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.