The Nutcracker The

Pennsylvania Ballet

performs the Balanchine-choreographed Tchaikovsky favorite at noon and 4 p.m. today at the

Academy of Music

, Broad and Locust Streets, continuing on varied schedule through Dec. 31. Tickets are $22 to $129. Call 215-893-1999.

The Messiah Handel's masterpiece gets two performances: First, the

Philadelphia Orchestra

plays at 2 p.m. at the

Kimmel Center's

Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets. Tickets are $10 to $123. Call 215-893-1999. Then,

Vox Ama Deus

plays the 1749 Covent Garden version on period instruments at baroque pitch at 4 p.m. at

Daylesford Abbey

, 220 S. Valley Rd., Paoli. Tickets are $25; $10 for students. Call 610-688-2800.

Christmas at the Kimmel Yule time at the

Kimmel Center

, Broad and Spruce Streets (call 215-893-1999) features:


annual holiday show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the

Perelman Theater

. Tickets are $34 and $46. . . .

Peter Nero and the Philly Pops

at 7 p.m. in

Verizon Hall

, with more shows at 8 p.m. Wednesday, 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $26 to $100.

On keys Pianist

Ignat Solzhenitsyn

performs an all-Brahms recital at 3 p.m. at the

Curtis Institute of Music's

Field Concert Hall, 1726 Locust Street. Tickets are $28. Call 215-893-7902.


Joyful noise Phil Kline's boom-box oratorio

Unsilent Night

is making a December peregrination around the world from Australia across North America to Europe. Philadelphia shares the event with Hamburg, Germany, as the 44-minute processional piece gets under way at 6:30 p.m. at the

Ethical Society Building

, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. Admission is free (bring a boom box). Call 215-574-8248.


History paintings Embedded in the lush rococo interiors of

Jane Irish

's massive paintings are jarring details: words from Vietnam veterans' poems in raised letters. A show of her works is at

Locks Gallery

, 600 Washington Square South, to Jan. 12. Call 215-629-1000.

Christmas present, plus Charles Dickens combined with puppets equals perfection:

Mum Puppettheatre

presents Bruce Graham's adaptation of

A Christmas Carol

for two actors at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the company's theater, 115 Arch St., continuing on Tuesdays through Sundays to Dec. 30 (no show Dec. 25). Tickets are $25 and $30. Call 215-925-7686.


Delicious movement Choreographers

Meg Foley


Allison Lorenzen


Rebecca Patek

present dance works inspired by food at 8 p.m. at

Nexus Foundation for Today's Art

, Crane Arts Building, Suite 102, 1400 N. American St. Admission is free. Call 215-629-1103.

Making the scene The

Dumpsta Players

present a campy, profane look at the underside of the holiday marketing machine in their new interactive melodrama,

Valley of the Dollies

. True to their name, the players recycle costumes and characters and comedy in this tale of a pop princess who overdoes the sugar and is visited by a parade of obsolete, misfit toys from Teddy Ruxpin to Strawberry Shortcake. The gender-bending show goes on at 11 p.m. at

Bob & Barbara's

, 1509 South St. Tickets are $1.99. Call 215- 545-4511.


World beat Polish pianist Marcin Masecki and his

Trio TAQ

play their cerebral, improvisatory, long-form works at 8 p.m. at

Chris' Jazz Cafe

, 1421 Sansom St. Tickets are $15. Call 215-568-3131.

Friday & Saturday

Pop life Let those guitars ring and layer in those crystal harmonies: Pop geniuses

the Smithereens

play at

World Cafe Live

, 3025 Walnut St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $30 and $40. Call 215-222-1400. . . . She met him in math class, he broke her heart, she turned her journal entries into songs in a class with L.A. musician Rob Seals, won a songwriting contest at 17, just released her first album,

Breathe In

at 20, and is still trying to figure out how she feels about her on-and-off boyfriend. If that ain't what pop music is all about, we don't what is. Her record exudes sweetness and emotion - and it helps that the girl can sing.

Brittney Elizabeth

opens a four-band bill at

Grape Street Pub

, 4100 Main St., at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $22. Call 215-483-7084.

A complete guide to events in the region over the coming weekend will appear in the Weekend section in Friday's Inquirer. Send notices of events for "7 Days" to Michael Harrington at