“Josh Recommends” for the BIG Holiday Week of December 13, 2019 By Josh Garrick

“Josh Recommends” for the BIG Holiday Week of  December 13, 2019 By Josh Garrick 

The CFCArts Theatre presents “A Christmas Story” 
FINAL Weekend -- NOW to Dec 15 
Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie in his quest to get a real Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. The consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” It’s all here including the family’s exploding furnace, the wet tongue on a freezing lamppost and the “prize” lamp (shaped like a woman’s leg). For this theatrical holiday perennial, call 407.937.1800 or visit cfcarts.com 

The CFCArts Theatre presents “A Christmas Story”

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” 
FINAL Weekend -- NOW to December 15 at the Winter Park Playhouse 
Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip comes to life in this joyful Broadway musical. It’s the Peanuts gang with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, Sally, blanket-toting Linus and lovable Snoopy. In one of the finest ensemble casts ever to be assembled in Orlando, there are only a few performances remaining. Allow the Peanuts gang to make YOU HAPPY as they discover HOW they make each other happy. For this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED performance, call 407.645.0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org 

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Merry Winter Garden Light Shows
December 13, 14, 15, 20 & 21 beginning at 6 pm 
While the ultra charming town of Winter Garden could be the setting for Bedford Falls, we are invited to watch as their ‘story-book’ City Hall is transformed with a light show using digital mapping and projections. Featuring kid-friendly animated holiday greetings, one of the most amazing light shows in Central Florida is FREE in Winter Garden for you and your family. Merry Winter Garden Light Shows

The NUTCRACKER at the Dr. Phillips Center 
Dec 13 to 15 & Dec 20 to 23 
The Orlando Ballet presents the cherished Holiday tradition, The NUTCRACKER. As Tchaikovsky’s music soars, let Clara’s world of dreams take you on a magical journey through snowflakes, waltzing flowers and dancing candies! Join the thousands of families who enjoy this production every year – this season with LIVE music by the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras. Visit drphillipscenter.org or call 844.513.2014 Dancers: Boris Ceballos & Kate-Lynn Robichaux; photograph by Michael Cairns. The NUTCRACKER at the Dr. Phillips Center with the Orlando Ballet
Dancers: Boris Ceballos & Kate-Lynn Robichaux; photograph by Michael Cairns

Phantasmagoria Returns with “A Christmas Carol, a Ghost Story of Christmas”
Dates below: If you have yet to see a production from the Orlando-based theatre troupe Phantasmagoria, you are forgiven ONLY if you know them solely for their spooky productions at Halloween. This Holiday Season brings those “Steampunk Theater Ghouls” out in force to give us “A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story” – which is the way Dickens himself saw it. Remember -- Ghost of – Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Unsent Christmas Cards – Oops! Anyway this cirque-style troupe is back with the most famous ghost story of all time. Producer John DiDonna says, “In Victorian times, they read ghost stories during the Season.” And I say, “Who better to return us to that macabre tradition?” Dates for this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED “A Christmas Carol” are: 
Dec 13, 14, 16 in Orlando at the Shakespeare Center
Dec 18 in Deland at the Athens Theater
Dec 19 at the Mount Dora Community Center
Dec 20 in Ocala at the Reilly Arts Center
Dec 21 in Sanford at the Wayne Densch Arts Center
Dec 27 in Eustis at the Historical State Theater 

Visit Phantasmagoriaorlando.com for tickets. 

PHANTASMAGORIA Returns with “A Christmas Carol – a Ghost Story”

Central Florida Ballet’s Incomparable Nutcracker Experience
Dec 14 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm and Dec 15 at 2 pm 
Known nationally as the “exciting” Nutcracker, the critically acclaimed CFB Nutcracker ballet offers Orlando a unique holiday experience. This version of the ballet features international guest artists and an (Orlando-based) pyrotechnic display. Guest performers include Dusty Button, "...the punk rock Black Swan ballerina,” and international sensations Emanuel Tavares Filho and Saaya Pikula Mason. Performances are held at the Orange County Convention Center’s Linda Chapin Theater at 9800 International Drive. Visit centralfloridaballet.com 

Central Florida Ballet’s Incomparable Nutcracker Experience

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church presents “WONDER – a Christmas Concert” 
Dec 14 at 5:30 pm & 7:30 pm 
Dec 15 at 5:30 p.m. SOLD OUT
St. Luke’s Music Ministry explores the magic of Christmas at this special concert featuring a 150 voice choir and orchestra along with St. Luke’s ‘praise team,’ children’s and youth choirs, hand-bells, dancers and beautiful scenery to put your family in the Holiday Spirit. Sing along to your favorite carols and listen to new songs of the wonder of Christmas. Tickets are $12 and $6.50. Visit stlukes.org/christmas 

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church presents “WONDER – a Christmas Concert”

“All is Calm” Premieres with Opera/Orlando 
Dec 20 at 7 pm; 
Dec 21 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm
Dec 22 at 2 pm 
This fascinating Florida Opera Premiere from Opera/Orlando is the story of Christmas 1914 during World War I at the Western Front. From the violence and filth first came a period of silence and then came the song “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) from a lone German soldier in ‘No Man’s Land.’ This act of bravery and faith led to an unimaginable night of camaraderie and “peace among men.” The 80-minute opera will be performed in the round at the Dr. Phillips Center. This HIGHLY RECOMMENDED event is yet one more reason to be proud of our young, but highly accomplished opera company. 
“All is Calm” Premieres with Opera/Orlando

The ONE-MAN “A Christmas Carol” 
December 22 & 23 
Coming just before Christmas Eve, the 22nd season of the One-Man "A Christmas Carol,” performed brilliantly by David McElroy and directed by Marylin McGinnis, will once again dazzle with an acting tour-de-force that must be seen to be believed. McElroy’s performance is touched by genius as he carries the story forward, sometimes changing characters without even taking a breath. A hat, a scarf, a candle is all he needs to passionately tell Dickens’ most beloved story. This HIGHLY RECOMMENDED performance may be seen at Penguin Point Productions in Oviedo, FL The ONE-MAN “A Christmas Carol” - Photo credit: Bonnie Sprung

Photo credit: Bonnie Sprung
“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (at Orlando Shakes) 
NOW to December 29
A sequel to Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice' (set two years after the novel ends), “Miss Bennet” is a romantic comedy that this time features bookish middle-sister Mary as the unlikely heroine. The family gathers for Christmas and an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for an intellectual match (and possibly) even love. With a tip of the stove-pipe hat to Cameron Francis for a dazzHint: Some Christmas wishes DO come true – especially when the Sisters Bennet join forces. Call 407.447.1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org 

“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (at Orlando Shakes)
“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (at Orlando Shakes)

“Miracle in Bedford Falls” – The Musical at Orlando Rep 
NOW to December 29 
“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!” The beloved Holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is now a musical with the character George Bailey finding himself in a desperate place on Christmas Eve. His guardian angel shows George what the world would have been like if he’d never been born as friends and family surround George with the Holiday spirit of generosity and love. At Orlando Rep, call 407.896.7365 or visit orlandorep.com 

Miracle in Bedford Falls – The Musical at Orlando Rep
“Miracle in Bedford Falls” – The Musical at Orlando Rep

“The Spitfire Grill” – a Musical -- at Mad Cow Theatre 
NOW to Dec 29 
At the Mad Cow, “The Spitfire Grill” is for sale (BUT with NO interested buyers). Hannah decides to raffle it off with entry fees of $100 and the best essay on “why you want the Grill.” Percy, a parolee, lands a job at the Grill, and things start heating up with wheelbarrows-full of entries. “The Spitfire Grill” is an inspiring celebration of the power of what one (or two) persons can do. Call 407.297.8788 or visit madcowtheatre.com 

“The Spitfire Grill” at Mad Cow Theatre
“The Spitfire Grill” at Mad Cow Theatre

Sweet, Fresh, Juicy: Florida Oranges in Art and History
NOW to Jan 5, 2020 at the Art & History Museums – Maitland 
The citrus industry had an enormous impact on Central Florida during the mid-20th century, and the Museums’ new exhibit spans the Maitland Art Center Gallery and the Maitland Historical Museum to examine the rise and fall of the citrus industry through a collection of historic citrus labels, many on loan from the Orange County Regional History Center. Visit artandhistory.org 

Sweet, Fresh, Juicy: Florida Oranges in Art and History

Lillian Verkins’ “Over the Moon” Art Exhibit
NOW to Jan 6, 2020 at Orlando Science Center 
I’m “Over the Moon” honored to serve as the Curator for this exhibit by one of Florida’s most celebrated Artists at the Gallery at the Orlando Science Center. Lillian Verkins has received 26 juried awards including four “Best of Show” and five “1st Place” awards. Her OSC exhibit includes 30 paintings, most of which are quite large and rich in gorgeous color. The Gallery is on the Science Center’s 3rd floor, and the Gallery visit is included with regular admission. Visit LillianVerkins.com and / or OSC.org Lillian Verkins’ “Over the Moon” Art Exhibit 
… And Coming Up 

Orlando Native MICHAEL SCOTT back in his role as GENIE in ALADDIN
Jan 22 to Feb 9 at Dr. Phillips Center 
“Aladdin,”is the hit musical based on the Academy Award-winning animated film that opened on Broadway in 2014 … AND has grossed over $1 billion since that Night!! I am very excited to report that Orlando native Michael James SCOTT, (who played the Genie on Broadway and in London), will “come home” to play the role in Orlando. A graduate of Dr. Phillips H.S, Scott has appeared in 8 Broadway productions. “The pride, joy and excitement of having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring this iconic role back to the city where it all started for me feels like the biggest Disney dream come true,” said Scott. We’re thrilled to have you “come home” Mr. Scott, AND that gives an already “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” show several more reasons to get your tickets early. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
Orlando Native MICHAEL SCOTT back in his role as GENIE in ALADDIN

NEW Cirque du Soleil Show at Disney to Begin Performances
While many feel that La Nouba’s unprecedented 20-year-run at Disney Springs was perhaps a decade too long, the new Cirque du Soleil being conceived in Montreal and coming to Disney World in March 2020 has announced its name –“Drawn to Life.” The show is a true collaboration between Cirque and Disney, as it features the art of Disney Animation which Disney Imagineers describe as “the art of bringing characters to life through drawings.” “Drawn to Life” begins (preview) performances March 20. For tickets, visit cirquedusoleil.com or call 855.473.7783. 
NEW Cirque du Soleil Show at Disney to Begin Performances

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators