Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Looking for something cultural to do this long holiday weekend or throughout the month? Here’s our select list of recommendations. Pictured: A scene from the Alliance Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” featuring Chris Kayser as Ebenezer Scrooge (far left). Photo by Greg Mooney.
A Christmas Carol. FRIDAY-DEC. 29. This annual Alliance Theatre staging features an ending: Chris Kayser’s 16th and final season as Ebenezer Scrooge (although he doesn’t rule out returning in another role). Celebrate him and many of Atlanta’s finest actors in a magical, musical staging of the Dickens classic. A multicultural cast, clothed in gorgeous period costumes, tells the tale and sings classic carols in rich harmonies. God bless us, everyone. $20-$70; family four-packs are $149. Show times vary. Details HERE. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more in Chris Kayser’s run as Scrooge, see this Encore FEATURE.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. The high-flying aerialists, daredevil cyclists, contortionists, jugglers and acrobats of Cirque de la Symphonie perform to classical and contemporary sounds from the ASO. The traveling troupe has been performing with symphonies around the country since 2006. $22-$60. 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Christmas Canteen 2013. NOV. 29-DEC. 22. Aurora Theatre’s nostalgic musical revue returns for an 18th season, bringing a winter wonderland to the South. The theater is decorated with almost 30 Christmas trees. Vote for your favorite by bringing a new, unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item for Toys for Tots or the Gwinnett Can Challenge. The cast: Airan Chase Baker, Randi Garza, Terry Henry, Brandon O’Dell, Lyndsay Ricketson and Bryant Smith, with Benjamin Davis and Akia Sembly. $30-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Discount Wednesday matinee ($20) at 10 a.m Dec. 18. Already sold out: Dec. 1, 8 & 12. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
The Gifts of the Magi. SATURDAY-DEC. 22. Back for a second year at Theatrical Outfit. It’s Christmas, the season of giving, but it doesn’t look merry or bright to Jim and Della, penniless newlyweds who valiantly struggle to find the perfect gift for one another. This musical, based on O. Henry’s 1906 story, returns with half of last season’s cast (Nick Arapoglou, Caroline Freedlund, Jeff McKerley) and the booming voices of newcomers Kayce Grogan-Wallace (Fabrefaction’s recent Urinetown), Kevin Harry (Javert in Aurora’s Les Miserables) and Rob Lawhorn (Hank Williams in the Outfit’s Lost Highway). Show times vary; schedule HERE. $20-$50. 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE, at the box office or at 877.725.8849. Ticket discounts at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Freedlund and Arapoglou)
Invasion: Christmas Carol. OPENS FRIDAY. Two locations. Dad’s Garage Theatre‘s ensemble again skewers the quintessential Christmas play, as a different character visits each night, surprising the cast (seriously) and sending the improv in a different direction. At Fabrefaction Theatre through Dec. 23: $15-35; 8p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 999 Brady Ave. in West Midtown. At the Alliance Theatre (mainstage) Dec. 15 & 18: $25-$37; 8 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday; 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141 (buy online, save money).
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. THROUGH DEC. 29. He’s back! Our little red-nosed reindeer friend; his pal, Hermie; and even the Bumble. The Center for Puppetry Arts‘ holiday adaptation is based on the classic 1964 stop-motion animated TV special. A live-camera, behind-the-scenes demonstration will follow select performances. $16.50-$20.50; age 2 and under free. Show times vary; check the schedule HERE. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
The Santaland Diaries. THROUGH DEC. 31. Back for a 15th season at Horizon Theatre and dedicated to those who like a little snark with their ho-ho-ho’s. Harold M. Leaver returns as Crumpet, a most unhappy elf at Macy’s Department Store, a character based on the real-life experiences of satirist David Sedaris. His is a nontraditional show distinctly for adults. Crumpet’s cohorts are Lala Cochran (her second season) and Enoch King (his eighth). $25-$40 (VIP and Platinum VIP seats available at a higher price). 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. Sunday including Christmas Eve (no show Thanksgiving day or Dec. 3 & 25). 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.1477.
The 12 Dates of Christmas. DEC. 6-21. Follow the misadventures of a woman named Mary, who sees her her fiancé kiss another woman on national TV during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Over the next year she is set up, hooked up, strung up and fed up as she attempts to negotiate the dating scene. This one-woman piece features Jaclyn Hofmann (Weird Sisters’ 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche). In repertory with the one-man show Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. $15. 8 p.m. Wednesday; 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
ASO Gospel Christmas. DEC. 8 | ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is joined by conductor Vincent Danner and the powerhouse voices of the Atlanta Gospel Singers for a holiday performance that will raise the roof at Symphony Hall. $20-$45. 7 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. DEC. 6-29. The tradition continues with another trip to the Sugar Candy Kingdom. This year’s staging features new illusions and the Georgia Youth Choir performing in Act 1’s “Snow Scene.” Choreography by artistic director John McFall. The score, of course, is Tchaikovsky’s. Music by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. $20-$80. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 22; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23; 1 p.m. Dec. 24; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26 and 2 p.m. Dec. 27. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE. Ticket discounts at PoshDealz.com. For more, see this Encore FEATURE.
Charles Busch at Actor’s Express. DEC. 6 ONLY. The actor, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, director, drag legend, Broadway and off-Broadway performer is joined by Tom Judson on piano. Busch is the author and leading lady of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (2000) won him the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner playwriting award and was nominated for a best-play Tony. $50. 8 p.m. 887 W. Marietta St. Note: The King Plow Arts Center parking lot is under construction. Alternate parking options HERE. Tickets HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. DEC. 5-22. Aurora Theatre‘s Producing Artistic Director Anthony P. Rodriguez slips into Victorian garb for a seventh season with this one-man telling of the classic tale. All the regulars show up, including Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Jacob Marley. In repertory with The 12 Dates of Christmas. $15. 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. (Pictured: Anthony P. Rodriguez)
Handel’s Messiah. DEC. 5 & 7. Another holiday gift from the Atlanta Symphony. Maestro Norman Mackenzie leads the ASO and Chamber Chorus in Part 2 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah. Soloists: Soprano Jeanine De Bique, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Thomas Glenn and bass Gerard Sundberg. $30-$60. 8 p.m. Thursday; 2 p.m. Saturday. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Peter Pan & Wendy. DEC. 6-29. In this musical version of the popular tale, Wendy is the one who won’t grow up. To avoid the inevitable, she flies off to Neverland with Peter Pan, where the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook and his misfit pirates offer challenges and joys. A swashbuckling adventure from Synchronicity Theatre, in which young audience members can help tell the story and decorate a Neverland-ish holiday tree. A co-production with Aurora Theatre. Recommended for ages 4 and up. $10-$40. Show times vary; details HERE. Synchronicity at the 14th Street Playhouse, Stage 2, 173 14th St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, working in or covering the performing arts for most of her life. Full disclosure: She’s affiliated with Synchronicity Theatre listed above. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.