Shopping in Stages - The New York Sun, 11/29/2006

For those who love the stage arts, tickets to shows are always a hit. But for something to go along with those tickets, gift shops at performing arts halls offer items that cater to lovers of opera, classical music, jazz, dance, and more. And in many cases, shoppers can access the gift shops without buying a ticket to a show.

Jazz at Lincoln Center (Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th Street, fifth floor, 212-258-9800) has a new gift shop, accessible without or without a ticket to a performance. Here, you can pick up a Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, or Nat "King" Cole LP signed by jazz legend and JALC artistic director Wynton Marsalis ($100-$200). Those interested in jazz history will find rare books and vintage magazines on the subject. In stock is a first edition of Sidney Bechet's "Treat It Gentle" ($90), as well as old copies of magazines like "Down Beat" ($25) and "Coda" ($5). The shop is staffed by jazz musicians who can help you choose between discs like Diana Krall's 2006 "From This Moment On" ($10) and the deluxe edition of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" ($40).

At the Metropolitan Opera Shop (140 W. 65th St. at Broadway, 212-580-4090, near the box office), gifts of music — such as the "Opera Lover's" CD ($12.98) featuring Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and other greats — are accompanied by a large selection of scarves and jewelry. Among the classics are the pins and earrings inspired by the starburst crystal chandeliers in the opera house. The designs come in sterling silver (earrings, $200) and gold (pendant and chain, $75).

The "Opera Lover's Cookbook: A Guide to Elegant Entertaining" ($35) includes recipes for "Falstaff's Fig and Prosciutto Penne" or "Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies." Filled with colorful photos of classic scenes and mouthwatering dishes, this book is a treat for the eye and — when served with the "Opera Lover" apron ($30) — it might lead to dinner at home.

For relaxing after dinner, there are terrycloth bathrobes inscribed with the word "Diva" or "Maestro." Slippers, traveling cases, and guest towels (all items $20) also come with the same pronouncements to make it clear who's boss at home.

Gifts that celebrate American Ballet Theatre, which performs at the opera house, are also available at the Met's store. ABT's 2006 Souvenir Book of photographs by Fabrizo Ferri ($25) and posters from it ($20) can keep the ballet lover occupied until the season starts again. The book is also available at the ballet's Web site, abt.org.

For new parents, the Performing Arts Shop at Lincoln Center (136 W. 65th St. at Broadway, lower concourse level, 917-441-1197) offers a white "Treble Maker" romper and hat ($31.99) that will keep toddlers in puns. Adults on the naughty list might deserve the "Here Comes Treble" ribbed T-shirt and pajama set ($68).

Also in the lower-level shop are the Wedgwood china ornaments that will decorate Lincoln Center's holiday tree this year. The ornaments in a spire shape with a band of blue are available in limited supply ($40).

For children who are enchanted with New York City Ballet's "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker," there are plenty of related gifts. Dolls made in the likeness of the Sugar Plum Fairy ($129.99) and Marie ($109.99) feature Karinska's costume designs on each 16-inch figure. Also, a video recording of the classic ballet starring Macaulay Culkin as the prince with NYCB is now available on DVD ($21.50).

And who says grown ups need to surrender their dancing dreams? New York City Ballet's workout videos can turn that ballerina-who-never-was into a living room star (VHS $14.95,DVD $24.95).

Merchandise can be purchased at booths in the upstairs lobby during intermissions and on the Web site. During the holidays, the company sets up temporary booths in the main lobby 45 minutes prior to each show. The main lobby is accessible to the public (New York State Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, 212-870-5570, nycballet.com).

Modern dance enthusiasts who enjoy watching the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater can purchase gifts at City Center, while the company is onstage now through December 31, or at www.aileyboutique.com. Boldly silhouetted dancers leap across everything from coffee cups and saucers ($15) to Tshirts ($18 to $20).Yoga pants ($29) and track suits (jacket $42, pants $34) with the Ailey logo can accompany the book "Alvin Ailey Dance Moves! A New Way to Exercise" ($24.95).

Also available is a DVD of PBS's documentary "Beyond the Steps: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater" ($34.95). The filmmakers captured footage of the Ailey crew in several situations: on a visit to Russia, moving into their new Manhattan facility, and working on "Love Stories," a recent ballet by Judith Jamison, Rennie Harris, and Robert Battle.

The shop at Radio City Music Hall is kicking off the season with some new gear (1260 Sixth Ave. at 50th Street, 212-485-7149). A pair of thermal pajama pants ($24) and a matching tank ($20) come with a festive Rockettes print. Inside Radio City's latest snow globes ($40) five Rockettes high-step in front of a wintry cityscape. The snowflakes fall to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Chistmas." The new retrospective book "The Radio City Rockettes — A Dance Through Time" ($22), features photographs of the Rockettes and their costumes from the 1940s to the present.

Further uptown, Symphony Space has partnered with Zabar's to create the "NYC Essentials Basket" ($189). Nestled in the bagels, babka, and smoked salmon is Symphony Space's CD "Selected Shorts: Timeless Classics." Marian Seldes's reading of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" or John Shea's rendition of D.H Lawrence's "The Rocking-Horse Winner" will enhance a bountiful brunch (zabars.com, 212-496-1234).