Nights of Noël

Our guide to the season’s best performances and festivities

The Twelve Days of Christmas can seem like an eternity if the only items on your agenda are eating, opening gifts, and singing carols in the den. Luckily, the local arts community is here to help. From plays to concerts to B&B tours, there’s plenty to lure you off the La-Z-Boy. Looking for a display of lights? Metro Connections offers a motorcoach tour of the Twin Cities’ outdoor décor. Want the kids to learn something from Tiny Tim? Choose from several Christmas Carol productions, including the traditional staging at the Guthrie Theater. There’s even a Kwanzaa celebration at the Minnesota History Center, Saint Lucia events at both the American Swedish Institute and the Landmark Center, and the annual Hanukkah play by the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. Step into the past with the Minnesota Historical Society’s decorated Victorian-century homes, or into the future with Macy’s Holi­dazzle Parade. Keep this list handy all month and remember—even the wise men followed a guide.

Dance

ETHNIC DANCE THEATRE:Nutcracker

, a “ballet-free” production, Dec. 7—9 – E. M. Pearson Theater, Concordia University, 312 Hamline Ave., St. Paul, 651-209-6689, www.ticketworks.com

JAMES SEWELL BALLET: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Dec. 21 and 22 – The O’Shaughnessy, College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 651-690-6700, www.theoshaughnessy.com

MINNESOTA BALLET: The Nutcracker, Dec. 14—16 – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth, 218-529-3742, www.minnesotaballet.org

MINNESOTA DANCE THEATRE: Abbreviated performances of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, Dec. 1 and 8 – Galleria, Edina, 952-925-4321, www.galleriaedina.com

ZENON DANCE COMPANY: The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose, Dec. 15, 22 – Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-1725, www.southerntheater.org

Theater

BRAVE NEW WORKSHOP:Stuck in the Manger with You; or Carol On, My Wayward Son

, continues this month – 2605 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-332-6620, www.bravenewworkshop.org

CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRES: 22nd Annual Holiday Revue: The Best of the Holidays, closes Dec. 30 – 501 W. 78th St., Chanhassen, 952-934-1525, www.chanhassentheatres.com

DULUTH PLAYHOUSE: Scrooge, the Musical, closes Dec. 16 – 506 W. Michigan St., Duluth, 218-733-7555, www.duluthplayhouse.org

GUTHRIE THEATER: A Christmas Carol, closes Dec. 30 – 818 S. Second St., Mpls., 612-377-2224, www.guthrietheater.org

HENNEPIN STAGES: A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol, closes Dec. 31 – 824 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404, www.adonthugmechristmascarol.com

KNOX NEIGHBORHOOD THEATER: Home for Christmas, Dec. 1 and 2 – Knox Presbyterian Church, 4747 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-2181, www.knoxpc.org

LYRIC ARTS: It’s a Wonderful Life, closes Dec. 23 – 420 E. Main St., Anoka, 763-422-1838, www.lyricarts.org

MINNESOTA JEWISH THEATRE COMPANY:
The Magic Dreidels, Dec. 6—21 – Hillcrest Center Theater, 1978 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul, 651-647-4315, www.mnjewishtheatre.org

OLD LOG THEATER: Little Red Riding Hood—this year’s holiday children’s show, closes Dec. 30 – 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood, 952-474-5951, www.oldlog.com

ROCHESTER REPERTORY THEATRE COMPANY: Comfort and Joy, Dec. 1, 6—8 – 314 1/2 S. Broadway, Rochester, 507-289-1737, www.rochesterrep.org

THE SOAPBOX THEATRE: Inspecting Carol, a comical take on Dickens’ classic tale, closes Dec. 23 – Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro, 800-657-7025, www.commonwealtheatre.org

STAGES THEATRE COMPANY: Madeline’s Christmas, closes Dec. 30 – Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-979-1111, www.stagestheatre.org

THEATER LATTÉ DA: A Christmas Carole Petersen, Dec. 7—29 – McKnight Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, 651-224-4222. www.ordway.org

YOUTH PERFORMANCE COMPANY: Babes in Toyland, closes Dec. 18 – Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-623-9080, www.youthperformanceco.com

 

Music

BOSTON BRASS AND THE BRASS ALL-STARS BIG BAND:A Stan Kenton Christmas

, Dec. 15 – Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org

CANTUS: All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, Dec. 21—23 – Various locations, call 612-435-0046 or visit www.cantusonline.org for tickets and venues.

DULUTH SUPERIOR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Handel’s Messiah with the DSSO Chorus, Dec. 2 – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth, 218-733-7579, www.dsso.com

EXULTATE: Tidings of Joy Christmas Festival, Dec. 7—9 – Various locations, call 651-707-0727 or visit www.exultate.org for tickets and venues.

GEORGE WINSTON: Piano solo, Dec. 22 – Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org

GOLDEN STRINGS: Holiday performances, Dec. 17, 19, 21, and 22 РJax Caf̩, 1928 University Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-789-7297, www.jaxcafe.com

KATIE MCMAHON: Holiday concerts, Dec. 8 – O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 651-690-6700, www.katiemcmahon.com

MINNESOTA CENTER CHORALE: Cabaret 2007—Holiday Music and dinner, Dec. 14 and 15 – Great Hall, St. John’s University, Collegeville, 320-257-0603, www.minne­sotacenterchorale.org

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: “Victorian Christmas Carols” sung by an eight-member ensemble; refreshments served, Dec. 14, 16, and 20 – James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, 651-297-2555, www.mnhs.org

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA: Sleigh Ride Young People’s Concerts, with performances from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre and Minnesota Dance Theatre, Dec. 4—7, and a Target Free Family Concert show on Dec. 9 – Handel’s Messiah, backed by the Minnesota Chorale, Dec. 12, 13, and 16, with a Messiah sing-along on Dec. 23 – Holiday Pops! concerts with Tony Scodwell’s Big Band, Dec. 13 and 14 – A Spirit for the Holidays Family Concerts with Magic Circle Mime Company, Dec. 15 – Christmas in the Heartland with Clay Aiken, Dec. 19 and 20 – Songs and the Season Christmas Concert with Kathy Mattea, Dec. 21 – Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org

MINNESOTA SINFONIA: Holiday concerts, Dec. 1 and 2 – Various locations, call 612-871-1701 or visit www.mnsinfonia.org for venues.

NATIONAL LUTHERAN CHOIR: Behold a Branch featuring Elizabeth Poston’s “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” and more, Dec. 14 and 15 – Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 N. 17th St., Mpls., 612-722-2301, www.nlca.com

THE SINGERS: What Sweeter Music—Christmas with the Singers, Dec. 1—9 – Various locations, call 651-917-1948 or visit www.singersmca.org for tickets and venues.

TONIC SOL-FA: Christmas Tour, Dec. 17 – Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656, www.minnesotaorchestra.org

TWIN CITIES GAY MEN’S CHORUS: Homespun Holidays, Dec. 7—9 – Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth St. S., Mpls., 612-624-2345, www.tcgmc.org

TWIN CITIES SEVEN: Local jazz act featuring Charmin Michelle and Doug Haining, performing A Copasetic Christmas Carol, Dec. 15 and 16 – Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Mpls., 651-209-6799

VALLEY CHAMBER CHORALE: Voices from the Americas Christmas carols, Dec. 7—9 – Washington County Historic Courthouse, 101 W. Pine St., Stillwater, 651-430-0124, www.valleychamberchorale.org

VOCALESSENCE:
Star of Wonder, Plymouth Congregational, Dec. 1 – Welcome Christmas! concerts, Dec. 1, 2, 8, and 9 – Various locations, call 612-624-2345 or visit www.vocalessence.org for tickets and venues.

 

Visual Arts

AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE:

“A Nordic Christmas” and “Illumination of a Saint: The Legend of Santa Lucia” includes displays, decorations, and concerts, closes Jan. 13 – 2600 Park Ave., Mpls., 612-871-4907, www.americanswedishinst.org

CLAY SQUARED TO INFINITY: “Made in Minnesota” fifth annual ornament show, closes Dec. 29 – 34 13th Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-781-6409, www.claysquared.com

COLLEGE OF VISUAL ARTS: Holiday Art Sale and Auction, Dec. 8 – CVA Gallery, 173 Western Ave., St. Paul, 651-224-3416, www.cva.edu

MACY’S HOLIDAZZLE PARADE: Lighted parade, now in its 15th season with new ownership, Thursdays to Sundays through Dec. 23 – Nicollet Mall, between 5th and 12th streets, www.macysholidazzle.com

METRO CONNECTIONS: Holiday Lights Tour, travels throughout the Twin Cities on motorcoach, Dec. 8, 15, and 22 – Departs from Mall of America, Bloomington, 612-333-8687, www.metroconnections.com

MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS: “Holiday Traditions” in MIA’s Period Rooms and the Bell Family Decorative Arts Court, led by costumed docents, ongoing this month – 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-3004, www.artsmia.org

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY:
Christmas displays, decorations, hot cider, and costumed docent-led tours at multiple MHS-owned homes, weekends throughout this month – Alexander Ramsey House, 265 Exchange St. S., St. Paul, 651-296-8760; Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, 1620 Lindbergh Dr. S., Little Falls, 320-616-5421; Folsom House, 272 W. Government St., Taylors Falls, 651-465-3125; James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St, Paul, 651-297-2555; W. W. Mayo House, 118 N. Main St., Le Sueur, 507-665-3250; www.mnhs.org

WEISMAN ART MUSEUM: “Be Dazzled” holiday art sale, Dec. 6 – 333 E. River Rd., Mpls., 612-625-9494, www.weisman.umn.edu

Tours & Events

B&B TOURS:

Tour historic bed-and-breakfast inns adorned with holiday attire in Duluth and Red Wing, with the latter tour’s proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity, Duluth, Dec. 2; Red Wing, Dec. 4 – www.duluthbandb.com and www.redwing.org

CITY OF CANNON FALLS: Holiday Open Houses, “Deck the Falls” parade, and community tree-lighting, Dec. 1 – Downtown Cannon Falls, 507-263-2289, www.cannonfalls.org

GLENSHEEN HOLIDAY BRUNCHES:
Holiday brunches followed by a wassail toast, Dec. 1—23 – Glensheen Mansion, 3300 London Rd., Duluth, 888-454-4536, www.glensheen.org

HERITAGE SQUARE PARK: Free sleigh rides and visits with Santa, Dec. 7 – Heritage Square Park, Downtown Wabasha, 800-565-4158, www.wabashamn.org

HOLZ FARM: A 1940s-era holiday celebration featuring caroling, cookie baking, tree trimming, and hayrides, Dec. 2 – 4665 Manon Dr., Eagan, 651-675-5500, www.eaganmn.com

LAKE CITY HOME TOURS & RECEPTION: Tours of homes decorated for the holiday season, sponsored by the Miss Lake City Organization, Dec. 1 – 101 W. Center St., Lake City, 651-345-5148, www.lakecity.org

LANDMARK CENTER: “Skandia Festival” includes sales of Scandinavian goods and lutefisk and meatball suppers, Dec. 9 – 75 Fifth St. W., St. Paul, 651-292-3276, www.landmarkcenter.org

LANESBORO COMMUNITY CENTER: “1858 Dickens’ Holiday Ball, Dinner, and Dance” with music by the Camptown Ladies, Dec. 8 – 100 Milwaukee Rd., Lanesboro, 800-944-2670, www.lanesboro.com

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: “Annie’s Christmas Cookies” includes a baking demonstration, tour, hot cider in the Ramsey Carriage House, and free cookies to take home, Dec. 5 – “Kwanzaa Celebration” features storytelling and a drumming workshop at the History Center, Dec. 29 – Alexander Ramsey House, 265 Exchange St. S., St. Paul, 651-296-8760; Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, 651-259-3000, www.mnhs.org

MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM: Auxiliary Holiday Sale features floral arrangements, handmade ornaments, wreaths, and more to benefit the Arboretum, Dec. 1 and 2 – 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska, 952-443-1400, www.arboretum.umn.edu

SCOTT COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY:
Christmas Teas, Dec. 1, 6, and 15 – 128 W. Second Ave., Shakopee, 952-445-0378, www.scottcountyhistory.org

WELLS FARGO WINTERSKATE:
Ice-skating in Rice Park, lit at night with thousands of twinkling lights; free skate rental when you show your Wells Fargo credit or check card. Open daily through Feb. 3, 2008 – Rice Park, downtown St. Paul, www.capitalcitypartnership.com/events/winterskate

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