is an adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 Broadway musical, ‘The Sound of Music’—which is  based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir, ‘The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.’  ‘The Sound of Music’ has been a resounding hit since its first Broadway production was unveiled in 1959 while the 1965 cinematic adaptation was the highest-grossing film of that year. This musical retells how Maria Rainer,  the governess of the von Trapp children falls in love with their father Captain von Trapp at a time when the Nazis were tightening their control over Austria. American Idol winner Carrie Underwood stars as Maria while  Stephen Moyer, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, and Audra McDonald play key roles. Showcased on Indian Television by Zee Theatre, ‘The Sound of Music Live!’ is directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford.
Where to watch: Tata Play Theatre on December 25

Peter Pan Live!

This live musical production is based on the fantasy tale created by the famous Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. The enduring story of Peter Pan, a boy who wouldn’t grow up and lives in Neverland, has inspired numerous versions across decades, spanning animation, live-action, and theatrical interpretations. The musical premiered on Indian Television courtesy Zee Theatre,  and stars Academy Award winner Christopher Walken as the main antagonist Captain Hook, while Critics’ Choice Award nominee Allison Williams plays Peter Pan. Directed by Rob Ashford and Glenn Weiss, Peter Pan Live! was seen in its original airing on December 4, 2014 by 9.21 million viewers, making it the most-watched program of the night across major networks.

Airing on: Dish TV Rangmanch Active & D2H Rangmanch Active on December 25

Chillar Party

‘Chillar Party’ won the National Award for Best Children’s Film in 2011 and may not be a conventional Christmas favourite but it can undoubtedly entertain both children and adults with its timeless message of empathy and kindness. It revolves around a group of children who with sheer grit and determination defy the nefarious designs of a politician and protect a dog they have fallen in love with. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari and Vikas Bahl, ‘Chillar Party’ also garnered praise for the performances of its child actors. The cast included Shriya Sharma, Irfan Khan, and Sanath Menon among others.

Where to watch: Netflix

Hairspray Live!

This television special directed by Kenny Leon and Alex Rudzinski, is a celebrated rendition of the 2002 Broadway musical, ‘Hairspray,’ which in turn was based on John Waters’s 1988 comedy of the same name. Set in Baltimore around 1962, the story focuses on teenager Tracy Turnblad, whose dream is to dance on ‘The Corny Collins Show’, a local TV program. Along the way, however, she must defy prejudice and inspire others to be their most authentic selves. Infused with captivating tunes by composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the musical features Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad. Brought to Indian Television audiences by Zee Theatre, the stellar cast of “Hairspray Live!” also includes Harvey Fierstein, Martin Short, Jennifer Hudson, Garrett Clayton, and Ariana Grande.
Airing on: Airtel Theatre on December 25