Plays, con­certs, bal­lets – hol­i­day arts roundup in Char­lotte


The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Front Page -

For­get “The 12 Days of Christ­mas:” Any­body who sends a par­tridge in a pear tree ev­ery day for nearly two weeks is a stalker, not a true love.

Think in­stead of the 12 plays and con­certs and bal­lets – no, make that 18 – of hol­i­day arts events that roll around with eggnog reg­u­lar­ity in Char­lotte. “Mes­siah” comes again, “Nut­crack­ers” clack away, and car­ols ding­dong mer­rily from stages and chancels. Here’s a guide to tra­di­tions worth ob­serv­ing, from the kinda-naughty to the oh-so-nice:


Theater Char­lotte has done var­i­ous faith­ful ver­sions of “A Christ­mas Carol” for 12 years; the cur­rent one comes from Julius Arthur Leonard and runs Dec. 7-16 at 501 Queens Road. De­tails: 704376-3777 or the­atrechar­lotte. org.


PaperHouse The­atre opened in 2012 with Chris Weikel’s spoof “Penny Pen­ni­worth.” It will re­vive this

“tale of the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of a young in­no­cent in jolly old Vic­to­rian Eng­land” Nov. 29-Dec. 15 at Frock Shop, 901 Cen­tral Ave. The im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence will be as much party as play, with mulled wine and hot ap­ple cider. paperhouse the­


Starv­ing Artist Pro­duc­tions now seems to do only one show a year, but it’s pow­er­ful: “The Birth,” a com­bi­na­tion

of dra­matic per­for­mance, dance and live mu­sic that adapts Fred­er­ick Buech­ner’s writ­ings to em­body the Christ­mas story. It runs Dec. 19-22 at Duke En­ergy Theater in Spirit Square, 345 N. Col­lege St. blu­men­


Hark! The un­her­alded dev­ils sing in “The Best Christ­mas Pageant Ever: The Mu­si­cal.” Chil­dren’s The­atre of Char­lotte presents this story of the Herd­man fam­ily and the town that comes to re­al­ize kind­ness and un­der­stand­ing can con­vince self­ish, mis­un­der­stood kids to share in the hol­i­day spirit. Through Dec. 23 at Imag­inOn, 300 E. Sev­enth St. 704-973-2828 or ctchar­


Char­lotte Youth Bal­let has pre­sented “The Nutcracker” for 37 years with chore­og­ra­phy by founder Gay Porter and her daugh­ter, Brid­get Young. It runs Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Hal­ton The­atre, 1206 El­iz­a­beth Ave. Guest star Remy Young (Brid­get’s daugh­ter) comes down from the corps of Amer­i­can Bal­let The­atre in New York. char­lottey­outh bal­


Char­lotte Bal­let now does 17 per­for­mances of chore­og­ra­pher Jean-Pierre Bonne-

foux’s “The Nutcracker,” this year from Dec. 7-23 -- not to men­tion the “Night at the Nutcracker” party Dec. 9 that turns Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St., into the Land of Sweets and of­fers a glimpse of the full show there. 704-372-1000 or char­lot­te­bal­


Caro­line Calouche & Co. makes an an­nual event of “Clara’s Trip: A Cirque and Dance Nutcracker Story.” It fol­lows Clara to a party where she breaks an an­kle and goes home to dream of fan­tas­ti­cal things. Tchaikovsky’s mu­sic in­spires the ac­tion, both earth­bound and ae­rial, Dec. 7-9 at Booth Play­house, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000 or car­o­


Christ­mas is a 12-day sea­son. So “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” (Dec. 26-29 at Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St.) fits into it, as lovers go back in time to the mo­ment her par­ents met in a 1980s club. A dozen ver­sa­tile hip-hop dancers, a live DJ, an on­stage elec­tric vi­o­lin­ist and Tchaikovsky’s score in­ter­min­gle, with Kur­tis Blow as guest MC. 704372-1000 or blu­men­


The Chan­cel Choir of Prov­i­dence United Methodist Church will lead its free, semi-an­nual sin­ga­long of Part 1 of Han­del’s “Mes­siah” Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. (Soloists come from the choir.) Bring your own score, or bor­row one at the door. Adam Ward will di­rect, ac­com­pa­nied by An­drew Pester. The church is at 2810 Prov­i­dence Rd. prov­i­dence­sic.


Char­lotte Mas­ter Cho­rale, the group re­named by con­duc­tor Ken­ney Pot­ter as the Char­lotte Sym­phony Cho­rus moves to­ward in­de­pen­dence, will join the N.C. Baroque Orches­tra in all three parts of “Mes­siah” Dec. 7-8 at First United Methodist Church in Char­lotte (501 N. Tryon St.) and Dec. 9 at First Bap­tist Church of Gas­to­nia (2650 Union Rd.). char­lotte mas­ter­


The Tosco Mu­sic Hol­i­day Party of­fers the au­tumn’s most di­verse ap­proach to the sea­son of cel­e­bra­tion Dec. 8 in McGlo­hon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. Col­lege St. The Tosco con­cert tra­di­tion brings out more than a dozen per­form­ers and plenty of sin­ga­longs — not just of Christ­mas car­ols but songs for Hanukkah and Kwan­zaa, too. blu­men­


Watch­ing “A Christ­mas Story,” the 1983 movie adapted from Jean Shep­herd’s wry sto­ries, has be­come a tra­di­tion these days. “A Christ­mas Story: The Mu­si­cal” comes to Ovens Au­di­to­rium, 2700 E. In­de­pen­dence Blvd., Dec. 4-9 in the Broad­way Lights sea­son. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La-La Land,” “Dear Evan Hansen”) wrote the songs. 704-372-1000 or blu­men­


Carolina Voices does its “Singing Christ­mas Tree” (hu­mans on ris­ers amid fo­liage) for the 64th time Dec. 8-9 at Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., but with a twist: A big band joins Miller Street Dance Academy and guest artists, mak­ing the rafters ring with swing as well as song. There are “Singing Christ­mas Tree for Kids” mati­nees Dec. 8-9, too. 704-372-1000 or car­oli­


The Char­lotte Sym­phony Orches­tra prom­ises an all-new “Magic of Christ­mas” Dec. 14-23 at Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., with Christo­pher James Lees con­duct­ing. Ex­pect the Char­lotte Sym­phony Cho­rus to sing, the au­di­ence to join in, Santa to ap­pear and “snow” to de­scend. A carol has been writ­ten specif­i­cally for this show, too. 704-972-2000 or char­lottesym­


The Char­lotte Civic Orches­tra prom­ises 350 per­form­ers in “Christ­mas Ex­trav­a­ganza,” in­clud­ing so­prano Cyn­thia Har­ris, Char­lotte City Bal­let, En­core Dancers, Hol­i­day Singers and the com­bined choirs of South Meck­len­burg and But­ler high schools. It hap­pens just once, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in Hal­ton Theater, 1206 El­iz­a­beth Ave. ( 704) 3306534 or char­lot­te­civic orches­


The 75 mem­bers of The Char­lotte Singers per­form at 5 p.m. Nov. 24 at Bal­lan­tyne Re­sort Ho­tel, 10000 Bal­lan­tyne Com­mons Park­way; 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Prov­i­dence Pres­by­te­rian Church, 10140 Prov­i­dence Church Lane; and 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at St. Stephen Methodist Church, 6800 Sardis Road. (The first in­cludes a tree­l­ight­ing mid­way through.) Car­ols and works by com­posers-ar­rangers Mered­ith Will­son, Robert Shaw, John Rut­ter and Nor­man Luboff will be in­cluded.


Carolina Pro Mu­sica’s “Christ­mas at St. Mary’s” may be the gen­tlest of lo­cal mu­si­cal of­fer­ings at the hol­i­days: tunes from me­dieval and Re­nais­sance times ( played in pe­riod at­tire), read­ings for the sea­son, car­ols for all to sing. Bob Sweeten, Max on “The Bob and Sheri Show,” tells the Christ­mas story. See it Dec. 15 at St. Mary’s Chapel, 1129 E. Third St. car­oli­napro­mu­


Ac­tor’s The­atre of Char­lotte makes its semi-raunchy rit­ual visit to Ar­madillo Acres, the Texas lo­cale of “The Great Amer­i­can Trailer Park Christ­mas Mu­si­cal.” Songs such as "My Christ­mas Tin Toy Boy" and "Christ­mas in My Mo­bile Home” get dropped among the cat-fightin’ and chair-throwin’. Dec. 5-23 at Hadley The­atre, 2132 Rad­cliffe Ave. 704-342-2251 or atchar­

Chad Calvert; cour­tesy of PaperHouse

In PaperHouse’s “Penny Pen­ni­worth”: Chaz Po­fahl, Devin Clark, Sarah Woldum and Jenn Graben­stet­ter.

Ob­server file photo

Gay Porter has in­tro­duced two gen­er­a­tions of Char­lotte young peo­ple to bal­let. Her grand­daugh­ter, Remy Young, guest-stars in Char­lotte Youth Bal­let’s per­for­mance of “The Nutcracker” this year.

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