EW's ticket guide to on and off Broadway shows -- A list of fifteen great productions, including ''Cats,'' ''Prelude to a Kiss,'' and ''The Nutcracker''

Say what you will about New York City, it’s still the live-entertainment capital of the world. If you are among the thousands of tourists coming to New York during the holiday season, this list will direct you to 15 great shows with tickets available. To order by phone, call Ticketron (212-246-0102), Telecharge (212-239-6200), or Ticketmaster (212-307-7171), as noted. You’ll pay from $3.50 to $4 per ticket in addition to the ticket price.

?Black and Blue
A tribute to black American jazz and blues artists, with plenty of award-winning tap dancing.

The show’s thin but the music’s not, and Paul Hipp is a fine Buddy Holly.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical fantasy, still playing after eight years.

?City of Angels
A hilarious musical comedy about Hollywood, romance, and a Sam Spade-like detective.

?Fiddler on the Roof
Topol re-creates his movie role as Tevye in this revival.

?Jackie Mason: Brand New
The comic is back with his shticks and stones.

?Lettice & Lovage
Maggie Smith is a hoot as the mendacious tour guide of a British manor. Closes Dec. 23.

?Oh, Kay!
David Merrick’s tribute to jazz-age Harlem with music by Gershwin.

?Once on This Island
A romantic musical fairy tale about love and class struggle in the Caribbean.

?Prelude to a Kiss
A modern romance about a magical mix-up of souls and the power of love.

?Six Degrees of Separation
Stockard Channing stars in this year’s triumph, the John Guare play based on the true story of a petty thief who passed himself off as Sidney Poitier’s son.

?Other People’s Money
The last, hilarious word about Wall Street’s lust for money in the merger-mad ’80s.

?The Big Apple Circus
A one-ring kid-pleaser with thrills, ballerinas, magicians, and horses.

?The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
The high-stepping Rockettes and the famous live Nativity scene. Is there anything more to say?

?The Nutcracker
The Joffrey Ballet’s version of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet. Through Dec. 2.

Getting Hard-to-Get Seats
If you’re willing to pay a stiff fee, you may be able to snare holiday seats to supposedly sold-out hits like Grand Hotel and Phantom of the Opera. Avoid scalpers, now charging up to $200 for Phantom, and call a legitimate ticket broker licensed by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs. Plan to pay about 25 percent more than the ticket price. Two reputable brokers: Golden/Leblangs (800-847-4022) and Theater Service Americana (800-833-3121). Both services have agents stationed at major New York hotels.