Florida Culture for the Week of December 15 By Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Dec 15, 2014 /
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Florida Culture for the Week of December 15 By Josh Garrick

Now is the time to make a list and check it twice as you choose from among the splendid variety of Holiday performances and events in Central Florida.  These are all “highly recommended,” and in most cases we still have about two weeks to take in the performances.

Now through Dec 28 – A NEW A Christmas Carol at Orlando Shakes

This NEW production of A Christmas Carol is written by Orlando Shakes’ Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and is blessed by the spirit of Charles Dickens himself. It’s a different take on miserly Mr. Scrooge, and Helsinger wrings every possible moment of Christmas joy AND every moment of Holiday pathos from material we’ve known since childhood. The cast is brilliant, the staging is crazy-inventive, and Helsinger’s use of Christmas carols (refer to title, please) enhances each perfect moment. “God Bless the Orlando Shakespeare Company – God Bless Them – Every One.” Call 407.447.1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org

 

A NEW A Christmas Carol at Orlando Shakes

 

Now through Dec 28 – Dickens by Candlelight (with Tea and Cookies)

Of the many ways to experience A Christmas Carol this season, the production called Dickens by Candlelight brings us ‘into the action’ by seating us at tables where we are served tea and cookies as the three actors (who play all the parts) ‘act’ among us. The enormously talented John Didonna plays Scrooge (and other characters) through December 28 at the Shakespeare Theater – side-by-side with the production being offered by Orlando Shakes. That’s two different productions in the same theater complex, so be sure which tickets you wish to order. Call 407.222.7669 or visit Dickensbycandlelight.com

 

Dickens by Candlelight

 

Now thru Dec 28 – A Christmas Story at Orlando Rep

A Christmas Story the Musical is the classic account of Ralphie’s hilarious quest to ensure that the most perfect gift ends up under his Christmas tree – a Red Ryder Carbine-Action BB Gun! All the cherished moments are here – the Old Man’s leg lamp, the tongue-on-a-frozen-flagpole, and the bunny suit are all here – on-stage for us to enjoy in this Tony-nominated Best Musical. Presented through December 28 at Orlando Rep, call 407.896.7365 or visit orlandorep.com for tickets.

 

 A Christmas Story at Orlando Rep

 

Now through Jan 4 – James Joyce's The Dead at Mad Cow

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, so why not ‘celebrate’ the Holiday Season with James Joyce’s The Dead at Mad Cow Theatre through January 4.  Joyce's story is about a set of sisters gathered at a Christmas party in turn-of-the-century Ireland. The Tony-Award nominated score, dances and festivities are pure Irish, but the themes, of love, loss, joy, and fear are universal. Call 407.297.8788 or visit madcowtheatre.com

 

 James Joyce's The Dead at Mad Cow

 

Now through Jan 4 – ICE! featuring The Nutcracker at Gaylord Palms

Of the many ways to experience the magic of The Nutcracker this season, ICE! at Gaylord Palms brings us Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in two MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four ‘inter-active’ slides. Favorite scenes from the ballet, the beloved music, and ice-carving Artists from China are at Gaylord Palms through January 4. New this season, adults 21 and over may 'chill out' at On The Blocks — the exclusive ICE Bar.  Call 407.586.2000 or visit ChristmasatGaylordPalms.com

 

ICE! featuring The Nutcracker at Gaylord Palms

 

ICE! featuring The Nutcracker at Gaylord Palms

 

Dec 18 – Free Shipping Day

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday followed by Giving Tuesday.  And NOW – let’s see if this works – there is Free Shipping Day for those of us who need the adrenaline of waiting till the last moment to do our shopping.  The concept is simple.  On this day, all orders are shipped FREE, and are guaranteed to show up by Christmas Eve. Sounds good on paper … Check freeshippingday.com for the very large list of stores that have made the pledge.

 

Dec 19, 20 & 21 – The Orlando Ballet's Nutcracker

The Orlando Ballet Nutcracker is set apart from the others as it will be performed in our NEW Performing Arts Center AND it is being performed to the beloved Tchaikovsky score performed LIVE by musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic. All the beauty that brings us back year after year is here as Clara enjoys a magical journey complete with Sugar Plum Fairy and dancing flowers. If the full-length ballet is a stretch for your little ones, they can still have the Nutcracker Experience – in the new Family Series 1-hour version of the holiday classic. Call 407.426.1739 or visit orlandoballet.org

 

The Orlando Ballet's Nutcracker

 

Dec 24 – Christmas Eve at the Morse Museum

It’s dignified and welcoming – it’s beautiful and seasonal – it’s Christmas Eve at the Morse Museum. One doesn’t immediately think of spending Christmas Eve in a Museum, but the invitation to do just that – from the Morse Museum – is sincere. The Free event includes live music by the Raintree Chamber Players from 1 pm to 4 pm. Call 407.645.5311 or visit morsemuseum.org

 

 Madonna and Child window, c. 1890 by Tiffany Glass Company exhibited at Columbian World’s Fair, Chicago 1893; St. Nicholas by Tiffany Glass
Madonna and Child window, c. 1890 by Tiffany Glass Company exhibited at Columbian World’s Fair, Chicago 1893; St. Nicholas by Tiffany Glass

 

Dec 24 – Christmas Eve Concert at St. Luke’s Cathedral

For over 100 years, St. Luke’s Cathedral has offered worship and music for all to enjoy. J.S. Bach’s famous Magnificat will be offered on Christmas Eve beginning at 10:30 pm with the cantata performed by the Cathedral Choir and soloists, with the ‘Beautiful Music Chamber Orchestra.’ Admission is Free and everyone is welcome for the concert, followed by Midnight Mass at 11 pm. St. Luke’s is at 130 North Magnolia in Downtown Orlando. Call 407.849.0680

 

 Christmas Eve Concert at St. Luke’s Cathedral

 

Dec 26 to Jan 4 – The Book of Mormon Presents Orlando as HEAVEN!

Having won the BEST MUSICAL Tony Award – and every other award you ever heard of – one might think this musical has brought us the ‘Rapture’ (if it weren’t for the blasphemy). The Book of Mormon features a book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and it’s worth seeing just to see ORLANDO sung about as a teenager’s idea of ‘heaven.’ At the Dr. Phillips PAC, call 800.448.6322

 

The Book of Mormon Presents Orlando as HEAVEN!

 

Dec 31 – The Orlando Museum of Art's New Year’s Eve Party

Join us as the Orlando Museum of Art reaches the finale of their 90th Anniversary Year in their first-ever New Year’s Eve Gala Party.  Beginning at 10 pm on December 31, the Museum intends for THIS PARTY to be ‘the place to be’ with a Red Carpet Entry, Party Favors, Open Galleries, Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails, Live Music by Soul Funktion, a Champagne Toast, Fireworks – AND – they say that’s only the beginning.  Tix are single $90; Couples $150.  Call 407.331.1993 or contact Jake White at jwhite@omart.org

 

The Orlando Museum of Art's New Year’s Eve Party

 

And Looking Ahead to 2015!

Jan 8 to 11 -- Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Brings XTREME to Orlando

The Greatest Show On Earth continues to amaze as CIRCUS XTREME turns audiences into adventure-seekers from January 8 to 11 at the Amway Center. An all-female troupe of Mongolian riders, freestyle BMX riders and tumblers, and Circus elephants are the ‘headliners’ at the Circus this season. The party begins an hour before the show at the Pre-Show (free with ticket purchase) as your family gets to meet the performers, get up close to the animals, and even try on circus costumes. Tickets at ringling.com or ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 or 407-440-7900.

 

 

 

 

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators