Five Holiday Shows Take The Stage
By Ross Boissoneau | Dec. 1, 2018
This year there’s a stocking-full of holiday shows on stages in and around Traverse City, from ballet to classical music to Irish dance. Here’s The Ticker’s guide to what’s happening, starting this weekend.
Old Town Playhouse presents A Christmas Carol
Nov. 30; Dec. 1, 6–8
This variation on the classic Dickens tale is a story within a story, following a troupe of actors readying for a performance of the story. As a trunk of supplies opens — spilling actors, clowns, and whatever else — merriment and chaos ensue. Old Town Playhouse Executive Director Phil Murphy likens the show to a pop-up storybook, with characters coming to life onstage. “You walk into a theatre that, rather than Victorian England, is a bare stage,” he says.
Murphy says OTP read several adaptations of the classic tale before settling on this one, which came out in the late ’70s. It includes circus elements, troubadours, singers, and other additional aspects, enhancing the traditional parts of the story. And while the original one had as much that was creepy and dark as light and engaging, this version concentrates more on the celebratory facets of the tale.
(Bonus: Today’s (Saturday, Dec. 1), from 1pm to 4pm, OTP offers a sensory-friendly performance, plus pre-show touch stations in lower lobby and post-show opportunities to meet the cast.)
Tickets: $15–$28, www.mynorthtickets.com
Dance Arts Academy and Dance Arts Traverse present The Nutcracker
Dec. 13, 14, 15, 16
Dance Arts Academy and Company Dance Traverse will present the magical holiday tradition “The Nutcracker” at Milliken Auditorium at Dennos Museum Center. The performance has a cast of 144 children and adults to tell this classic Christmas story of Clara, played by Gabrielle Chuinard or Isabel Seymour, and the events that take place at the family Christmas party.
Tickets: $20-$29, 231.941.4234
Interlochen Center for the Arts presents Swan Lake
Dec. 6–8; Dec. 15–16
Interlochen Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey says this year’s Interlochen Arts Academy Dance Co. production has been completely reimagined, with new sets, new staging, and new costumes — purchased from the Boston Ballet, following a previous cooperative initiative it had with the former Soviet Union. This performance, in Interlochen’s Corson Auditorium, will feature live accompaniment by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.
Tickets: Interlochen, $11–$29, www.interlochen.org
Milliken Auditorium presents Irish Christmas in America
Now in its 14thseason, the always popular “Irish Christmas in America” features popular Irish music and songs, enlivened by spirited Irish step dancing. The show combines Irish history and storytelling with music by the likes of award-winning vocalist Séamus Begleyand Sligo’s Niamh Farrell, all with a holiday bent. The show features Irish ballads, upbeat instrumental tunes, and Irish dancing, while evocative photographic images provide a backdrop to some of the Emerald Isle’s rich historical traditions.
Tickets: $25–$30, www.mynorthtickets.com
Traverse Symphony Orchestra’s “Home for the Holidays”
Dec. 15 and 16
The Traverse Symphony Orchestra is performing this traditional holiday favorite for the first time at Corson Auditorium on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Guest conductor Lonnie Klein will be at the podium to direct the orchestra, though he won’t be the only one: Each year the TSO auctions off a chance to direct the orchestra, and the mystery conductors (one for each show) will get their chance to wave the wand and move the symphony along.
Among the more than 200 performers will be Interlochen Director of Theatre Bill Church, who will read some selections from “A Christmas Carol.” At the end, a sing-along will include the audience members as well.
Tickets: $25.50–$61.50. www.traversesymphony.org