Ballet Arizona’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” illuminates the stage with more than 150 performers, hundreds of costumes and the company’s nationally-celebrated dancers. (Photo: Ballet Arizona)
Downtown Phoenix knows how to bake up some amazing entertainment options. Roll some holiday spirit into the mix, sprinkle some talent on top and you’ve got the very best holiday events in the Valley. From children’s theater to cabaret, there’s no better place to ring in the season. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker / Comerica Theatre Wednesday, Dec. 16 The Nutcracker / Phoenix Ballet / Orpheum Theatre December 18-20 The Nutcracker / Ballet Arizona / Symphony Hall December 11-27 There are plenty of opportunities to catch Clara and her prince “The Nutcracker” dance their way through an enchanted dreamland – so take your pick between local companies Phoenix Ballet, Ballet Arizona or the world-renowned Moscow Ballet (for one night only). The costumes, choreography and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score make this a wonderful holiday tradition. A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail / Valley Youth Theatre December 4-23 Celebrate the 20th anniversary of “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail,” an entertaining treat for the whole family. Meet Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Piglet and all your favorite characters in the Hundred Acre Wood for a musical celebration of silliness, fun and adventure. Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen / Herberger Theater Center December 5-20 Sit back and take in the splendor of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev and performed by the unbelievably talented Center Dance Ensemble – resident modern dance company at the Herberger Theater. A Chorale Christmas / Trinity Cathedral Saturday, Dec. 19 Featuring a powerful program that explores the beauty of nature and the cosmos, this year’s concert uplifts the soul with compositions by John Tavener, Eriks Ešenvalds and more. Nothing rings in the season like the unparalleled artistry of the Grammy award-winning Phoenix Chorale. Holiday Cabaret with Maestro Jeff Kennedy / Phoenix Theatre December 17-23 In the style of an intimate, New York-style cabaret, maestro Jeff Kennedy leads from the grand piano and hosts six of the best vocalists in the Valley. Join him in a selection of holiday songs, humorous interludes, jazzy cocktails and plenty of Christmas spirit. Rat Pack Christmas / Theatre League / Orpheum Theatre December 11-13 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop: It doesn’t get much better than that. In this fun, entertaining and touching holiday show, listen to classic songs by the beloved Rat Pack and Christmas favorites to cherish forever. Black Nativity / The Black Theatre Troupe / Helen K Mason Performing Arts Center December 4-20 Written by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity” delivers a powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation. With a highly talented cohort of singers, actors, dancers and musicians, this production strikes just the right chord. The Santaland Diaries / Arizona Theatre Company / Herberger Theater Center December 10-23 Based on David Sedaris’ cult classic “The Santaland Diaries,” this irreverent and wickedly funny true-tale of an Elf in a Macy’s Santa display is the perfect anti-holiday story. If hilarity is what you need in your stocking, Crumpet the Elf provides just the thing. Starring Valley-favorite Ron May, this show contains mature language. A Bloody Mary Christmas / Space 55 November 27-December 27 (closed Christmas) An original holiday musical for people who don’t like the holidays or musicals. Centered right here in Sun City, retirees Blanche, Bertha and Mabel fight to keep their retirement condo from a heartless homeowner’s association on Christmas Eve. It’s kind of like “A Christmas Carol” meets an R-rated version of “The Golden Girls” – in the best possible way. The Night Before Christmas / Great Arizona Puppet Theater December 2-27 (closed Christmas) A joyful celebration of Christmas music and stories, as told by an amazing array of puppets. One of the few programs open to all ages and budgets — tickets cost just $7 for children and $10 for adults.