This 2011 holiday season made the incorporation of classic holiday elements a focal point of many television shows and Broadway musicals by using material from the past and adding new and innovative aspects to make them more festive, fun and memorable. The presence of this idea of incorporating classic elements and adding surprising variations was quite dominant in many of the musical holiday shows of 2011. The incredible potency of music throughout this past year allowed many television shows in the genre, and even musicals, to incorporate artistic aspects into their holiday specials, making this 2011 holiday season in entertainment one of the best.
Glee has become one of the most notorious and successful musical shows in the world, thriving in all aspects from album sales to live concert shows. This made it no surprise that Glee was one of the television shows to incorporate the classic elements of the holiday season with fresh and surprising twists. Glee had done a holiday special in the past, but this 2011 holiday episode contained a different atmosphere than the previous holiday episode. The show fills an hour-long time slot, much of which portrayed a black and white Christmas special similar to the holiday classics from the past. The music was reminiscent of the old-time Hollywood Christmas specials and even the dress and talk contained hints of the timeless aspects featured in the holiday classics. Glee, a show known for defying expectations and breaking boundaries, could not let the entire episode relate completely to the classic holiday appeal though. The holiday episode instead took a surprising turn by incorporating elements from the well-known science fiction classic, Star Wars. Overall, Glee’s unique take on a Christmas special was fun, unexpected and full of classic holiday appeal.
The Fox Theatre’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a festive Broadway musical, is a perfect example of incorporating the past and tweaking it to make it even more exciting and relevant to the present. Maintaining the traditional plot line and characters from the classic, the musical contained a youthful and festive atmosphere. One of the obvious changes in relation to the classic included new music. Instead of relying on one or two song and dance numbers, this version of The Grinch introduced countless original numbers that were not featured in either the cartoon or Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Not only were the musical aspects enhanced, but the costumes were more colorful, the characters more humorous, and the stage set more intricate. The Fox’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas successfully incorporated these new and innovative elements to create a fantastic show filled with the perfect amount of classic holiday appeal.
Ringing in the New Year with Dick Clark has become a classic element of the holiday season, and 2011 was no exception. Despite health issues, Clark returned for the 40th annual celebration of the New Year, televised live from Times Square in New York City. The broadcast of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve featured some of the most notable and successful artists from the 2011 music scene including Lady Gaga, Pitbull, and Justin Bieber. The show is a classic thanks to Clark’s annual recap of trends from the concluding year and his famous countdown to midnight and the following proclamation of “Happy New Year!” to millions of viewers around the world.
Change and innovation were certainly present in this years’ show as well though thanks to the inclusion of extravagant and surprising musical performances. One of the unique elements of the show was the performance of Justin Bieber with famed Latin guitarist Carlos Santana. Then what would a musical show be without the over-the-top Lady Gaga, whose multi-pieced outfit was reminiscent of the famed ball that drops at midnight in Times Square. These unique elements of holiday appeal from dominant music artists, accompanied with the time-honored traditions of the countdown and ball drop, made New Years Rockin’ Eve a success once again.
Another annual musical holiday celebration that continues to thrive is Martina McBride’s Home for the Holidays. In the Christmas special the country singer and songwriter shares not only her passion for music, but also her passion for adopting children in foster care. Featuring powerful performances from artists such as OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, and McBride herself, the artists dedicated their performances to the children in need. McBride also included brief testimonials from proud and elated participants that adopted after viewing her past broadcasts. Katherine Heigl, a respected and successful actress, even made an appearance alongside her adopted sister to contribute to McBride’s vital message. Heigl, who has also adopted a daughter with her husband, was not the only celebrity to advocate for McBride’s message though. Fellow Hollywood star Denise Richards, who has adopted a daughter as well, made an appearance to encourage viewers to follow their lead.
McBride’s annual Christmas special featured classic elements of pulling on the viewers’ heartstrings and asking for help in the middle of the most giving and family-oriented holiday season. Home for the Holidays certainly made an impact, presenting the terrible situations countless children face daily and the new lives and opportunities that they are presented with once they are adopted by loving and caring parents. Some of the standout performances that included the aspects of innovative change in 2011 holiday specials were Justin Bieber serenading foster children with his holiday hit “Mistletoe” and Christina Perri’s performance that featured a montage of foster children in need of healthy, happy homes. Accompanying McBride’s message with performances from talented artists and celebrities who also give back and work towards her cause made Home for the Holidays a notable, unique and classically beautiful holiday special.
The classics have always been important, especially in relation to the holiday season, and 2011 made no exception. Using the relevant and powerful appeal of music to present the classic festive elements alongside innovative new takes on the holiday season made 2011’s holiday specials more original, enjoyable and memorable than ever before.