Holiday Entertainment Guide - 'A Longwood Christmas,' Murray the Elf, and holiday concerts
Looking for something to do this holiday season? From holiday children's productions to adult burlesque, there's something for everyone! WHYY's Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what's happening in and around Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware. Here are her picks:
This Christmas, experience the spectacular both indoors and out at Longwood Gardens with "A Longwood Christmas," living floral displays, opulent ornaments, stunning trees, a half-million lights, dancing fountains, musical and dance performances including choral groups and choirs, organ sing-alongs, garden railway, and much more, through January 6 on Route 1, Kennett Square, PA. Timed admission tickets.
Act II Playhouse celebrates the holiday season with two productions including their first children's play "Murray the Elf and the Case of the Missing Mistletoe," opening Friday, December 14. Written and directed by Act II's Bill D'Agostino, the new play mixes mystery with comedy for an exciting and fun story for the whole family, starring Will Dennis as Murray, a shopping mall elf who is summoned to the North Pole by Mrs. Claus to solve a mystery. Andy Shaw plays all of the other characters including Mrs. Claus, Rudy the Reindeer, Chilly the Snowman, and Candy Kane. Designed for children ages 5-12, each performance includes a pre-show sing-along and a post-show Q&A session with the writer/director and cast, through December 23, 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. $12 for adults, $10 for subscribers, $8 for children. Also, catch a new holiday variety show that pays homage to the humorous holiday variety specials from vintage television, "Oh, What Fun!" hosted by Tony Braithwaite and featuring comedic sketches, tap dancing, and even a "Worst Holiday Songs Ever" medley, through December 20. $22-$33.
World Café Live at the Queen hosts holiday concerts: An Intimate Holiday Evening with Raul Malo, Friday, December 14, 8pm; Loudon Wainwright III (pictured), Saturday, December 15, 8pm; Peek-a-boo Revue Holiday Spectacular, Thursday, December 20, 8pm; Chesapeake Brass Band and A Capella Pops Holiday Celebration, Friday, December 21, 7pm; Mr. Greengenes Farewell Tour, Thursday, December 27, 9pm; Sing-a-Long Sound of Music, Friday, December 28, 8pm; New Year's Eve with Rusted Root, Monday, December 31, 10pm; 500 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.
Support the Jersey shore with Ocean City Theatre Company's annual favorite "Holiday Hits Bandstand," directed and choreographed by Michael Hartman, as the cast of singers and dancers celebrate the season with a fully-staged musical revue of holiday hits with performances Friday, December 14 through December 16, Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ. $10-$18.
Sellersville Theater 1894 hosts holiday concerts and shows: Trout Fishing in America, Saturday, December 15, 11:30am and 2pm; "A Bluegrass Christmas" with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (pictured), December 15, 8pm; A Rat Pack Christmas, Sunday, December 16, 1pm; Irish Christmas in America, Sunday, December 16, 7:30pm; View & Brew Movie: It's A Wonderful Life, Wednesday, December 19, 7:30pm; Craig Thatcher & Nyke Van Wyk, Thursday, December 20, 8pm; Eric Mintel Quartet with the Bethlehem Middle School Chorus' Northeast Singers, Saturday, December 22, 2pm; The "Anti-Holiday" Holiday Concert with Christine Lavin & Uncle Bonsai, Saturday, December 22, 8pm; New Year's Eve with Dr. K's Motown Revue, Monday, December 31, 7pm and 10pm; 24 W. Temple Avenue, Sellersville, PA.
Independence Seaport Museum's 3rd Annual Parade of Lights is this Saturday, December 15 beginning at 3pm with activities including carolers and visits with Santa. At 5pm, the parade of festively decorated working vessels and pleasure boats begins its march down the Delaware River. Inside the Museum, catch a special holiday exhibit and complimentary refreshments and participate in the Liberty Claus Program by donating gift cards for military families in need, 211 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia. $12, discounts available for seniors, children, students, and military.
Mercer Museum's exhibit, "Under the Tree: A Century of Holiday Trees and Toys" captures the excitement of Christmas past with vintage toys from the 1860s through the 1960s, on display through January 13, 84 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA. Also visit nearby Fonthill Castle decked out in Victorian holiday decorations until December 31. Saturday, December 15, 6:30pm-9:30pm is the Fonthill Holiday Lights Meander, and Candlelight Holiday Tours, Saturday, December 29, 6:30pm-9pm, East Court Street and Route 313, Doylestown, PA. $15-$20.
ContempraDance Theatre's hip hop dance parody "Philly Nutt Crak-Up" returns for another year of superheroes, kung-fu, and The Rappin SugarPlum Fairy at the Keswick Theatre, 291 North Keswick Avenue, Glenside, PA, Saturday, December 15, 7:30pm, and Sunday, December 16, 2pm. $17.50-$30.
The Philadelphia Guitar Summit is Saturday, December 15, 8pm-10pm, featuring the Larry Coryell Trio and other world-class guitar masters from the Philadelphia area and beyond, presenting a variety of genres, including jazz, flamenco, blues, roots, "free" music as well as African string instruments, electronic applications and more with a series of workshops culminating in a concert in the Science Center Theatre, Montgomery County Community College, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA. $28 general admission, $12 children under 12 years. Parking available.
The Center City Residents' Association hosts the Sacred Spaces Open House this Sunday, December 16, 1pm-4pm, as twelve participating congregations open their doors for self-guided tours, answering questions about their building's architecture, history, and current activities. Arch Street United Methodist Church, The Shambhala Center, and Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel are just a few of the buildings featured.
PRISM Quartet presents "Chanting the Light," a Terry Riley Composer Portrait, Sunday, December 16, 7pm, a program of music for saxophones by the man who launched the Minimalist movement, at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street, Philadelphia. $20 general admission, $15 students/seniors (with ID) at door only. No advance sales or reservations.
Crossroads Music hosts Shtreiml, the Montreal/Philly-based group that offers a mix of "high-octane klezmer," not-so-traditional Eastern-European Jewish and Turkish music with a blues-rock infused set that delivers a new look at centuries old folk music. Together, with world renowned Turkish oud player and vocalist İsmail Hakkı Fencioğlu, the group performs a concert of "Jewish Roots & Turkish Blues," with original compositions and new arrangements of traditional folk melodies, Sunday, December 16, 7:30pm, Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 801 South 48th Street, Philadelphia. $10-$30.
B. Someday Productions presents its adult holiday show, "The Burlesque Adventures of Santa Claus: A Christmas Tale for Grownups." Based on a rare story by L. Frank Baum, this particular production shows Santa's bawdy upbringing: abandoned as an infant, found by a woodsman, suckled by a lioness, and raised by Nymphs, onstage Wednesday, December 19 through December 31 with a special New Year's Eve Show, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. $18.
Storybook Musical Theatre performs "Alice in Wonderland," December 19 to December 30 at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center, 800 Tomlinson Road, Bryn Athyn, PA and continues at St. Joseph's University, January 8-12 at Bluett Theater, 56th & Overbrook Avenue, Philadelphia. $14 for adults, $12 for children.
Flashpoint Theatre Company brings back the David Sedaris holiday comedy, "The Santaland Diaries" through December 23. Barrymore Award nominee Keith Conallen plays the role of Crumpet, with a new take on the curmudgeonly Macy's Elf. This production runs in rep with "Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hanukkah: More Sex-Ed Burlesque for the Holidays," written and performed by Gigi Naglak and Meghann Williams at Off-Broad Street Theatre,1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA. $15-$22.
Catch the Atlantic City Boardwalk's "Winter Sweet," a seven minute 3D light show projected on Historic Boardwalk Hall, and set to an original score nightly every half hour from 6pm-9pm. The show features three magical worlds, "Snow and Ice," "Winter Village," and "Illuminations," at 2301 Boardwalk, between Georgia and Mississippi Avenues at Kennedy Plaza, Atlantic City, NJ.
Holiday events in Philly
The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates the holiday season with special events, musical performances, and activities that spotlight work from its collection, including The Christmas Story in Art tour and the All Dressed Up fashion display for children and adults. Each weekend and every day during the holiday week (December 26 through January 1), special events include Carolling through the Galleries, Winter Concerts, workshops, tours and more, and the Great Stair Hall is lit and decorated for the holidays, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Art After 5 celebrates the holidays with a Hanukkah celebration, Festival of Lights with the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Friday, December 14, Jingle Bell Jive, Friday, December 21, and New Year's Eve Pre-Party Mistletoe Hop, December 28, until 8:45pm.
The gender-bending "mallerinas" of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bring their playful interpretation of classical ballet to the Annenberg Center, December 14-15. In their 38th year, the "Trocks," the critically-acclaimed company of male dancers who present a tongue-in-cheek, entertaining view of ballet in parody form, perform "Le Lac Des Cygnes," the second act of Swan Lake, along with the Philadelphia premieres of "Go for Barocco" and "Laurencia," 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Part of Dance Celebration, presented by Dance Affiliates. Tickets: $20-$65. Post-show talk back and master class, Friday, December 14.
The 1st Winterfest comes to Sister Cities Park this Saturday, December 15 from 11am-2pm. The Center City District will host a wide variety of activities including a holiday treasure hunt, Karaoke sing-a-long with Frosty the Snowman, and arts & crafts. The Franklin Institute will present Snowflake Science and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will teach about cold weather creatures, Sister Cities Park, Logan Square, 18th Street & The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Free.
This Saturday, December 15, 11am, the Trinity Center for Urban Life hosts a Nutcracker Ballet for Young Audiences, presented by Pages to Pirouettes. After the performance, meet and talk with the performers, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. $12 for adults, $8 for children under 12.
The Rittenhouse Row Holiday Celebration is Saturday, December 15, 11am-1pm, with performances, in store events and specials, visits from Santa, free hot beverages, and more, along with free parking, near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.
The annual tradition "Christmas with the Philadelphia Singers" celebrates their 40th anniversary this weekend with three performances, Saturday, December 15, 7:30pm at the Church of the Good Samaritan, 212 West Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, PA and Sunday, December 16, 3pm and 6pm at St. Clement's Church, 20th and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia. The Singers will be joined by organists Peter Conte and Michael Stairs, with Music Director David Hayes leading a seasonal program that includes Finzi's "in terra pax" and MacMillan's "Magnificat." $30-$40.
Five Minute Follies' Great American Songbook tribute, "Swingin' the Standards" gets a holiday makeover this Sunday, December 16 at 3pm as "A Swingin' Christmas," and swing versions of holiday favorites sung by Philly singers, including Brian Anthony Wilson (of HBO's "The Wire"), Joanne Clendining, Jason Mento, Tina Siciliano, and more, The Adrienne Theatre (Playground), 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. $15 in advance, $18 at the door.
Choral Arts Philadelphia celebrates their 30th anniversary with a concert, Sunday, December 16, 4pm, at First Baptist Church, the site of the very first concert back in 1982. The festive program features Bach's MAGNIFICAT BWV 243 (with its Christmas interpolations) and Vivaldi's GLORIA RV 589 -- two works that have formed a regular part of Choral Arts' repertoire. The chorus will be joined by the Philadelphia Bach Collegium performing in authentic early music style on period instruments, 17th & Sansom Street, Philadelphia. $30, $20 seniors, $10 students.
Historic Philadelphia offers holiday cheer with Tippler's Tours, December 20 & 27, tours of Colonial and modern day watering holes with a holiday flair, $35-$40; Santa visits at Franklin Square, Saturdays and Sundays, through December 24, noon-3pm, free, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia.
Walnut Street Theatre offers holiday productions including "Plaid Tidings," a mix of holiday songs and 1950s crooning, with the popular "Forever Plaid" singing group returning for more humor and harmonies including "Let It Snow," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and more, through December 30 in Independence Studio on 3. Also, the annual children's production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" returns through December 22, directed by Bill Van Horn, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops perform the annual "Holiday POPS!," through December 22, Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall; Broad Street, Philadelphia.
New City Stage Company presents the Philadelphia premiere of "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge," written by Christopher Durang and directed by Michael K. Brophy, a farcical take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. This production is the company's largest and their first musical, featuring choreography by Artistic Director Ginger Dayle set to a brand new score, through December 23 at the Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $10-$35.
BCKSEET Productions offers the World Premiere of "ELFuego," a comedic new holiday musical and satiric social commentary tackling the mounting problem of unemployment with a witty and unexpected glimpse at the world of the North Pole. Written by Artistic Director Kate Brennan, directed by Brandon King McShaffrey, and featuring Sarah Doherty leading the cast as Scab the elf, the production runs through December 29 at the Skybox and the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $28, $21 for students, veterans, and seniors.
The Pennsylvania Ballet celebrates 25 years of "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker," through December 30, featuring the Philadelphia Boy's Choir and dozens of local dance students performing at the Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets start at $20. Programming includes "Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy," Saturday, December 22, noon.
11th Hour Theatre Company kicks off their main stage season with the return of the four best friends, Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy in the Philadelphia premiere of Roger Bean's "Winter Wonderettes," directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien, sure to put you in the holiday spirit with a score featuring some of the greatest holiday hits, through December 30 at Theatre Horizon's brand new theatre, 401 Dekalb Street, Norristown, PA.
The 5th annual Christmas Village in Philadelphia returns to LOVE Park in Center City, an outdoor holiday market with vendors in more than 90 wooden booths offering international seasonal arts and crafts, gifts, ornaments, food and more as well as a life-size Advent calendar and a stage with daily live performances of local choirs, orchestras and bands. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11am-7pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-8pm, and Thanksgiving and Christmas 11am-5pm. Free admission.
The Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad is on display with almost a third of a mile of track running twelve working train lines through miniature scenery depicting Center City Philadelphia, a Christmas Village, and other seasonal displays, opens daily at 10am through December 31 (closed on Christmas Day), Piano Court in Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Street, Philadelphia, free.
The Morris Arboretum's popular Holiday Garden Railway Display returns with a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges, and bustling model trains. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials to form a miniature landscape with miniature rivers and buildings that are exact replicas of the original including Independence Hall and other Philadelphia-area landmarks, all decorated for the holidays through December 31 at 100 Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill. Admission: $16 adults, $14 for seniors, students and youth (13-18) $7, children under age three and members free. Open daily from 10am-4pm through December 14 and 10am-5pm, December 15-31 (closed Christmas Eve and day, and New Years day).
Macy's Grand Court Light Show has shows every hour on the hour, the annual Dickens Village, daily Wanamaker Organ concerts and more, now through December 31, 13th and Market Streets, Philadelphia. Least crowded viewing times: Mondays through Thursday.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is on view at the Comcast Center now through New Year's Day, shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience Video Wall, the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world, spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high, capturing the essence of the holidays with performances by the Pennsylvania Ballet, Broadway dancers, the Commonwealth Youth Choir's Keystone State Boychoir, and more. 15 minute shows begin at the top of every hour, 10am-8pm daily (except for weekdays at 5pm), Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia. Free.
The Please Touch Museum hosts holiday events including the Enchanted Colonial Village, on display through January 6, depicting holiday scenes of blacksmiths, bakers, toymakers, and more, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.
Holiday events in the region
The Grand celebrates the season with the 2nd Holiday Light Extravaganza, bright multi-colored lights shining on the building's façade choreographed to holiday music, December 14 and December 21, 6:30pm. Light show lasts approximately 15 minutes and is free. Also, Sweet Honey in the Rock performs "Celebrating the Holydays," December 19, 8pm, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.
Awbury Arboretum hosts a Holiday Sing-Along and Open House, Friday, December 14, 5pm-8pm, for an evening of holiday cheer with warm drinks, cookies, music, model trains, family activities and more, The Francis Cope House at Awbury Arboretum, One Awbury Road, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public.
The Historic Mill at Anselma hosts Candlelight Tours, Friday, December 14, 5pm-7pm, with the opportunity to explore the Colonial-era grist mill, 1730 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children 4-17.
Fractured Mirror Productions presents "My Christmas Wish," an opportunity for children ages 3 and up to explore the historical Collings-Knight Homestead and hear classic Christmas tales, December 14-16, 500 Collings Avenue, Collingwood, NJ. $15 with discounts for children.
Lawrenceville's "Holidays in the Village," is rescheduled for Saturday, December 15, 2pm-4pm, with holiday music and caroling, refreshments, children's activities and more including a visit from Santa, Weeden Park, Main Street, south of Craven Lane by the Post Office in Lawrenceville, NJ.
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday POPS! Concert is Saturday, December 15, 4pm, featuring holiday classics like "March of the Toys" from "Babes in Toyland" with the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Nutcracker," Mozart's "Veni Sancte Spiritus" with the Princeton High School Choir, and a carol sing-along, with Rossen Milanov conducting in the Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus, 70 Washington Road, Princeton, NJ. $38, $22 for students.
The Ritz Theatre Company presents its children's holiday show "Mrs. Tinkerton's Christmas Toy Store," December 15 through December 22, 915 White Horse Pike, Haddon Township, NJ. $10.
Cape May celebrates the holiday season with the 39th annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour, a self-guided tour of homes, inns, hotels and churches decorated for the holidays along with carolling, strolling musicians, refreshments and more, Saturday, December 15, 5:30pm-8:30pm. $20-$25. Includes admission to the "Old Fashioned Christmas Exhibit" of holiday traditions through the years complete with holiday trains beneath the giant Christmas tree at the Carriage House Gallery, Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, on display through January 1; Plus - Christmas lights trolley tours, and much more, throughout December, Cape May, NJ.
The Pinelands Cultural Society hosts its Holiday Show, Saturday, December 15, as Santa joins regional bands from the tri-state area for an evening of bluegrass, country, and traditional music with performers including Southern Specific, Bluegrass Road, Warm Hearted Country Carolers, and Basement Musicians. Doors open at 6:30pm, the show starts at 7:30pm, with a special Christmas sing-a-long with Santa at 8pm, Albert Music Hall, 131 Wells Mills Road, Waretown, NJ. $5, free for children 11 and under.
The Atlantic City Ballet performs "The Nutcracker," Saturday, December 15, 3pm and 7pm, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ; Saturday, December 22, 7pm, Garden State Philharmonic Strand Theatre, Lakewood, NJ.
Market Street Music hosts a festival concert with the Mastersingers of Wilmington and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, "The Wonder of Christmas," Sunday, December 16, 3pm, featuring organist Marvin Mills and David Schelat conducting four centuries of Christmas music, First & Central Presbyterian Church, 1101 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE. $15 in advance (online), $20 at door.
The Music School of Delaware performs "Seeking Peace through Song," a collaborative winter concert with local Jewish congregations and The Music School of Delaware's Children's Chorus, Select Choral Ensemble and Delaware Women's Chorus, conducted by Marybeth Miller, Dr. Michael Larkin, Joanne Ward & Cantor Mark Stanton, Sunday, December 16, 4pm at Congregation Beth Emeth, 300 W. Lea Boulevard, Wilmington, DE. Free.
The Brandywine Ballet Company's 33rd annual production of "The Nutcracker" returns with performances through December 16 at the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 700 S. High Street, West Chester, PA. The Company offers the popular "Nutcracker Tea," with the opportunity to join Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and other characters for a special brunch on December 15. Tickets for the show: $25-$40. Tickets for the Tea: $25.
Crossroads Theatre Company's 3rd annual "Holiday Jubilee" returns with a multicultural celebration of holiday traditions from around the world, this year featuring the music of Motown, through December 16, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets: $40. Kids under 12 free with purchase of adult ticket.
The Delaware Children's Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary with the holiday favorite "Babes in Toyland," the classic story weaving together Mother Goose's nursery rhyme characters into a Christmas themed musical extravaganza, with a special visit from Santa, onstage through December 16, 1014 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, DE. Tickets: $14 at the door, $11 online.
Onstage at Clear Space Theatre Company is "A Christmas Carol," through December 16, based on the book by Charles Dickens with music by composer and Clear Space Artistic Director Doug Yetter, 20 Baltimore Avenue (Beach Block), Rehoboth Beach, DE.
The Broadway Theatre of Pitman presents "Mr. Malcolm's Musical Christmas Carol," December 17 through December 22. This version of the Christmas classic sees Malcolm O'Scrooge realizing the wrongs he has done toward both man and beast, getting a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Mice Past and the Christmas Bear Present, 43 South Broadway Street, Pitman NJ. $9-$12
Woodmere Art Museum hosts "Friday Night Jazz" concerts and celebrates the holiday season with "Jazzy Good Cheer," Friday, December 21, 6pm-8pm, as the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble performs holiday and family favorites such as "Let It Snow," "The Christmas Song," "Greensleeves," more, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. $20, $10 members, children under 12 free. Wine is served. Check out "Friday Night Family Happenings" with activities for kids, 6pm-7pm while parents enjoy the music. Free.
Bristol Riverside Theatre celebrates the holidays with "Winter Musicale 2012," Keith Baker and the BRT band performing carols, classics and more, through December 23 at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets $15-$45.
People's Light & Theatre presents "This Wonderful Life," through December 23, about a man passionately devoted to Frank Capra's 1946 classic film, "It's a Wonderful Life," on the Steinbright Stage, starring Jerry Richardson and directed by David Bradley, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Tickets: $35-45.
Hedgerow Theatre presents the 20th annual production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," directed by Penelope Reed, through December 24, 64 Rose Valley Road, Rose Valley, PA. $10-$32.
Linvilla Orchards hosts the annual "Christmasland" display with the farm decorated for the holiday and activities for the whole family including crafts, food, Santa visit, petting zoo, Wassailing Caroling Hayrides, and more, through December 24, 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, PA.
Broadway veteran Graeme Malcolm reprises his role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," at McCarter Theatre Center, through December 28. Michael Unger directs a cast of 40 in the critically-acclaimed production, offering a variety of events in conjunction with the performances, as well as special services for patrons with visual and audio impairments at no additional charge on December 15-16. Tickets start at $20.
Onstage at Delaware Theatre Company is "A Christmas Carol," a world premiere adaptation by Patrick Barlow, creator of the Tony Award winning The 39 Steps, with five actors portraying over 20 characters, exploring new facets of the classic story by Charles Dickens, starring Steve Pacek, Andrew Long, Mark Light-Orr, Jessie Shelton, and Tina Stafford, through December 30 at 200 Water Street, Wilmington, DE. For school age children and up.
Cape May Stage presents the comedy "A Tuna Christmas," by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, a sequel to "Greater Tuna," through December 30. The production features two actors, twelve days of Christmas, and twenty-four hilarious characters at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets, Cape May, NJ. Good for ages 12 and up. Tickets: $15-$35.
Rose Tree Park hosts the 30th annual Festival of Lights, over 100,000 holiday lights, hand-painted wooden figures and cutout displays, and more, running nightly, 5:30pm-9:30pm through January 1, 2013 at Rose Tree Park, 1671 N. Providence Road, Upper Providence, PA. Admission is free.
Adventure Aquarium's Christmas Celebration transforms the space into an underwater winter wonderland with larger than life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees and gently falling snow, Christmas characters including "Scuba Santa," through January 1, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ. $17.95-$23.95.
Historic Smithville, New Jersey hosts the annual Holiday Light Show, Thursdays through Sundays through January 2, as 120 Christmas trees, decorated with 50,000 lights, float on the lake and blink on and off to holiday music by the Colonial Inn, 615 East Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ. Free.
Catch the Gingerbread House Competition & Display at Peddler's Village, with confections in categories including traditional, authentic reproduction of a significant building, amateur, unusual 3D creation, and more including the holiday lights at night, through January 5, 2013 in the gazebo, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA. Free admission and free parking.
"Yuletide at Winterthur" returns with "A Feast for the Eyes," a glimpse at winter holidays past, exploring how Americans have celebrated the winter social season from the 1800s to the present and designed to inspire visitors to create their own celebrations. Signature showpieces include the dried flower tree, a "Winter Wonderland," and many seasonally themed activities like Yuletide Brunch with Santa, Holiday decoration workshops, music performances, and more, through January 6, 2013, Winterthur, DE. $20 for adult non-members, $18 for seniors and students, $5 for children ages 2-11.
Shady Brook Farm hosts the annual Holiday Light Show, as millions of lights illuminate acres of farmland with familiar characters and whimsical displays, 5pm-10pm nightly through January 6, 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, PA. Ride in your car or on a wagon ride. Admission: $12-$50. Coupons available on website.
The Brandywine River Museum's annual tradition of "A Brandywine Christmas" returns with the O-gauge model train display that this year includes Japanese trains, trees decorated with thousands of "critter" ornaments, and musical performances as well as several exhibits that celebrate the spirit of the holidays: "Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D" presents pop-up books and their production by authors like Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, and more. "Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth" features jewelry crafted by Pywell while collaborating with painter Andrew Wyeth, each housed in custom settings designed by T. Mark Cole, through January 6, U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA. Museum admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, and children over six.
Hagley Museum and Library hosts the annual "Christmas at Hagley" exhibition through January 6 with a glimpse at nineteenth and twentieth-century holiday traditions in Eleutherian Mills, the ancestral home of the DuPont family along with special events and programs, 201 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, DE.
Glencairn Museum hosts the 75th Christmas Sing Concert, Tuesday, December 18, 8pm and "Follow the Star: World Nativities," an exhibition of dozens of crèches from around the world as well as "Christmas in the Castle," 45 minute guided tours exploring how Christmas was celebrated in the Romanesque-style castle when it was the private home of the Pitcairn family, through January 6 at 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA. Admission: $6-$8.
On display at Rockwood Park & Museum is "Sounds of the Season," as the museum is decorated in a music theme through January 7, 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, DE.
Other events in Philly and the region
The Chinatown North Arts Crawl is Friday, December 14, 6pm-9pm, highlighting the unique and varied spaces in the neighborhood's emerging arts community, starting at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
Brandywine Baroque presents "George's Music for the Royal George," welcoming the holiday season with arias from Samson and kingly songs, cantata & sonatas by Handel, Telemann, Festing & Tessarini, Friday, December 14, 7:30pm, The Barn at Flintwoods, Saturday, December 15, 2:30pm, Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Rehoboth Beach, DE, and Sunday, December 16, 3pm at The Barn at Flintwoods, 205 Center Meeting Road, Wilmington, DE. $26, $24 seniors, $13 students, children under 16 free.
The Philadelphia Orchestra invites cellists of all ages and abilities to participate in the free community Cello Play-In! event, Saturday, December 15, 6:30pm. Then, on Sunday, December 16 at 1pm & 6pm is the annual TubaChristmas, Commonwealth Plaza. And celebrate the holidays with "The Glorious Sound of Christmas," December 20-22, with timeless holiday favorites, Handel's "Messiah," Sunday, December 23, 2pm; Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.
Group Motion performs "Spiel Uhr" at the CEC Meetinghouse Theater, Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December 16, 8pm. The program features new works by Brigitta Herrmann, Eleanor Goudie-Averill, David Konyk, Aura Fischbeck, and an improvisation directed by Manfred Fischbeck, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia. Saturday night's performance will be followed by a benefit reception. $18 in advance, $20 at the door, $15 for students.
Sonic Liberation Front's Jetway Confidential album party is Wednesday, December 19 at 7pm. Commissioned by Ars Nova Workshop & the ICA, the album's title track celebrates jazz legend Sun Ra's space lore, Moonstone Arts Center, 110A South 13th Street, Philadelphia, $7.
ARTsisters, a group of professional women artists who present monthly exhibitions throughout the tri-state region with an emphasis on serving the community through special projects, workshops, and donations, presents a group exhibition of paintings and prints in a wide variety of contemporary media from abstract to representational from the group's 27 members, through January 4, 2013 at Darlington Arts Center, 977 Shavertown Road, Garnet Valley, PA.
ArtFusion 19464's annual holiday show "Secret Life of Trees," is on view, offering the work of 38 local artists from oils and watercolors to recycled sculpture and ceramics, on view through January 5, 2013 at 254 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA (formerly the Gallery School of Pottstown/Gallery on High).
Arden Children's Theatre begins its 15th year with the fairytale classic, "Cinderella." Set to the music of Mozart, playwright Charles Way's version retells the tale in an adventurous new way. After each production, children are invited to meet the actors and participate in a Q&A session. Directed by Whit MacLaughlin, "Cinderella" runs through January 27 at 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $16-$36.
Brett Rader contributed reporting to this week's guide.
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