Ivoryton Playhouse is rockin’. Getting a head start on the holiday season, Million Dollar Quartet Christmas is running through Sunday, Dec. 17. Since the original legendary recording session with Elvis, John Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins occurred on Dec. 4, 1956, it isn’t a stretch to imagine that some holiday songs were included. You’ll hear everything from “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” and more, including some traditional carols. Several Ivoryton favorites are in the cast. For tickets, visit IvorytonPlahyhouse.org.
IT’S BACK! After a three-year absence, A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas returns to Hartford Stage through Sunday, Dec. 24. Michael Wilson, the adaptor and original director, returns to direct this production. Wilson introduced this version of the classic play to Hartford while he was the artistic director of Hartford Stage. It has been selling out ever since. This year, Allen Gilmore is taking over the role of Scrooge, but some familiar faces will be returning, including Noble Shropshire, who plays both Jacoby Marley and Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s housekeeper.
The cast includes a company of young actors from the Greater Hartford region as well as students at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. This is one of my favorite productions of the play – with ghosts swirling about and wonderful costumes. Local vendors will be in the theater lobby on Saturday, Dec. 9 and 16.
Special performances include a sensory-friendly performance on Saturday, Dec. 2, an open-captioned performance on Saturday, Dec. 10, and an audio-described performance on Saturday, Dec. 16.
With the ghosts, this production may frighten younger children. For information, visit HartfordStage.org.
More versions of A Christmas Carol are throughout the area. The Downtown Cabaret Theater in Bridgeport has a child-oriented, musical version through Sunday, Dec. 30. Remember you sit at tables and can bring or purchase food. Younger children are welcome. Visit DTCab.com.
Stony Creek’s Legacy Theatre returns with a musical version through Sunday, Dec. 10. This version stars well-known New Haven actor James Andressi as Scrooge. It runs Wednesdays through Sundays; some performances are already sold out. Check for tickets at LegacyTheatreCT.org
Another musical, Christmas Carol is at New Haven’s Shubert Theater on Friday, Dec. 22, and Saturday, Dec. 23.
Happy Anniversary to the popular Christmas on the Rocks, which is celebrating its tenth year at TheatreWorks in Hartford. The show keeps evolving, with new scenes added and some departing. This production, conceived and directed by Rob Ruggiero, is described as a collection of twisted holiday tales; each short scene is written by a different playwright. To briefly summarize, the children of our favorite Christmas specials and movies are all grown up; each visits the same bar on Christmas Eve to share their midlife crises. Last year, two new scenes were added – The Elf on the Shelf and The Little Drummer Boy; this year, a surprise new scene is coming.
Also, Richard Kline is taking over behind the bar. He is known for his many television roles, including Three’s Company. Contact TWHartford.org for tickets.
Expect nostalgia and some sentiment with The Pin-Up Girls: A Musical Love Letter at Playhouse on Park from Wednesday, Nov. 29, through Saturday, Dec. 23. While performing a Christmas cabaret at a VFW hall, the performers find a stash of letters from service men and women that go back to WWI. The group changes their show and celebrates those who served from WWI to Afghanistan. The music will range from the Andrew Sisters to Beyonce and includes holiday favorites. For tickets, visit PlayhouseOnPark.com.
Symphonies and Films
Two symphony orchestras in Connecticut are combining classic holiday films with live orchestral accompaniment. The Waterbury Symphony and the Palace Theatre are teaming up to present Home Alone. The symphony and the Waterbury Chorale will be playing the John Williams’ score synchronized to the film. It’s on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tickets are available at PalaceTheaterCT.org.
The Hartford Symphony is doing the same with the popular film Elf on Friday, Dec. 232 and Saturday, Dec. 23.
The Nutcracker is another holiday favorite.
The Connecticut Ballet has performances scheduled in Stamford (Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17) and at the Bushnell in Hartford on Friday, Dec. 22, and Saturday, Dec. 23. Soloists from the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Pennsylvania Ballet will be guest artists. For tickets to the Hartford performances, visit Bushnell.org.
Eastern Connecticut Ballet Theater will feature two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet: Unity Phelan and Indian Woodward as the Sugarplum Fairy and the Snow Queen. This Nutcracker is set in New London in the 1850s. Performances are Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Tickets are available at GardeArts.org.
Closer to home, Sarah Admas and Harrison Coll from the New York City Ballet will dance the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier in the New Haven Ballet’s production. The show is at the Shubert Theatre from Friday, Dec. 15 to Sunday, Dec. 17. Visit Shubert.com for tickets.
Lights, Lights and More Lights
Light displays are a fun way for families to get in the holiday spirit.
Mystic Seaport, Olde Mystik Village, and the Mystic Aquarium all have lighting displays. You might be able to see all of them in one visit. At Mystic Seaport, the Lantern Light Village lets you take a self-guided tour of the village and learn about Christmas in the 1880s. You’ll hear songs of the past, learn about traditions of the period, and even try a 19th-century dance. Tickets are needed. The Seaport is also offering daytime Holiday Card Printing workshops. Visit MysticSeaport.org for information and tickets.
Olde Mystik Village is calling its display Holiday Lights Spectacular, which runs through the end of January. In addition, on Saturday, Dec. 2, is the Holiday Carnival from noon to 4 p.m., and on Friday, Dec. 4, the 2023 Festival of Lights runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Old Mystick Village has a Santa’s Workshop Children’s Gift Store where children can buy gifts for family and friends.
Home for the Holidays at Mystic Aquarium lets you wave at the whales as you walk through outdoor and indoor habits. The Arctic Coast features a frozen tunnel of icicles and dancing lights. It runs some evenings through Saturday, Dec. 30. Check MysticAquarium.org for dates.
Ivoryton puts on a spectacular Illumination each year that is well worth a visit. In addition, at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, you can drive through the Fantasy of Lights evenings until Sunday, Dec. 31. It depends on volunteers and benefits Goodwill. You can pre-purchase tickets at Goodwill.org/FantasyOfLights. Other light displays include Lake Compounce, and Meriden’s Festival of Silver Lights in Hubbard Park through Sunday, Dec. 31
Music – Classical, Popular, and More
A Winter Cabaret Series is at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford from Wednesday, Dec. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 17. Each night, a different cabaret and Broadway performer offers his or her take on all things holiday. Among those performing are Jeff Harnar, Tony-winner Debbie Gravitte and her son, Sam Gravitte (he recently starred in Wicked), Darius de Haas, and Karen Mason with John McDaniel. For tickets, visit TheONeill.org/wintercab.
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra offers its annual Holiday Extravaganza led by conductor Chelsea Tipton on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts and the SCSU campus and on Sunday, Dec. 10, at Shelton High School.
Handel’s Messiah with the Symphony, led by NHSO director Alasdair Neale, and the Christ Church Choir is on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the First Congregational Church in Madison and at Woolsey Hall in New Haven on Sunday, Dec. 17.
The Kate in Old Saybrook has an extensive line-up of holiday events beginning with the Eric Mintel Quartet playing the music of Vince Guaraldi, who composed the score for A Charlie Brown’s Christmas on Sunday, Nov. 26. On Friday, Dec. 1, it’s Christmas with the King, meaning Elvis, of course.
The Ct. Gay Men’s Chorus performs Sleigh! On Sunday, Dec. 3. That week also includes John Tesh with A Jazzy Swingin’ Christmas (Tuesday, Dec. 5 and Wednesday, Dec. 6), The John Denver Christmas Show with Chris Collins & Boulder Canyon (Thursday, Dec. 7), and Mary Fahl: Winter Songs on Friday, Dec. 8. Thursday, Dec. 14 is Close to You: A Carpenters Christmas featuring Lisa Rock, Irish Christmas in America on Monday, Dec. 18 and Tuesday, Dec. 19, and Marc O’Connor’s An Appalachian Christmas on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Visit TheKate.org for information and tickets.
Want a Non-Holiday Option?
Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam is presenting the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls through Saturday, Dec. 30. It tells the story of a Motown girl singing group struggle first to make it and then to stay together. (Think of the Supremes). Hits from the show include “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “One Night Only.”
Yale Rep is presenting The Salvagers through Saturday, Dec. 16. A father and son survive a cold, snowy Chicago Winter.
This content is courtesy of Shore Publications and Zip06.com