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Twelve Months Til Christmas

For most people, the holiday season is over and done with. Christmas decorations have been put back into storage, the tree has been disposed of, and New Year's resolutions are probably starting to crumble in the face of reality.
For arts entrepreneurs, however, the situation is quite different. If their plans are not already set in stone, now is the time of year when they try to figure out what they can do to boost box office sales in December of 2011.
For some people, it's a no-brainer:
  • Ballet companies have December blocked off as Nutcracker season.
  • Symphony orchestras and choral groups know that December is the season for performances of Handel's Messiah.
  • Gospel performances of Black Nativity will no doubt be held in several cities.
  • Numerous performances of The Santaland Diaries (by David Sedaris) will dot the cultural landscape.
  • The Rockettes will undoubtedly appear in another Christmas spectacle at Radio City Music Hall.
  • Some regional opera companies may be considering a production of Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel.
  • Nearly a dozen cities will stage some version of the Christmas Revels.
  • Many regional theatre companies will revive their productions of A Christmas Carol.
  • The Kinsey Sicks will probably be performing their holiday show, Oy Vey In A Manager in some unlucky major metropolis.

While limited-run productions of shows like Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Elf pop up from time to time, a recent posting by Jason Zinoman in the ArtsBlog that appears in the New York Times bemoaned the lack of sentimental new works that could beef up December's box office receipts. As Zinoman explained: