Florida Culture for the ‘Holidaze – 2017’ By Josh Garrick

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Florida Culture for the ‘Holidaze – 2017’ By Josh Garrick 

“Amahl & the Night Visitors” presented by Opera Orlando
Dec 9 & 10 
Presented in English, Gian Carlo Menotti’s charming story is now a world-wide Holiday tradition. “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was presented live on NBC on December 24, 1951 as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org  “Amahl & the Night Visitors” presented by Opera Orlando

Orlando Light Opera, Opera del Sol and Space Coast Symphony present “Messiah Sing Along”
Dec 10 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm 
Through a ‘heavenly’ collaborative effort, this “Messiah Sing-Along” invites ALL of us to debut as a member of the chorus! Featuring local soloists and the full Space Coast Symphony, Maestro Aaron Collins will lead the audience in this one-of-a-kind interactive performance. At St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Saint Cloud, admission is FREE with donations appreciated. Call 407.927.0058 or visit CFLVocalArts.com Orlando Light Opera, Opera del Sol, and Space Coast Symphony present “Messiah Sing Along”

Maitland Symphony’s Holiday Concert 
Dec 10 at 7:30 pm 
Performing Arts of Maitland will sponsor the Maitland Symphony's Holiday Concert with guest performer Joshua Messick. Messick is a National Hammered Dulcimer Champion who will premiere “The First Snowfall” and “Blue Ridge Sunrise” with the Orchestra. Tickets are $10 at the Maitland Presbyterian Church at 341 North Orlando Avenue in Maitland. Call 321.303.1404 Maitland Symphony’s Holiday Concert

Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”
Dec 12 to 17 
The Tony-Award-Winning “Book of Mormon,” is back to satirize the Mormon religion with script, lyrics and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Those familiar sounding names are best known for creating ‘South Park,’ (so consider yourselves warned) Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org. 

Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”

It Was a Very Good Yule: 1940's Edition at the Mad Cow
Dec 15 to 23
In this Holiday favorite, gather your friends and family to enter a time machine as you walk through the doors of ‘Club Moo.’ Sip on hot cocoa as everyone sings the songs of this most joyful season, raising a toast to one of the greatest decades in American history … the 1940's. Call 407-297-8788 or visit madcowtheatre.com 

It Was a Very Good Yule: 1940's Edition at the Mad Cow

“Christmas is Comin’ Uptown” presented by Cultural Fusion
Dec 15 to 17 
“Christmas Is Comin' Uptown!” returns to the Dr. Phillips Center in a Tony-nominated, family-friendly musical that up-dates “A Christmas Carol” with Scrooge as a Harlem slumlord. This time around, all those Dickens’ characters sing, dance and swing to a ‘Harlem beat.’ Call 407.600.8651 or visit culturalfusion.org “Christmas is Comin’ Uptown” presented by Cultural Fusion

PHANTASMAGORIA’S “A Christmas Carol, a Ghost Story”
Dec 15 & 16 at 8 pm & Dec 17 at 2 pm
Orlando’s own scary Victorian Performance Troupe Phantasmagoria will present the best known and most loved ‘ghost story’ of all time – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol, a Ghost Story” in their own unique style and adaptation. Bringing dance, puppetry, projections, music and story-telling to the stage, the most famous Ghost Story of all time comes alive, (and you will never again see “Scrooge” in the same way again). Visit OrlandoAtPlay.com or call 407.476.5121 PHANTASMAGORIA’S “A Christmas Carol, a Ghost Story”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Ghosts of Christmas Eve”
Dec 16 at 3 pm and 8 pm 
TSO’s late visionary and composer Paul O’Neill worked on new effects and staging for this up-dated presentation of his 1999 production “in an abandoned theatre on Christmas Eve.” The ghostly visions from the theatre's past promise an awe-inspiring celebration of and tribute to O’Neill’s genius. At the Amway Center, visit amway.centerorlando.com
Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Ghosts of Christmas Eve”

Central Florida Ballet’s NUTCRACKER 2017
Dec 16 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm and Dec 17 at 2 pm 
“The Nutcracker” gets special treatment by this company, merging the classic fairy-tale with magical cloud effects and pyrotechnics at the Orange County Convention Center. This unique approach led to features in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and had CNN Headline News call it “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation.” With only three performances, visit centralfloridaballet.com for tickets. Central Florida Ballet’s NUTCRACKER 2017

Katy Perry – “Witness: The Tour” at the Amway Center 
Dec 17 at 7 pm 
With the release of her album “Witness” in June 2017, Katy Perry announced an extensive arena tour while reflecting on the changes in her life and challenging herself to deliver songs that “inspire.” PLUS—each ticket purchase for “Witness: The Tour” includes an order for “Witness: The Album.” Call 407.440.7900 or visit amwaycenter.com Katy Perry – “Witness: The Tour” at the Amway Center

Orlando Ballet presents The Nutcracker
December 21 to 24 
The Orlando Ballet’s journey to a fantasy world promises the kind of performance that makes little girls wish to become ballerinas. Including a performance on Christmas Eve, the on-stage Christmas party shows how a magical gift helps Clara grow in courage, poise, and perhaps – ‘first love.’ As this is most people’s introduction to ballet, the music, dancing, and elaborate costumes often spark a lifelong love of ballet. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org Orlando Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of a One-Man “A Christmas Carol” 
Dec 22 & 23 at 7:30 pm and Dec 24 at 2 pm
David McElroy is about to celebrate his 20th year of performing a ONE-MAN “A Christmas Carol.” Not only is this a performance record, but McElroy is a theatrical tour-de-force taking on 37 different characters with little more than a change of vocal inflection to define a character. This amazing interpretation works for adults and children and dazzles in the process. Presented at the Blue Bamboo Center in Winter Park, call 407.636.9951 or visit bluebambooartcenter.com
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of a One-Man “A Christmas Carol”

… and Continuing Through the Holidays 

Breakthrough Theatre presents the comedy, “Christmas Belles”
NOW to Dec 11 
The Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park ‘oversees’ a church’s Christmas program spinning hilariously out of control in this farce about squabbling sisters, family secrets, a surly Santa, a ‘vengeful’ sheep and an Elvis impersonator. Call 407.920.4034 or visit breakthroughtheatre.com Breakthrough Theatre presents the comedy, “Christmas Belles”

CFCArts Theatre presents “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings”
NOW to Dec 16 
 “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” is a hilarious Christmas musical featuring the heaven-blessed barbershop quartet: Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky. The quartet takes their own spin on Christmas classics and creates their own ‘outrageous’ Christmas favorites. If you’re looking for something new for the holidays, you’ll find it at the CFCArts Blackbox Theatre in Winter Park. Call 407.937.1800 or visit cfcarts.com CFCArts Theatre presents “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings”

Winter Park Playhouse presents “Daddy Long Legs” (a Musical)
NOW to Dec 17
From the Tony Award winning director of Les Miserables, this ‘Cinderella-musical’ is based on the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire. Including the song "Something's Gotta Give,” the story of a clever young lady and her benefactor is the kind of story at which the Playhouse excels. Call 407.645.0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org Winter Park Playhouse presents “Daddy Long Legs” (a Musical)

‘Born Yesterday’ at the Mad Cow Theatre 
NOW to Dec 17
“Born Yesterday” is perfect for TODAY even though the hilarious/serious comedy was written in 1946! Offering satirical commentary on ‘back-room’ politics, political contributions and Billionaires who ‘know’ what’s best for the country just because they can “buy their way in,” what could be more timely? Call 407.297.8788 or visit madcowtheatre.com ‘Born Yesterday’ at the Mad Cow Theatre

“Annie” at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden 
NOW to Dec 23 
Little Orphan Annie charms her way into the heart of a New York millionaire during the Depression as one of the world’s best-loved Broadway musicals comes to life. With a rousing score including “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow,” call 407.877.4736 or visit gardentheatre.org “Annie” at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden

Friday Nights & CHRISTMAS EVE at the Morse Museum 
NOW to Dec 29 
In celebration of the Holidays, the Morse Museum in Winter Park offers FREE admission Friday evenings from 4 pm to 8 pm including live music from 5 pm to 8 pm. Art demonstrations and curator and family tours are part of the FREE Friday nights. Dec 15 -- Jazz Quartet; Dec 22 --‘Three Flutes Only;’ and Dec 29 -- Jazz Trio. Christmas Eve at the Morse is also FREE with an Open House from 1 pm to 4 pm with live music by the Raintree Chamber Players. Call 407.645.5311 or visit morsemuseum.org 
Friday Nights & CHRISTMAS EVE at the Morse Museum

“The Polar Express” on a Real Train 
NOW to Dec 30 
The Polar Express rolls into Tavares in Lake County offering a magical experience that takes you and your children to the ‘North Pole’ on board an actual train. Scenes from the movie, with costumed conductors, porters and ‘characters,’ make it a singing and dancing ride to the “North Pole.” Enjoy a reading of the story, while dancing chefs offer cocoa and cookies to the wide-eyed passengers -- until Santa appears to give each child a bell that only rings for those “who believe.” Call 352.742.7200 or visit orlandothepolarexpressride.com
“The Polar Express” on a Real Train
“The Polar Express” on a Real Train

‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever -- The Musical’ 
NOW to Dec 30 
At the Orlando Rep, where they understand musicals-with-a-message, we are told to “Beware the Herdmans”– a family of kids who lie, steal, swear, fight, and light things on fire. As the delinquents demand parts in the Christmas pageant, there is no chance for a silent night, but sometimes a little joyful noise can be just the ticket. Call 407.896.7365 or visit OrlandoRep.com. ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever -- The Musical’

“Now Snowing” at the Celebration Town Center 
NOW to Dec 31 
There IS Snowfall in Florida – EVERY night through Dec 31, (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Snow falls nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9 pm at the Celebration Town Center as the “Dickens Carolers” perform in the Town Center. Highlights include photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, Ice Skating, the ‘Celebration Express Train,’ and the “Countdown to Christmas” Concert on December 16. Parking and admission is FREE. Visit celebrationtowncenter.com
“Now Snowing” at the Celebration Town Center

“Shamu Christmas Miracles”
NOW to Dec 31 
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is “where holiday memories are made.” As “Shamu’s Christmas Miracles” sends killer whales soaring into the air, Holiday music rings out, and a story of friendship is told. Even the hardest heart, inspired by Shamu’s family, is enhanced during this Holiday Season. Visit seaworld.com/Orlando/events “Shamu Christmas Miracles”

“Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center 
NOW to Jan 7 
At the new “Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center, families gaze in wonder at dozens of ‘gingerbread structures’ created entirely from edible (cookie) materials. The creator of “Gingerbread Lane” is New York chef Jon Lovitch, who spends his entire year baking and decorating to bring this wintry wonderland to life. Call 407.514.2000 or visit osc.org “Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center
“Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens 
NOW to Jan 7 
The Holiday Season is a special time to visit the natural beauty of the Bok Tower Gardens. The ‘Home Tour’ at the Pinewood mansion is a highlight, along with poinsettia, bromeliad and amaryllis displays; walking tours; and educational programs. The ‘event of the day’ takes place at 1 pm and 3 pm every Thursday through Sunday as Christmas music peels out from the beautiful, 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. Visit boktowergardens.org/Christmas Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators

 

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