IF YOU’RE NOT in a holiday mood, you’re kind of out of luck. Our top picks: “Christmas Canteen” (Aurora), “Ho, Ho Home for the Holidays” with Libby Whittemore (Actor’s Express) and, delightfully new this season, “Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley” (Theatrical Outfit). PLEASE NOTE: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Dec. 22 “Messiah” concert is sold out. Pictured: The company of the Alliance Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.” Photo by Greg Mooney.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta fall/winter season top pick. 

Recommended

The “Christmas Canteen” company (from left) Lyndsay Ricketson Brown, Nick Arapoglou, Jen MacQueen, Christian Magby, Cheyanne Osoria, Caroline Arapoglou, Benjamin Strickland, Chani Maisonet, Daisean Garrett, Cecil Washington Jr. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen. THROUGH DEC. 23. A holiday favorite (of mine). Aurora Theatre’s annual revue, one of its three seasonal shows, turns 22. The jolly variety show is schmaltzy, fun and moving in all the right ways. Think of “The Ed Sullivan Show” or Andy Williams’ Christmas specials, spin the time machine forward a bit, and you’ll know what to expect: songs, dances, novelty numbers and a few not-so-sly references to businesses that support Aurora. New this year: Nick and Caroline Arapoglou as co-hosts. $30-$65. Many performances are already sold out, so please check before you go. Rush tickets may be available. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Watch the website for updates. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. 

Libby Whittemore as Connie Sue Day. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays. CLOSES SUNDAY. Visit Actor’s Express for a slice of Christmas fruitcake unlike any other. Singer Libby Whittemore and alter ego Connie Sue Day (the 31st Lady of Country Music) serenade you with holiday favorites new and old (“Santa Baby,” “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas in Dixie”) and novelty numbers (“The 12 Days of a White Trash Christmas”) in this two-act celebration of tinsel, jingle bells and just a titch too much eggnog. $40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Amelia Fischer as Mary Bennett. Photo: David Woolf

** Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. THROUGH DEC. 24. An Encore Atlanta top pick. Theatrical Outfit presents the Southeastern premiere of this smart, witty, joyful piece from Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson (Silent Sky, I and You, The Taming) and colleague Margot Melcon. The comic drama, based on characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, takes us to 1815 England and into the life of middle sister Mary Bennet — who just might find romance amid the floor-to-ceiling volumes in the library. The cast: Amelia Fischer as Mary, with Galen CrawleyDevon HalesJonathan HorneLee OsorioMaria Rodriguez-SagerJulissa Sabino and Juan Carlos Unzueta. $20.50-$49. 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. 

This weekend only

Only very limited seating remains.

A Very Merry Holiday POPS! FRIDAY-SATURDAY. Only very limited seating still available. This year’s lineup includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Joe Gransden Big Band, Broadway’s Allison Blackwell (The Lion King, Porgy and Bess, A Night With Janis Joplin), the Melodica Men, the Atlanta All-City Chorus and choirs from Greenforest Community Baptist Church. Look for Santa and special helpers, as well. David Charles Abell, the new principal guest conductor of the Philly POPS, returns to the podium for a second year. $20-$135. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Select holiday

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. THROUGH DEC. 28. Atlanta Ballet dances its John McFall-choreographed Nut for the 23rd and final time. A new version debuts in 2018. McFall, the company’s artistic director from 1994 to 2016, slipped out of retirement to lead the company one more time. You know the story. A nutcracker doll comes to life, turns into a prince and takes young Marya on a fantastical adventure. $21.25-$125.25. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 2 p.m. Dec. 21-22, 26 + 28; and 1 p.m. Dec. 24. No show Christmas Day. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499. Tickets also at the Fox and Atlanta Ballet box offices.

[MORE: McFALL ‘NUT’ KNOWN FOR ITS MAGIC, STORYTELLING]

Courtney Patterson, David de Vries. Photo: Greg Mooney

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 24. Alliance Theatre. Scrooge & Co. take their musical, multicultural story to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre while magic, in the form of renovations, consumes their Midtown mainstage. David de Vries returns as ol’ Ebenezer for a fourth season, ably assisted by such longtime cohorts as Cynthia D. Barker (Mrs. Cratchit); Andrew Benator (Marley); Lowrey Brown (Young Scrooge); Je Nie Fleming (Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Dilber); Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Mr. Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present); Joe Knezevich (Fred); and Courtney Patterson (Ghost of Christmas Past). Marco Schittone again plays Tiny Tim. Rosemary Newcott again directs. $20-$60. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 800.745.3000. Also at Bank of North Georgia and Cobb Energy Centre box offices.

[MORE: FOR LONGTIME DIRECTOR, EVERY ‘CAROL’ IS A NEW ONE]

Photo: True Colors Theatre Company

The First Noel. THROUGH DEC. 24. True Colors Theatre Company. This musical, set in 1980s Harlem, follows three generations of a family faced with loss. The score reimagines traditional holiday favorites in jazz, gospel and pop styles. For all ages. The cast includes Terry Henry, Brittany L. Inge, Margo Moorer and Brad Raymond. Jasmine Guy directs. $16 + $28 including fees (and selling well). 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19; 11 a.m. Dec. 20; and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, 349 Ferst Drive NW. Free parking. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849 (Ticket Alternative).

Emily Parrish Stembridge as Clara, Jessenia Ingram as Heidi. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Heidi. THROUGH DEC. 31. At Synchronicity Theatre. Johanna Spyri’s 19th-century children’s novel becomes a family-friendly musical in this staging for ages 3 and up. Heidi brings joy to everyone she meets, whether it’s her crusty grandfather in the Swiss Alps or a wheelchair-bound friend in the city. Even the goats sing. The score is by Joan Cushing (Junie B. Jones, Miss Nelson, Petite Rouge). Every Friday is PJs & Play (kids in pajamas  get free milk, cookies and — for this show only — Swiss chocolates). $20-$22; $15-$17 children. 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; and 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. Also at 2 p.m. Dec. 19-21, 26-28 and 11 a.m. Dec. 24. No show Christmas Day. KidNight Countdown, with a kid-friendly toast and treat, follows the 5 p.m. show Dec. 31. Synchronicity is in the One Peachtree Pointe complex at 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

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About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s editor, is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project.

View all posts by Kathy Janich

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