Love singing along with your favorite holiday tunes on the radio? Or quoting the best lines from your preferred Christmas special when it airs on television? There’s something exciting about holiday entertainment and the way it awakens the spirit of the season in all of us. But there’s nothing merrier than being able to go experience a holiday performance live and in person.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. Here’s our list of the area’s best holiday entertainment scheduled this season.
Rams Head On Stage Keeps The Holidays Lively
A traditional holiday staple of the Rams Head season, “An Annapolis Christmas,” presented by Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians Inc. (AMFM), will have its 17th annual performance on December 7 and 8 at 7:00pm each night. Followers of the local music scene always look forward to this seasonal showcase of cheer featuring a mix of original and classic holiday songs by the area’s most popular artists.
Then, on December 26, Rams Head will keep the holiday spirit alive with “'Twas The Night After Christmas” ‘80s Party. While guests revel and carouse, they can enjoy a performance by ‘80s tribute band The New Romance at 8:00pm.
Other holiday-themed highlights of the Rams Head schedule will include Delta Rae's winter acoustic tour “A Holiday Celebration” on November 30 at 8:00pm; Peter White’s “Christmas” on December 4 at 6:30pm or 9:30pm; “Motown & More: A Holiday Celebration” on December 6 at 7:30pm; Bill Kirchen’s “Honky Tonk Holiday Show” on December 10 at 8:00pm; Carbon Leaf’s holiday concert on December 11 and 12 at 8:00pm (all-ages matinee at 3:00pm on December 12); Maysa performing music from “A Very Maysa Christmas” and “Back 2 Love” on December 19 at 6:00pm and 10:00pm; and Slim Man Christmas show on December 23 at 8:00pm. Rams Head concertgoers can conclude the holiday season when they “Groove in the New Year” with Marcus Johnson on December 31 at 8:00pm.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs A Collection Of Christmas Favorites
Whatever style of holiday music you prefer, you’ll find something you like on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s calendar this season.
First, parents can book their kids for a musical adventure with “The Polar Express” on December 2 and 4. At 10:00am or 11:30am, audiences will hear Robert Kapilow’s music accompanied by projected images from the pages of Chris Van Allsburg’s Caldecott-winning children’s book. A weekend performance will be presented on December 5 at 11:00am.
Then, cue the halleluiah chorus — BSO’s holiday lineup will continue with Handel’s “Messiah” on December 4 at 7:30pm and December 6 at 3:00pm at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The BSO will join the Baltimore Symphonic Chorale to perform this staple of the cherished choral canon, led by conductor and harpsichordist Edward Polochick.
From December 9 through 13, Broadway phenomenon Brian Stokes Mitchell will join the BSO SuperPops at the Strathmore to warm hearts with traditional and contemporary holiday favorites, all part of “‘Tis the Season.” On December 17 and 18, the BSO will join the Morgan State University Choir for “A Gospel Christmas” at 7:30pm, when the sweet harmonies of MSU’s chorus promise to lift the spirit and nourish the soul.
Finally, those who feel a bit merrier when they hear the score to “Home Alone” can enjoy a screening of the film with live accompaniment on December 19 at 3:00pm or 7:00pm and gain a renewed appreciation for one of John Williams’ most recognizable melodies.
Toby’s Dinner Theatre Reminds Audiences That “It’s A Wonderful Life”
This original adaptation of the beloved 1946 film retains the warmth and humor of Frank Capra’s movie with the addition of music for the entertainment of Toby’s theatergoers. From November 20 through January 10, audiences will be able to appreciate the joy and wonder of George Bailey, who is saved from his despair on Christmas Eve by his guardian angel, Clarence, and shown how much his life has mattered. Dinner/evening performance and brunch/matinee options are available.
Pasadena Theatre Company Encourages A Little Holiday Faith With "Miracle On 34th Street"
Is there a real Santa, or is that just a nice man with a white beard pretending to be him in the department store? Theatergoers will enjoy this stage adaptation of the classic 1947 film, the latest production by Pasadena Theatre Company. Audiences should note that — due to circumstances outside Pasadena Theatre Company’s control — the show dates have changed. Performances will be Fridays and Saturdays, December 4, 5, 11 and 12, at 8:00pm, and Sundays, December 6 and 13, at 3:00pm, at Anne Arundel Community College Humanities recital hall.
Experience The Excitement Of “The Nutcracker”
Local audiences who want to catch a performance of “The Nutcracker” have a couple of options this holiday season in Annapolis. On the weekends of December 12-13 and 19-20, two companies — one a professional troupe and the other an ensemble of dedicated students — will present their versions of this holiday classic.
Ballet Theatre of Maryland has performed “The Nutcracker” annually for decades, delighting audience after audience with the magical adventures of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. The state’s premier professional ballet company finds ways to balance tradition with innovation in its presentation every year, and 2015 is sure to be another great installment of the seasonal crowd-pleaser. Also happening this year will be the enormously popular Sugar Plum Parties, held an hour before the Sunday matinees, when children will be able to meet their favorite characters for photos and autographs. Performances are held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
Audiences will also want to check out Chesapeake Ballet Company’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, featuring a marvelous group of teenagers and young adults. Don’t let the company’s education mission fool you — these shows are beautifully staged and expertly choreographed, consistently making audiences forget they are watching kids. Performances are held at Children’s Theatre of Annapolis.
Info: www.balletmaryland.org, www.chesapeakeballetcompany.com
Live Arts Maryland Makes Merry With “A Celebration of Christmas”
A beloved local tradition and the longest-running holiday event in the region, Live Arts Maryland’s “A Celebration of Christmas” concert includes a lineup of favorite carols performed by the Annapolis Chorale, holiday readings and very special guest artists who make this a must-see event. This one-night-only event will take place December 11 at 8:00pm at Maryland Hall.
“The Charm City Comedy Nutcracker” Comes To The Chesapeake Arts Center
From the creator and cast of “The Hack and Slash Christmas Special” comes “The Charm City Comedy Nutcracker: A Christmas Comedy and Music Testacular!,” running December 11 through 20 in Chesapeake Art Centers’ Studio 194 Theatre. This hilarious performance will include comedic scenes, music, audience interaction and much more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local and global charities to provide food, clothing, water and shelter to people in need.
Talent Machine Company Enchants Audiences With “Holiday Magic”
The annual Christmas show put on by the Talent Machine Company has become a favorite tradition for many local theatergoing families. This high-energy showcase of young talent features song after song of dazzling seasonal spirit, and such characters as Frosty, Santa and Rudolph have been known to make appearances. “Holiday Magic” runs December 18 through 22 at St. John’s College Key Auditorium in Annapolis.
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Croons Into The Holidays With “Simply Sinatra Christmas”
This holiday pops concert by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra blends holiday cheer with jazz/swing standards. Featuring Steve Lippia, “Simply Sinatra Christmas” will include favorite holiday tunes as well as the signature songs of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. This one-night engagement is set for December 18 at 8:00pm at Maryland Hall.