November 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm EST | by Keith Loria
GIFT GUIDE I: Tickets to wonderland
holiday gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade

Christine Rocas and Rory Hohenstein in Joffrey’s Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Kennedy Center this weekend. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

From theatrical plays to concerts to sing-alongs and more, as always, the Washington area is rich with holiday productions of every genre. We’re calling this gift guide part one but in a few cases, you may be your own recipient!

At the ballet

Hope Garden Children’s Ballet Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” at the F Scott Fitzgerald Theater in Rockville (603 Edmonston Drive, Rockville, Md.)  at 1:30 and 7 p.m., Nov. 28. The classic ballet features rich costumes and moving music by Debussy. Tickets are $22.

Robert Joffrey’s awe-inspiring staging of the perennial classic “The Nutcracker” will enjoy its final performances at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House at 7 p.m., Nov. 25, 27-29; 1 p.m. and Nov. 27-29. Tickets from $55.

The Washington Ballet welcomes the holiday season by presenting “The Nutcracker” Nov. 28-29 at the THEARC (1901 Mississippi Ave., S.E.), and Dec. 3-27 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.

Musical melodies

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Calmus plays the Barnes at Wolf Trap on Sunday, Dec. 6. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap)

A cappella quintet Calmus will perform Christmas carols from around the world, featuring pieces from the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Ireland and more, at a special holiday concert at the Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Road) at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6. Tickets are $35.

“Sound of Music” fans will delight in the Kennedy Center’s NSO Pops: the von Trapps & Stephanie J. Block Family Holiday show at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10; 8 p.m., Dec. 11 and Dec. 12; and 2 p.m., Dec. 12. Tickets begin at $20. Songs from the great-grandchildren of the cherished “Sound of Music” von Trapp family join musical theater star Stephanie J. Block and the NSO Pops.

The Washington National Opera presents “Hansel and Gretel” at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater at 2 and 7 p.m., Dec. 12-13 and Dec. 18-20. The show features current and former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists alongside the WNO Children’s Chorus. Tickets start at $59.

Acclaimed a cappella group, Chanticleer, brings soaring Christmas carols to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts (4373 Mason Pond Dr., Fairfax) at 8 p.m., Nov. 28; and at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas) at 8 p.m., Nov. 29. Expect ancient hymns, venerated sacred songs, contemporary classics, gospel spirituals and treasured American and European carols. Tickets range from $32-54.

holiday gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade

Chanticleer performs two shows in Virginia on Nov. 28-29. (Photo by Lisa Kohler)

Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell will perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for the holiday spectacular, “‘Tis the Season” on Dec. 10 at the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda). Tickets range from $25-99. For more information, visit

The Dave Koz Christmas Tour with guests Jonathan Butler, Candy Dulfer and Bill Medley returns to the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda) on Friday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $48-88.

Sing along!

holiday gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade

Wolf Trap’s holiday sing-along is Saturday, Dec. 5. (Photo by Sam Kittner)

Wolf Trap presents its annual holiday sing-a-long on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Road), featuring Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs by choir and vocal groups and the United States Marine Band. Admission is free and guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift to donate as part of the Toys for Tots campaign.

The 45th annual Kennedy Center “Messiah” Sing-Along takes place at 8 p.m., Dec. 23 at the Concert Hall. Tickets are free but reservations are required. Guest conductor Barry Hemphill leads the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, guest soloists and audience in a glorious “sing-along” of Handel’s beloved masterpiece.

The 10th annual Congressional Chorus’ holiday concert and sing along presents the American Youth Chorus leading holiday favorites at 4 and 7 p.m., Dec. 13 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., NE).

Traditional favorites

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents “Rewrapped,” Dec. 5-6, 12-13 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 $13-35.

The National Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah” at 7 p.m. Dec. 17; 8 p.m., Dec. 18-19; and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. Conductor Nathalie Stutzman leads soloists Emöke Barath (soprano), Sara Mingardo (contralto), Lawrence Wiliford (tenor), Burak Bilgili (bass) and the University of Maryland Concert Choir (Edward Maclary, music director) in the holiday classic. Tickets start at $15.

The 25th annual NPR’s “A Jazz Piano Christmas” takes place at 7 and 9 p.m., Dec. 4 at the Terrace Theater. NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron will perform with Fred Hersch and Joey Alexander. Tickets are $59. For more information, visit

The 17th annual All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam will take place on Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage at 6 p.m., Dec. 25.

Legendary filmmaker John Waters will give his take on the holiday season with his show, “A John Waters Christmas” playing the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave.) in Alexandria on Dec. 21. Delving into his passion for lunatic exploitation Christmas movies and the unhealthy urge to remake all his own films into seasonal children’s classics, “The Pope of Trash” will give you a Joyeaux Noel like no other. Tickets are $49.50.

On stage

The annual Ford’s Theatre (511 Tenth St. NW) production of “A Christmas Carol” is being staged Nov. 19-Dec. 31. Adapted by Michael Wilson and directed by Michael Baron, join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. For more information, visit

The Olney Theater (2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.) in Olney is bringing back storyteller Paul Morella in a one-man performance of “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas,” Nov. 27-Dec. 27. Tickets for all shows begin at $26 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 301-924-3400.

The Annapolis Shakespeare Company (111 Chinquapin Round Road, no.114, Annapolis) presents “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” by Joe Landry, Dec. 4-Jan. 3.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (7 S. Calvert St, Baltimore) holds its annual “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, Dec. 4-23. Tickets are $25.

MetroStage (1201 North Royal St., Alexandria) present “A Broadway Christmas Carol starring Peter Boyer, Michael Sharp, Tracey Stephens and Howard Bretibart, Nov. 24-Dec. 27. Tickets start at $20.

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 is told through gospel, blues, funk, jazz and dance. The show runs from Nov. 25 to Jan. 3.

Super Art Fight’s second annual “Non-Denominational Holiday Spectacular” plays the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) on Dec. 4 with four “art fights” featuring mashups of pro wrestling, live art, improv comedy and more. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 9 p.m. Details at

“Sorry” and “Regular Singing,” the final two plays in “The Apple Family Cycle” by Richard Nelson continue at Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) in rotation through Dec. 13. “Bad Jews” by Joshua Harmon opens Dec. 3.

The American Opera Initiative of the Washington National Opera continues with three pairings of new opera composers and librettists each with new one-act operas based on contemporary American stories in sem-staged concert performances at 7 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (2700 F St., N.W.).

Big Band Holidays featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Denzal Sinclaire and Audrey Shakir plays the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.) at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. Tickets start at $58.

Santa visits American Plant every weekend in December. On Saturdays, he’s at its 5258 River Road location and Sundays at 7405 River Road each day from noon-2 p.m. (dates are Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20). Get all your holiday shopping, home decorating, tree, photos with Santa and more at American Plant.

Welcome 2016!

The Kennedy Center’s annual New Year’s Eve concert returns with a funky edge at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. N.W.) with Chaka Khan at 8:30 p.m. The evening culminates with a party in the Grand Foyer to ring in 2016. Tickets range from $50-90.

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