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Jane Lynch and friends  Kate Flannery and Tim Davis bring their Swingin' Little Christmas to Carmel Dec.1 

Between now and the new year, Indianapolis has opportunities to enjoy special holiday performances nearly every day of the week. Here are 25 we're hoping to catch.

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES: THEATER AND DANCE

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

  • Through Dec. 26
  • Indiana Repertory Theatre
  • irtlive.com
  • You may have grown up with this perennial favorite, but hopefully you’ve never grown tired of it.   After all, we’re all visited by our own personal ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, as it were. This version, adapted by Tom Hass, promises to remind us that redemption remains possible, even for the stingiest (or the twitteriest) of us. Or maybe not. But it’s certainly pretty to think so.  

Elf: the Musical

  • Through Dec. 31
  • Beef and Boards
  • beefandboards.com
  • Do you identify with the young orphan, Buddy, who is raised as an elf after hiding in Santa’s bag of gifts and being flown to his castle on the North Pole? No? How about when Buddy grows much larger than the other elves, unaware that he’s human? How about when his poor toy making abilities are called out by his elf peers? After all this you might, then, do what Buddy does when he discovers the truth: take a voyage of self-discovery. This is a plotline that can be both appreciated by fans of self-help books and the five-year-old  

A Very Phoenix Xmas 13: Merry Superstitious

  • Nov. 23-Dec. 23
  • Phoenix Cultural Centre
  • phoenixtheatre.org
  • While you can’t call this a traditional holiday show, it’s a tradition nevertheless, now in its 13th year, directed by Q Artistry artistic director Ben Asaykwee.  There’s more than a little sketch comedy and more than a little cabaret sprinkled into this yuletide extravaganza, with an all-women cast, that also pays homage to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and reflects the social anxieties of the moment. The laughs will be liberally applied, of course, like the rum in your eggnog.

The Snow Queen

  • Through Dec. 30
  • Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • childrensmuseum.org
  • This lose adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story tells the tale of 12 year-old Gerda’s quest to save her best friend who has been kidnapped by the evil Snow Queen. A perfect show for the whole family that will keep parents engaged just as much as the children. Will Gerda be able to prevent her friend’s heart from freezing over?  Head to the Children’s Museum at the end of November and find out.

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

  • Nov. 27 - Dec. 2
  • Murat at Old National Centre
  • oldnationalcentre.com
  • Everyone is familiar with the holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but this musical stage production is something fresh and new to behold.  This version, narrated by Max the dog, was developed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien.  Everyone’s favorite tunes will be present as the citizens of Whoville help you ring in Christmas.

Down Home Christmas

  • Nov. 30-Dec. 1
  • Asante Children's Theatre
  • asantechildrenstheatre.org
  • If you’re a fan of the blues -- and Asante Children’s Theatre’s mission -- Down Home Christmas, directed by Deborah Asante and Alicia Sims, should be just the ticket for you. It’s described as a “blues groove, just in time for the holidays.” The show will celebrate the legacy of Blues through the ages, celebrating the music of Muddy Waters, William Dixon, Ray Charles, Etta James, and many more. The show will also feature a full band, led by musical director Mark Duerson.

Butler Ballet: The Nutcracker

  • Nov. 29-Dec. 2
  • Clowes Memorial Hall
  • butlerartscenter.org
  • There is no shortage of Nutcracker performances to choose from over the next few weeks, but this is one of our favorites. Imagine dancing the difficult role of Clara, the girl at the center of the Nutcracker story. This year the title role goes to 20-year-old Butler junior Amber Wickey.  

BroZone: Christmas Don’t Be Late

  • Nov. 30-Dec. 16
  • IndyFringe
  • indyfringe.org
  • Are you now or have you ever been a member of a boy band fan club? Then you’ll love BroZone, the story of a past-their-prime, Midwestern boy band. After being offered a once-in-a-lifetime gig in California, the band gets snowed in at the airport on Christmas Eve on their way to the show. Will they ever get to melt the hearts of former teeny-boppers with their new dad bods or will their career be put forever on ice?

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre: The Nutcracker

  • Nov. 30–Dec. 1
  • Pike Performing Arts Center
  • gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org
  • This version of The Nutcracker, in its 21st performance season, has a decidedly modern twist. Featuring the student dancers of GHDT’s pre-professional company, the production portrays Clara as a homeless orphan who, through assisting a homeless man, discovers the true meaning of Christmas. In another twist, world music will replace the Tchaikovsky ballet score.
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Hip Hop Nutcracker, Dec. 7 at the Murat

Hip-Hop Nutcracker

  • Dec. 7
  • Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
  • livenation.com
  • A unique spin on the traditional Nutcracker, this traveling production features hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow as the emcee. A contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, the presentation includes a dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist. Digital graffiti and visuals also alter the setting of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale from traditional 19th century Germany to a vibrant and contemporary New York City.

NOËL the Musical

  • Dec. 10
  • Clowes Memorial Hall
  • butlerartscenter.org
  • It’s the first American tour for this new musical from London, and Indianapolis is one of 30 cities seeing its debut here. The brainchild of top-selling children's author Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) and Irish film composer Liam Bates, NOËL tells the story of a little girl (Noël), who is preparing for her starring role in a school Christmas play when she is faced with a challenge she’ll need friends to overcome. Learn more about the show at noelthemusical.com

Indianapolis Ballet: The Nutcracker

  • Dec. 14-16
  • Murat Theatre
  • indyballet.org
  • For more than a decade the Indianapolis Ballet has presented its interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic, and this year promises to be just as magical. More than 20 cast members from the professional company will be joined by the 45-piece orchestra in one of the city’s most beautiful historic theaters. If it’s not already a family tradition, it should be. Matinee shows Saturday and Sunday.

Ballet Theatre Indiana: The  Nutcracker

  • Dec. 20-23
  • Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum
  • btindiana.org
  • Ballet Theatre of Indiana’s retelling of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, staged in the Historic Basile Theatre at the Athenaeum, has something for everyone. The production promises visceral, fast-paced dancing along with the familiar storyline. If last year’s performance was any indication, BTI’s dancers will take the story of young girl Clara, who is given a nutcracker as a Christmas present, and make it new again. Let’s hope she doesn’t get eaten by the wicked rats on the way to saving her prince.

Dance Kaleidoscope: Home for the Holidays

  • Dec. 20-23
  • Indiana Repertory Theatre
  • irtlive.com
  • It’s cool that Hanukkah gets equal billing to Christmas in DK’s Home for the Holidays. Act One, Let There Be Light, tells the Hanukkah origin story, and is choreographed by DK artistic director David Hochoy. Act Two will be a whirlwind of Christmas festivity and tradition from around the world with your usual side dish of DK sass and panache.   

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES: MUSIC 

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Chvrches

Chvrches headline ALT 103's Christmas show Nov. 29 at the fairgrounds

The Night ALT 103-3 Stole Xmas

  • Nov. 29
  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • alt1033.iheart.com
  • Alt 103.3 welcomes Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches to Indianapolis for their annual holiday concert. Fronted by Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches emerged in 2013 with the success of their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. Now touring in support of their third full-length, Love Is Dead, the band will headline a lineup at Indiana Farmers Coliseum that also features AJR and The Struts.

Indianapolis Symphony: Yuletide Celebration

  • Nov. 30-Dec. 23
  • Hilbert Circle Theatre
  • indianapolissymphony.org
  • For more than 30 years, the ISO has been providing a holiday concert perfect for music lovers of all types and ages. This year, the ISO and Pops Conductor Jack Everly will be joined by vocalists Josh Kaufman and Angela Brown for traditions like “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” tap-dancing Santas, and a new North Pole reality singing competition called “Santa’s Choice.” Dance group Expressenz, who were recently featured on Jennifer Lopez’s World of Dance reality show, will also perform.

Jane Lynch: A Swingin’ Little Christmas

  • Dec. 1
  • The Center for the Performing Arts
  • centerforperformingarts.org
  • While Jane Lynch has recently made a name for herself on television as the ruthless cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Fox’s Glee and host of Hollywood Game Night, she’s a sharp comic and a spot-on singer as well.  Her 2016 album A Swingin’ Little Christmas is the basis for the show that also features actress Kate Flannery (Meredith on NBC’s The Office); singer-producer Tim Davis (vocal arranger from Glee), and the Tony Guerrero Jazz Quintet.

WTTS Rock to Read with Death Cab for Cutie

  • Dec. 3
  • Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
  • wttsfm.com
  • Led by Ben Gibbard and his feathery voice, Death Cab for Cutie visits Indianapolis in support of their 2018 album titled Thank You For Today. Since finding mainstream success in the early 2000’s with albums like Trasatlanticism and Plans, the Washington band has become a fixture of the indie-rock world, earning a myriad of Grammy nominations along the way.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Ghosts of Christmas Eve

  • Dec. 5
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • transsiberian.com
  • This long running production, premiering in 1999 on Fox Family TV, is about a runaway who takes shelter in a vacated theater on Christmas eve, and is treated to visions of musical performances from the theater’s past. This 20th anniversary tour promises spectacle, good cheer, and lotsa Christmas carols.    
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Santa always makes time for the ISO's Yuletide Celebration

Butler Symphony Orchestra: Rejoice!

  • Dec. 7 and 8
  • Butler Arts Center
  • butlerartscenter.org
  • This year's concerts will feature the Butler Chorale (directed by Professor Eric Stark), the University Choir (directed by Assistant Professor John Perkins), and the Chamber Singers (also directed by Stark), along with the orchestra conducted by Richard Clark. They will be performing selections that include Haydn's “Gloria” (from Nikolaimesse), “A Most Wonderful Christmas,” Vince Guaraldi's “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

Santa Slam 2018 with Migos

  • Dec. 9
  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Hot963.com
  • With a slew of hits to their name, Atlanta’s Migos have placed themselves high up on the modern hip-hop totem pole in recent years. Fresh off the release of Culture II, Takeoff, Quavo, and Offset will headline this year’s Santa Slam, presented by local radio stations Hot 96.3 and Radio Now 100.9. In addition to Migos, other acts on the 2018 Santa Slam lineup include Bazzi, Bryce Vine, Tee Grizzley, and more.
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John Legend

John Legend

John Legend: A Legendary Christmas

  • Dec. 10
  • Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
  • liveNation.com
  • Out on the road as part of his 2018 album A Legendary Christmas,  John Legend visits Indianapolis just over two weeks before the beloved December holiday. Having worked with everyone from Jay-Z to Lauryn Hill over the years, Legend’s Christmas album was produced by Raphael Saadiq and features guest appearances from Esperanza Spalding and Stevie Wonder.

WZPL TCC Jingle Jam with The Chainsmokers

  • Dec. 11
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • wzpl.radio.com
  • Since emerging in 2014 with their song “#Selfie,” The Chainsmokers have quickly ascended to pop music’s upper echelon. Consisting of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart, the DJ duo is best known for their song “Closer,” which currently has more than 1.4 billion plays on Spotify. When The Chainsmokers make their way to Indy for this year’s Jingle Jam, they will be joined on the bill by Bebe Rexha and Marshmello.

Holly and Ivy: Holiday Organ Concert

  • Dec. 13
  • Indiana Landmarks
  • indianalandmarks.org
  • This particular holiday offering is a real treat for organ lovers. You will be able to hear sopranos Diana Huntoon, Jennie Swick, and Kayla Shoemaker singing to music played by Mark Herman on a restored 1892 Sanborn organ.  Also included is an audience sing-along to favorite holiday carols, and a reception with spiced cider and holiday cookies.

Norm Lewis: Nutcracker Cool

  • Dec. 14, 15, 16
  • The Cabaret
  • thecabaret.org
  • Tony-nominated Norm Lewis made a name for himself starring in shows like Porgy and Bess and Phantom of the Opera, including as the first African American actor to perform the title role of Phantom on Broadway. For the holidays, he’s on tour and headed to Indianapolis. During his weekend at The Cabaret, Lewis will be putting his unique spin on such classics as “This Christmas”, “Santa Baby” and “Where is Love?”
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