An Annapolis tradition, Colonial Players' version of A Christmas Carol will help to kick off a season of holiday fare.
The Colonial Players' take on the Dickens classic was created in 1981 by locals Rick Wade and Dick Gessner. Shows are this weekend and next with limited seating available at Colonial's 108 East St. theater only for Friday performances or on standby. Information 410-268-7373.
Opening Saturday and Sunday and continuing the following weekend in AACC's Humanities Recital Hall is another local holiday tradition, Pasadena Theatre Company's adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life. Opening night is a celebration of PTC's 30th anniversary. Seats are $12 for adults and $10 for children. Information: www.PTCShows.com or call 410-975-0200.
The area's newest theater group, Standing O, will celebrate the completion of its first season and unveil its new one at a Christmas concert Dec. 13 at Chesapeake Academy. Information: 410-647-8412.
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker is being offered this season by three dance companies. Scheduled at Chesapeake High School on Mountain Road in Pasadena are Nutcracker performances by Ashley Canterna's Maryland Festival Ballet at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and children 12 and younger and can be ordered at 410-859-8511.
Chesapeake Arts Center at 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park will offer The Nutcracker performances by Mid-Atlantic Center for Performing Arts at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in CAC's Hammonds Lane Theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission and $17 for students, seniors and CAC members.
Other holiday offerings at Chesapeake Arts Center's Hammonds Lane Theatre include Hack and Slash Christmas Special: The Musical, a raucous version of A Christmas Carol at 8 p.m. Dec. 12 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 13. On Dec. 14 the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum will present "Love Songs for the Holidays," featuring Carla Dirlikov and Michael Gallant in a program of arias, show tunes and carols. Tickets can be purchased at the door at Hammonds Lane Theatre.
At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 comes "Remembering Bing," saluting Bing Crosby, with tickets priced at $15 to $18. Do or Die Productions is offering Slay Ride, a Christmas-themed murder mystery, at 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20 in CAC's Studio 194 Theater. Tickets are $16 general and $14 for CAC members.
Tickets for all CAC shows: 410-636-6597 or www.chesapeakearts.org/tickets.
An array of holiday favorites scheduled at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis includes "Christmas in Dublin," a concert featuring the Three Irish Tenors at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $36 and $31. Seats for this and all other performances at Maryland Hall: 410-280-5640 or www.marylandhall.org.
The Nutcracker performances will be presented by Ballet Theatre of Maryland on Dec. 13 and 14, Dec. 20 and 21, along with The Case of the Missing Nutcracker on Dec. 20. Prices range from $18 for children 10 and under to $23 for students and $36 for seniors and $43 for adults.
The Annapolis Chorale presents its "Celebration of Christmas" concert on Dec. 11 and 12 at Maryland Hall. Tickets are $42 and can be purchased at the above addresses.
The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will offer a "Home for the Holidays II" concert of holiday favorites with a celebration of Annapolis hometown heroes at 8 p.m. Dec. 19 at Maryland Hall. Seats are $34 to $44 at the ASO box office, at 410-263-0907 or at online www.annapolissymphony.org.
The Arundel Vocal Arts Society's "Mass Appeal," featuring the Lord Nelson Mass by Joseph Haydn along with holiday choruses and carols, will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday at Eastport United Methodist Church. Information: www.a rundelvocalarts.org.
At 3 p.m. that day Annapolis Opera will offer "Bel Canto by Candlelight," featuring Rossini and Donizetti arias sung by five young soloists, at First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis. Tickets are $30. Information: 410-267-8135.
Two jazz concerts for Christmas, featuring pianist Stef Scaggiari and vocalist Sue Matthews, are scheduled for 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Loewes Annapolis Hotel. Call 410-269-0777 for reservations.
For children's programs, nothing rivals Talent Machine shows. This year's "Holiday Memories 2008" will be presented Dec. 19, 20 and 21 at St. John's College Key Auditorium. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 for ages 7 and younger. Information: www.talentmachine.com or 410-956-0512
Two Annapolis choruses will offer Messiah performances. The United States Naval Academy will present its 62nd annual performance of Handel's Messiah at 8 p.m. Dec. 13 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Main Chapel. Tickets: 410-293-2439.
The Annapolis Chorale will offer three Messiah performance at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis - Part I and Carols at 8 p.m. Dec. 19, Parts 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 and Messiah and Carols for Families at 3 p.m. Dec. 21. Tickets are $37 for adults and $12 for students.