Holiday tradition It just wouldn't be Christmas without the Pennsylvania Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. The troupe performs the Balanchine version at noon and 4 p.m. today at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, and performances continue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, noon Thursday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, noon and 4 p.m. next Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 28, noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 30, and noon Dec. 31. Tickets are $24 to $129. Call 215-893-1999.
Old-school Yule Set in 1947, as the greatest generation sought to settle war-frayed nerves and get back to normal, Holiday Show With the Swing Club Band features songs made famous by Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and Judy Garland. The Theatre Horizon production goes on at 2 p.m. today at the Centre Theater, 208 DeKalb St., Norristown, and continues with shows at 2 p.m. Thursday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. next Sunday, 2 p.m. Dec. 30, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 2, and 2 p.m. Jan. 3. Tickets are $18 to $28. Call 610-283-2230.
Dance fest In addition to performances by Dancefusion, fusion2, and the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, there will be music, carnival games, food, a raffle, and more starting at 3 p.m. at the Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Ave. Tickets are $20; $10 for students and ages under 12. Call 215-222-7633.
Playing outside Four top improvisers - saxophonist Skerik, vibraphonist Mike Dillon, keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Stanton Moore - team up as Garage à Trois at 7 p.m. at the North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. Tickets: $15 and $18. Call 215-787-0488.
Christmas decorations The exhibition Follow the Star: The Tradition of the Crèche, featuring Nativity sets from places including France, Latin America, Laos, Nepal, and Ethiopia, is at the Glencairn Museum, 1001 Cathedral Rd., Bryn Athyn, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Dec. 28 to 30, and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 2. Admission is $5; $3 for seniors and students. Call 267-502-2600.
Able art Still looking for that perfect gift? The 14th annual Art Ability Exhibition and Sale features paintings, sculpture, photographs, jewelry, glass, and metalwork by artists with disability. The show is at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, 414 Paoli Pike, Malvern, to Jan. 17. Free. Call 888-734-2241.
Live from Barcelona Verdi's overheated tale of war, vendetta, and tragic love, Il Trovatore, is presented live in a delayed, high-definition simulcast from Le Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, in a production conducted by Marco Armiliato and starring soprano Fiorenza Cedolins and tenor Marco Berti. The screening is at 8 p.m. at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $25. Call 610-527-4008.
Local hero Doylestown's own Anthony Green of Circa Survive steps out on his own at 7:30 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets are $18 and $23. Call 215-222-1400.
Spirit rap A confession: We dismissed Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu as a gimmick when he started out. Then we heard his 2004 hit "King Without a Crown" and we believed. He rocks the inspirational beat at 8 p.m. at the Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St. Tickets are $38. Call 215-922-1011.
Friday & Saturday
Family fun The program Being Jewish at Christmas features an interactive concert by Jon Nelson's Rockin' Kids Review, comedian Michael Rosman, and science-entertainment troupe Wondergy. The program goes on at the National Museum of American Jewish History, 55 N. Fifth St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $5; free for ages 2 and under. Call 215-923-3811, Ext. 148.
Christmas on ice After the presents have been opened, what better treat than to glide on skates while taking in the sights of the Delaware River? Skate at the Riverrink, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 5:30 p.m., and 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday. Admission is $8; skate rental $3. Call 215-925-7465.
Spirit rock The combo MewithoutYou brings its Sufi-inspired, spiritually complex pop to Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $16. Call 215-739-9684.
On the beat Outstanding drummer Ari Hoenig seems to be in just about every group worth listening to. He plays with the Oscillations Quartet (which could be another of his combos, the Jazzheads, in disguise) at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., at 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20. Call 215-568-3131.