Your guide to holiday shows

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Celebrate the season with Penumbra Theatre’s “Black Nativity”

Happy December! For many, the month is a bit of a rush, filled with shopping, parties, present-wrapping, and high standards for family togetherness.

If you’re considering taking in a performance as part of your festivities, look no further. What follows is a compendium of plays, music concerts and dance productions that could fill up every evening of an Advent calendar. And if you see something missing, of course feel free to pipe up in the comments section.

If you do find a show that interests you, click on the link provided to find out more about dates and tickets – some of these shows are for one or two nights only, early in the month.

Happy Holidays!

Dance

Great Russian Nutcracker

This weekend only, the Moscow Ballet presents this classic holiday chestnut at the State Theater.

The Nutcracker

At Bloomington Center for the Arts, presented by Continental Ballet

This weekend and next Continental Ballet company director Riet Velthuisen presents her own reworking of the dance.

Cinderfella

At Ritz Theater, produced by Ballet of the Dolls

Yes you read that right – CinderFella. From the makers of “Nutcracker: Not So Sweet” comes a family-friendly holiday twist on the classic fairytale about a young man, and his evil stepmother and stepsons. Can they all live happily ever after?

Nutcracker

At the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, presented by Ballet Minnesota

Ballet Minnesota presents a classic staging of the ballet that’s become synonymous with the holiday season.

The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose

At the Southern Theater, presented by Zenon Dance Company

Looking for a Nutcracker that will keep your children entranced? Zenon Dance Company presents its annual holiday show “The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose,” blending nursery rhymes with Tchaikovsky.

The Enchanted Toy Shop

At Concordia University in St. Paul, by Saint Paul City Ballet

This full-length ballet is based on La Boutique Fantasque first produced by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The Rossini score has been complimented by Tchaikovsky’s Waltz Of The Snow Flakes and Waldteufel’s Skater’s Waltz.Saint Paul City Ballet Company dances the principal roles leading a cast of over 80 including the SPCB School Studio Company and students of SPCB School selected by audition.

Music

The Bad Plus

The Dakota

The Bad Plus returns to the Dakota for its annual Holiday gig celebrating its midwestern roots. But don’t expect a line-up of Christmas tunes. For more yuletide fare check out these other Dakota performances: “Christmas with Alexander O’Neal,” “Holiday in the Heartland w/Esera Tuaolo,” and “Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever.”

The New Standards Holiday Concert

Fitzgerald Theater

This weekend only, the minimalist jazz trio The New Standards reinterpret many familiar holiday classics.

Holiday Harmonies

At Ted mann Concert Hall, presented by Twin Cities Gay Mens Chorus

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus rings in the 30th season with its annual holiday concert in collaboration with Bells of the Lake hand bell choir. Our holiday concert will feature favorites like Deck the Halls, Silver Bells and Silent Night.

Chanukah: A Musical Celebration

At Sabes Jewish Community Center, performed by Twin Cities Jewish Chorale

The Twin Cities Jewish Chorale presents as its first concert of the 2010-2011 season a joyous, multigenerational treat: Chanukah: A Musical Celebration. The Chorale is a 35+ voice communitywide concert choir devoted to performance of the full range of Jewish music. They sing in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and English, and their eclectic repertoire includes ancient and modern, sacred and secular, rare gems and new compositions.

Christmas with Cantus

Various locations

Yes you can see them in “All is Calm” (listed under theater), but if you’re interested in more contemporary sounds and less talking, check out “Christmas with Cantus” at various churches and chapels in the Twin Cities

Taste of the Holidays

Fitzgerald Theater, presented by MPR

MPR’s own Steve Staruch hosts an evening filled with performances by some of the finest musical groups in the region, including the Copper Street Brass Quintet, Magnum Chorum, The Singers, Hiram Titus, Vecchione/Erdahl Duo and Dolce Winds.

The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller

Orpheum Theater

This weekend only, Chip Davis and his cohorts in Mannheim Steamroller present tunes from the album that has sold over 9 million copies.

Theater

A Christmas Carol

Presented by the Guthrie Theater

This season the Guthrie presents a fresh, darker take on Dickens’ ghost story, featuring a new adaptation by British playwright Crispin Whittell, a new set and costumes, aerial effects, and a cast of Guthrie favorites.

Black Nativity

Penumbra Theatre

Penumbra Theatre and TU Dance join forces to bring you this year’s “Black Nativity” in which Grandma Walker and her children ring in the holiday season. Featuring contemporary gospel music performed by some of the best talent in town.

A Christmas Story

Presented by Children’s Theatre Company

Loved the film? Just like the movie, the all-for fun family show includes playground bullies, soapy mouth-washings and a coveted BB gun.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

SteppingStone Theatre

In this SteppingStone favorite, The Herdmans – “the worst kids in the whole history of the world” – invade the Christmas pageant and everyone braces for complete disaster. When chaos erupts and the firemen arrive, even Reverend Hopkins is ready to cancel Christmas.

The Holiday Pageant

Open Eye Figure Theater

Open Eye rings in the season with its annual family-friendly holiday production, featuring puppetry, music by Victor Zupanc, all sorts of angels and devils, and even cookies and hot cider.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

At Hillcrest Center Theater, presented by Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company

Hershel of Ostropol has been walking long and hard with growing anticipation for the Hanukkah holiday. But when Hershel arrives in Helmsbergville, the village is silent. Goblins have been preventing Hanukkah in Helmsbergville for years. Can this visitor help bring Hanukkah back?

The Christmas Schooner

History Theatre

A heart-warming musical about a German-American shipping captain and his crew who braved the icy waters of Lake Michigan to bring Tannenbäume (Christmas trees) to the immigrant families of Chicago.

Fezziwig’s Feast

At Wigington Hall on Harriet Island, produced by Actors Theater of Minnesota

Old Mister Fezziwig, the embodiment of the joy and happiness that is Christmas, invites you to his annual party in the Fezziwig Warehouse. This dinner theater production features a traditional Victorian feast, music, and a story written by Fezziwig’s friend Charles Dickens.

Santaland Diaries

At Hennepin Stages, produced by Frank Theatre

Based on David Sedaris’ acerbic observations of his experience working in Macy’s SantaLand, Frank presents this alternative holiday classic in which “Crumpet the Elf” recounts his uproarious encounters during the height of holiday merriment.

Santaland Diaries

Produced by Theatre Limina at Bryant Lake Bowl

Three “elves” suffer through Christmas at Macy’s Santaland: it’s the anti-Christmas Carol by a master of cynical wit. See it again or go for the first time–but either way, be sure to get your tickets early! Featuring live original music by The Misfit Toys’ Kyle DeLaHunt and Colin Kerns. Mature audiences only.

A Klingon Christmas Carol

At Landmark Center in St. Paul, presented by Commedia Beauregard

Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English Supertitles, and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology. It’s the Dickens classic tale of ghosts and redemption adapted to reflect the Warrior Code of Honor and then translated into tlhIngan Hol (That’s the Klingon Language).

All is Calm: Christmas Truce of 1914

Produced by Theater Latte Da and Cantus, at Pantages Theatre

The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing Stille Nacht. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace.

Mary Loves Joseph: A Wonderful Love Story

At Mixed Blood Theatre, presented by PickaLine Productions

Mary and Joseph are your typical newlyweds until an Angel (on a mission to get his wings, of course) breaks the news to Mary that she is pregnant with the Son of God. Watch as Mary and Joseph’s love for one another is tested as they prepare to not only be parents, but parents of the Messiah. As told by the narrator and host for the evening, God.

Miracle on 34th Street

Lyric Arts in Anoka

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, treat your family to a classic sure to inspire the spirit of the season. Revolving around Kris Kringle’s experiences at Macy’s, this is one department store stop you don’t want to miss. Mr. Kringle believes he is the real Santa Claus. Because of a disenchanting encounter with cruel cynics Mr. Kringle is spurred on to prove himself.

Super-Powered Revenge Christmas #1

At Minneapolis Theater Garage, produced by Joking Envelope

In a dive bar on Christmas Eve, a disgruntled comic book writer fights with his collaborator (and ex-girlfriend) about his grand vision: a giant comic book reboot of Christmas, with its beloved icons reborn as superheroes. Written by Bill Corbett.

The Hardy Boys Save Christmas

At Bryant Lake Bowl, presented by Comedy Suitcase

From the creators of the top selling show of the 2009 MN Fringe Festival, The Harty Boys in The Case of the Limping Platypus, comes an all-new Harty Boys adventure. Join sibling detectives Fred and Jack Harty as they battle a Christmas hating criminal bent on destroying the Twin Cities’ most precious holiday traditions.

A Christmas Carol – The Golden Girls Remix

At Bryant Lake Bowl, presented by Theatre Arlo

Dickens’ timeless classic “A Christmas Carol,” as you’ve always wanted it: Infused with the wondrous magic of the 1980s masterpiece “The Golden Girls.” Join us on a Christian allegory-meets-flashback episode when Sophia–Sicily’s original Scrooge–eats a bad bit of pastrami and, trapped in that tortured space between life and death, is visited upon by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. As Blanche, Rose and Dorothy worry and eat and worry some more, the true meanings of Christmas and cheesecake are revealed.

Brett Favre’s Christmas Spectacular II: The Second Coming

Brave New Workshop Theatre

Break from the family fumbles of the holiday season, and cheer as the all-star holiday line-up takes the field for Brett Favre’s Christmas Spectacular II: The Second Coming.

Bingo Bonanza for the Holidays

Illusion Theater

Enjoy Miss R’s usual holiday frolicks with a bingo twist.

A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol

At Hennepin Stages

It’s Christmas Eve in Bunyan Bay, Minnesota and cantankerous bar owner Gunner Johnson gets in an argument with his wife, Clara, tells her he’s skipping Christmas, he storms out of the bar, goes snowmobiling across the lake, falls through the ice, and goes into a coma. What ensue is sorta like Scrooge’s adventures in A Christmas Carol… only very different.

Going Postal

Bryant Lake Bowl

Spend the night with an arsenal of characters performed by Janelle Ranek, from

Char, singing the blues about a night gone wrong, to Drucilla and her Mother (goth/emo meets Mary Kay), and Mary “the cat lady” telling tales of cats and Jesus.

What are you doing to celebrate the holidays?