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The Nutcracker

After debuting its new version of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker last year, Pacific Northwest Ballet settles into its new holiday routine in year two. While it may not have the same one-of-a-kind design eccentricities as the beloved Sendak version, Balanchine’s active choreography (especially in act two) fills the stage with an exciting new vigor.

Thru Dec 28 McCaw Hall, pnb.org

9. hamlet  benedict cumberbatch . photo by johan persson. pcimre

National Theatre Live at SIFF

Oscar hopefuls aren’t the only ones delivering stirring performances on the big screens this December. London’s premier theatrical stage gets projected on SIFF screens via a particularly impressive slate of the ongoing National Theatre Live series. Catch encore performances of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer, the breathtaking stage puppetry of War Horse, and a live broadcast of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart starring in Harold Pinter’s comedy classic, No Man’s Land

Dec 3–20 SIFF Cinema Uptown, siff.net

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Louis C.K.

“Self-love is a good thing, but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go, ‘Oh, I’m kind of an a—hole.’ You have to have that thought...or you’re a psychopath.”

The prolific comedian pushes boundaries and hones standup material with two nights in Seattle.

Dec 9 & 10 WaMu and Paramount Theatres, louisck.net

Courtesy ryan russell scwjqi

Image: Ryan Russell


David Bazan

Sometimes the holidays can be a massive bummer. Seattle singer-songwriter David Bazan’s new album, Dark Sacred Night, provides a soundtrack for those moments. With a mix of somber standards, covers, and original tunes, Bazan offers musical solace for the season’s lost souls. Join the chorus at the least-peppy Christmas concert.

Dec 18 Neumos, davidbazan.com

Courtesy larry maurer xbqhvb

Image: Larry Maurer

The Sporting Life

Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers

It’s a score the Seahawks won’t soon forget. The Panthers denied Seattle a chance for its third straight Super Bowl trip last season by jumping out to a crushing 31-0 lead at halftime of the NFC divisional round playoff game. While Russell Wilson and company clawed back to make it a game, it was too little, too late. Revenge is a dish best served on a cold Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.

Dec 4 CenturyLink Field, seahawks.com

Courtesy joan marcus u23qxe

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Never pass up an opportunity to hit the road with Hedwig. The musical follows the genderqueer East Berlin glam rocker as she shares her life story while on a U.S. tour. It’s a soaring exploration of identity that continues to resonate with audiences. The touring production of the Tony-winning revival features Broadway leads Darren Criss (Hedwig) and Lena Hall (Yitzhak) reprising their starring roles.

Dec 13–18 Paramount Theatre, stgpresents.org

Johnwaters courtesy kagan mcleod o4zpma

Image: Kagan McLeod


Deck the Ha Ha Halls

One can stay only so sane when hearing the same cornball joke Dad or Uncle Dave has told 14 Christmases straight. Thankfully, you’ve got outside options for festive wit. The cult king of camp makes his annual bawdy pilgrimage to the Neptune Theatre for A John Waters Christmas (Dec 2), Dickens gets an on-the-spot punch-up via Unexpected Production’s A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol (thru Dec 24), and ACT Theatre hosts Dos Fallopia’s anything-but-subtle sketch comedy and music revue Ham for the Holidays: Jurassic Pork (Dec 8–24).

Credit peter koval mdxgp9


Image: Peter Koval


Lemolo & Damien Jurado

In the dead of winter, there’s sonic warmth to be found in the cavernous confines of St. Mark’s Cathedral. For the latest round of Abbey Arts Cathedrals concerts, patrons are invited to a two-night local doubleheader of dream-pop duo Lemolo and master singer-songwriter Damien Jurado. Even if being nestled tight in the pews doesn’t warm your extremities, the echoing acoustics of the music should still melt your heart.

Dec 2 & 3 St. Mark’s Cathedral, fremontabbey.org 

Good ol' Holiday Cheer 


✴︎  Land of Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker blends dance, song, and drag to make the famed ballet risqué. Dec 9–29 The Triple Door, thetripledoor.net

✴︎  Benaroya Hall fills with Holiday Pops carols, Handel’s Messiah, and the a cappella spirit of The Coats. Dec 9–18 Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org

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✴︎  Maybe this year A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge will outwit those darned moralizing ghosts! Thru Dec 28 ACT Theatre, acttheatre.org

✴︎  While you might not be able to give your loved ones the moon this Christmas (lasso or not), you could still warm their hearts by taking them to one of Grand Illusion’s annual screenings of It’s a Wonderful LifeDec 9–29 Grand Illusion Theatre, grandillusioncinema.org

Special Event

Unsilent Night

Think of Unsilent Night as avant garde Christmas caroling. Participants download Phil Kline’s titular electronic composition, convene at On the Boards, and then venture out playing the tracks through their boom boxes and phones to create a dissonant electronica sound sculpture that traverses the cold, dark streets.

Dec 3 On the Boards, ontheboards.org

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