November 24–December 31
Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (Boston) :: Let Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker” capture your imagination and transport you to a magical world of brave toy soldiers and dancing candy canes. Follow Clara as she embarks on her journey filled with colorful characters, breathtaking costumes, and majestic scenery. From the captivating dance of the sugar plum fairy to the iconic snow scene, this enchanting holiday classic — set to the beloved music of Tchaikovsky — continues to enthrall audiences of all ages.
November 24, 25, 26, December 8, 9,10
Commonwealth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (Weston | times vary) :: Share the merriment of the holiday season as the accomplished dancers of Commonwealth Ballet and guest artists frolic, battle, and dance through Clara’s holiday dream. Join with the family party set before a magical tree and enjoy the laughter, magic, and wonder of this holiday classic accompanied by the beloved Tchaikovsky score. This fully staged production is sure to captivate and entertain all ages.
November 25–December 24
Jose Mateo Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker” (Boston and Dorchester | times vary) :: Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre honors the classical tradition by continuing what may well be New England’s longest-running interpretation of “The Nutcracker” ballet. Following its 1988 premiere in Fall River, various tours throughout the state with regular performances in Springfield, Worcester, and Lowell, and a 10-year run at Boston’s Emerson Majestic Theatre, the production quickly distinguished itself as one of the first versions anywhere to focus more on the dancing than on the usual caricatured mime, pomp, and special effects of its predecessors. Even the cast of over 100 children who play the mice, soldiers, cherubs, polichinelles, and Clara have substantial dancing roles.
November 28–December 10
“Elf the Musical” (Boston | times vary) :: “Elf The Musical” is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner Elf.
December 5–December 31
BSO Holiday Pops (Boston) :: Join the Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart, celebrating his 20th anniversary with the orchestra, in a performance filled with holiday music favorites, the traditional Pops sing-a-long, and even a visit from jolly old Santa Claus. The special kids’ matinee performances include post-concert photos with Santa and special treats. The not-to-be-missed New Year’s Eve concert with the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra and bandleader Bo Winiker will kick off the new year in style.
First Light Brookline (Brookline | 5–8 p.m.) :: First Light started 18 years ago in Brookline’s Washington Square, when several businesses came together to spread holiday cheer by hanging snowflakes in their storefront windows. These glowing flakes illuminated the square, signaling the start of the holiday season. Over the years, First Light has grown into the town’s annual winter festival, showcasing the talents of local artists, musicians, and performers at businesses and other venues throughout Brookline.
December 3, 10, and 17
Celebrations of Christmas Concert (Cambridge | 3-5 p.m.) :: Celebrate Christmas at St. Paul’s with the renowned choir of Boys and Men, America’s Première Catholic Boys Choir. The choir will perform works by Rutter, Willcocks, and Bruckner, as well as traditional Christmas carols. Come hear the choir in a glorious celebration of timeless Christmas music. The boys of St. Paul’s Choir School recently released their debut international recording, “Christmas in Harvard Square,” to great critical acclaim, including time spent at the top of the Amazon charts. The Christmas concert series will include performances of several items from the album, as well as new works.
December 9–10, 16–17, 23–24
Boston Pops Holiday Pops Kids Matinees 2016 (Boston | 11 a.m.) :: These special family concerts include a children’s sing-along and post-concert photos with Santa. For those seated at the floor tables, there are special kid-friendly menu options along with holiday treats. Children younger than 2 are admitted free. All Holiday Pops patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket, to get free kids tickets, please place your order through SymphonyCharge.
Pentatonix Christmas Tour (Boston | times vary) :: The concerts will be the group’s first to feature songs from their three hugely successful holiday albums. To coincide with the tour, Pentatonix has also announced a deluxe version of 2016’s platinum-selling, chart-topping album — “A Pentatonix Christmas.”
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Boston | times vary) :: The beloved TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see your favorite characters, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in this musical. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Boston | times vary) :: A holiday mash-up for the entire family, the Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, sets out on a third national tour following the success of two previous sold-out tours. The Hip Hop Nutcracker is an evening-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ, and violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of sugarplums into 1980s Brooklyn. This new dance work celebrates love, community, and the magic of New Year’s Eve.