Holiday Entertainment Guide – ‘The Nutcracker,’ ‘mallerinas,’ and Hanukkah in Philadelphia

    Looking for something to do this holiday season? From “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, there’s something for everyone.  WHYY’s Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what’s happening in and around Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware. Here are her picks:


    “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” at Pennsylvania Ballet

    The Pennsylvania Ballet celebrates 25 years of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” December 8-30, featuring the Philadelphia Boy’s Choir and dozens of local dance students performing at the Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets start at $20. Programming includes “Nutcracker Magic” Children’s Party, Saturday, December 8, noon, “Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy,” Sunday, December 9, 2:30pm and Saturday, December 22, noon.

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    Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Annenberg Center

    The gender-bending “mallerinas” of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bring their playful interpretation of classical ballet to the Annenberg Center, December 13-15. In their 38th year, the “Trocks,” the critically-acclaimed company of male dancers who present a tongue-in-cheek, entertaining view of ballet in parody form, perform “Le Lac Des Cygnes,” the second act of Swan Lake, along with the Philadelphia premieres of “Go for Barocco” and “Laurencia,” 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Part of Dance Celebration, presented by Dance Affiliates. Tickets: $20-$65. Post-show talk back and master class, Friday, December 14.


    Philadanco “BACK to BLACK”

    Philadanco performs . . . “BACK TO BLACK” (What is so called ‘Black’ dance anyway), four performances December 7-9 at the Kimmel Center featuring works by Milton Myers, Ronald K. Brown, George Faison, and the Philadelphia premiere of works by Matthew Rushing, Broad Street, Philadelphia.



    11th Hour Theatre Company’s “Winter Wonderettes”

    11th Hour Theatre Company kicks off their main stage season with the return of the four best friends, Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy in the Philadelphia premiere of Roger Bean’s “Winter Wonderettes,” directed by Megan Nicole O’Brien, sure to put you in the holiday spirit with a score featuring some of the greatest holiday hits, December 7-30 at Theatre Horizon’s brand new theatre, 401 Dekalb Street, Norristown, PA.


    Brandywine Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

    The Brandywine Ballet Company’s 33rd annual production of “The Nutcracker” returns December 7-16 at the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 700 S. High Street, West Chester, PA. The Company offers the popular “Nutcracker Tea,” with the opportunity to join Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and other characters for a special brunch on December 8, 9, and 15. Tickets for the show: $25-$40. Tickets for the Tea: $25.


    Regional Dickens celebrations

    Dickens Festivals are celebrated this Saturday, December 8 in Narberth, PA from noon-4pm, with activities for all ages, including a scavenger hunt, horse and carriage rides, music, carollers, crafts, and more. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion hosts a Dickens Christmas Party, 2pm-5pm ($20, children 10 an under free), and “An Evening with Charles Dickens,” 7pm, a one man rendition of A Christmas Carol with Josh Hitchens ($35); In Medford, NJ, downtown Main Street closes and transforms visitors to England in the days of Charles Dickens, with a visit from Santa in a horse-drawn carriage at 6pm along with musical entertainment, crafts, food and the lighting of the holiday tree at the gazebo.


    Hanukkah in Philadelphia: March of Lights, Latkepalooza & more

     The Festival of Lights begins Saturday night, December 8 and Philadelphia celebrates with a “March of Lights,” car menorah parade, December 8, 7pm, beginning at the Ben Franklin Parkway and 22nd Street, finishing at Independence National Park, 5th and Market Streets with live music, children’s activities, treats and more.Celebrate Hanukkah in Rittenhouse SquareSunday, December 9, 4pm with children’s entertainment, donuts, gelt, dreidels, and more, beginning at the Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, followed by a 5:30pm lighting of the great menorah in center of Rittenhouse Square park, Philadelphia. Admission: $5 per person, $20 per family.

    The 10th annual Latkepalooza returns to the Gershman Y, Sunday, December 9, 2pm-4pm, offering over 3000 gourmet latkes from Philadelphia restaurants, along with family activities, music by the West Philadelphia Orchestra and more. $16 adults, $5 kids in advance, $18 adults, $7 kids at the door. Children under 5 free. Advance purchase recommended. While there, see another side of the legendary performer Zero Mostel with a new exhibit “Zero Mostel: Artist” (pictured), on view through February 3, 2013 in the Borowsky Gallery, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.



    Christmas at The Grand

    The Grand celebrates the season with “Voices of Christmas,” Sunday, December 9, 3pm, a sing-a-long with The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performing songs of the season and Sweet Honey in the Rock, “Celebrating the Holydays,” December 19, 8pm, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.


    Million Dollar Quartet at the Forrest Theatre

    The Broadway hit musical “Million Dollar Quartet” arrives at the Forrest Theatre December 11-16, inspired by the true story of the famed recording session on December 4, 1956 that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. The legendary night is brought to life with classic hits such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” and many more, 1114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    Meet “Scab” the elf in BCKSEET Productions’ “ELFuego”

    BCKSEET Productions offers the World Premiere of “ELFuego,” a comedic new holiday musical and satiric social commentary tackling the mounting problem of unemployment with a witty and unexpected glimpse at the world of the North Pole. Written by Artistic Director Kate Brennan, directed by Brandon King McShaffrey, and featuring Sarah Doherty leading the cast as Scab the elf, the production runs December 12-29 at the Skybox and the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $28, $21 for students, veterans, and seniors.


    Cairnwood by Candlelight

    Cairnwood Estate hosts “Cairnwood by Candlelight,” an evening of candlelight and music at the 117 year old Beaux Arts-style mansion, Thursday, December 13, 7:30pm, with self-guided tours of all three floors of the mansion, the servant’s quarters, and the tower, live music, a display of Victorian gowns, Yuletide desserts, and holiday décor including the two-story Christmas tree adorned with 2000 lights and 300 pieces of sugared fruit, 1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA. Admission: $20.


    Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s “A Christmas Carol” at the State Theatre

    Nebraska Theatre Caravan brings their fully-staged musical version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to the State Theatre, Thursday, December 13, 7:30pm, featuring a cast of 24, live musicians, Broadway-style scenery and costumes, special effects and a full array of traditional Christmas carols interwoven with the classic story at 453 Northampton Street, Easton, PA. Tickets: $45-$50.


    Walnut Street Theatre offers “Plaid Tidings”

    Walnut Street Theatre offers holiday productions including “Plaid Tidings,” a mix of holiday songs and 1950s crooning, with the popular “Forever Plaid” singing group (pictured) returning for more humor and harmonies including “Let It Snow,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and more, through December 30 in Independence Studio on 3. Also, the annual children’s production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns through December 22, directed by Bill Van Horn, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    “A Christmas Carol” onstage at Delaware Theatre Company

    Onstage at Delaware Theatre Company is “A Christmas Carol,” a world premiere adaptation by Patrick Barlow, creator of the Tony Award winning The 39 Steps, with five actors portraying over 20 characters, exploring new facets of the classic story by Charles Dickens, starring Steve Pacek, Andrew Long, Mark Light-Orr, Jessie Shelton, and Tina Stafford, through December 30 at 200 Water Street, Wilmington, DE. For school age children and up.


    ARTsisters group show at Darlington Arts Center

    ARTsisters, a group of professional women artists who present monthly exhibitions throughout the tri-state region with an emphasis on serving the community through special projects, workshops, and donations, presents a group exhibition of paintings and prints in a wide variety of contemporary media from abstract to representational from the group’s 27 members, through January 4, 2013 at Darlington Arts Center, 977 Shavertown Road, Garnet Valley, PA.


    ArtFusion’s “Secret Life of Trees”

    ArtFusion 19464’s annual holiday show “Secret Life of Trees,” is on view, offering the work of 38 local artists from oils and watercolors to recycled sculpture and ceramics, on view through January 5, 2013 at 254 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA (formerly the Gallery School of Pottstown/Gallery on High). Opening reception and holiday party, Friday, December 7, 5pm-8pm.


    Yuletide at Winterthur – “A Feast for the Eyes”

    “Yuletide at Winterthur” returns with “A Feast for the Eyes,” a glimpse at winter holidays past, exploring how Americans have celebrated the winter social season from the 1800s to the present and designed to inspire visitors to create their own celebrations. Signature showpieces include the dried flower tree, a “Winter Wonderland,” and many seasonally themed activities like Yuletide Brunch with Santa, Holiday decoration workshops, music performances, and more, through January 6, 2013, Winterthur, DE. $20 for adult non-members, $18 for seniors and students, $5 for children ages 2-11.

    Holiday events in Philly

    Peter Nero and the Philly Pops perform the annual “Holiday POPS!,” December 7-22, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall; Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    The American Swedish Historical Museum’s annual Lucia Fest and Christmas Market is Saturday, December 8, 11:30am-4:30pm, with family activities, Lucia processions at1pm and 3pm, baked goods and more, 1900 Pattison Avenue, FDR Park, South Philadelphia.  Admission is $10 for non-members, $7 for members, children 4-12 $4, and childrenunder 4 are free.

    The Rittenhouse Row Holiday Celebration is Saturday, December 8 and 15, 11am-1pm, with performances, in store events and specials, visits from Santa, free hot beverages, and more, along with free parking, near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

    The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education hosts the annual “Winterfest,” Sunday, December 9, 2pm-8pm, with live entertainment, holiday shopping, winterwalks, local eco-artists, craft workshops, stargazing and WXPN’s “Kids Corner” guests and entertainment, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia. $5 suggested donation.

    The Fairmount Park House Holiday Tours continue through Sunday, December 9, as the “Charms,” Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Woodford, Strawberry Mansion and others are dressed up with themes for the holidays, including tours, special events, and more. Prices vary for tours. Also catch the Gingerbread House display, modelled after the Fairmount Park historic sites, on view at the Shops at Liberty Place, 16th & Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Historic Philadelphia offers holiday cheer with Tippler’s Tours, December 13, 20 & 27, tours of Colonial and modern day watering holes with a holiday flair, $35-$40; Santa visits at Franklin Square, Saturdays and Sundays, through December 24, noon-3pm, free, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia.

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates the holiday season with special events, musical performances, and activities that spotlight work from its collection, including The Christmas Story in Art tour and the All Dressed Up fashion display for children and adults. Each weekend and every day during the holiday week (December 26 through January 1), special events include Carolling through the Galleries, Winter Concerts, workshops, tours and more, and the Great Stair Hall is lit and decorated for the holidays, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Art After 5 celebrates the holidays with a Hanukkah celebration, Festival of Lights with the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Friday, December 14, Jingle Bell Jive, Friday, December 21, and New Year’s Eve Pre-Party Mistletoe Hop, December 28, until 8:45pm.

    New City Stage Company presents the Philadelphia premiere of “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge,” written by Christopher Durang and directed by Michael K. Brophy, a farcical take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This production is the company’s largest and their first musical, featuring choreography by Artistic Director Ginger Dayle set to a brand new score, through December 23 at the Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $10-$35.

    The 5th annual Christmas Village in Philadelphia returns to LOVE Park in Center City, an outdoor holiday market with vendors in more than 90 wooden booths offering international seasonal arts and crafts, gifts, ornaments, food and more as well as a life-size Advent calendar and a stage with daily live performances of local choirs, orchestras and bands. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11am-7pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-8pm, and Thanksgiving and Christmas 11am-5pm. Free admission.

    The Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad is on display with almost a third of a mile of track running twelve working train lines through miniature scenery depicting Center City Philadelphia, a Christmas Village, and other seasonal displays, opens daily at 10am through December 31 (closed on Christmas Day), Piano Court in Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Street, Philadelphia, free.

    The Morris Arboretum’s popular Holiday Garden Railway Display returns with a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges, and bustling model trains. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials to form a miniature landscape with miniature rivers and buildings that are exact replicas of the original including Independence Hall and other Philadelphia-area landmarks, all decorated for the holidays through December 31 at 100 Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill. Admission: $16 adults, $14 for seniors, students and youth (13-18) $7, children under age three and members free. Open daily from 10am-4pm through December 14 and 10am-5pm, December 15-31 (closed Christmas Eve and day, and New Years day).

    Macy’s Grand Court Light Show has shows every hour on the hour, the annual Dickens Village, daily Wanamaker Organ concerts and more, now through December 31, 13th and Market Streets, Philadelphia. Least crowded viewing times: Mondays through Thursday.

    The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is on view at the Comcast Center now through New Year’s Day, shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience Video Wall, the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world, spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high, capturing the essence of the holidays with performances by the Pennsylvania Ballet, Broadway dancers, the Commonwealth Youth Choir’s Keystone State Boychoir, and more. 15 minute shows begin at the top of every hour, 10am-8pm daily (except for weekdays at 5pm), Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia. Free.

    The Please Touch Museum hosts holiday events including the Enchanted Colonial Village, on display through January 6, depicting holiday scenes of blacksmiths, bakers, toymakers, and more, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.

    Holiday events in region

    The Mitchell Performing Arts Center’s production of “White Christmas” opens Friday, December 7 with a musical adaptation of the classic holiday film featuring seventeen Irving Berlin songs, through December 15, 801 Tomlinson Road, Bryn Athyn, PA. $15 for adults, $12 for students and children.

    Ardensingers perform “A Gilbert & Sullivan Christmas Carol,” giving Charles Dickens’ tale a twist, setting Ebenezer Scrooge’s story to the music of Gilbert & Sullivan, Friday, December 7, 8pm, and Saturday, December 8, 2pm and 8pm, Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE. $12 in advance, $14 at the door, with discounts for members, seniors, students, and children.

    The Wildwoods’ 5th annual Holiday Celebration is this weekend with a parade, Friday, December 7, 7pm, followed by a tree lighting ceremony and the celebration continues Saturday, December 9, 10am-5pm with crafts, free movies, entertainment and more at the Wildwoods Convention Center lobby, Wildwood, NJ.

    The Atlantic City Ballet performs “The Nutcracker,” Friday, December 7, 7pm, and Saturday, December 8, 1pm and 5pm, Stockton Performing Arts Center, Galloway, NJ; Saturday, December 15, 3pm and 7pm, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ; Saturday, December 22, 7pm, Garden State Philharmonic Strand Theatre, Lakewood, NJ.

    The Historic Mill at Anselma will be decked out in holiday splendor for a holiday celebration, this Saturday, December 8, 10am-4pm, along with craft-making workshops, letter writing to Santa, who will be waiting in the 1930s era post office to take letters back with him to the North Pole. Friday, December 14, 5pm-7pm, the annual Candlelight Tours with the opportunity to explore the Colonial-era grist mill, 1730 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children 4-17.

    Elmwood Park Zoo hosts the first annual Hanukkah Celebration, Saturday, December 8, 1pm-4pm, with games, food samples, the lighting of the first candle on the 6 foot tall menorah, free with zoo admission. In honor of the 8 days of giving, the zoo asks for guests to donate to their animal enrichment fund to receive a small gift from the zoo and to sign the menorah, 1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown, PA.

    “Christmastide: Choral Gems Throughout the Centuries” is performed by the VOICES Chorale this Saturday, December 8, 3pm and 5:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ and Sunday, December 9, 7:30pm, Anchor Presbyterian Church, 980 Durham Road, Wrightstown, PA, featuring works by Handel, Mendelssohn, Whitbourn, and more.$25 at the door, $20 in advance.

    Cape May celebrates the holiday season with the 39th annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour, a self-guided tour of homes, inns, hotels and churches decorated for the holidays along with carolling, strolling musicians, refreshments and more, Saturday, December 8 and 15, 5:30pm-8:30pm. $20-$25. Includes admission to the “Old Fashioned Christmas Exhibit” of holiday traditions through the years complete with holiday trains beneath the giant Christmas tree at the Carriage House Gallery, Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, on display through January 1; Plus – Christmas lights trolley tours, and much more, throughout December, Cape May, NJ.

    Spotlight Theatre presents David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries,” by Associate Artistic Director Thomas-Robert Irvin, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, and directed by Cindy N. Walton, Saturday, December 8, 7pm. The night begins with a silent auction, appetizers and refreshments at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA. Free but reservations are recommended.

    Lawrenceville hosts “Holidays in the Village,” Sunday, December 9, 2pm-4pm with holiday music and caroling, refreshments, children’s activities and more including a visit from Santa, Weeden Park, Main Street, south of Craven Lane by the Post Office in Lawrenceville, NJ.

    The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia celebrates the season with a festive concert of Christmas music and readings, “The Light of the World,” with the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Senior Choir, Youth Chorale, St. Cecilia Girl Choir, St. Andrew Boy Choir, and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Handbell choirs, Sunday, December 9, 4pm, featuring John Rutter’s “Gloria” and works by Ola Gjeilo, Craig Phillips and Dan Forres, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA. $10 for adults, $5 for children 18 & under.

    Shady Brook Farm hosts the annual Holiday Light Show, as millions of lights illuminate acres of farmland with familiar characters and whimsical displays, 5pm-10pm nightly through January 6, 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, PA. Ride in your car or on a wagon ride. Admission: $12-$50. Coupons available on website. On Monday, December 10, 4:30pm-6:30pm, enjoy a Hanukkah Celebration, as the 12 foot menorah is lit, along with singing and dancing, crafts, and more.

    Fractured Mirror Productions presents “My Christmas Wish,” an opportunity for children ages 3 and up to explore the historical Collings-Knight Homestead and hear classic Christmas tales, December 13-16, 500 Collings Avenue, Collingwood, NJ. $15 with discounts for children.

    Broadway veteran Graeme Malcolm reprises his role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” at McCarter Theatre Center, through December 28. Michael Unger directs a cast of 40 in the critically-acclaimed production, offering a variety of events in conjunction with the performances, as well as special services for patrons with visual and audio impairments at no additional charge on December 15-16. Tickets start at $20. Also – master storyteller Mike Daisey brings his newest show “American Utopias,” direct from a successful sold out run in Chicago, Thursday, December 13, 7:30pm. Tickets $50.

    East Lynne Theater Company presents “Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas,” three of Alcott’s tales, including the opening of “Little Women,” brought to life by storyteller Gayle Stahlhuth, for the whole family, through December 14 at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, Cape May, NJ. Tickets: $25 general, $15 students, children 12 and under free.

    Onstage at Footlighters Theater is “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” a stage adaptation of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This interpretation, directed by Tony Filipone, is set at a live radio broadcast in the 1940s with five actors playing all of the characters, through December 15, 58 Maine Ave, Berwyn, PA. Tickets: $14.

    Players Club of Swarthmore’s Children’s Theater Series continues with Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” through December 16, 614 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, PA.

    Crossroads Theatre Company’s 3rd annual “Holiday Jubilee” returns with a multicultural celebration of holiday traditions from around the world, this year featuring the music of Motown, through December 16, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets: $40. Kids under 12 free with purchase of adult ticket.

    The Delaware Children’s Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary with the holiday favorite “Babes in Toyland,” the classic story weaving together Mother Goose’s nursery rhyme characters into a Christmas themed musical extravaganza, with a special visit from Santa, onstage through December 16, 1014 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, DE. Tickets: $14 at the door, $11 online.

    Onstage at Clear Space Theatre Company is “A Christmas Carol,” through December 16, based on the book by Charles Dickens with music by composer and Clear Space Artistic Director Doug Yetter, lyrics by Michael Hulett, and directed by David Button. Former NPR Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen joins the cast on the theater’s new thrust stage, 20 Baltimore Avenue (Beach Block), Rehoboth Beach, DE.

    Bristol Riverside Theatre celebrates the holidays with “Winter Musicale 2012,” Keith Baker and the BRT band performing carols, classics and more, through December 23 at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. Tickets $15-$45.

    Onstage at Bridge Players Theatre Company is “The Christmas Express,” a family-friendly tale about train station manager Hilda Trowbridge and her assistant, Satch Brunswick. When Leo Tannenbaum drops by the Holly Railway Station on December 23, broken radios spring to life, tone-deaf carolers become a choir of angels, and the entire town of Holly is caught up in the spirit of Christmas, onstage at Broad Street United Methodist Church, 36 E. Broad Street, Burlington, NJ through December 1. Tickets $10.

    People’s Light & Theatre presents “This Wonderful Life,” through December 23, about a man passionately devoted to Frank Capra’s 1946 classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” on the Steinbright Stage, starring Jerry Richardson and directed by David Bradley, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Tickets: $35-45.

    Linvilla Orchards hosts the annual “Christmasland” display with the farm decorated for the holiday and activities for the whole family including crafts, food, Santa visit, petting zoo, Wassailing Caroling Hayrides, and more, through December 24, 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, PA.

    Cape May Stage presents the comedy “A Tuna Christmas,” by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, a sequel to “Greater Tuna,” through December 30. The production features two actors, twelve days of Christmas, and twenty-four hilarious characters at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets, Cape May, NJ. Good for ages 12 and up. Tickets: $15-$35.

    Rose Tree Park hosts the 30th annual Festival of Lights, over 100,000 holiday lights, hand-painted wooden figures and cutout displays, and more, running nightly, 5:30pm-9:30pm through January 1, 2013 at Rose Tree Park, 1671 N. Providence Road, Upper Providence, PA. Admission is free.

    Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration transforms the space into an underwater winter wonderland with larger than life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees and gently falling snow, Christmas characters including “Scuba Santa,” through January 1, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ. $17.95-$23.95.

    Historic Smithville, New Jersey hosts the annual Holiday Light Show, Thursdays through Sundays through January 2, as 120 Christmas trees, decorated with 50,000 lights, float on the lake and blink on and off to holiday music by the Colonial Inn, 615 East Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ. Free.

    Catch the Gingerbread House Competition & Display at Peddler’s Village, with confections in categories including traditional, authentic reproduction of a significant building, amateur, unusual 3D creation, and more including the holiday lights at night, through January 5, 2013 in the gazebo, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA. Free admission and free parking.

    The Brandywine River Museum’s annual tradition of “A Brandywine Christmas” returns with the O-gauge model train display that this year includes Japanese trains, trees decorated with thousands of “critter” ornaments, and musical performances as well as several exhibits that celebrate the spirit of the holidays: “Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D” presents pop-up books and their production by authors like Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, and more. “Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth” features jewelry crafted by Pywell while collaborating with painter Andrew Wyeth, each housed in custom settings designed by T. Mark Cole, through January 6, U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA.   Museum admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, and children over six.

    Hagley Museum and Library hosts the annual “Christmas at Hagley” exhibition through January 6 with a glimpse at nineteenth and twentieth-century holiday traditions in Eleutherian Mills, the ancestral home of the DuPont family along with special events and programs, 201 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, DE.

    Glencairn Museum hosts “Follow the Star: World Nativities,” exhibitions of dozens of crèches from around the world as well as “Christmas in the Castle,” 45 minute guided tours exploring how Christmas was celebrated in the Romanesque-style castle when it was the private home of the Pitcairn family, through January 6 at 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA. Admission: $6-$8.

    On display at Rockwood Park & Museum is “Sounds of the Season,” as the museum is decorated in a music theme through January 7, 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, DE.

    Other events in Philly

    Ryan Berley, co-owner of Shane Confectionery and the Franklin Fountain, shares his knowledge of the history and science of candy making this Friday, December 7 at The Chemical Heritage foundation, with the opportunity to see the classic clear toy candy-making process from start to finish and to taste samples, with pourings at 5:30pm and 6:45pm, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Free.

    Asian Arts Initiative hosts special events including “Home, Far and Near,” a mini-festival of work by up-an-coming and established Asian American performers, December 7, 7:30pm, including spoken word poet Kelly Tsai, movement artist Soomi Kim, filmmaker Anula Shetty and more; “Shut Your Trap!!: A Study on Authority in Art,” with a First Friday reception, December 7, 6pm-9pm, a multimedia group show that raises questions about authority in art; the Chinatown North Arts Crawl, Friday, December 14, 6pm-9pm, highlighting the unique and varied spaces in the neighborhood’s emerging arts community; 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

    The centennial celebration of avant-garde composer John Cage continues with part two of “Cage: Beyond Silence,” presented by Bowerbird. “The Year Begins to be Ripe: Song Books,” highlights the two-volume collection of 89 short solos, with text and music materials quoted from Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie, David Thoreau, Buckminster Fuller, Norman O. Brown, as well as Mozart and Schubert. Audiences are offered a rare opportunity to experience multiple versions of this work including: Song Books in Concert 2, Friday, December 7, 8pm, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 3723 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia; Song Books Miniatures 2, Saturday, December 8, noon-4pm, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Variations, Sunday, December 9, 8pm, The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street; Sonatas and Interludes with Margaret Leng Tan, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Performances range in price and some include workshops and hands-on activities. Festivities continue through January 20, 2013.

    The 3rd Annual Type-IN is this Saturday, December 8. Called a “jam session for manual typewriters,” the Type-IN is a chance for typewriter enthusiasts to get together to type letters, compete in a speed typing challenge, or participate in a typewriter swap, 1pm to 5pm, Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Free.

    Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players explore German vocal and instrumental music from the generation before J.S. Bach with “Art of the Prophets.” Joined by vocal soloists Laura Heimes, Jennifer Lane, Aaron Sheehan, and David Newman, Tempesta di Mare performs pieces by composers who redefined German music – Bruhns, Erlebach, Rosenmuller, Johann Christoph Bach and more, Saturday, December 8, 8pm, Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street, Philadelphia and Sunday, December 9, 4pm, Saint Martin in the Fields, 8000 Saint Martin’s Lane, Philadelphia. $30-$40, discounts for seniors, students, and children.

    The Philadelphia Wind Symphony’s second season opens with “Songs and Dances,” Tuesday, December 11, 7pm. Guest conducted by Dr. Brad Genevro, the Symphony performs the only wind band piece written by Antonin Respighi, in addition to works by Holst, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and more, in the Levitt Auditorium at Gershman Hall, University of the Arts, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. $10, $5 for students and seniors.

    The Harlem Fine Arts Show showcases contemporary art celebrating the African Diaspora and arrives at the African American Museum in Philadelphia Wednesday, December 12, featuring the work of over 15 contemporary artists including local artists. The event kicks off at 6pm with a reception and live music, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia. $30, $25 for AAMP members.

    Curio Theatre Company presents Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound,” a play-within-a-play parody of the murder mystery genre, directed by Dan Hodge, through December 29, the first main stage production in their new basement performance space, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, through tower doors of 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. Tickets $15-$20.

    Arden Children’s Theatre begins its 15th year with the fairytale classic, “Cinderella.” Set to the music of Mozart, playwright Charles Way’s version retells the tale in an adventurous new way. After each production, children are invited to meet the actors and participate in a Q&A session. Directed by Whit MacLaughlin, “Cinderella” runs through January 27 at 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $16-$36.

    Other events in the region

    The Biggs Museum of American Art hosts “Delaware By Hand” Holiday Market, Friday, December 7, 5pm-7pm, and Saturday, December 8, 9am-4:30pm, sale of seasonal works in hand blown glass, woodwork, painting, jewelry, pottery and sculpture by Delaware artists. On Saturday at 10:30am, David Berndt will give a free lecture titled, “Rediscovering Bayard Berndt: A Son’s Recollection of a Delaware Painter.” “Cocoa, Cookies and Story Time,” on Thursday, December 13, 6pm-7pm, to eat sweets, hear a reading of the classic holiday story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and create a holiday ornament, 406 Federal Street, Dover, DE, Free.

    The Delaware Historical Society celebrates “Delaware Day,” Friday, December 7, 6pm with a specialty crafted beer by Twin Lakes, “Jubilicious,” a Statehood Stew prepared by World Café Live, live entertainment and more, Old Town Hall Museum, 504 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE. $25, $20 for members.

    The Trenton Film Society and Passage Theatre Company present a screening of “leben, um zu sagen (live to tell),” a 30 minute documentary produced by Dan Bauer, exploring his family’s journey from Nazi-occupied Vienna to America, told through the eyes of his 100-year-old grandmother, his father, and a cousin.  The screening is followed by a panel discussion with Lynne Azarchi, Executive Director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum at The College of New Jersey and Princeton immigration attorney Ryan Stark Lilienthal, who explored a trove of locally-archived documents illuminating the experience of relatives deported to, and murdered in, Poland during the Holocaust, Sunday, December 9, 2pm, the Mill House Playhouse, 205 E. Front Street in Trenton, NJ. Free.

    City Theater Company presents “BatBoy: The Musical,” the cult comedy inspired by the famous tabloid story about a half-man/half-bat discovered in a West Virginia cave, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe performed by a live band in the Black Box Theater at OperaDelaware, through December 15, 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington, DE.

    On display at The College of New Jersey Art Gallery is “Goddess, Lion, Peasant, Priest: Modern and Contemporary Indian Art from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection,” featuring twenty two paintings by some of the leading Indian artists of the past fifty years, exploring three themes: inhabited spaces, spiritual bodies, and characters, through December 16 at 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ. Free.

    “Annie” is onstage at the Steel River Playhouse through December 23, directed by Ken Kaissar, accompanied by a pit orchestra. Sunday, December 9, a special talkback with the director and cast, 245 East High Street, Pottstown, PA. Tickets: $15-$26.

    The Trenton Museum Society presents “Over the River: The Artists of Yardley in a Juried Exhibit,” featuring more than 70 works by members of AOY, the Artists of Yardley, representing a range of styles and media including oil, watercolor, photography, ceramics and jewelry, through January 6, 2013 at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ. Gallery talk with artists, December 16, 2pm, free and open to public.

    Brett Rader contributed reporting to this week’s guide.

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