'Tis the Season for Holiday Arts Previews
Every year the holiday season seems to stretch a little further and longer. In these pages, we will celebrate the season with celebrations of performance over the holidays.
Usually, that means trumpets, nutcrackers, Scrooges, elves, Santa Claus, and Christmas or seasonal music, concerts that celebrate the holidays, and concerts that occur during the holidays, plays that are about the holidays and plays that are not, but seem to indicate a celebrate a celebratory or musical spirit.
We give not all, but some, of the traditional, best and most eclectic choices folks can have on Washington stages and venues. Dancing and singing and the playing of music will be involved, and familiar characters—and some not—will be heard from and familiar music will be played, as well as some music less familiar but by familiar stars in the music world.
So here we go:
Pick a Nutcracker, Any Nutcracker There are numerous performances of “The Nutcracker” to be seen in the Washington area over the holidays: at the Puppet Theatre, in Glen Echo, for instance, or at the Kennedy Center, or the Moscow Balles’s Great Russian Nutcracker version at the Music Center at Strathmore or George Mason University, or Nutcracker in a Shell at Broad Run High School, or at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington, or the Ernest Community Cultural Center Theater in Annandale, the Franklin Park Performing Arts Center in Purcelville, Battlefield High School in Haymarket, George Mason High School in Falls Church, the Maryland Youth Ballet in Rockville, and at the Northern Virginia Community College and many, many more, but . . .
There will always be the Washington Ballet’s now an annual D.C. holiday presen- tation with George Washington, as the hero and George III as the Rat King. Every year, Tchaikovsky’s music seems to fit perfectly with the Revolutionary War. The ballet, beautiful and intact, is at the historic Warner Theatre Nov. 30 through Dec. 23 and at THEARC Theatre Nov. 24 to 28. Maki Onuki, a Washington Ballet star and favorite stars as the sugar plum fairy.
‘Hansel and Gretel’ for the Washington Opera Engelbert Humperdinck’s classic chil- dren’s opera “Hansel and Gretel” begins a new tradition for the very busy Washington Opera Company Dec. 21 to 23 in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. The family opera stars current stars and alumni of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and is directed by David Grately, with the WNO Orchestra conducted by Michael Rossi. Sarah Mesko and Julia Mintzer star as Hansel and Emily Albrink and Shantelle Przybylo star as Gretel.
More Holiday Alleluias At the Kennedy Center One of many Messiah’s being performed over the holidays will be the National Symphony’s in the Concert Hall Dec. 20 to 23 with guest con- ductor Rolf Beck conducting soprano Katherine Whyte, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, tenor Sunnyboy Vincent Dladla, and bass-baritone Panajotis Iconomou. There will also be a Messiah Sing-Along in the Concert Hall Dec. 23.
Ballet West will bring its version of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 5-9 at the Opera House.
The traditional “Merry Tuba Christmas!” will be at the Millennium Stage Dec. 13, while the NSO Pops will perform its “Happy Holiday” concert in the Concert Hall Dec. 13 to 16.
In a Millennium Stage (Free) Christmas tradition, there’s the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam Dec. 25.
But that’s not all:
The NSO Pops Orchestra will feature Megan Hilty, Broadway star and star of the hit show “Smash” on television in “Luck Be A Lady: Megan Hilty Sings Sinatra and More” Nov. 23 and 24, while Linda Lavin is in the “Barbara Cook’s Spotlight” series Nov. 16.
There’s also lots of music in theater at the Kennedy Center:
“Jekyll & Hyde,” a musical, will hit the Opera House Nov. 20 through 25, starring Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox.
The much anticipated “Million Dollar Quartet,” the Tony Award-winning musical features characters called Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lew Lewis in the Eisenhower Theatre, Dec. 18 through Jan. 6
But the most essential Christmas show of all is “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” based on the classic holiday movie that featured the likes of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, Dec. 11 through Jan. 6 in the Opera House
Music Center at Strathmore Mark O’Connor: An Appalachian Christmas, Dec. 13 American folk, classic Christmas.
Cathedral Choral Society: A Dickens Christmas—a staging of Scrooge with chorus, brass and madrigal ensemble, Dec. 17.
The Washington Chorus: A Candlelight Christmas, Dec. 21
The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks Extravaganza. Rocking around the Xmas tree, Dec. 4.
Dave Koz and Friends: Christmas Tour, Dec. 3, with David Benoit, Javier Colon, Sheila E and others.
National Philharmonic: Handel’s “Messiah,” Dec. 8.
Holiday Music by the Stocking-full Family Christmas Concert Series— The Georgetown Concert Series presents the American Boychoir in a family Christmas concert at St. John’s Episcopal Church Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. American Boychoir is considered America’s premier concert boys’ choir.
Tudor Nights—The annual holiday celebration will be held at historic Tudor Place, Dec. 6, between 6 and 8 p.m. Spiced ginger cocktail on hand.
A Celtic Christmas—The Barnes and Hampton Celtic Concert will be featured in the Dumbarton Concert Sesaon Concerts by Candlelight Series, Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9.
The Embassy Series—Luxembourg at Holiday—A highlight of the series, this annual holiday event at the Embassy of Luxembourg has been expanded to three evenings, Dec. 6, 7 and 8, and will feature the Thomas Circle Singers, Marc Weydert on Baroque trumpet, Maurice Clemont on piano, baritone Jerome Barry, and George Peachy on piano in a celebration of mostly baroque music. Deluxe buffet dinner, refreshments, champagne and elegance.
Washington National Cathedral—The WNC will have its Christmas Pageant on Dec. 22, Carols By Candlelight Dec. 23 and 24, the Festival of the Holy Eucharist Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, its annual Creche Exhibit, performances of Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 7, 8 and 9, a “Joy of Christmas” concert Dec. 15.
The Christmas Revels—The 30th annual production and community celebration of the Winter Solstice will be performed at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, Dec. 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16.
Children’s music superstars the Laurie Berner Band will perform a special holiday concert at Lisner Auditorium Nov. 18.
Gay Men’s Chorus—The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will presenst its “Winter Nights” holiday concert Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 with the Virginia Bronze handbell ensemble at Lisner Auditorium.
Washington Performing Arts Society— Yo-Yo Ma performs solo cello pieces by Bach, Turkish composer Ahmet Adnan Saygun, with bluegrass violinist Mark O’Connor and George Crumb at the Kennedy Center, Dec. 3, Concert Hall.
The Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Dec. 4, and will play Mexican compose Carlos Chavez’s “Sinfonia India” with conduc tor Gustavo Dudamel.
Theater Shakespeare Theatre Company— It’s hard to think of a play not about Christmas more festive than Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This production of magic, mistaken lovers, groundlings and kings and queens and a donkey’s head, is directed by the ever-surprising Ethan McSweeny, Nov. 15 through Dec. 30, in the Sidney Harman Hall.
Arena Stage—Almost as festive is “My Fair Lady”, the Lerner and Lowe music based on Shaw’s “Pygmalion”, staged and imagined anew by Molly Smith, and starring Manna Nichols, Benedict Campbell and Nicholas Rodriguez. Through Jan. 6.
Signature Theater—The big Michael Bennett hit “Dreamgirls” gets the Signature Theatre Treatment through Jan. 6.
Les Miserables—Just in time for the movie version is the 25th new anniversary production of Cameron McIntosh musical version of Victor Hugo’s classic novel of revenge justice, revolution, and romance. At the National Theatre Dec. 12 to 30.
Cinderella at Olney—Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “Cinderella” is being staged at the Olney Theatre through Dec. 30.
Round House Theatre—“Young Robin Hood”, a world premiere production by Jon Klein will run Nov. 28 through Dec. 30, a rousing, swashbuckling new adventure version of the old Hollywood-and-Nottingham legend
Adventure Theatre—“A Little House Christmas” Nov. 16 through Dec. 31, based on the popular Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books, directed by Serge Seiden.
Imagination Stage—“Seussical,” the smash Broadway hit about Dr. Seuss and his many characters will be staged at the Lerner Family Theatre in Bethesda through Jan. 6.
Scrooges Galore At Ford’s Theater, its production of “A Christmas Carol” is a popular tradition, and this year once again features D.C. acting great Ed Gero as Scrooge, with Michael Baron directing, Nov. 16 through Dec. 30.
Olney Theatre will do “A Christmas Carol” (A Ghost Story of Christmas) adapted and performed by Paul Morella, Nov. 30 through Dec. 30.
The Keegan Theatre on Church Street in Dupont Circle will feature “An Irish Carol” beginning Dec. 15.