From theatrical plays to concerts to sing-alongs and more, the Washington area offers more holiday fun than one can fit in their biggest stocking.
“There’s almost nothing that I love as much as the Christmas season,” says Donny Osmond, who along with his sister Marie will present a special Christmas show at the National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) from Dec. 2-7. “This is a full show with elements from our Vegas show — lots of dancers, multi-media and the full band. It’s so much more than just Christmas music.” Details at thenationaldc.com or donnyandmarietour.com.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra rocks out in a “Christmas Rocks Extravaganza” on Nov. 26 at the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda). Details at strathmore.org.
Meanwhile the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave.) has A Peter White Christmas on Dec. 8; Christmas with Aaron Neville Quintet on Dec. 9 and 10; Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue on Dec. 12; Aimee Mann’s Christmas Show on Dec. 15 and 16; and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party on Dec. 17. Show information at birchmere.com.
Legendary filmmaker John Waters also returns to the Alexandria venue with his special take on the holiday season with his show, A John Waters Christmas playing Dec. 22. Delving into his passion for lunatic exploitation Christmas movies and the unhealthy urge to remake all his own films into seasonal children’s stories, the Pope of Trash will give you a Cool Yule like no other.
Out saxophonist Dave Koz, out with his fifth Christmas album this season (“The 25th of December”), returns to the region for his Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.). Jonathan Butler, Christopher Cross and Maysa are his guests. Details at strathmore.org.
One group always up for some fun holiday fun is the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, who present Rockin’ the Holidays Dec. 6 and 13-14 at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.). Expect signature holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorites. Don’t be surprised to see a visit from Ole’ St. Nick himself. Tickets range from $25-59 and can be purchased at gmcw.org.
Bring blankets and some food for Wolf Trap’s (1645 Trap Rd.) annual free holiday sing-a-long on Dec. 6, featuring Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs by choir and vocal groups and the President’s own United States Marine Band. Bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Details at wolftrap.org.
The Washington Ballet welcomes the holiday season by presenting its 10th anniversary season of “The Nutcracker” Nov. 29 through Dec. 28 at the historic Warner Theatre (3515 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.). Septime Webre’s critically acclaimed ballet transports audiences back in time to historic Washington in a one-of-a-kind production set in 1882 Georgetown and starring George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the villainous Rat King, Anacostia Indians, frontiersmen and many other all-American delights. Tickets range from $34-99 and can be purchased at washingtonballet.org.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has several holiday offerings including Ellington’s Nutcracker on Dec. 3 and Dec. 5; a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec. 5-6; a Music Box Series presentation of “Jingle Bells” on Dec. 6 and Dec. 20; and its Holly Jolly Pops concert from Dec. 10-14. For more information on any of these events, visit bsomusic.org.
The Kennedy Center will offer Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 10-14, with Willam Christensen’s beloved production danced to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Tickets range from $56-165.
The Kennedy Center teams with National Public Radio for the annual A Jazz Piano Christmas on Dec. 12, featuring top jazz pianists such as Master Harold Mabern, Lynee Arriale, Kris Davis and Cyrus Chestnut performing their favorite holiday songs. Tickets are $69. Details at kennedy-center.org.
More than 100 members of the Maryland State Boychoir will perform the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Center for the Arts in Baltimore’s historic Mayfield community (3400 Norman Ave., Baltimore) at 4 p.m. on Dec. 14, 7 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 4 p.m. on Dec. 21. Expect anthems by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Robert Lucas Pearsall and John Rutter as well the world premiere of a commissioned work by Dale Trumbore. Tickets range from $18-22 and can be purchased at marylandstateboychoir.org.
Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, the region’s largest mostly LGBT church, offers its Christmas concert Miracles: the Blessing of Christ’s Birth Dec. 5-6 at 7:30 p.m. at the church (474 Ridge St., N.W.). A donation of $25 per tickets is requested. Visit mccdc.com/mccdc-holiday-events for details.
Off the beaten path
The 36th annual Logan Circle Holiday House Tour is set to run from 1-5 p.m. on Dec. 7, offering a great opportunity to tour traditional and contemporary homes plus take part in the Wassail Party at Studio Theatre. Throughout the walk, a variety of musicians and singers will be posted at many of the homes with carolers roaming the neighborhood to get one in the holiday spirit. More information can be found at logancircle.org.
Kick off the holiday season with Dance Place as Coyaba Dance Theater (3225 8th St NE) hosts its annual Kwanzaa Celebration, displaying the excitement and vibrancy of the holiday with their work based around the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The show runs Dec. 13-14. Tickets begin at $22 and are available at danceplace.org.
Brave Spirits Theatre has a fundraising fete at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Anacostia Arts Center where patrons may big on silent auction items and enjoy scenes from the early modern stage with a test as its company explores “Shakespeare Re-gendered.” The company will also announce its upcoming season. Details at bravespiritstheatre.com.
A sure bet for great gift ideas is the Vienna Art & Craft Show on Thanksgiving weekend at 120 Cherry St., S.E. in Vienna, Va. Visit nvhg.org for details.
Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Ave.) in Arlington stages Holiday Follies with Gannon O’Brien, Stephen Gregory Smith, Delores King Williams and Bayla Whitten donning their wintery hats and scarves for a very special “Choose Your Own Stocking Adventure” holiday show. The show runs from Dec. 12-23 and each show will be completely different. Details at signature-theatre.org.
“Black Nativity” returns to the Theater Alliance Stage (2020 Shannon Place, S.E.) as Langston Hughes chronicles and celebrates the birth of Jesus, while also celebrating the birth of blackness. This classic story told through gospel, blues, funk, jazz and dance asks you to look inward and find the wonder in life. The show runs from Dec. 11 to Jan. 4. Details at theateralliance.com.
The annual Ford’s Theatre (511 Tenth St. NW) production of “A Christmas Carol” is being staged Nov. 20-Jan. 1. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Details at fordstheatre.org.
The Olney Theater (2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.) in Olney is bringing back storyteller Paul Morella in a one-man performance of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas.” The show runs from Nov. 28-Dec. 28. Tickets for all shows at Olney start at $26 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 301-924-3400.
Olney Ballet Theatre will also present Mary Day’s “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 12-24, as student dancers from Washington area ballet schools perform with professional guest dancers in this wonderful holiday tradition for all ages. Details at olneytheatre.org.
And if you get “holiday’ed out” and want something a little edgier, Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) is running its productions of “Bad Jews” and “Terminus” throughout December. Visit studiotheatre.org for details.