Fifty years ago, on December 9, 1965, CBS broadcast what was to become an all-time holiday favorite, Charles M. Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. The twenty-five-minute animated program was directed by Walt Disney and Warner Bros. veteran Bill Melendez and featured a jazzy score by the Vince Guaraldi Trio that quickly became part of the national lexicon. The golden anniversary of the television show, which focuses on the noncommercial aspects of the Christmas season, is being celebrated with several special events this month, following the November release of the big-screen Peanuts Movie, in which Charlie Brown declares, “I just need to know the secret for doing something great.” A Brooklyn staple for seven years, A Charlie Brown Christmas Live is moving from the Lyceum to Redwood Studios in Gowanus, being performed December 11-13 and 18-20 ($12), with adults Justin Tyler as Charlie Brown, Gillian Smith-Esposito as Lucy, Susan Forman and Lauren Orkus as Snoopy, and Alden Ford, Doug Aho, and Sean Bradley as Linus; the show is directed by Mollie Vogt-Welch, with music by Stephanie Sanders on keyboards and Jon Shaw on bass. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can catch A Charlie Brown Christmas in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on December 19 & 20 ($45-$80), with the big-screen projection accompanied by an inventive live musical score by the Rob Schwimmer Trio, followed by an audience sing-along of holiday tunes. Tickets include museum admission, so you can also check out the Met’s Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche while you’re there.
Over at David Geffen Hall, the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet and the Canadian Brass join together again for the twentieth annual Holiday Brass concert on December 13 ($49-$69), consisting of tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas as well as a Chanukah medley, Bach’s Bells, “Penny Lane,” “Joy to the World,” and other holiday songs, performed with the New York Philharmonic Percussionists. The festivities continue December 20 at the Carnegie Hall Family Holiday Concert, as music director and conductor Steven Reineke and the New York Pops play A Charlie Brown Christmas and sing-along favorites with the TADA! Youth Theater, Essential Voices USA, and members of the New York Theatre Ballet. But you don’t need any tickets to see Macy’s Herald Square Christmas windows, which depict six scenes, designed by Roya Sullivan, from the classic Charlie Brown Christmas show, with interactive elements that allow visitors to play Schroeder’s piano and to add their own character to the celebration. The windows will remain on view through January 4; you can see all the windows here.