There’s always a must-have toy for the Christmas shopping season, from the worth-its-weight-in-plastic-molded-gold Barbie Dreamhouse or the omnipresent Furbys that are still annoyingly chirping in the deep recesses of America’s basements and attics. But what about the must-have holiday entertainment? We offer up an early look at some of the season’s best events—both traditional and atypical—so you can get an early jump on your holiday ticket shopping.

Nutcrackers Pacific Northwest Ballet, McCaw Hall, Nov 30–Dec 29 and Tacoma City Ballet, Pantages Theatre, Dec 7–22 More than a century after its debut, The Nutcracker remains the preeminent holiday ticket, thanks to its angelic movements and timeless score. It’s ballet for the masses that is always on point(e).,

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker The Triple Door, Dec 12–28 More risque than ballet, Land of the Sweets transforms The Nutcracker into a yuletide striptease with swing band versions of Tchaikovsky.


Tiny Tots: Holiday Hooray Benaroya Hall, Dec 6 & 7 No one sings Christmas songs better than little kids. It’s all about their unbridled joy. Take the tots to sing along with a brass trio at these family-friendly 35-minute performances.

A John Waters Christmas Neptune Theatre, Dec 5 The famed director of trashy camp cult films like Pink Flamingos brings his “sleigh full of smut” to Seattle for a one-man show with tales of perverted gifts, takedowns of sacred holiday traditions, and more of Waters’s gleefully twisted worldview.

A Christmas Carol ACT Theatre, Nov 29–Dec 29 Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from curmudgeon to compassionate soul is one of the most famous ghost stories of all time.

The Hound of the Baskervilles Seattle Repertory Theatre, Nov 15–Dec 15 Does the thought of sitting through A Christmas Carol one more time make you yearn to be more Jacob Marley than Ebenezer Scrooge? Seattle Rep counterprograms the holiday season with the Sherlock Holmes tale of murder and a family curse via a new adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra KeyArena, Nov 23 What does a child’s approach to wrapping paper on Christmas morning have in common with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? There’s lot of shredding involved. The group returns for a repeat performance of its rock opera The Lost Christmas Eve.

Heart and Friends: Home for the Holidays Benaroya Hall, Dec 12 To cap a year when their band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Wilson sisters come home for their first ever holiday show. Expect Christmas classics and Heart hits as part of a not-so-silent night.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Paramount Theatre, Nov 24 For a couple months every year, the music of Mannheim Steamroller becomes inescapable. The top-selling Christmas group brings its latest classic repertoire to the Paramount.

Pink Martini with Seattle Symphony Orchestra Benaroya Hall, Dec 10 & 11 Northwest favorite Pink Martini puts a sleek lounge jazz spin on the familiar seasonal songs and some lesser-known gems with help from SSO.

A Festival of Lessons and Carols Benaroya Hall, Dec 23 The tale of Jesus’s birth comes to life in choral song at a Festival of Lessons and Carols.

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant Balagan Theatre, Nov 22–Dec 21 Balagan’s satirical take on the traditional Christmas pageant and Scientology’s teachings features fake Tom Cruise and John Travolta, children (played by adults) acting out the story of the evil alien dictator Xenu, and more potshots at the infamous church.

UPDATED: A Very Merry Unathorized Children's Scientology Pageant has been postponed until a later Balagan season.

Home for the Holidays Benaroya Hall, Dec 5–8 Generally, singing along with the Seattle Symphony is strongly discouraged. The annual exception is the holiday pops concert, when families can carol along to their hearts’ desire.

Sing-a-Long-a Grease and Holiday Tree Lighting Pantages Theatre, Nov 30 There needed to be festivities before Tacoma’s 68th annual holiday tree lighting. So naturally Broadway Center settled on a Grease sing-along. Because nothing says winter wonderland like belting out “Summer Nights”?

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Seattle Met.

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