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Area stages show off their holiday finest

There are certain things you can count on at the holidays -- eggnog, mistletoe, popular toys even Santa can't find. And oh yes, "The Nutcracker," "A Christmas Carol" and the "Messiah."

This season will be no exception, with more area productions of Tchaikovsky, Dickens and Handel than Santa has reindeer. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, however, each of these holiday favorites has its distinguishing features.

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There will even be two separate opportunities to see "The Nutcracker" on ice. On Nov. 26, the Chesapeake Skating School's Ensemble Troupe will perform at the Inner Harbor, and the St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet glides onto the Opera House stage at Washington's Kennedy Center Dec. 8-12.

Purists who prefer "The Nutcracker" on dry land can attend the return engagement of the Moscow Ballet at the Mechanic Theatre Dec.10-12 or drop in on the promising young dancers at the Baltimore School for the Arts Dec. 3-12.

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The various local versions of "A Christmas Carol" range from to Israel Horovitz's "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley," told from Marley's point of view, at Dundalk Community Theatre Nov. 19-28, to Leslie Bricusse's musical adaptation, "Scrooge," at the Spotlighters Theatre Dec. 3-19.

As to the "Messiah," Edward Polochick will conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with soloists Nicole Heaston and Norine Burgess, on Dec. 17 and 18, and the Handel Choir will reprise its namesake's most famous work, performing the Christmas sections in several locations and the full oratorio at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium Dec. 19.

Finally, if all this culture makes you hungry, the Bach Society of Baltimore is presenting its ninth annual Holiday Madrigal Feast, complete with 16th century period entertainment and a six-course meal, at Zion Lutheran Church Dec. 4-12.

Here are some of the area's holiday productions:

"The Nutcracker"

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $25-$30; $10 students. Call 410-263-0907.

Baltimore School for the Arts. Dec. 3 and 10, 7 p.m., Dec. 4 and 11, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Dec. 5 and 12, 2 p.m., the Schaefer Ballroom, The Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St. $10; $8 seniors; $6 students and children. Call 410-396-1185.

Columbia Chamber Ballet. Nov. 26, 2 p.m., City Place Mall, Silver Spring. Dec. 3, 7: 30 p.m., Main Street, Ellicott City Fire Hall. Dec. 4, 2 p.m., East Columbia Library Senior Center. Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Hickory Ridge Senior Center. Dec. 10, 6: 30 p.m., Howard County Tree Lighting, Centennial Park. Dec. 11, 2 p.m., Columbia Mall, Lord and Taylor Court. Dec. 12, 3 p.m., B&O; Train Museum. Dec. 18, 3 p.m., White Marsh Mall, Entertainment Court. All performances are free. Call 410-465-7674.

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Harford Dance Theatre. Nov. 26, Dec. 2 and 3, 5: 30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. (abbreviated performances) and Nov. 27 and 28, Dec. 4 and 5, 3: 30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m., Harford Community College, 401 Thomas Run Road. $5-$10, must be at least age 3 to attend. Call 410-836-4211.

Howard County Ballet. Dec. 10, 7: 30 p.m.; Dec. 11 and 12, 2: 30 p.m., the Smith Theater at Howard County Community College, Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $15; $10 children and students. Call 410-465-8233.

Inner Harbor Ice Rink. Nov. 26, noon, the Inner Harbor Ice Rink, Rash Field. Chesapeake Skating School's Ensemble Troupe. $5, plus skate rental. Call 410-385-0675.

Moscow Ballet. Dec. 10, 7: 30 p.m., Dec. 11, 2 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m., Dec. 12, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Morris A. Mechanic Theatre. Tickets start at $20.50. Call 410-481-SEAT. St. Petersburg State Ice Ballet. Dec. 8, 8 p.m. and Dec. 9-12, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., the Kennedy Center, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $29-$67. Call 800-444-1324.

Towson University and Dance Company. The second act will be performed, Dec. 5, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Stephens Hall Theater, Towson University, 8000 York Road. $12; $8 seniors, children 12 and under. Call 410-830-2787.

The Washington Ballet. Nov. 26, 2 p.m. and Nov. 27, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., George Mason University Center for the Arts, Fairfax, Va. $20-$34. Call 703-218-6500.

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The Washington Ballet. Dec. 10, 7 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Dec. 12, 1 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7 p.m.; Dec. 18, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Dec. 19, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Dec. 21-23, 7 p.m.; Dec. 24, 2 p.m. and Dec. 26, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Warner Theatre, 13th Street, Northwest, Washington. $25-$38. Call 202-432-SEAT.

Plays

Holiday theatrical performances in the area.

"Babes in Toyland." The holiday musical will be performed Dec. 4, 2 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. and Dec. 5, 2 p.m., Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, Dulaney Valley Road. $23; $15 children 12 and under. Call 410-337-8519.

"A Christmas Carol." Dickens' Christmas classic, Dec. 10 through 19 at Fell's Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St. 8 p.m. Fridays, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. $5-$12. Call 410-276-7837.

"A Christmas Carol." Nov. 20-Jan. 2, Tuesday through Sunday, 7: 30 p.m. (except Jan. 2); Wednesday and Thursday matinees, 1 p.m. (except Nov. 24 and Dec. 22); Saturday and Sunday matinees, 2: 30 p.m. (except Dec. 4 and 26); no performances on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, Ford's Theatre, 511 Tenth St., N.W., Washington. $27-$43. Call 202-347-4833.

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"A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley." Israel Horovitz's adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic will be performed, Nov. 19, 20, 26 and 27, 8 p.m., Nov. 21 and 28, 3 p.m., Dundalk Community College, 7200 Sollers Point Road. $15; $12 seniors; $10 students and children. Call 410-285-9667.

"A Furry Christmas Carol." Original adaptation told by actors dressed as animals. Nov. 27 through Jan. 15 at Way Off Broadway Children's Dinner Theater, Willowtree Plaza, Route 40 West, Frederick. Lunch and show $9. Call 301-662-6600. "Greetings." Holiday play presented by Silver Spring Stage, at 10145 Colesville Road. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 11. $8-$10. Call 301-593-6036.

"Holiday Hot Nostalgia." Popular and holiday musical moments from the 1930s to the 1970s, running through Jan. 30. For evening performances doors open at 6 p.m (5 p.m. Sundays,) for matinees doors open at 10: 30 a.m., Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia, 5900 Symphony Woods Road, Columbia. $32-$37, reservations required. Call 410-995-1969.

"Murder by Mistletoe." Audience-participation murder mystery presented by Murder Mystery Players through Nov. 20 at Dave and Buster's, 11201 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $32.95 includes dinner and show. Call 301-230-5151.

"The Nativity: A Soulful Celebration." Annual Youtheatre holiday musical. Dec. 10-19. 8: 30 p.m. Fridays, 7: 30 p.m. Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays. $6-$8. 410-728-6500. "Scrooge" Leslie Bricusse musical Dec. 3-19 at Spotlighters, 817 St. Paul St. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $7-$10. Call 410-752-1225. "A Tuna Christmas." Through Nov. 28 at Warner Theatre, 13th Street between E and F streets Northwest. Times vary. $30.50-$42.50. Call 202-432-SEAT.

Concerts

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Canadian Brass. The Canadian Brass will return to the Meyerhoff to perform yuletide favorites, Dec. 20, 7: 30 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $20-$40. Call 410-783-8000.

Candlelight Concerts. The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra will perform its popular Classical Holiday Concerts, Dec. 3 and 8, 8 p.m. and Dec. 5, 2 p.m., St. Mary's Seminary Chapel, Roland Park. $25; $20 students and seniors; $10 children 12 and under. Call 410-998-1022.

Canticle Singers. The women's chamber chorus will perform Dec. 2, 6: 30 p.m., Walters Art Gallery, 600 N. Charles St. and Dec. 5, 5: 30 p.m., Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St. Both performances are free. Call 410-433-3154.

Carroll Community Chorus. Mozart's Mass in C minor K. 139, Dec. 5, 3 p.m., Great Hall, Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster. Free. Call 410-386-8456.

Charm City Klezmer Band. Hanukkah concert, Dec. 19, 3 p.m., Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. $10. Call 410-752-8558.

Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra. The CYSO will perform Dec. 20, 7 p.m., Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. Free. Call 410-263-2664.

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The Choral Arts Society of Washington. 19th Annual Christmas Benefit, Dec. 14, 7 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $22-$44. Call 800-444-1324.

"Christmas Cheer." Part of the "Music at the Mansion" series, "Christmas Cheer" will include a tree lighting ceremony and carol singing Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place. $18 and up. Call 410-625-3525. "Christmas Concert." The music of Bach, Beethoven, Pachelbel and more, Dec. 5, 3 p.m., Light Street Presbyterian Church, 809 Light St. $10 donation. Call 410-539-0125.

"Christmas for Kids." The Baltimore Choral Arts Society will present sing-along songs, a holiday story, more, Dec. 18, 11 a.m., Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, Dulaney Valley Road. $10. Call 410-523-7070.

Christmas organ recital. Organist R. David Huggins, Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave., Towson. Free. Call 410-823-3588. "Christmas with Choral Arts." Favorites by Bach, Handel and Mozart, sing-along carols, more, Dec. 6, 7: 30 p.m., Basilica of the Assumption, 300 Cathedral St. $25-$35. Call 410-523-7070.

"Christmas with the Handel Choir." Favorite carols and holiday music, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St. $13-$23. Call 410-366-6544. "A Festive Celebration." The Children's Chorus of Maryland will perform holiday favorites, Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College. $12; $7 seniors and students. Call 410-494-1480.

George Winston. The pianist presents a winter program and highlights from his solo recordings, 7: 30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $20-$40. Call 410-783-8000.

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"Gloria." The chancel choirs of Towson Presbyterian Church and University Baptist Church will present Vivaldi's "Gloria," Dec. 5, 3 p.m. at 400 W. Chesapeake Ave. Call 410-823-6500.

"Hallelujah Handel!" The National Symphony Orchestra will perform Dec. 12, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $10-$20. Call 800-444-1324.

Hanukkah concert. Craig Taubman performs with his band Dec. 3, at Congregation Oseh Shalom, 7515 Olive Branch Way, Laurel. Children's performance and service at 7 p.m. and "Friday Night Live" service for adults at 8 p.m. Free. Call 301-498-5151.

Hanukkah concert. Craig Taubman performs with his band Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, 3300 Old Court Road. Call 410-486-1900, Ext. 221.

Helicon. Baltimore's acoustic-folk group will return with seasonal music and global folk music Dec. 19, 3 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $18-$40. Call 410-783-8000.

Holiday concert. The Peabody Prep Chorus will perform multicultural holiday music, Dec. 19, 7 p.m., Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St. Free. Call 410-889-6819.

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Holiday concert. The St. Mark's Choir performs carols, anthems and plainchant, Dec. 19, 2 p.m., St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1900 St. Paul St. Free. Call 410-752-5804.

Holiday concert. The Peabody Concert Singers, Peabody Chorus and Peabody Concert Orchestra perform Berlioz' "L 'Enfance du Christ," Dec. 5, 3 p.m., Peabody Institute, Miriam Friedberg Concert Hall, 1 E. Mount Vernon Place. $16; $8 seniors; $5 students. Call 410-659-8124.

"Holiday Madrigal Feast." The Baltimore Bach Society presents its "Holiday Madrigal Feast" with entertainment from the 16th century Dec. 4, 5, 10 and 11, 7: 15 p.m. and Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Adlersall of Zion Lutheran Church, Holliday Street, City Hall Plaza. $48, tickets include six-course dinner, wine and entertainment. Call 410-521-0209.

Holiday pops concert. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform, with many others, to benefit the Junior League of Baltimore Dec. 3 and 4, 8 p.m., Dec. 5, 3 p.m., Meyerhoff Concert Hall. $28-$60. Call 410-783-8000.

"It's That Winter Thing Again." The New Wave Singers of Baltimore perform their holiday concert Dec. 4, 8 p.m. and Dec. 5, 3 p.m., Govans Presbyterian Church, 5828 York Road. $10. Call 410-558-4692.

"Kids' Christmas." Conductor Daniel Hege will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in this children's concert, Dec. 18, 2 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $15-$20. Call 410-783-8000.

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"Klezmer Mania!" Kaila Flexer and Next Village present a seasonal celebration of Yiddish music, 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 29, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $20-$40. Call 410-783-8000.

Kwanzaa celebration. Featuring the Dance Theatre of Harlem Dec. 28 and 29, 7: 30 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $10. Call 800-444-1324.

The Maryland State Boychoir. The Boychoir will perform selections from Handel's "Messiah," Dec. 12, 4 p.m., St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills. $5; $3 children under 12. Call 410-363-1044.

Melissa Manchester. Grammy Award winner Melissa Manchester will perform holiday favorites as a part of the "Meyerhoff Presents Series" Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $27-$38. Call 410-783-8000.

"Messiah" sing-along. Public sing-along, accompanied by professional musicians, Dec. 23, 7: 30 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. Free. Call 800-444-1324.

"Messiah." The Hood College Choir and the Naval Academy Men's and Women's Glee Clubs will present Handel's "Messiah" Nov. 20, 8 p.m. and Nov. 21, 3 p.m., Coffman Chapel, Hood College, 401 Rosemount Ave., Frederick. $10; Hood identification card holders may have one free ticket. Call 301-696-3964.

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"Messiah." Handel's oratorio. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Dec. 17 and 18. 7: 30 p.m, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $20-$40. Call 410-783-8000. "Messiah." Performed by the Handel Choir of Baltimore, Dec. 12, 1: 30 p.m., Basilica of the Assumption, 300 Cathedral St.; Dec. 17, 7: 30 p.m., Grace Fellowship Church, 9505 Deereco Road, Lutherville; Dec. 18, 7: 30 p.m., Douglas Memorial Community Church, Lafayette and Madison avenues; (unabridged) Dec. 19, 3 p.m., Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College. $13-$23. Call 410-366-6544.

"Messiah." Performed by the Columbia Pro Cantare chorus and members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Dec. 5, 7: 30 p.m., the Jim Rouse Theater at Wilde Lake, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. $18, $20 at the door; $16 students and seniors, $18 at the door. Call 410-465-5744

"Messiah." Saint Ursula Church's parish choir, accompanied by strings and woodwinds, will perform Handel's Christmas masterpiece Dec. 12, 7 p.m., St. Ursula's Church, Harford Road and Putty Hill Avenue, Parkville. Free. Call 410-661-0600.

"Mozart By Candlelight." Opera concert, Dec. 12, 4: 30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Historic Charles Carroll House, Annapolis. $28; $25 Annapolis Opera members. Call 410-267-8135.

Music for Christmas. The Washington Chorus will perform Dec. 12, 7: 30 p.m, Dec. 19 and 22, 5 p.m., the Kennedy Center, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $13-$44. Call 800-444-1324.

The Peabody Preparatory Children's Chorus. The Peabody Preparatory Children's Chorus annual holiday concert will be held Dec. 14, 7 p.m., Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, Dulaney Valley Road. Free. Call 410-659-8124.

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"A Scottish Christmas." Scottish fiddle champion Bonnie Rideout will perform with others Dec. 26, 8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues, Northwest, Washington. $20-$35. Call 800-444-1324.

"The Spirit of Christmas." Thomas Wilkins will conduct the Evelyn Simpson-Curenton Singers and more Dec. 10, 7: 30 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $18-$40; $9-$40 children ages 6-12. Call 410-783-8000.

Vienna Choir Boys. The world premiere classical boys choir will perform holiday classics Dec. 14, 7: 30 p.m., Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. $20-$40. Call 410-783-8000.

White Marsh Holiday Concert Series. A variety of performances from school and church choirs, bands and more, Dec. 1-22, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., Entertainment Court, White Marsh Mall, 8200 Perry Hall Blvd. Call 410-931-7100.


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