We're approaching the holiday entertainment scene this year with a little more Philly attytood.
So: Whaddya want for Christmas? Something cold, something hot, something traditional, something not?
You got it.
"A Christmas Carol"
Charles Dickens could be a true Philly guy, given his 1843 holiday classic, in which the down are never, ever really out, and the meanest can be made merry and giving. That's us.
The Walnut Street Theatre for Kids' hour-long musical is one of our faves. It opens with a show at 11 a.m. Saturday at the landmark venue at 825 Walnut St. and continues with morning shows on a varied schedule to Dec. 20. Tickets are $14 to $16. Call 215-574-3550.
The venerable Hedgerow Theatre starts a new tradition, replacing the Nagle Jackson adaptation they performed for 22 years with one by Jared Reed, expressly suited to the company (and adding puppets as the ghosts).
Don't sweat the change. "The dialogue is all true to the original," Reed says, "and the cast will still sing Christmas carols throughout the show." The show opens at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at the company's theater, 64 Rose Valley Rd., Rose Valley, and continues on a varied schedule to Dec. 27. Tickets are $15 to $34. Call 610-565-4211.
Go figure: New Jersey's McCarter Theatre Center is ending its tradition after 16 years, presenting its musical adaptation for the last time. (It'll have a whole new show ready for 2016.) It's opening with a show at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at the Matthews Theatre, 91 University Place, Princeton, and continuing on a varied schedule to Dec. 27. Tickets are $25 to $95.60. Call 609-258-2787.
Valentin Radu once again leads the Ama Deus Ensemble, playing original baroque instruments in the 1749 Covent Garden version of the work, with soloists Andrea Lauren Brown, soprano; Jody Kidwell, alto; Timothy Bentch, tenor; and Ed Bara, bass, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., at 7 p.m. next Friday. Tickets are $30; $25 seniors; $10 students and ages under 12. Call 610-688-2800. (The program will be repeated at Daylesford Abbey, 220 S. Valley Rd., Paoli, at 4 p.m. Dec. 6; and at St. Katharine of Siena Church, 104 S. Aberdeen Ave., Wayne, at 4 p.m. Dec. 20.)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in the wonderful oratorio, with soloists Karina Gauvin, soprano; Karen Cargill, mezzo-soprano; Christophe Dumaux, countertenor; Andrew Staples, tenor; and Matthew Rose, bass, along with the Philadelphia Voices, at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. Dec. 13. Tickets are $40 to $147. Call 215-893-1999.
Conductor Jacques Lacombe leads the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra in the work, with soloists Celena Shafer, soprano; Adriana Zabala, mezzo-soprano; William Burden, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone; and the Montclair State University Singers, at Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium, 68 Nassau St., at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Tickets are $25 to $80. Call 609-258-2787.
The Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine's version of Tchaikovsky's beautiful dance at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, opening with a performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and running on a varied schedule to Dec. 31. Tickets are $30 to $125. Call 215-893-1999.
The Brandywine Ballet presents Donna Muzio and David Kloss' version at West Chester University's Asplundh Hall, 700 S. High St., opening with a performance at 10 a.m. Dec. 11 and continuing on a varied schedule to Dec. 20. Tickets are $10 to $42. Call 610-696-2711.
A troupe based in Bucks and Hunterdon Counties, the Roxey Ballet performs an especially child-friendly version at the College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Rd., Ewing, N.J., at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 5 to 7. Tickets are $15.50 to $52.50. Call 609-397-7616.
Time for dance
The Eleone Dance Theatre will perform its holiday tradition, Carols in Color, at Penn Charter's Kurtz Center, 3000 W. School House Lane, at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and 3 p.m. Dec. 20. Tickets are $30; $27 seniors and ages under 12. Call 267-235-0163.
Based on the 1983 film based on radio genius Jean Shepherd's wry memoir, A Christmas Story: The Musical brings it all - the bunny suit, the frozen tongue, the Red Ryder BB gun, and, of course, the leg lamp - to the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. at 2 and 8 p.m. Friday, and continuing on a Tuesday to Sunday schedule to Jan. 10. Tickets are $20 to $95. Call 215-574-3550.
Who hasn't felt at some time or another like a denizen of the Island of Misfit Toys? Based on the 1964 TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical flies into the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18, and 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20. Tickets are $30 to $70. Call 215-893-1999.
A kick in the panto
For this year's holiday panto, People's Light presents the return of Kathryn Petersen and Michael Ogborn's musical The Three Musketeers (The Later Years). What's panto? Why, it's that British theater tradition - now ours, as well - featuring cracked classics with topical jokes, audience participation, a "messy bit," and general silliness. With the additions of outstanding clown Dito van Reigersberg as Horace the Hound, and puppeteer Robert Smythe creating a far-out black-light segment (and swashing his buckle as the hero D'Artagnan, in competition with . . . a chicken named Henrietta, of course), this should be the silliest panto yet. The show goes on at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday at the company's theater, 39 Conestoga Rd., Malvern, and continues on a varied schedule to Jan. 10. Tickets are $34 to $55. Call 610-644-3500.
Lift every voice. A Soulful Christmas gathers six choirs and the Citywide Praise Dance Collaborative in a gospel celebration at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Tickets are $26 to $49. Call 215-893-1999.
Just what you want under the tree: the annual pop-music potpourri the iHeartRadio Q102 Jingle Ball Tour. What's in the mix? Why, it's Calvin Harris, Selena Gomez, 5 Seconds of Summer, Shawn Mendes, Tove Lo, Charlie Puth, Hailee Steinfeld, and more. Yay! The tour rolls in at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. Tickets are $40.50 to $176. Call 1-800-653-8000.
The old new traditions
Like the Youngsters' "Christmas in Jail" and the Singing Dogs' "Jingle Bells," these may have started as novelty, but now they're essential.
The seasonal epic that is A John Waters Christmas, featuring the irreverent director, returns to Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Tickets are $40 to $99. Call 215-232-2100.
To the rescue of those gag-inducing gifts comes the Ugly Sweater Run, a 5K through Fairmount Park, followed by a party with prizes for worst garment. The race starts at 4231 Avenue of the Republic, at 8 a.m. Dec. 19. Part of the $40 registration fee goes to Save the Children (and includes a spiffy vintage knit hat and free hot chocolate or beer). Call 855-464-6601.
Something for the naughty out there, and it's not a lump of coal. The physical theater company Tribe of Fools brings some commedia dell'arte to the bump-and-grind with the burlesque show Santa and Frosty Breakup!, featuring a Nasty Frosty, a Dirty Santa, and a whole bunch of characters whose double entendre monikers we can't print. The show goes on at Shiloh Baptist Church, 2040 Christian St., at 8 p.m. Dec. 19. Tickets are $20. Call 215-284-1178.