PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Robin De Jesus, Lilli Cooper, Ariana DeBose and Gioia to the World Cast Pick Belty Holiday Songs | Playbill

Playlist PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Robin De Jesus, Lilli Cooper, Ariana DeBose and Gioia to the World Cast Pick Belty Holiday Songs Gioia to the World: My Holiday Hell, a holiday edition of Bitching and Belting that will be hosted by staff writer Michael Gioia, will be held Dec. 6 at 54 Below. In anticipation of the concert, the cast and creative team pick their faorite belty holiday songs as part of this week's Playbill Playlist.
Lilli Cooper
Lilli Cooper

The concert will be held Dec. 6 at 11:30 PM. It will be directed by Yvette Kojic and feature music direction by Benjamin Rauhala.

Performers include Gioia, two-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesus (In the Heights, La Cage aux Folles), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening, Wicked), Julia Mattison (Godspell), Tommy Bracco (Newsies), Adam Kaplan (Newsies), Ariana DeBose (Pippin), Ariana Groover (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Tommy McDowell (American Idiot national tour), Nicole Hale (Debbie Does Dallas), Lauren Renahan, Karen Agatep, Stefanie Miller (Debbie Does Dallas) and Anthony Crouchelli.

Here's how the evening is billed: "Who proclaimed this the most wonderful time of the year? We know you’re cold, stressed out and broke, so make your way out to 54 Below, where things heat up with glasses of spiked eggnog and a handful of bad-ass Broadway belters. From the team who brought you the sold-out sensation Bitching and Belting: An Evening with Michael Gioia and Friends, Gioia to the World promises to be an unforgettable night where no complaint is too small and no note is too high — holiday style! Join Michael Gioia (who hosted Playbill's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know LIVE! in January) and his Broadway faves for a set list of the sassiest songs, most dangerous duets and, of course, some holiday beer (err… cheer!). The cold never bothered us anyway."

Kojic co-produces alongside Gioia, and Rochel Saks is the evening's stage manager.

54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. There is a $25 cover charge plus a two-drink minimum. For more information and tickets, call (646) 476-3551 or visit

Robin De Jesus: Ledisi's version of "Children Go Where I Send Thee." It's all about musicality with Ledisi, but she is also a vocal pyrotechnician! She starts the song super chill and tame, but by the end your face is glued to the wall with your cheeks blown apart… and not the ones on your face. She does it all with loads of class and above all joy! #obsessed

Lilli Cooper: "All I Want For Christmas Is You"! It's one of those songs that I'll always listen to no matter what time of the year! And "Love Actually" is my favorite holiday movie!

Ariana DeBose: "Do You Hear What I Hear?" The Whitney version is my everything! It's doesn't get more big and glorious than that!

Adam Kaplan: "All I Want For Christmas is You." This Jew watches "Love Actually" every year, and who doesn't love this scene in the movie? Go Liam Neeson's son, jamming on the drums! You get your girl!

Ariana Groover: My favorite Christmas belt is "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." It's kind of like playing the dozens, except it's in a Christmas song! Haha!

Michael Gioia: If we're talking about favorite belty holiday songs, I obviously have to go with the entire Mariah Carey Christmas album. But, if we're just picking one, it's Mariah's "Joy to the World." That chorus in the background is everything… and it just leaves room for Mariah riffs and whistle tones galore! This CD helped shape my Christmas childhood. "Miss You Most (at Christmas Time)" was tragic for me to listen to… So we'll just belt our lonely holiday sorrows out at Gioia to the World: My Holiday Hell!

Nicole Hale: My favorite holiday song is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," after I saw Judy Garland sing it in "Meet Me in St. Louis." Judy's version is capable of moving me to tears every time, and it's always a good time when I'm simultaneously weeping and attempting to belt it out with her.

Karen Agatep: "Christmas Eve" by Celine Dion because Celine is LIFE. #AskAboutMyCelineImpression

Tommy McDowell: My favorite belty holiday song? "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" — but up the octave because that's where it shreds. Haha.

Lauren Renahan: "Opera Of The Bells" (Destiny's Child). Because every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings. When these ladies sing this song, I feel surrounded by angels!

Stefanie Miller: If you want a sexy elf/little Jewish girl's favorite, weird Christmas jam, it's got to be "Soulful Christmas" from James Brown's "Funky Christmas" album. Picking a favorite is a toss up between that track and "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto."

Yvette Kojic: One of my favorite holiday songs is "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by *N Sync. Back in my teenybopper days, my dad drove me four hours (to Orlando and back) to get special wristbands to attend a TV taping of an Epcot Christmas special featuring *N Sync later in the week. We ended up in the VIP section. I wore my cute, little, pink, sparkly Santa hat and went with my dad and met some friends there. I was so excited to see myself on TV when I aired, except they never showed me… Just my dad. #merrychristmas

Benjamin Rauhala: Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like my favorite belty holiday tune — Britney Spears' infectious "My Only Wish (This Year)." Released on Nov. 27, 2000, "My Only Wish (This Year)" was featured as the lead track on the compilation album "Platinum Christmas," which also included contributions from Christina Aguilera, *N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. In the lyrics, Spears has only wish for Santa Claus: "I want my baby, baby. I want someone to love me, someone to hold." As she asks, "Santa, can you hear me?," single folk such as myself cannot help but feel a spark of Christmas magic ignite in their hearts. While never released as an official single, the track has become a mainstay of holiday radio for the past 14 years and has become a modern classic. You better belt, Britney!

Rochel Saks: Belty holiday song? "No Good Deed" is always the answer.

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