Festivities of the holiday season
By GWEN OREL
Holiday concerts and carols make the cold weather almost welcome. Television offers versions of “A Christmas Carol,” (Mr. Magoo for the win); “It’s a Wonderful Life;” “A Miracle on 34th Street.”
TV binges are great for cozy nights in, wrapped in a blanket.
But live events offer an opportunity to put on your velvet dress, a carnation in your buttonhole, or even that sparkly Christmas sweater.
Here are some local Nutcrackers and Carols for you! Fa la la!
“The Nutcracker,” New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble: Choreographed by NJDTE Artistic Director Nancy Turano, and using Tchaikovsky’s score, the ballet features more than 60 pre-professional dancers from New Jersey alongside 12 renowned international guest artists. Saturday, Dec. 8, 1 and 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m., Memorial Auditorium, Montclair State University. Njdte.tix.com.
Nutcracker Weekend at New Jersey Performing Arts Center: The Hip Hop Nutcracker is at NJPAC, Dec. 14-16. An urban dance retelling of the fairy tale, featuring rap legend Kurtis Blow as special guest MC. The Hip Hop Nutcracker resets Tchaikovsky’s score to explosive hip-hop choreography, courtesy of Jennifer Weber. A dozen dancers, plus a DJ, violinist and digital scenery bring the Nutcracker story to new life. NJPAC is located at 1 Center St, Newark. NJPAC.org or 888-go-NJPAC.
The Nutcracker: National Ballet Theatre of Odessa: The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa brings authentic Russian choreography, set to Tchaikovsky’s music to NJPAC. The company has received acclaim for its performances throughout Europe, India, Africa and the U.S. Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Happy Joyous Hanukkah, Lyrics by Woody Guthrie,” The Klezmatics: The Klezmatics, world-renowned Grammy-winning klezmer superstars, celebrate the Festival of Lights with songs by Woody Guthrie. Thursday, Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m., South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange. Sopacnow.org.
“Festival of Lessons and Carols,” New Jersey Choral Society: NJCS presents “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of the worldwide tradition of Lessons and Carols, founded at King’s College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve 1918, begun in response to the end of World War I.
NJCS will include the second movement of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in honor of the international celebration of the 100th birthday of the prominent composer and conductor. Many familiar carols will be performed, such as “Once in Royal David’s City,” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “The First Noel” “Breath of Heaven,” and the inspiring “Hope for Resolution.” Saturday, Dec. 1, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m., at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 30 North Fullerton Ave. NJCS.org.
Community Messiah Sing, Oratorio Society of New Jersey: Oratorio Society of New Jersey presents this popular annual event, a singalong of Handel’s “Messiah,” Tuesday, Dec. 4, St. James Episcopal Church, 581 Valley Road. Oratoriosocietynj.org.
An Ember December: Star of Wonder: Ember’s annual holiday concert focuses on musical favorites, including such selections as “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming,” “In Dulci Jubilo” and “I Wonder as I Wander.” Audience members are invited to join in singing familiar carols. Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s historic organ will be featured in the carol sing. Holiday goodies provided following the concert. Sunday, Dec. 9, 5 p.m., Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 94 Pine St. Scholaonhudson.org.
The Winter’s Tale, by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey: STNJ presents Shakespeare’s fantasy. “A denouement of magical rebirth and a moving reunion embody the spirit of the holidays and what they represent at their core,” they write. Dec. 5-30, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, 36 Madison Ave., Madison. Shakespearenj.org.
A Very Special (Holiday) Special, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre: For one day only, Dreamcatcher ensemble, including Montclair’s Clark Scott Carmichael, will perform holiday songs, comic sketches and improv. Sunday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m. Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit. Dreamcatcherrep.org.
Holiday Inn, Paper Mill Playhouse: A musical based on the beloved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film in which, Jim Hardy leaves behind the hustle and bustle of showbiz for a quiet life on a Connecticut farm. Fresh from a Broadway run, this production features more than 20 classic songs from the Berlin catalog, including “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” and “White Christmas.” Nov. 21-Dec. 30. Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn. Papermill.org.