New York | 2h 0m | Already closed

Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show

From 17 critic and 116 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy, Funny, Disappointing

About the show

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are reuniting live on Broadway — to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of their record-setting “American Idol” finale with a Christmas spectacular full of theatrics, music, and laughter. More…

Enjoy an evening of holiday classics as they unwrap some of their old time favorites and some newfound gems. A night of songs and sketches harkening back to the days of Dean Martin, Andy Williams, and Carol Burnett.

2h 0m | Already closed | Imperial Theatre (Midtown W)


"Sweet and sincere, modestly-produced entertainment...Despite the show's ‘American Idol’ pedigree, the style here is enthused musical comedy belting and everyone gets a moment or two to shine...Aiken is the more energized star...displaying a fine knack for comedy. Studdard is low-key...but he's definitely in his element...beautifully crooning in his soft r&b style...’Ruben & Clay’ doesn't claim to be sophisticated or flashy...but it's sincere and pleasant." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

“A new holiday show for all ages...Features a fast-paced selection of seasonal songs, silly skits, and...their tongue-in-cheek rivalry, along with a serious message about finding the true meaning of the yuletide spirit in hope, love, friendship, and giving...Presented in the format of an old-fashioned TV variety show, with vintage-style humor and pop-culture references...Though not all of the intended humor hits the mark, there’s a lot of corny laughs and goofy fun." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"A warm ‘n witty two hour holiday show...Ruben and Clay both rib and support each other and exhibit an earnest rapport, as they make their way (at times awkwardly) through a host of comedic skits and running gags…some better than others. But the real treat here is when they sing...The show could stand a trimming. If it were 90 minutes, no intermission, with a focus on doing what they do best, this singing duo might evolve over time into a slick holiday crooning team." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The Pageant is cute, playing to their respective strengths and personalities...The pageant has the feel of 1970s television variety shows as rendered by Sonny and Cher or the Brady Bunch kids. It’s laden with cheesy jokes and good ones too...The comedy definitely feels burdensome – especially as the evening is a two act when 90 minutes would suffice...The price of admission is worth it just for the singing. The comedy is corny and goofy but it’s an amiable evening." Full Review

The New York Times

"Studdard and Aiken try to upstage each other in a showbiz arms race that’s cheeseball, and very funny...Aiken has an impish mien and a quick wit. Studdard is laid back to the point of impassivity, and his no-presence presence makes his singing all the more stunning...The two stars get solid support from the game cast...Unfortunately, it backloads all the sentimental stuff after intermission, and has a tougher time dealing with the reflective, spiritual side of the holidays." Full Review


“Virtually every Christmas song in existence is wonderfully performed...Studdard and Aiken exhibit their renowned powerful singing, personability and a delightful rapport...Arpino and Joyce’s script is a skillful assembly of retro genre conceits linked by old-time humor with dashes of emotion. Tessero’s expert direction and Shriver’s snappy staging contribute smooth pacing and momentum...’Ruben & Clay’ is a prime opportunity for those seeking a merry diversion." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The opening number is genuinely engaging. And throughout the show Studdard—and particularly Aiken—try their best to make the material work, using every firework in their arsenal during lushly orchestrated solos and duets...While the lazy writing might suggest this is a cash grab, it does have a genuine charitable purpose. Overall, fans of Studdard and Aiken will be enthralled; everyone else might find Ruben and Clay merely an agreeable, if forgettable, holiday entertainment." Full Review

On Stage Blog

"Panders and meanders its way through a muddy mix of Christmas songs and jokes, that equal parts put you in the holiday spirit as they do put you to sleep...This show delivers you the perfect nostalgia kick to 2003—if that’s what you’re looking for. Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard have nothing short of electrifying voices...Ultimately, the songs and velvet voices of the stars will leave you filled with warmth and good-will toward all." Full Review


“For those that remember and care to reminisce about Studdard and Aiken...this ‘first annual’ Christmas Show might be something worth taking the entire family to, but anyone else expecting a razzle-dazzle Broadway seasonal extravaganza will be disappointed...Both men still have fantastic voices, and Aiken’s is particularly soaring and suitable for live theater...They would be wise to add a bit more glitz to make everything more 'spectacular' and trim the padding if they return." Full Review


"Pads the proceedings with intentionally cheesy sketch comedy, corny banter and, more successfully, thoughtful personal nostalgia...Neither Aiken nor Studdard have anywhere close to the comedic chops needed to pull off something like this...Musically, 'Ruben & Clay' is on surer footing, with Studdard’s silky R&B and gospel takes on the holiday tunes mixing very well with Aiken’s more Broadway-belting style...and the two make for fine carolers (as do their perky back-up revelers)." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"These men both have soul, can sing and have fan bases, so why not the Beacon Theatre and a fabulous concert? Instead we get a mediocre show, that is not Broadway caliber...It truly seems this show was put together with no money and not enough rehearsal time. Also when you are as weighed down with such an amateurish script, nothing is going to make it work." Full Review


“An evening of skits and scenes, performed by two artists who won the hearts of 40 million people 15 years ago...Thankfully, time has not withered their voices, and their personal performance styles complement each other onstage...There is an astounding amount of padding within this show's inexplicable two-plus hour duration. Similarly, the transitions are sloppy, the design is cartoonish, and the painfully unfunny.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Overlong, amateurish and under-rehearsed. That being said, there is the kernel of something really workable in there, in the persons of Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard...The best moments in the show happen in the second act when onstage Ruben and Clay serenade video Ruben and Clay...You feel their authenticity...A smaller space would solve some of the problems...This is a cabaret show that should be 90 minutes maximum with no intermission." Full Review

New York Theater

“Like a trip to the moon, since so much of ‘Ruben & Clay’s' made of cheese...The two still have strong voices — if anything, their singing has improved. But there is less of it in their show than one might have expected...The singing duties are shared by other cast members, and the music is interspersed with so many lame skits and silly jokes and sentimental videos...It feels like a TV show – one with low ratings in a lesser market.” Full Review

Broadway News

“While Studdard and Aiken still possess impressive voices, they may have been a bit late in sending out invitations to their reunion party...Their comic banter mostly has the strained and saggy feeling of, artificially crafted comic banter...There’s cheesy and there’s cheesy...This show’s relentless barrage of mostly witless badinage and engorging seasonal cheer is enough to send even the most lactose-tolerant fleeing up the aisles.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"A reunion for which no one was clamoring...Writers Arpino and Joyce vainly attempt to have their stars (and their five backup singers, who should be earning battle pay for gamely managing to smile throughout) deliver comedy sketches as well as holiday music. But the material is truly cringeworthy...While Aiken has some decent comic chops, Studdard is simply adrift, delivering his lines in a stiff monotone....It's a shame, because both Aiken and Studdard have lovely voices." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Aiken is the far more animated performer...Studdard seems markedly lower in energy...but his gospel-style baritone vocals remain downy in sound. Their musicianship is more about bravura singing than interpreting the sentiments of songs; they shoot for the big, lasting notes rather than explore any emotional nuances within the lyrics...There tends to be a muchness about such performances when they mostly involve vocal flash while offering scant heart.” Full Review

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Christmas-y

See it if you enjoy holiday fun and music and the serious side of the Season, too.

Don't see it if you don't partake of Holiday joy

Also ...especially for Clay Aiken fans, which there seems to be a large gro... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if you just want to enjoy a simple christmas show with people you know and love

Don't see it if you're looking for a story - this is just a bunch of christmas songs with a big charity push in the second act.

Delightful, Entertaining, Must see, Refreshing

See it if you are a fan of Clay and Ruben and love christmastime and christmas music. See it if you’ll enjoy a few laughs along with a few tears.

Don't see it if you think christmas music is cheesy.

Delightful, Great singing

See it if you were a fan of theirs on American Idol. Want to see a cute holiday performance to get in the mood and then go see the tree.

Don't see it if my only issue was with the sound/light issues. They cut some numbers because they couldn't get it going. Felt like it was missing a piece.

Great singing, Delightful, Entertaining, Must see if you love christmas songs

See it if you love Christmas songs or if you're a fan of Ruben and Clay. If you want to get in the Christmas spirit and hear some great singing, go!

Don't see it if you're a Grinch or Scrooge. Otherwise, you can't help but have a good time.

Also I almost skipped this show because of my horrible experience last year... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Funny

See it if you enjoy wonderful Christmas songs mixed with a delightful Christmas theme.

Don't see it if you are tired of the exploitation of the Christmas Holiday.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Refreshing

See it if you want to hear two great singing voices of our time in a delightful celebration of the holiday season.

Don't see it if you want a more traditional musical (there is no actual story line).

Enchanting, Quirky, Great singing, Funny, Cheesy

See it if Like a variety show all about Christmas.

Don't see it if Do not like Christmas, hear music about it

Also Went for its a Christmas show for fun. It was fun with singing wonderf... Read more Read less

Ruben & clay pay day

See it if A fun holiday show that feels intimate for Bway with minimal patronage.

Don't see it if You hate Xmas shows or have a heart of stone.

Also R & C earn their pay and their chemistry is immense. As with last year... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if you're a fan of Ruben & Clay, or even if you're not! Cheerful, funny, festive Good Fun for all! I'm not a huge fan and i loved the show!

Don't see it if you dont like cheezy (in a good way) funny musicals.

Also I had really low expectations going into the show after reading some o... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Cheesy, Fun, Fluffy, Cliched

See it if you want this to be EXACTLY what you’d expect: cheesy, hokey, 70s-variety-show-style holiday corn, featuring the Idol duo America fell for.

Don't see it if you’re expecting a Broadway caliber show. This is like your hometown dinner theater’s lovable if hastily thrown together Christmas pageant.

Also I’m not a fan of Christmas shows in general, so this one actively lamp... Read more Read less

Funny, Great singing, Great staging

See it if The older I get,the more I love shows like this. Yes it's cheesy but sweet. Great singing and staging,helped me to get in a festive mood.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear silly jokes and different variations of Christmas songs.

Great singing, Quirky, Fluffy, Insipid, Entertaining

See it if You like Ruben and Clay. You want family friendly. You will laugh at a bad jokes just to be polite. You are a good ole Christian.

Don't see it if You want a well written show. Want a good set, script and overall production. With all that said. I had a good time and I was entertained.

Entertaining, Cliched, Ambitious, Fluffy, Dated

See it if you are a fan of Clay and Ruben, and also Xmas music. They did a great job singing. The comedy acts were not funny.

Don't see it if you are looking for a Broadway production. This is a Xmas song show that tries to do too much.

Also Some of the jokes were just bad or over the top. They were trying to b... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Delightful, Refreshing

See it if you're a fan of either Ruben or Clay. Both are in great voice as are the 5 ensemble members. The ensemble is heavily involved in the show.

Don't see it if you're expecting great theater. This variety show exceeded my expectation which wasn't very high. I was entertained with great X'mas tunes.

Good, cheesy fun and lots of charm

See it if Ruben & Clay play off each other well. Their ensemble of 3 girls and 2 boys are wonderful singers and dancers. Lots of Christmas songs.

Don't see it if Loads of fun, though not top Broadway production values. There is a religious aspect to some of the program. Bway debuts for Ken and Julian!

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if Like Christmas shows and songs

Don't see it if You don't like Clay and Ruben

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Put's you in the holiday mode!

See it if I thought it was really cute, they both have amazing voices , i know it was silly but i enjoyed it!

Don't see it if If you do not like comedy mixed with holiday celebration

Cliched, Disappointing, Fluffy

See it if You want light holiday entertainment with bad sweaters, sweet banter, amazing voices and you want to feel the love between Ruben & Clay

Don't see it if you expect to sing along to popular holiday songs. I knew very few! If you are looking for good sets and anything more than fluff & kitsch

Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You're a Ruben or Clay fan or like old-time variety shows.

Don't see it if You want something more than a light Christmas show. The show is mostly Clay and Ruben performing Christmas music.

Entertaining, Dated, Great singing, Insipid

See it if You enjoy great singing with lots of holiday songs.

Don't see it if You don't like corny jokes, and blase acting (Ruben).

Fluffy, Great blended voices, It's just a xmas family show, Why not?, Meaningless holiday fun

See it if you are willing to simply enjoy a great office party talent show with 2 worthy voices with 2 great duets in Act 2. Unremarkable but fun.

Don't see it if you cannot get over your jaded, cynical, bah-humbug, NYC self. Very cheesy with 5 smiley backup singers. 2 hrs w/intermission is a bit long

Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if First act moved fast very entertaining Second act moved slow boring except for last number

Don't see it if do not like XMAS

Entertaining, Funny




Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if you love Clay and Ruben. They still sound fantastic

Don't see it if you don't like over the top silliness

Cast & Creatives (15)