Now that Thanksgiving is out of the way and the holiday shopping season is in full swing, arts venues around Tacoma are kicking into high gear to present holiday concerts, performances and events to mark the season. Browse the list of the offerings like a Chinese buffet:
Lakewood Playhouse is presenting “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare. Like other romantic comedies penned by the bard, this one centers on mistaken identify but has the added draw of a shipwreck and gender-bending humor as a couple prepares for holiday guests. “Twelfth Night” runs through Dec. 2. For more information on tickets and show times, visit http://www.lakewoodplayhouse.org or call (253) 588-0042.
The University of Puget Sound’s Adelphian Concert Choir and Voci d’Amici will anchor Winterfest, an evening full of music, singalongs and readings where everyone can share in the religious and cultural festivities of people around the world. “Winterfest: Songs and Carols From Around the World” will take place in Kilworth Memorial Chapel on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. The renowned Adelphians and the Voci d’Amici a cappella singers will be led by conductor Steven Zopfi. University of Puget Sound Chaplain David Wright will present complimentary readings of poetry and prose from various cultures. For tickets, contact Wheelock Information Center by calling (253) 879-6013. Admission is $8.50 for the general public; $4.50 for seniors, students and military.
Broadway Center is presenting a sing-along of “The Sound of Music” with its 67th annual Holiday Tree Lighting at 2 p.m. on Nov. 24. Tickets are $24. Visitors can see, and sing along to, the original 1965 movie on the big screen and sing with the Von Trapp family. Every ticket purchase includes a complimentary participation pack. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. The 67th annual Holiday Tree Lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. after the movie. Visit http://www.BroadwayCenter.org.
“Ensemble and Glory Shone Around: An Early American Christmas” provide a look at carols, shape-note singing, European influences and lost holiday traditions at Rialto Theater, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39-$59.
“Miracle on 34th Street,” the story of Christmas through the eyes of a girl who meets Kris Kringle at Macy’s, will be performed at Tacoma Little Theatre Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 23. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.tacomalittletheatre.com, or by calling (253) 272-2281.
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra presents “Sounds of the Season” with Harvey Felder, conductor and Maria Valenzuela, vocalist along with Tacoma Youth Chorus, Judith Herrington, director, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Pantages Theater. Tickets are $24- $77. Visit http://www.BroadwayCenter.org.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse is staging “The Sound of Music” Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 16. Tickets are $20-$29 and available by calling (243) 565-6867.
Tacoma City Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 8-23 at Pantages Theater. Throughout the world, “The Nutcracker” has become a special Christmas event for generations. Tacoma City Ballet, in concert with The Northwest Sinfonietta, presents the story of Clara and the Nutcracker. This timeless family classic is performed in the tradition of the St. Petersburg Russian original first presented more than 100 years ago. From choreography to scenery to costume design, this glorious production transports you to a land filled with music, magic and wonder. Tickets are $19-$60 available at http://www.TacomaCityBallet.com.
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and Chorus offer its “Messiah” with Geoffrey Boers conducting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at St. Charles Borromeo Church. An all-star cast of vocal soloists – some new and some returning – will be featured in this season’s performance of the most famous and beloved oratorio of all time. In the “new” category will be tenor Gregory Carroll, hailed by Opera News for his “sturdy, shining tenor voice.” Carroll recently made his European operatic debut in “Aida” at Den Norske Opera, on the heels of his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the same role. He also covered Placido Domingo at the Met for the world premiere of Jeremy Sams’ “Enchanted Island.” Tickets are $25. Visit http://www.tacomasymphony.org.
Puget Sound Revels presents “The Christmas Revels” Dec. 15-19 at Rialto Theater. This Christmas Revels summons the ghosts of many Christmases past and draws on many centuries of English song, dance, foolery and drama. Tickets are $14-$29. Visit http://www.pugetsoundrevels.org.
Tacoma Concert Band plays “Holiday Traditions” at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Rialto Theater in what will be the first TCB holiday concert in years. The night will feature Dawn Padula, mezzo-soprano and voice professor at the University of Puget Sound. Tickets are $28-$34. Visit http://www.tacomaconcertband.org.
Broadway Center hosts Seattle Men’s Chorus’ “Baby It’s Cold Outside” at 8 p.m. on Dec. 13, at Pantages Theater. This annual holiday concert offers a unique blend of song, dance and campy comedy that is sure to bring the house down. Tickets are $42-$58. Visit http://www.BroadwayCenter.org.
Lakewood Playhouse is staging “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a hilarious Christmas tale that follows the troubles of a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant after casting the Herdman kids, probably the most inventively awful kids in history. The show runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 13-24. Tickets are $15. Visit http://www.lakewoodplayhouse.org
Freighthouse Square’s Family Holiday Event runs Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9 with a Toys for Tots toy drive, Santa, holiday bazaar featuring crafts by local artisans, Lego display and activities, Wonderland Holiday Train on display, local musicians and carolers. “Storytime with Mrs. Claus” comes at 2 p.m. on Dec 9. The free event has Mrs. Claus taking time out of her busy schedule to share her favorite stories. It will be a fun-filled afternoon of story-telling, making holiday crafts and decorating cookies donated by Seasonal Delights Cafe and Bakery.
Zoolights runs nightly from Nov. 23 through December at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Bundle up and stroll through the zoo as it comes aglow with more than a half-million lights. Visit http://www.pdza.org.
For those about to uke, we salute you. Monday Ukulele Ohana, a gathering of ukulele players and learners of all ages and abilities, will hold its Holiday Ukulele Festival. It will include lessons, open mic, hula, food, entertainment and vendors on Dec. 2. Tickets are $5. The main event of the festival will be a concert by jazz icon Michael Powers, who has taken up the four-string instrument to create Urban Ukulele. The concert is at 7 p.m. at Asian Pacific Cultural Center. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Powers will also have a ukulele workshop before the concert. Tickets for the master class are $20, or $25 at the door. The festival is presented by Aloha Northwest Cultural Arts. Tickets are available by calling (253) 475-9576. More information is available on Facebook at Holiday Ukulele Festival 2012.
Northwest Repertory Singers’ “Strike the Harp, Ring the Bells, Sound the Oboe” will start at 7:30 p.m. on Dec 15 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 16 at Mason United Methodist Church. The nearly 60-strong Repertory Singers will be joined by guest musicians Catherine Barrett on the harp, Malia Anderson Johnson on hand bells, Shannon Spicciatti on oboe and Tom Walworth on cello. Tickets are $17-$24. Visit http://www.nwrs.org.
Start the Christmas season with the Tacoma premiere of “A Celtic Christmas,” a joyous musical celebration created and arranged by Dr. Daniel Perrin, the minister of worship at First Presbyterian Church at 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. This free event features Chancel Choir and soloists accompanied by a 22-piece orchestra in the beautiful sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. Visit http://www.fpctacoma.com.
Washington Contemporary Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Mount Tahoma High School. Visit http://www.wcbdance.org.
The 25th annual Fair Trade Christmas Market will come to Bethany Presbyterian Church from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2. All vendors guarantee a fair wage is paid to the artisans who created the products, including scarves, wreaths, wooden toys, embroidered note cards, ornaments and jewelry to name a few. Most artisans use the making of these items to help their families survive. Visit http://www.bethanytacoma.org.
South Sound Classical Choir’s Christmas Concert will be at 3 p.m. on Dec. 9, at Mason United Methodist Church. In the darkest season of the year, light bursts forth in the voices of South Sound Classical Choir. Share in the Joy of hearing the works of masters old and new. Visit http://www.sscc.valleyartssociety.org.
The fourth annual Masquerade Ball marks the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21 at Temple Theatre. The event promotes awareness of local charities or organizations through an evening of fun and fundraising. This year’s theme is “A Night To Remember” and benefits the Buswell family from Puyallup. Their 7-month-old son Casen was born with a rare genetic disease known as GVM. This condition hardens skin, blood vessels and muscles, and if left untreated will lead to heart failure. There are only 14 other cases in the world and the only known treating providers are located in Belgium. Proceeds will go towards Casen’s medical treatment, as well as travel expenses. Tickets are $50 and can be obtained by calling (253) 212-7426. Visit http://www.tacomazombpocalypse.com/EOTWB.html
The STAR Center is hosting a free Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 9, a family-friendly event with activities for kids like pictures with Santa and the opportunity for children to play in the indoor playground. Call (253) 404-3939.
“A Big Band Christmas” with Rich Wetzel’s Expanded Groovin’ Higher Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Tacoma Community College Auditorium. This annual holiday jazz concert sells out every year and will feature music from “A Stan Kenton Christmas” to holiday jazz arrangements from Tom Kubis and other classics. Tickets are $10 and available at 1 (800) 838-3006.
Jingle Bell Run starts at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 at Wright Park. This event lets runners or walkers take a break from holiday festivities and bring their family and friends out for a refreshing afternoon three-mile run or walk. Tickets are $10. Visit http://www.metroparkstacoma.org.
Magical Strings’ 34th annual Tacoma Celtic Yuletide Concert starts at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at Urban Grace Church. This grand gala of Celtic-inspired holiday music is filled with singing, dancing, juggling, caroling, storytelling and more. Featuring the rich and lyrical sounds of Celtic harps, hammered dulcimers, violins, cello, whistles, concertina, percussion and more, it is the perfect holiday event for old and young alike, and has become an eagerly anticipated Northwest holiday tradition for many families. The audience becomes a key part of the festivities, with members invited to don a costume and follow the processional through the aisles with the musicians, and join in the caroling near evening’s end. Magical Strings will be joined by the award-winning Tara Academy Irish Dancers, vocalist Colleen Raney, Dublin-born guitarist Colm MacCarthaigh, vibrant young Canadian Jocelyn Petit on fiddle, Matt Jerrell with his impeccable percussion and more in an unforgettable celebration to kindle the light of Yuletide. Tickets are $12 - $28. Visit http://www.magicalstrings.com.
First Night marks New Year’s Eve at venues around downtown Tacoma. A celebration of arts fueled by the spirit of creativity, friendship and the pure joy of being alive will fill the day. All activities include free admission to many local museums with a First Night button. Evening festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with the world’s shortest parade. Followed promptly by more than a dozen stages of music, arts and entertainment. Tickets are $10-$14. Visit http://www.firstnighttacoma.org.
Fort Nisqually’s 19th Century Christmas comes to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec 1. Tickets are $4-$6. Experience a real “old- fashioned” Christmas Yule season and discover what the term “Hyas Sunday” meant. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and step back in time to savor the lilting sounds of penny whistles, the aroma of ginger biscuits, Christmas dances and the slower pace of Christmas in 1855. Within the gates, 1855 will come alive! Tickets are $4-$6. Call (253) 591-5339.
The 253 Heart Music and Arts Festival will bring its biggest lineup yet to Harmon Brewery, Harmon Taproom and Dorky’s Barcade Nov. 21-24. This free event has a massive roster of local musicians entertaining on various stages. More information is available at http://www.facebook.com/253heartfestival.
Holiday lights come to the water with a Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 along Thea Foss Waterway. Enjoy a waterfront holiday tradition you cannot find anywhere else in Tacoma with a wonderful parade of beautiful vessels decorated in their finest and holiday spirit.
Tacoma Performing Dance Company will produce “The Nutcracker Ballet” at Stadium High School Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m. 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Dec. 16. Tickets are available by calling (253) 752-8530 or at the door on the day of the performances. Prices are $22 for adults and $18 for seniors/students 16 and under. The 2012 production features new choreography and staging by Artistic Director Jo Emery, Amity Howell-Sloboda and Jean Milano. Costume design is by Tracy McGowen and Emilie Stevens, sets are designed by Patti Graham. Visit http://www.tacomaperformingdance.org.