‘Tis the season for family outings as parents and grandparents introduce their long-held Christmas traditions to a new generation, or perhaps welcome the beginning of a new one. What will it be? Dressing up in party dresses to marvel at the beauty of the Sugar Plum Fairy? The National Ballet of Canada has presented James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker annually since its premiere in 1995. A perennial favourite, the show has sold out for the last several seasons. It’s onstage at the Four Seasons Centre from Dec. 8 through December 30.
Maybe your family would rather boo the villain in a fractured fairy tale. Ross Petty Productions is celebrating its 23rd year of staging an annual family musical, presented in the British pantomime tradition, at the Elgin Theatre. This year’s show is The Wizard of Oz, running from November 30 to January 5.
For fans of author Roald Dahl, his classic tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is onstage at the Princess of Wales Theatre through January 6. The show features tunes from the original movie, including “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man”, alongside a new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.
School of Rock takes to the Ed Mirvish Theatre stage through January 6. Based on the movie of the same name, the stage production features all of the original songs from the film along with 14 new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting several holiday shows at Roy Thomson Hall this month. First up is the classic film Home Alone from December 6-8. The popular comedy’s score, by composer John Williams, will be performed live by the TSO, joined by the Resonance Youth Choir. Holiday Pops is next, from December 11-15. It features Canadian crooner Matt Dusk and the Etobicoke School of the Arts Holiday Chorus, and, of course, the traditional audience carol sing-along. The Symphony concludes their holiday program with a hugely popular tradition, their annual presentation of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. Onstage from December 17-23, the TSO will be joined by a stellar lineup of vocal soloists and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
The Sony Centre is hosting The Tenors, onstage with Home for the Holidays: Christmas Classics and the Hits! on December 17. The multi-platinum, Juno Award-winning group notes that “Performing during the Christmas season is a longstanding tradition for the three of us.”
Cape Breton-based family band the Barra MacNeils are at the George Weston Recital Hall on December 13th with their Celtic Christmas concert. After 19 years of Christmas touring, the group’s annual show has become a tradition for family members of all ages. It will feature classic favourites including “Oh Holy Night”, “Ave Maria” and “Christmas in Killarney”, along with some comedy, seasonal stories and dance.
The shows noted above represent a small sampling of the great theatre, music and dance happening throughout Toronto this month. A quick glance through December theatre listings shows at least seven productions of the The Nutcracker, four of A Christmas Carol, three of Cinderella, etc. taking place across Toronto and the GTA. If you see a show at one of Toronto’s large theatres, please help us build our theatre database by submitting a review of the view from your seat on our Homepage. But wherever you go, and whatever you see, we hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas season creating and sharing traditions with your family.