It may still be too early to declare it the start of the holiday season, but in the world of Hallmark, the official Countdown to Christmas has begun. Hallmark Channel’s annual roll-out of Christmas movies kicked off on Friday, October 22, and plenty of Broadway veterans have made their way into this year's whopping 41 new movies. Take a look at who you'll be able to catch in some of these cozy romcoms in the coming weeks.
Title: Christmas in Harmony (Premiering Friday, October 29)
Plot: "Harmony is tricked into auditioning for the Holiday Chorus —directed by an ex-boyfriend. By Christmas Eve, they could be harmonizing in the key of love."
Look out for: Loretta Devine, Michelle Williams
Josie and the Pussycats singer Ashleigh Murray leads the cast of this musical movie. But with any luck we'll also get some vocals from Loretta Devine, who played Lorrell Robinson in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, and Michelle Williams—Destiny's Child icon and Broadway veteran (Aida, Chicago, Once on This Island).
Title: Next Stop, Christmas (Saturday, November 6)
Plot: "Angie wonders what her life would be like if she had married a former boyfriend who became a famous sportscaster. She takes the train home to spend Christmas with her family and inexplicably finds herself 10 years in the past. With the advice of the train's enigmatic conductor, Angie has the chance to revisit that Christmas and learn what –and who –is truly important to her."
Look out for: Christopher Lloyd
Not only is this Broadway veteran and seasoned Shakespearean actor gracing this year's Christmas movie lineup—he's doing it alongside his Back to the Future costar Lea Thompson. Don't forget about that new musical, now running in the West End.
Title: A Christmas Treasure (Sunday, November 7)
Plot: "After opening a 100-year-old time capsule and meeting a charming chef, Lou questions whether or not she should move to New York after Christmas and further her writing career."
Look out for: Jordin Sparks
It doesn’t sound like this American Idol winner will be singing either with or to her "charming chef," but we'll get to see some of the acting chops Sparks brought to Broadway as Nina in In the Heights and as Jenna in Waitress.
Title: A Kiss Before Christmas (Sunday, November 21)
Plot: "When nice-guy Ethan casually wishes his life had taken a different course, he wakes up the next day to find nothing is the same—he's not married to his wife Joyce, he doesn't have two teenaged kids, and he's CEO of his company. If he wants to reclaim his original life and the family he loves, he must convince Joyce he's telling the truth and win her over...and he only has until Christmas Day."
Look out for: Marilu Henner
There's no telling who Henner is playing in this cautionary Christmas tale. But we're sure she'll be worth watching, just as she is every time she sets foot onstage. Her Broadway credits include Over Here!, Pal Joey, Chicago, Social Security, and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife—but never forget her most important role as the original pre-Broadway Marty in Grease. She went on tour with the role instead of opening the Broadway production, but she eventually took her rightful place as a Pink Lady on Broadway.
Title: Christmas in Tahoe (Sunday, November 28)
Plot: "To save her family hotel's Christmas show, talent booker Claire must ask for help from her ex- boyfriend Ryan, the lead guitarist of a now-famous band that fired her as their manager years ago."
Look out for: Laura Osnes, Kyle Selig
Train frontman Pat Monahan and comedian George Lopez also headline this holiday offering, but Broadway stars Laura Osnes (Cinderella, Bandstand) and Kyle Selig (Mean Girls) take top billing. With Osnes leading the movie as Claire, and 29-year-old Selig (who only just stopped playing a teenager on Broadway) as her famous ex-boyfriend Ryan, we couldn't possibly be dealing with as distant a romantic history as the plot summary suggests. But who can say what time is when you're operating in Hallmark years.
Title: Eight Gifts of Hanukkah (Friday, December 3)
Plot: "A woman journeys to find her secret admirer during Hanukkah."
Look out for: Jake Epstein
It’s one of the thinner plot descriptions, but…surprise! A Hanukkah movie made it into Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas! Jake Epstein, who originated the role of Gerry Goffin in Beautiful The Carole King Musical, stars opposite Israeli actress Inbar Lavi, presumably as the secret admirer in question. It promises to be a very goyishe Hanukkah, but hopefully one that includes a romantic game of dreidel and a latke mishap that brings these two lovebirds together around the menorah.