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Though not necessarily known for their sense of humor, the dancers/choreographers at TBT can get a little wild for their Nutcracker-based pop-cult sendup The Nutty Nutcracker. Courtesy Texas Ballet Theater

Get Nutty One Last Time

It’s been a staple of the season for over a decade. Texas Ballet Theater’s pop-culture sendup will take its final bow on Fri, Dec 16, at Bass Performance Hall (525 Commerce St, 817-212-4280) as a result of new, clearly fun-hating leadership. Just kidding. TBT’s acting artistic director, Tim O’Keefe, has said, “We are sad to see this long-standing tradition come to an end at TBT, but we are excited for the future and look forward to starting new traditions that will be as fun for the audiences, and dancers, as Nutty.”

Sandwiching The Nutty Nutcracker will be several performances of its source material. TBT Artistic Director Laureate Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker will run thru Christmas Eve (Sat, Dec 24) at Bass Hall.

 

Scrooged

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Anytime there’s a Christmas Carol adaptation, pop the popcorn and plant my ass in the front row. My favorite version is easily the best: 1970’s Scrooge starring Albert Finney and with music by Leslie “Candy Man” Bricusse. If you haven’t seen it and still dare to go about ranking Christmas Carol adaptations, you should be boiled with your own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through your heart, ya filthy animal. A distant second is a new one, Spirited, with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. It has a couple LOL moments but is more cute than anything else, and in our household, cute is just fine, says the guy who watched A Castle for Christmas three times last year. Now thru Fri, Dec 23, Casa Mañana (3101 W Lancaster Av, 817-332-2272) is offering another new, by all accounts funny, and quite possibly cute take on the Dickens classic. Casa says A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy is loaded with current pop-culture references and features a contemporary pop score that is “sure to have you dancing in the aisles.” Sounds good to me, because apparently if there’s no song and dance in your Christmas Carol, then there’s no A-Train. (I said what I said!) Tickets are $29-44.

 

Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Caba-raaay (Winter Version)

Want a great way to kick your holidays into fifth gear on your red-and-green Vespa of spirit? At 8pm on the day before The Nutty Nutcracker, head to Amphibian Stage (120 S Main St, 817-923-3012) for a “night of top-notch music, holiday charm, and winter magic” — plus a champagne station and passed hors d’oeuvres by Tasha Monticure from South Main Bodega, all included with your $40 ticket. Led by fun-lovin’ Music Director Drew Wutke, Broadway’s Tari Kelly (Boy from Oz, Something Rotten!, Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night) and Dallas’ Lauren Urso, who’s performed across the globe, will belt out holiday classics and Broadway favorites (“Willkommen” to start things off, perhaps?) and will also lead a “boozy” singalong (“Thank You Very Much,” perhaps?). The Phibs’ A Winter Cabaret is Thu, Dec 15, at 8pm.

 

O, Holy Night Visitors

Anytime we can free up some space in our entertainment media for the least represented among us, we should, and that’s why I will sing the praises of Amahl and the Night Visitors despite its Jesus-y subject matter. Nothing against the savior. He grew up to become a great Buddhist. But, man, what fringe right-wing demons are doing to Him and the church I grew up with makes me want to avoid anything related to their loud, dumb, bigoted noise all the more. I’m even having a hard time listening to Christmas music this year, and it’s my favorite genre of music of all time. Anyway. Amahl and the Night Visitors. On their way to pay their respects to 8-pound, 6-ounce Baby Jesus, disabled shepherd boy Amahl and his sweet mum bump into the three wise men. Kindness and generosity ensue. The opera premiered on network television more than 60 years ago, and it’s getting the full in-person treatment this year by Fort Worth Opera starting Friday and running thru Sun, Dec 11, at Fort Worth Botanic Garden (3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, 817-463-4160). Tickets are $25-39, and children under 4 are free provided they … sit on an adult’s lap. I understand babysitters are in high demand, but if you’re bringing a 4-year-old to the opera, Buddha bless you. And the people who have to sit near you.

 

Get Punchy

Now in its fifth year, Circle Theatre’s annual fundraiser is back on Sat, Dec 10. Hosted by the incomparable Denise Lee, Holiday Punch is a night of carnival games, raffles, giveaways, original live performances, and lots of music that “you know and love.” Oh, so a little “My Favorite Things” by Coltrane and a little Scrooge? I’m in! With your $50 ticket purchase, you’re automatically entered into a gift basket raffle. And some of them are off the chizzain. One includes a bottle of wine, a $50 Airbnb gift card, a $100 gift certificate to Tangerine Salon, and a wine tasting for two at Lost Oak Winery while another features two Four Day Weekend tickets, two tickets to a Lost Oak wine tasting, two tickets to Billy Bob’s, a $20 gift card to Buffalo Bros, and one bottle of TX Whiskey. Dang. The fun gets going at 7pm at 230 W 4th St (817-877-3040).

 

All Aboard!

Jubilee Theatre (506 Main St, 817-338-4411) will be kicking it old school thru Fri, Dec 23, with Take the Soul Train to Christmas. No, this show does not involve shaking what ya got on the line (as far as we know), but rather it’s about kids taking a trip through history while researching a school assignment on how African Americans celebrated Christmas in the past. Tickets are $29-44.

 

Fra-GEE-Lay

A young woman from Israel on vacation with her grandmother in the U.S. ends up stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with “an oddball” deliveryman. “Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making?” A “hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy,” Handle With Care “exudes gobs of comic energy and insight,” says The New York Times. The play’s regional premiere is Thursday, and it runs thru Sun, Jan 8, 2023, at Stage West (821-823 W Vickery Blvd, 817-784-9378). Tickets are $40.

Is it happenstance or destiny? Find out at Stage West this season.
Courtesy Stage West

 

What a Ham

The Herdman siblings are “the worst kids in the history of the world,” writes the author of the bestselling Best Christmas Pageant Ever who clearly was published before 17-year-old white trash Kyle Shittenhouse crossed state lines and murdered several protestors with an assault weapon he was not allowed to touch much less use. Anyway, the six “rowdy” Herdman kids take over an annual holiday pageant in a tale that involves the three wise men, scared shepherds, and a ham at Artisan Center Theater (444 E Pipeline Rd, Hurst, 817-284-1200) thru Fri, Dec 23. Tickets are $10-15.

 

Not So Silent Night

For the Callahan Kids’ Christmas reunion TV special, everyone is psyched about the former child stars’ return to television until the “kids” realize that “as grown-ups, they are no longer cute and their talent is lacking.” Now, the only thing that can save the show is (#thoughtsandprayers) “a Christmas miracle.” Running thru Sun, Dec 18, at Theatre Arlington (305 W Main St, Arlington, 817-275-7661), Holiday Musical is appropriate for ages 6 and up. Tickets are $32.

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