Florida Culture for the HOLIDAY Week of December 9 by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Dec 09, 2013 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the HOLIDAY Week of December 9 by Josh Garrick

TONIGHT – Dec 9 at 7 pm – Venetian Vespers with the Orlando Philharmonic

Maestro Christopher Wilkins will conduct a sizable chamber orchestra drawn from the Orlando Philharmonic, and they will be joined by the UCF Chamber SingersTONIGHT – December 9 in a program called Venetian Vespers. St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice gave rise to a tradition of works for multiple choirs, including works by Monteverdi, Gabrieli, and Vivaldi, composers whose works will be highlighted in this concert at the Shakespeare Center. Call 407.770.0071 or visit Orlandophil.org


Now through December 29 – It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater invites us to share the holiday cheer of It’s a Wonderful Life, performed as a 1940’s radio broadcast, running through December 29. Inspired by the legendary film, Wonderful Life includes an ensemble of five actors who bring to life a dozen characters in ‘a radio broadcast complete with commercial jingles.’ Orlando Shakes invites us to fall in love, all over again, with George Bailey and the Angel who saves his life, on Christmas Eve. Call 407.447.1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org


It's a Wonderful Life - A live radio play

Actors Brad DePlanche, Suzanne O’Donnell, and Piper Rae Patterson. Photo by Landon St. Gordon.


Dec 12 – Krispy Kreme Does Kristmas On 12.12 Day

OK, I admit it – my guilty secret is Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and NOW they’re offering Snowman, Holiday Sprinkles, and Red Velvet Cake Doughnuts through December 30 at Orlando Ave (17-92) in Winter Park, at the Mall at Millenia, and in Kissimmee. THEN – ON DEC 12 (the 12.12.13 Day) we can download a coupon at DayoftheDozens.com for a FREE dozen Original Glazed when you buy a dozen. IS THIS LEGAL?  Show your coupon on 12/12/13 and ALSO GET holiday gift tags redeemable for FREE doughnuts and coffee. (Coupons available while supplies last).


Krispy Kreme


Dec 12, 13, and 14 – What Christmas Means to Me

The Central Florida Community Choir and Orchestra will unite to present What Christmas Means to Me, a concert of memories surrounding the holiday season. Filled with song and narration, this joyful show tugs at heartstrings with a 300-voice community choir and 90-piece orchestra. This concert for the whole family will be presented on December 12, 13, and 14 at 7:30 pm at Northland Church in Longwood. Visit cfcarts.com/what-christmas-means-to-me or call (407) 949-7170.


What Christmas Means to Me


Dec 12 to 22 – Breakthrough Theatre presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

In this hilarious Christmas classic, a well-intentioned couple struggles to put on their church Christmas pageant with a cast that includes the Herdman kids, the most inventively awful kids in history. Its fun and mayhem as the Herdman kids collide head-on with the Christmas story! Running from December 12 to 22, place your ticket reservation by calling 407.920.4034. The Theatre is at 419A W. Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park.


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


Dec 13 through Jan 5 – ‘Bookish’ Sculptures at A&H Museums – Maitland

With an Opening Reception on December 13, the A&H’s Maitland Art Center will present new sculptures by Dawn Rosendahl, an A&H Artist-In-Action. In her exhibit – Ex Libris – Rosendahl transforms books into sculptures, ‘resurrecting’ the books like blocks of wood, rendering them into fascinatingly surrealist works of art. Call 407.539.2181 or visit ArtandHistory.org


Dawn Rosendahl - Ex Libris - sculptures from books


December 13 – Free Fridays at the Morse Museum

While ALL Fridays are FREE at the Morse Museum (after 4 pm), the evening of December 13 will be extra special with Victoria Schultz performing on the harp, docent-guided family tours beginning at 5:15 pm, an Art demonstration by author and illustrator Mark Wayne Adams at 6 pm, and a Curator Tour of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall at 7 pm. It’s all FREE at the Morse Museum in Winter Park. Call 407.645.5311 or visit morsemuseum.org


Dec 13 and 14 – McRae Artists’ Holiday Open House

The 21 Artists at McRae Art Studios in Winter Park will welcome art lovers and collectors to a Holiday Open House on Dec 13 from 6 to 9 pm and Dec 14 from 4 to 9 pm. The annual event is an opportunity for the public to walk through the Artists’ studios, visit with Artists and purchase original works of art from the more than 1,000 available artworks. The Studios are at 904 Railroad Ave in Winter Park, and the event is free and open to the public. Visit mcraeartstudios.com or call 407.682.2740


Holidays at McRae Art Studio


Dec 14 – Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker

It’s an up-tempo Nutcracker when Clare ‘lives’ her enchanted dream, traveling with the Chocolate Nutcracker to the Kingdom of Toys. Visiting Candy Land and New Orleans (Clare’s birthplace), they arrive in time for Mardi gras. THIS Nutcracker is performed in ballet, jazz, modern, swing, gospel and hip hop as Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington are fused to bring us a very contemporary version of the Holiday classic. Call 407.403.5519 or visit clareandthechocolatenutcracker.net


Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker


Dec 14 – A Boat Parade for the History Books … 

The Rotary Club of Winter Park will present the 9th Annual Winter Park Boat Parade & Ski Show on December 14 on Lakes Virginia and Osceola in Winter Park. The on-the-water Parade features holiday-lighted boats along the lakes’ shorelines. Events begin at 3:30 pm with a water ski show, followed by a move to the Polasek Museum, home of the official viewing station. A sculptural Christmas tree – by sculptor Amy Wieck – will be unveiled before this year’s parade becomes a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the historic Capen-Showalter House floats by on a barge at the center of the Parade. The Parade will pass the Polasek Museum at 6:30 pm. Call 407.647.6294 or visit wpboatparade.com


Winter Park Boat Parade


Dec 14 – Breakfast (or Brunch) with Santa at the ZOO

Santa really ‘gets around’ at this time of year, but what fun to have your little ones find St. Nick among the animals at the Central Florida Zoo. Along with Breakfast (at 9 am) or Brunch (at 11 am) there will be Holiday cheer and activities for the family. After sharing their ‘wishes’ with Santa everyone will enjoy creating a special animal ‘treat’ and watch as Zoo-Keepers give the animals their hand-made holiday gifts. Reservations suggested. Call 407.323.4450 ext123 or visit centralfloridazoo.org


Breakfast with Santa, Central Florida Zoo


Dec 14 – Snow Mountain in Oviedo

SNOW in Florida!?!? – Visit Oviedo as the City of Oviedo presents their annual Snow Mountain event on December 14 with a Holiday Parade beginning at 4 pm followed by the Snow Mountain from 5 pm – until it melts (around 9 pm). Held at the Oviedo Mall, tickets are $5 ahead and $10 ‘on day of.’ Inflatable games and entertainments are Free, and vendors and crafters will be there for Holiday shopping. Call 407.971.5568 or visit cityofoviedo.net


Snow Mountain Oviedo Florida


Dec 14 – Parent & Child Ornament-Making Workshop

The Casselberry Art House will host the ‘entertaining educator’ Marla E, Artist and Art Teacher in a special Ornament-Making Holiday Workshop specially created for Parents and Children to come together in the creative process. Marla visits area schools with her ART events – always offering innovative projects to help kids learn about and explore the world of Art. The Workshop will begin at 1 pm at the Art House is at 127 Quail Pond Circle in Casselberry. Call 407.262.7700 x1122 or visit casselberry.org/register


Arthouse, Marla Casselberry


Casselberry Art House


Dec 14 and 15 – Eat, Drink & Be Merry with the Orlando Gay Chorus

Who better to Eat, Drink & Be Merry with than the Orlando Gay Chorus as they present their Holiday Concert at the Plaza at 425 North Bumby Avenue in Orlando. At this celebration of “Faith, Fun, and Festivity,” the OGC will sing and dance to the music that captures the festive heart of the Holidaze. Performances are set for December 14 at 7:30 pm and December 15 at 4:30 pm. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to support Toys For Tots! Visit orlandogaychorus.org


Orlando Gay Chorus Holiday Concert


Orlando Gay Chorus



Dec 14 and 15 -- Bach Festival Society Presents A Classic Christmas

The Bach Festival’s most popular performances – in the beautiful Knowles Chapel at Rollins College – are the Classic Christmas performances which find the Choir and Orchestra performing holiday classics and choral masterworks. With only two performances – Dec 14 at 7:30 and Dec 15 at 2 pm, these much-loved choral concerts exemplify the Holiday Season. Visit bachfestivalflorida.org or call 407.646.2182 


Bach Festival Society


Dec 15 – Maitland Symphony FREE Holiday Concert

The Maitland Symphony Orchestra invites everyone to their Annual Free Holiday Concert on December 15 beginning at 7:30 pm. Including music from The Nutcracker and familiar melodies of the Christmas season, a special feature will be the Florida premiere of a work by Michael Mahadeen called Winter Lights. Performing Arts of Maitland invites the whole family to dream together with music from the past, from the heavens and into the New Year. At the Maitland Presbyterian Church, call 321.303.1404 or visit pamaitland.org


Maitland Symphony Orchestra holiday concert


Dec 15 – Natalie and Shawn in a Night of Singing, Swinging Holiday Fun

Two of the great singing actors of Central Florida – Natalie Cordone and Shawn Kilgore – will bring their Taste of Christmas Cabaret to the Plantation Gardens Clubhouse at 4270 South Lake Underhill Road in Orlando on December 15. The cabaret-concert of popular songs includes Holiday favorites along with interactive fun including the Tacky Holiday Sweater Contest, and an audience sing-along. For ticket information, visit CordoneAndKilgore.com


Natalie and Shawn - Taste of Christmas Cabaret


Dec 15 and 22 – Rosen Shingle Creek’s First Annual European Winter Fair

The ‘always innovative’ Rosen Shingle Creek’s newest family event is a European-Style Gift-mart and Culinary-crafting. Booths and vendors, with displays on the decorated outdoor patio of the beautiful hotel, will offer gifts and crafts, cocktails and food, chocolate workshops, ornament-making, cookie decorating, custom Christmas stockings and more. The event will be held on Sundays December 15 and 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. Call 866.996.6338 for reservations.


Dec 15 and 22 – Breakthrough Theatre’s Cabaret Sunday Goes ‘Holidaze’

Winter Park’s Breakthrough Theatre will present a special two-night-only cabaret called the Breakthrough Family Christmas on Sundays, December 15 and 22 at 7 pm. With a huge cast of ‘Breakthrough alumni’ singing favorite Christmas songs and sharing stories of Christmas-past, this event-from-the-heart is the perfect way to put you and your family in the Christmas spirit. For reservations, call 407.920.4034. 


Breakthrough Theatre Cabaret Sunday: A Breakthrough Family Christmas


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

Broadway’s “Original Annie” – Andrea McArdle – will celebrate the holiday season at The Abbey with 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 beloved 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


Andrea McArdle


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 is ‘extra special’ as rendered by the charming, comedic, and always spontaneous – Heather and Laura. Call 407.645. 0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org for reservations.


Winter Park Playhouse Cabaret - Happy Hour


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




Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators