Theater & art


Helping tiny feet learn steps in Boston Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’

Click on a category to sort the table.
Pop musicJames ReedMICHAEL McDONALDselect dates from Dec. 12-21Wilbur TheatreBilled as “an evening of holiday and hits,” McDonald’s show is the only place you’re likely to hear both “White Christmas” and “Takin’ It to the Streets” from his stint with the Doobie Brothers. The show corresponds to McDonald’s 2009 holiday album, “This Christmas.” Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $32-$85. 800-745-3000.
Pop musicJames ReedA CHRISTMAS CELTIC SOJOURN WITH BRIAN O’DONOVANselect dates from Dec. 12-21 Cutler Majestic Theatre, Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, and New Bedford’s Zeiterion TheatreA mix of storytelling, song, and dance, this seasonal staple is a family favorite. The run includes stops at Cutler Majestic Theatre (select dates from Dec. 12-21), Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport (Dec. 15, which is sold out), the Hanover Theatre in Worcester (Dec. 17), and New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre (Dec. 18). Dec. 12-21, Various showtimes and ticket prices.
Pop musicJames ReedCAPE ANN BIG BAND12/7/2014Shalin Liu Performance Center, RockportThis 17-piece big band revs up for a brassy holiday show that runs the gamut of jazz, pop, and swing. Dec. 7, 3 and 7 p.m. Tickets: $19-$34. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391.
Pop musicJames ReedTHE AIMEE MANN CHRISTMAS SHOW12/9/2014Wilbur TheaterAfter a three-year hiatus, Mann resurrects her annual Christmas show and brings some special guests. Ted Leo, her partner in the indie-pop duo the Both, will be on hand to sing their new holiday song, “Nothing Left to Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue),” along with Susanna Hoffs (of the Bangles) and singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton. Dec. 9, 8 p.m. Tickets: $35-$45. Wilbur Theater. 800-745-3000.
Pop musicJames ReedTHE SWEETBACK SISTERS COUNTRY CHRISTMAS SINGALONG12/11/2014Club Passim, CambridgeYou might think you don’t want to sing along to “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” You’d be wrong. It’s hard to resist the communal joy these Brooklyn-based honky-tonkers bring to their run of holiday shows. Dec. 11, 8 p.m. Tickets: $17. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679.
Pop musicJames ReedROCK ’N’ SOUL HOLIDAY CONCERT12/12/2014Regent Theatre, ArlingtonJames Montgomery, Barrence Whitfield, Charlie Farren, and Greg Hawkes (of the Cars) are just a few of the local roots luminaries on the lineup for this sixth-annual tradition that’ll get you rockin’ around the Christmas tree. Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$30. Regent Theatre, Arlington. 781-646-4849.
Pop musicJames ReedRONNIE SPECTOR12/13/2014Mohegan SunPerhaps no other pop singer is more associated with Christmas than Spector. With the Ronettes, she was the voice behind some of the secular classics – including “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Frosty the Snowman” – and her annual Christmas program is always old-fashioned fun. (And yes, this free show is worth the road trip to a Conn. casino.) Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Free. Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn. 888-226-7711,
Pop musicJames ReedKLEZWOODS KLEZMER CHRISTMAS12/16/2014Atwood’s TavernFun fact: These kamikaze klezmer musicians took their name from Atwood’s Tavern, the Cambridge haunt where they first got started and to where they’ll return for this show. Dec. 16, 9 p.m. Tickets: $8. Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge. 617-864-2792.
Pop musicJames ReedWINTERY SONGS IN ELEVENTY PART HARMONY12/17/2014Club Passim, CambridgeAs a welcome respite from sugary holiday cheer, Jennifer Kimball leads a heavenly choir of extraordinaire voices belonging to Rose Cousins, Laura Cortese, Rose Polenzani, Valerie Thompson, and Jenna Moynihan. They’re as warm and cozy as a night by the fire. Dec. 17, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $20. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679.
Pop musicJames ReedA JOHNNYSWIM CHRISTMAS12/20/2014The Sinclair, CambridgeAs Johnnyswim, the soulful husband-and-wife duo of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano-Ramirez trade on the close, sensual harmonies only lovers can conjure. Their Christmas performance will no doubt be similarly intimate. Dec. 20, 8 p.m. Tickets: $25, $22 in advance. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 800-745-3000.
Classical musicJeremy EichlerHANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY: HANDEL’S ‘MESSIAH’Nov. 28-30Symphony HallUnder the direction of Harry Christophers, with vocal soloists Joélle Harvey, Tim Mead, Allan Clayton, and Brindley Sherratt. Nov. 28-30, Symphony Hall. 617-266-3605,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerBOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL: CHAMBER OPERASNov. 29-30Jordan HallBEMF’S popular chamber opera series continues this year with a comic double bill of Neapolitan works – Pergolesi’s “La Serva Padrona” and “Livietta e Tracollo” – directed by Gilbert Blin, with a cast that includes Amanda Forsythe, Erica Schuller, Douglas Williams, and Jesse Blumberg. Nov. 29-30, Jordan Hall. 617-661-1812, Also from BEMF: The Tallis Scholars. Dec. 12, St. Paul Church, Cambridge.
Classical musicJeremy EichlerMUSICIANS OF THE OLD POST ROAD: ‘A CLASSICAL GERMAN CHRISTMAS12/6/2014Emmanuel Church in BostonInstrumental and vocal works by Haydn and Mozart (both W.A. and Leopold) among others. Dec. 6 at Emmanuel Church in Boston, Dec. 7 at Worcester Historical Museum. 781-466-6694,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerWINSOR MUSIC11/30/2014Follen Community Church, LexingtonUnder the artistic direction of oboist Peggy Pearson, Winsor offers works by Haydn, Bolcom, Lev Mamuya, and Bach (Cantata BWV 170). This concert also features the release of an archival recording by mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, singing the same Bach Cantata, in a 1996 performance. Nov. 30, 7 p.m., Follen Community Church, Lexington. 781-863-2861,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerBOSTON BAROQUE: HANDEL’S ‘MESSIAH’Dec. 12-13Jordan HallUnder the direction of Martin Pearlman, with vocal soloists Sherezade Panthaki, Ann McMahon Quintero, William Burden, and Dashon Burton. Dec. 12-13, Jordan Hall. 617-987-8600, Also from Boston Baroque: Cimarosa’s “Il Maestro di Cappella” and Mozart Duets and Arias, with Sara Heaton (soprano) and Andrew Garland (baritone); Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, Sanders Theatre.
Classical musicJeremy EichlerNEW ENGLAND PHILHARMONIC: FAMILY CONCERT12/14/2014Tsai Performance CenterA railroad-themed program thoughtfully conceived for both kids and their parents, to include Michael Gandolfi’s “Night Train to Perugia” and Honegger’s classic “Pacific 231.” Dec. 14, 3 p.m., Tsai Performance Center. 855-463-7445,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerBLUE HERON: ‘CHRISTMAS IN 15TH CENTURY FRANCE & BURGUNDY’Dec. 18-20First Church in CambridgeMusic by Jacob Obrecht, Desprez, Antoine Brumel, and others. Dec. 18-20, First Church in Cambridge. 617-960-7956,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerBOSTON CAMERATA: ‘AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS’Dec. 18 in Newbury, Dec. 19 in Lexington, Dec. 20 in CambridgeNewbury, Lexington, and CambridgeCamerata’s classic program of early American Christmas music, reprised for the first time since 2010. Dec. 18 in Newbury, Dec. 19 in Lexington, Dec. 20 in Cambridge. 617-262-2092,
Classical musicJeremy EichlerCHORAL BOSTONVarious dates in DecemberIn addition to the groups listed above, many of the city’s choruses have ambitious holiday plans: Boston Cecilia (Dec. 5 and 7), Schola Cantorum (Dec. 12), Back Bay Chorale (Dec. 13), Musica Sacra (Dec. 13), Chorus pro Musica (Dec. 14), Zamir Chorale (Dec. 14), Masterworks Chorale (Dec. 19 and 20). Also, some out-of-town guests: the Vienna Boys Choir (Dec. 9 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre)
TheaterDon AucoinELF: THE MUSICALThrough Nov. 23Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, WorcesterBased on the 2003 Will Ferrell film, it’s the musicalized story of Buddy, a human working as an elf in Santa’s workshop who travels to New York to find his birth father — and to figure out who he is. Daniel Patrick Smith plays Buddy. The score is by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, with a book by Thomas Meehan (“The Producers,’’ “Hairspray,’’ “Annie’’) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone’’). Through Nov. 23. Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester.
TheaterDon AucoinMEET ME IN ST. LOUISNov. 28-Dec. 28Stoneham Theatre, StonehamWith a score that includes “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’’ along with “The Trolley Song’’ and “The Boy Next Door,’’ this production stars 18-year-old Sirena Abalian of Lexington. Abalian has made a name for herself with a string of strong performances, including an excellent portrayal of Clara three years ago at Stoneham Theatre in a new version of “The Nutcracker.’’ Now she returns to the theater to tackle the role Judy Garland played in the movie version of “Meet Me in St. Louis’’: young Esther Smith, whose romantic hopes are threatened when her father (played at Stoneham by Robert Saoud) announces plans for the family to move to New York. Directed by Caitlin Lowans, who also helmed “The Nutcracker.’’ Nov. 28-Dec. 28. Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham. 781-279-2200,
TheaterDon AucoinBLACK NATIVITYDec. 5-21Paramount Center Mainstage, BostonIn one of Boston’s most cherished holiday traditions, the story of the Nativity is brought to rousing life in a song-play based on the Gospel of St. Luke and the poetry of Langston Hughes. Directed by Voncille Ross and featuring an ensemble of 100 adult and child singers, dancers, and musicians. Dec. 5-21. Production by National Center of Afro-American Artists, at Paramount Center Mainstage, Boston. 617-824-8400,
TheaterDon AucoinJESUS CHRIST, IT’S CHRISTMAS!Dec. 4-21Machine nightclub, BostonMusical sendup-mashup specialist Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans are on a roll: Two recent shows, “Mildred Fierce’’ and “Snow White and the Seven Bottoms,’’ went on from Boston to successful runs in New York. Now the 1947 film “The Bishop’s Wife’’ gets the Landry treatment, after which the movie will doubtless never look the same. Directed by James P. Byrne, with costumes by the ever-ingenious Scott Martino. Dec. 4-21. Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans, at Machine nightclub, Boston.
TheaterDon AucoinA CHRISTMAS CAROLDec. 5-21North Shore Music Theatre, BeverlyThis year’s production will be directed by Jon Kimbell, former artistic director at North Shore Music Theatre, who adapted Charles Dickens’s novella for the NSMT stage 25 years ago. David Coffee will portray Ebenezer Scrooge for the 21st year. With Leigh Barrett as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Peter S. Adams as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Dan Reardon as the Ghost of Christmas Future, Russell Garrett as Bob Cratchit, and 8-year-old Jake Flynn of Wenham as Tiny Tim. Dec. 5-21. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200,
TheaterDon AucoinTHE VELVETEEN RABBITDec. 6-21Endicott College, BeverlyBurgess Clark’s adaptation of Margery Williams’s beloved children’s novel about the friendship between a young boy and a stuffed rabbit, featuring young performers from 10 area communities, plus hand-crafted puppets by Marjorie Tudor that include a marching toy soldier and a rocking horse that speaks. Directed by Jay Pension. Dec. 6-21. Boston Children’s Theatre, at Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, Beverly. 617-424-6634, ext. 222, www.bostonchildrens
TheaterDon AucoinTHE CHRISTMAS REVELSDec. 12-28Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridgeubtitled “A Victorian Celebration of the Winter Solstice,’’ this is a musical journey back to mid-19th-century London, where street performers, a beleaguered producer, and composer Arthur Sullivan are hard at work on an elaborate Christmas performance inside the Crystal Palace. An 80-member ensemble will be directed by Patrick Swanson, with music direction by George Emlen. Dec. 12-28. Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge. 617-496-2222,
TheaterDon AucoinLATE NITE CATECHISM: SISTER’S CHRISTMAS, THE MYSTERY OF MAGI’S GOLDDec. 16-31Larcom Theatre, BeverlyAn aficionado of “CSI’’-style forensic television programs, Sister decides to ascertain what happened to the Magi’s gold. Sister will be portrayed by Colleen Moore, who played the character last year in “Late Nite Catechism.’’ Dec. 16-31. Larcom Theatre, Beverly. 617-531-1257,
TheaterDon AucoinIRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMASDec. 16-28Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, BostonBased on the 1954 film (starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney) about a song-and-dance team who devise a Broadway-style show designed to save the Vermont inn run by their former Army general. The score includes “Happy Holiday,’’ “Sisters,’’ “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,’’ and the title song. Dec. 16-28. Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, Boston. 800-982-2787,
TheaterDon AucoinMR. PUNCH’S CHRISTMAS CAROLDec. 24-28Puppet Showplace Theater, BrooklinePlenty of actors have had their shot at playing Ebenezer Scrooge — Lionel Barrymore, George C. Scott, plus Jim Carrey and Jim Backus in animated versions (the latter as Mr. Magoo). So why not the hand puppet known as Mr. Punch? Elements of the Punch-and-Judy style are blended with Dickens’s story in this production by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre, whose performers include its two founders, Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall, who live in Vermont. Dec. 24-28. Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline. 617-731-6400 ext. 101, www.puppetshow
DanceKaren CampbellTHE NUTCRACKERNov. 28-Dec. 31Boston Opera HouseThe gold standard for “Nutcracker” ballets in New England is Boston Ballet’s gloriously lavish version, with sparkling sets, costumes, and choreography, plus dependably impressive dancing, from company soloists to the huge cast of adorable kids. Nov. 28-Dec. 31, $45-$220. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,
DanceKaren CampbellTHE NUTCRACKERDec. 19-21Strand Theater, DorchesterFor 27 years, José Mateo Ballet Theatre has put its own stamp on the classic, with solid dancing and choreography in an intimate staging. Streamlined and affordable, it’s a great introduction to the ballet, presented in three locations. Nov. 28-30, $15-$50, Duxbury Performing Arts Center, Duxbury. Dec. 4-14, $38-$50, Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. Dec. 19-21, $15-$50, Strand Theater, Dorchester. 617-354-7467,
DanceKaren CampbellTHE NUTCRACKERNov. 28-30Regis College’s Casey Theatre, WestonCommonwealth Ballet Company’s production aims to portray the familiar tale with warmth and humor while providing a showcase for 75 local ballet students. Guest soloists include former American Ballet Theatre dancers Anna Liceica and Vitali Krauchenka. Nov. 28-30, $20-$38. Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Acton. Dec. 12-14, Regis College’s Casey Theatre, Weston. 978-263-7794,
DanceKaren CampbellURBAN NUTCRACKERDec. 12-28John Hancock HallIn Tony Williams’s multicultural version of the E. T. A. Hoffmann tale, ballet meets tap, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, and even hula-hooping. Music for this charming update alternates between the traditional Tchaikovsky score and Duke Ellington’s jazz suite. The professional cast is complemented with a variety of guest artists and a bevy of children. Dec. 12-28, $25-$85. John Hancock Hall. 888-596-1027,
DanceKaren CampbellWHAT THE DICKENS!Dec. 19-21Boston University Dance TheaterA female corporate miser named Ebeneeza is at the center of Cambridge Youth Dance Program’s take on “A Christmas Carol,” but the real star is dance, with numbers ranging from modern and ballet to hip-hop and acrobatics. Guest performers include Ricardo Foster, Shaquan Reed, and Sean Bjerke. Dec. 19-21, $30, $25 seniors and students. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-497-1448,
DanceKaren CampbellNOT! THE NUTCRACKERDec. 5-6Boston University’s Tsai Performance CenterThis holiday-themed production by the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio taps into the spirit of the season with styles ranging from modern to jazz and hip-hop. Faculty, students, and Boston Youth Moves are joined by Boston-based hip-hop dance crew The CONcept ARTists. Dec. 5-6, 8 p.m., $20 pre-sale, $25 at the door. Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center. 617-523-1355,
DanceKaren CampbellTAFUTA! A YOUNG BOY’S SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MEANING OF KWANZAA12/21/2014Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater, RoxburyOrigiNation founder-artistic director Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga wrote and directed this original play with dance and music celebrating Kwanzaa. NIA Dance Troupe, IMANI, Jr., and more than 50 youngsters perform a celebratory show about Kwanzaa. Dec. 21, 7 p.m., $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater, Roxbury. 617-541-1875,
DanceKaren CampbellCHRISTMAS REFLECTIONSDec. 19-21Boston College’s Robsham Theater Arts Center, Chestnut HillThis annual production by the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble aims to channel the true spirit of Christmas, from the joy of the nativity to today’s culture. Professional dancers, children, and community members join in a family-oriented celebration. Dec. 19-21, $15-$20. Boston College’s Robsham Theater Arts Center, Chestnut Hill. 617-552-4002,
DanceKaren Campbell12 DANCERS DANCING . . . A CHRISTMAS IN CAMBRIDGEDec. 12-14Dance Complex, CambridgeHoney Blonder’s quirky annual holiday dance celebration features a range of performers, including Rainbow Tribe, Adrienne Hawkins, Boston Community Dance Project, Contemporarily Out of Order, and Forty Steps Dance. Dec. 12-14, $20, $15 seniors and children. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363,
DanceKaren CampbellTHE SLUTCRACKERDec. 5-31Somerville Theatre, SomervilleA decidedly different and altogether irreverent holiday offering, this holiday burlesque show by Sugar Coated Productions returns for its seventh season of ribald revelry. This take on Clara’s fantastical adventure trades snowflakes and sugarplums for whips and pasties. Dec. 5-31, $27. Somerville Theatre, Somerville. 617-625-4088,