31 Days of Holiday Cheer Exclusive: Norm Lewis Performs ‘The Christmas Song’ | Playbill

Holiday Coverage 31 Days of Holiday Cheer Exclusive: Norm Lewis Performs ‘The Christmas Song’

The Broadway star stopped by Playbill Studios to sing the perennial classic, previewing his upcoming holiday concert with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Every day this December, Playbill will be getting into the spirit of the season with some of our favorite Broadway stars for our 31 Days of Holiday Cheer series. Check in daily for videos of iconic holiday tunes, including some new songs about Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s.

Norm Lewis is the king of Christmas in New York City. Having graced the stages of major Broadway and West End productions over the last 30 years, Lewis is beloved in the theatre world—perhaps even more so around the holidays. In recent years, Lewis has recorded his own holiday album, The Norm Lewis Christmas Album, and has had a holiday residency at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Since his first-ever holiday show at Broadway’s intimate supper club in December 2015, the performer has dazzled audiences with his dulcet Baritone voice, singing joyful Broadway tunes and triumphant Christmas classics.

This Christmas season, Lewis is upsizing. Transitioning from an intimate three-piece band to a grand, one hundred-piece orchestra, he will perform as a solo-billing artist alongside The New York Pops in The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis, running December 22–23 at the legendary Carnegie Hall. “54 Below is my living room, [but] Carnegie Hall is basically my mansion,” he says. “The grandeur, the history and the prestige…I’m just so excited. It’s going to be a fun night.”

The performer—who has been featured in a number of front-running shows, including The Phantom of the Opera, The Little Mermaid, and Les Misérables—says that performing within the historic halls of Carnegie Hall is momentous. “When you tell people that you’re singing at Carnegie Hall, they go, ‘Oh, you must be somebody special,'” Lewis confides. “It has such an amazing history and legacy of people who have performed there…it’s an honor to be one of them.”

Lewis stopped by Playbill Studios to preview his upcoming concert, giving an exclusive performance of the holiday classic, "The Christmas Song." "It just encapsulates everything you want to say —believing in Santa, and the tree, and the mistletoe—and just makes you want to wish people a Merry Christmas,” he says. “There’s something so beautiful about it being so simple.” Even though he will be singing to an audience of nearly 3,000 people, Lewis feels that this song has the simplicity to make you feel like you are sitting in his living room for an intimate evening of fireside song.

But at Carnegie Hall, Lewis is in the living room of The New York Pops. “They’re very welcoming, because I’m their guest in their house…even though I’m the feature, I’m really their guest,” he acknowledges. “I’ve developed a great family with The New York Pops.” Having made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall last year, Lewis is thrilled to reunite in collaboration with the orchestra’s artistic director, Steven Reineke. “First of all, thank God it was a successful show the first time,” Lewis joked. “He and I have developed a great friendship. And for him to ask me to come back…I’m just so happy and honored.” 

Music has become a holiday tradition for the Broadway star. And he's discovered a newfound family in Reineke and The New York Pops to spend this Christmas season with. When Lewis is back home with his blood family over the holidays, though, music is food. “When I’m able to get home to Atlanta to be with my sister and my brother, and sometimes cousins come over, everything is food,” he says. “Just like music connects everyone, I think food does the same thing.” From fried turkey to collard greens and cornbread, Lewis’ family’s holiday specialty is soul food. “And the candied yams or sweet potato pie is definitely my favorite,” he says.

Still, Lewis’ absolute favorite part about the holiday season is the palpable feeling of human kindness. “There’s more of a spirit of giving, opening doors for people, or people wishing you a happy holiday who probably normally wouldn’t even say hello to you,” he says. “There’s a spirit of, for a lack of a better term, ‘niceness’ in the air. It lasts only for a few weeks, but at least it comes.” Lewis smiles in reflection, beaming at the thought. “That’s what I look forward to.”

For tickets and more information about The New York Pops’ The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis at Carnegie Hall, visit CarnegieHall.org.

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