Florida Culture for the HOLIDAY Week of December 16 by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Dec 16, 2013 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the HOLIDAY Week of December 16 by Josh Garrick

Holiday Giving – Feed the Need Campaign Raises $96,000 to Fight Hunger
On December 3 the First Annual Feed the Need campaign celebrated the spirit of giving in Winter Park as the result of the 22-day fundraiser to end hunger in our community was presented. After many generous events, promotions and donations, Feed the Need raised $96,145 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. All of Winter Park can join with Patrick Chapin, President of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce as he shares, “I’m incredibly proud of the Winter Park community for responding to the Feed the Need campaign in such a remarkable way.” Visit feedtheneedwp.org


Feed the Need Campaign


Dec 17 and 18 -- Andrea McArdle’s Sounds of the Season

Broadway’s “Original Annie” – Andrea McArdle – will celebrate the Season at The Abbey in Sounds of the Season, with performances on December 17 and 18 at 8 pm. The ‘show business legend’ will offer traditional holiday favorites along with Broadway hits from Oliver and Annie. McArdle was the youngest performer ever nominated for a Tony Award (in 1977) for the title role in Annie and has since appeared in countless musicals and cabarets. For tickets visit ticketweb.com


Andrea McArdle at the Abbey


Dec 17 and 18 – The Winter Park Playhouse's Cabaret Series

That ‘powerhouse duo’ – Heather Alexander and Laura Hodos – will perform their newest cabaret, Happy Hour, at the Winter Park Playhouse on December 17 and 18. Happy Hour celebrates the lighter side of life with comedic and uplifting songs, ranging from musical theatre to standard hits, all of which become ‘extra special’ as rendered by the charming, comedic, and spontaneous – Heather and Laura. Call 407.645. 0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org for reservations.


Heather Alexander and Laura Hodos


Dec 18 to 23 – Dickens by Candlelight – with Tea and Cookies

Of all the ways to experience Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, my favorite is the production called Dickens by Candlelight. While candlelight is in the title, the production brings us ‘into the action’ by seating us at tables where we are served tea and home-made cookies as the extraordinary three actors (who play all the parts) ‘act’ among us. And this year is extra special to have Robin Olson, who created Dickens by Candlelight in 1997, return to the cast along with audience favorites John Didonna and Monica Tamborello. Running December 18 to 23, call 407.222.7669 or visit Dickensbycandlelight.com


Dickens by Candlelight


Dec 19 to 22 – The Abbey Presents – Naughty is Nice: a Christmas Cabaret

As part of a week-long Holiday celebration the Abbey, in downtown Orlando, will present Naughty Is Nice: A Christmas Cabaret from December 19 to 22. Featuring Orlando’s brightest talent on-stage for a festive and slightly off-color Christmas Cabaret;   Andrea Canny, Rebecca Fisher, David Kelley, David Dorman, Anitra Pritchard and young Kennedy Joy Foristall, will explore the naughty side of Christmas music, and present saucy new holiday songs. In six-performances-only, get your tickets at ticketweb or visit AbbeyOrlando.com.


Naughty is Nice Christmas Cabaret


December 19 to 23 – The Nutcracker by the Orlando Ballet

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic holiday tradition performed all around the world and a favorite for the whole family. When Clara receives a toy Nutcracker on Christmas Eve she is transported on a magical journey. Based on a fairytale in which the Nutcracker comes to life as an enchanted Prince, everyone loves the story – as danced by the Orlando Ballet – that includes a visit to the Land of Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and a celebration of dances from around the world. Visit orlandoballet.org or call 407.426.1739


Nutcracker, Orlando Ballet


Dec 20 and 21 – Star of Bethlehem at the Buehler Planetarium at Seminole College

A favorite seasonal presentation of planetariums around the world, the Seminole State College Planetarium will present the Star of Bethlehem, praised by secular and religious audiences alike, Star of Bethlehem looks at the Christmas star, explaining the astronomical event from a scientific standpoint. Appropriate for ages 9 and up, presentations will take place at 7 pm and 8:30 pm on both nights. Call 407.708.2421 or visit seminolestate.edu/planet


Dec 20 and 22 – Christmas Connected is a Toys versus iPad ‘Smackdown’

In this Northwest Dance Studio performance, two children lose themselves in an isolated world of digital devices, with no interest in their old toys. Realizing the kids have lost their ‘sense of wonder,’ the toys devise a plan to take the children on an adventure. The toys dance through time accompanied by multi-media (with a few surprises) guaranteeing an amazing experience for the entire family. The FREE performances are Dec 20 at 7 pm and Dec 22 at 9 am & 12 pm at the Northwest Church at 5495 Clarcona-Ocoee Road in Orlando. Call 407 578 2088.


Christmas Connected


Dec 20 at 7 pm – The Power Chords’ Very Merry Christmas Concert

In a one-night-only concert featuring youthful singing and dancing to some of the Holiday Season's most popular songs, this high-energy performance by the Orlando Repertory’s Power Chords are sure to put you into the holiday spirit. The REP’s Power Chords is comprised of some of Central Florida's most talented ‘triple-threat performers,’ ranging from 14 to 18 years of age. Visit OrlandoRep.com or call 407. 896-7365


Dec 21 – Wekiwa Springs State Park’s Holiday Songs in the Park

The voices of the Lake Brantley High School Choirs – The Patriot Singers and the Voices of Freedom – will sing Holiday Songs in the Park in a candlelit event that will showcase the natural amphitheatre that looks down on the beautiful Springs area. The FREE event will take place December 21 at 7 pm, sponsored by the Wekiwa Springs Citizens Support Organization. Guests are invited to bring flashlights, blankets, and chairs. Visit FloridaStateParks.org/WekiwaSprings


Wekiwa Springs Holiday songs in the park


Dec 21 and 22 – Central Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker

Central Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker has long held the title of “most entertaining Nutcracker” as featured in ABC Nightline News; voted a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society; named as “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation” by CNN Headlines News; and – thanks to some on-stage fireworks, it was called “the pyrotechnic Nutcracker” by USA Today. This version of the Holiday Classic will be performed on December 21 at 7:30 pm and Dec 22 at 2 pm at the Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center. Call 407.849.9948 or visit CentralFloridaBallet.com


Central Florida Ballet's Nutcracker


Dec 22, 23, 24 – David McElroy in the One-Man Christmas Carol

Southern Winds Theatre presents three opportunities to see their One-Man A Christmas Carol, adapted for the stage and starring David A. McElroy – performing ALL 37 characters from the Dickens classic. Performances are Dec 22 at 2 pm at Bay Street Players in Eustis (call 352-357-7777 or visit baystreetplayers.org); Dec 23 at 7:30 pm at The Venue in Orlando (call 407-341-3495 or visit southernwindstheatre.com); and Dec 24 – Christmas Eve Dinner Show at the View in Lake Wales (863-324-5810 or email [email protected]


David A McElroy - 1 man Christmas Carol


Dec 24 – Christmas Eve Open House at the Morse Museum

One doesn’t immediately think of spending Christmas Eve in a Museum, but the annual invitation to do just that – from the Morse Museum – is sincere and welcoming in every way. The Free event will include music from the Raintree Chamber Players from 1 pm to 4 pm. Call 407.645.5311 or visit morsemuseum.org


Morse Museum Christmas Eve


Dec 24 at 10:30 pm – St. Luke’s Cathedral’s Christmas Oratorio de Noel

While an organist, Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the lovely Oratorio de Noel in less than a fortnight, completing it ten days before its premiere on Christmas 1858. The Oratorio will be sung by the St. Luke’s Cathedral Choir and soloists – with chamber orchestra – at 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve, followed by a midnight mass.  The event is free and open to the public.


St Luke's Cathedral


Dec 26 – Mennello Museum’s Holiday Open House

Following a kindly established tradition, the Mennello Museum is free and open to the Public on the day after Christmas − a gift  to the community from the Museum from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm on Dec 26. The Museum is at 900 E. Princeton St. in Orlando. Call 407-246-4278


Menello Museum


Dec 26 – Kwanzaa Celebration and Performance

In another Free Holiday offering, the Polk Museum of Art invites the Public to a Kwanzaa Celebration on Dec 26 beginning at 1 pm. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American culture, but this party is for everyone. Learn about Kwanzaa while celebrating with the Polk Museum. Call 863.688.7743 or visit polkmuseumofart.org


Kwanzaa Celebration, Polk Museum





Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators