The weather outside was frightful to begin the month; freezing rain, ice pellets and snow. Bah humbug. But inside the theatres can be especially delightful in December as many organizations offer classic Christmas fare that whole families can enjoy together, beginning and continuing annual traditions for years to come.
One of Toronto’s favourite holiday treats, the National Ballet of Canada’s beloved production of The Nutcracker, is onstage at the Four Seasons Centre from December 12 to January 4. The show has sold out for the past several years, although a limited number of standing room tickets can be purchased, in person only, on the day of the performance when the Four Seasons Centre box office opens.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents its cherished Christmas tradition, Handel’s Messiah, at Roy Thomson Hall from December 17 to 22, with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and four Canadian soloists.
After 23 years in the Elgin Theatre, Ross Petty Productions’ 24th annual family musical (panto) is moving upstairs in the same venue to the Winter Garden Theatre. The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre is the world’s last operating double-decker theatre complex. This year’s show is Lil’ Red Robin Hood featuring Robert Markus, star of Dear Evan Hansen. It’s playing from November 29 to January 4.
The Princess of Wales Theatre reopened on November 27, after several months closed for renovations. with the return of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-musical Cats. Cats fans will be the first to enjoy the theatre’s brand new seats while viewing the show’s all-new lighting design, sound design, and choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton). The cast includes former National Ballet of Canada soloist McGee Maddox. Cats is onstage through January 5.
Come From Away returns to the Royal Alexandra Theatre on December 13 after having been moved to the Elgin Theatre for most of 2019. Tickets are currently on sale through March 1.
The Ed Mirvish Theatre is hosting the Canadian premiere of Anastasia from December 3 to January 12. Based on the 1997 animated film of the same name, the “romantic and adventure-filled” musical premiered on Broadway in the spring of 2017 and ran for two years.
SpongeBob Squarepants has briefly left Bikini Bottom to appear onstage at Meridian Hall from December 17 to 22 and he’s brought his pals Patrick, Sandy and Squidward with him. With a score featuring original songs by Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, Steven Tyler and many more, The Spongebob Musical was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2018.
The George Weston Recital Hall in the Meridian Arts Centre has holiday programs by Orchestra Toronto and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
We wish everyone a happy and healthy Christmas season and hope you have a wonderful time sharing holiday theatre traditions with your families.