Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Joy-A-Thon, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Twisted Christmas, Punk Rock Flea Market, and TubaChristmas in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Dec. 14 - 17: Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Philly, “The Nutcracker” in N.J., and 90s Rock Fest in Delaware are among the weekend’s highlights.

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Green lights and members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing onstage

File photo: Al Pitrelli, Andrew Ross, Angus Clark, April Berry, Asha Mevlana, Ashley Hollister, Blas Elias and Bryan Hicks with Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at the Infinite Energy Center on Sunday, December 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)

Holiday delights abound in the Delaware Valley, starting with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which brings the Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour to the Wells Fargo Center. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, the Festively Fly Market is where you can find an array of Black-owned businesses, and the Punk Rock Flea Market is where you can buy that perfect item for the music lover in your life. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are in town for four shows, so if you’re a fan, there’s no excuse not to see them live. “The Nutcracker” takes the stage in South Jersey, and in Delaware, ‘90s tribute bands prove that nostalgia remains profitable.

New Jersey | Delaware | Special Events | Arts & Culture | Kids | Comedy | Music

New Jersey

Tricia Sloan Dance Center: The Nutcracker Ballet

  • Where: Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, N.J.
  • When: Friday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m., 7 p.m.,  Sunday, Dec. 17., 2 p.m.
  • How much: $28 – $38 

The Tricia Sloan Dance Company brings its version of the holiday staple “The Nutcracker” to the Scottish Rite Auditorium. It’s a traditional rendering of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, danced by both young and veteran performers.


Lounge Fly: 90s Rock Fest with Jagged Little Thrill

Tribute bands have dominated the musical landscape for the past year. Combining sing-along songs and the era’s aesthetics has made for some memorable shows. Lounge Fly: 90s Rock Fest with Jagged Little Thrill should be another. It combines three tribute bands — Lounge Fly is dedicated to Stone Temple Pilots, Jagged Little Thrill to Alanis Morrisette, and the Weezer Experience, well, that’s self-explanatory.

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Special Events

A Twisted Christmas

Haunted houses usually close up shop after Oct. 31, but that is different at Lincoln Mill Haunted House. They’re hosting “A Twisted Christmas” at the Manayunk attraction. In the former mill’s fictional backstory, owner Victor Kane’s employees are lured to the basement, where they become … haunted house actors. Despite its holiday theme, the attraction is not for the fainthearted. Make sure you check the lengthy list of disclaimers before you go.


Jeannine A. Cook is the owner of Harriet’s Bookshop in Fishtown. (Michaela Winberg/Billy Penn)
  • Where: Harriett’s Bookstore, 258 E. Girard St. 
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 16, 9 a.m. to Sunday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go, children’s book sales will go to CHOP and St. Christopher’s

The holiday season encourages even the Scrooges of the world to open their hearts and wallets to benefit others. At Harriet’s Bookshop, the Joy-A-Thon children’s book drive provides an excellent cause to do so. The store will be open 24 hours straight for singers, dancers, actors, and performers. All books purchased will go to hospitalized children at CHOP and St. Christopher’s. 

I Pity the Scrooge! Mr. T. Inspired Holiday Celebration

Mr. T poses for a photo
File photo: In this May 17, 2016, file photo, actor Mr. T poses for photographers after High-Wire Artist Nik Wallenda walked a tight rope in New York in honor of National Amazing Month. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Ever find yourself wondering what would lead a man to amass a huge collection of Mr. T.-related material? You’ll have your answer if you attend the “I Pity The Scrooge: A Mr. T. Inspired Holiday Celebration.” In the ‘80s, Mr. T, born Lawrence Turead in Chicago, became a pop culture phenomenon as one of the stars of “The A-Team.” Now he’s the inspiration for a holiday event that includes a screening of “A Christmas Dream ” with T and co-star Emmanuel Lewis. Superfan Ben Leach will be on hand to explain what’s behind his obsession, ahem, collection.

Punk Rock Flea Market

English punk rock group "Sex Pistols" performs onstage in 1978 black-and-white photo
File photo: English punk rock group “Sex Pistols” get a form of audience participation on January 7, 1978 in Memphis, Tenn., during the second stop of their American tour. (AP Photo)
  • Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd St.
  • When: Friday, Dec. 15, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $10, admission covers the entire weekend

That one family member or loved one who’s a little “eclectic” and therefore hard to shop for? The Philly Punk Rock Flea Market is here to help. The three-day event is more than just music — it incorporates all the items that could be classified as “punk,” from apparel and instruments to art and jewelry.

Festively Fly Holiday Market

  • Where: Location 215, 990 Spring Garden St., St. 103
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 16, noon – 8 p.m.
  • How much: $25

Entrepreneur Meeka Johnson of All Black Everything Pop Up hosts weekday shopping shows on Instagram Live to promote Black businesses. On Saturday, she takes the pop-up offline for the Festively Fly Holiday Market, a curated in-person event where various Black-owned entrepreneurs showcase their wares. Live music deejays and a wine bar are other incentives.

 A Merry Laurel Hill Christmas

Laurel Hill Cemetery illuminated at night in February 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

You may not have previously considered that a local cemetery would be a locale rich in Christmas history, but Laurel Hill East’s “A Merry Laurel Hill Christmas” proves otherwise. The guided tour includes the graves of Philadelphians who influenced the holiday in various ways. Magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale helped popularize the Christmas tree (and advocated for the celebration of Thanksgiving), restaurateur James Wood Parkinson introduced the concept of using “Santas” as promotional vehicles, and on Christmas Day in 1776, Gen. Hugh Mercer was part of the contingent that crossed the Delaware with George Washington ahead of the victorious Battle of Trenton.

Arts & Culture

A Queer Christmas Carol

  • Where: The Painted Mug Cafe, 1527 Jackson St. 
  • When: Friday, Dec. 15, Saturday, Dec. 16, Sunday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $10 – $30, pay what you can, $10 for the digital version available Wednesday, Dec. 20 – Monday, Jan. 1.

A holiday favorite but geared to the queer community? Say less! The Hum ‘n’bards troupe performs A Queer Christmas Carol at The Painted Mug Cafe. It’s a remake of the classic tale but all the characters are gay. Imagine Ebenezer Scrooge as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and go from there.

 South Philly Book Crawl

  • Where: Multiple venues, starting at Headhouse Market, 2nd and Lombard streets
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 16, noon
  • How much: $15 

The South Philly Book Crawl is not just a literary excursion, it’s a fundraising effort for The Angry Grammarian, a literary musical coming to Philly in March 2024. The crawl starts at 2nd and Lombard streets and heads to seven bookstores, including Head House Books, Black and Nobel, Garland of Letters, and The Philly Game Shop.

The Roots Art Show

Billed as an Afrocentric Winter Wonderland, the Roots Art Show provides a space for vendors and Black artists to come together and create and showcase their works. A variety of artistic disciplines are represented, including live performers. Food and drink are available for purchase onsite to enhance the good vibes.

Schindler’s List: 30th Anniversary Screening

Steven Spielberg in 1994 waves as he exits a vehicle
File photo: Film director Steven Spielberg waves as he leaves the Elysee Palace after his talks with French President Francois Mitterrand in Paris, March 1, 1994. On Monday, Spielberg and French first lady Danielle Mitterrand led a ceremony in Paris, marking the European premiere of Spielberg’s film, “Schindler’s List,” which has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of “Schindler’s List,” the Weitzman Museum of American Jewish History is screening the film. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Liam Neeson, it’s a dramatization of the real-life story of Oskar Schindler, who saved over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust by hiring them to work in his factory. It won seven Oscars in 1994, including Best Picture and Best Director.


Children’s Holiday Spectacular

The Philadelphia Orchestra and its featured vocalists bring musical cheer for all ages to Verizon Hall with its Children’s Holiday Spectacular. The set list includes sing-along seasonal tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Let it Go” from “Frozen” and other selections including “The Nutcracker Suite.” But get those tickets quickly, as they’re going fast.


Tina Fey & Amy Poehler: Restless Leg Syndrome

Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, right, pose for a photo together on the red carpet
File photo: Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler arrive at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Actresses and comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler each have an enviable list of credits to their resume, including projects they’ve worked on together, from “Saturday Night Live” to “30 Rock” to 2008’s hilarious film “Baby Mama.” Now they’re putting their 30-year friendship to the test by going on the road together on The Restless Leg tour. It comes to Philly for four shows from Thursday through Saturday.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra loves Christmas — we know that because they recorded a Christmas trilogy — and you will, too, if you check them out on The Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour at the Wells Fargo Center. The show includes the band’s classic Christmas songs as well as their greatest hits.

York Street Hustle Holiday Celebration

The York Street Hustle is a band that makes nostalgia sound good with their blend of big-band, jazz, Motown, and R&B. So it should be no surprise that they’re hosting their 11th annual Holiday Celebration at World Cafe Live. Tanqueray Howard joins the South Philly-created 10-piece multiracial band.


An ensemble of 100 tuba, sousaphone and euphonium players from the region, perform a TubaChristmas concert. (Kriston Jae Bethel for WHYY)

Tubachristmas celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The seasonal celebration of big brass returns to Philly Sunday at the Cherry Street Pier. The annual event held around the world has a sweet backstory: It was created by a musician to pay homage to his music teacher, who was born on Christmas Day.

 The Philadelphia Orchestra: The Glorious Sounds of Christmas

For most folks in the city, it’s Christmas time! But for the Philadelphia Orchestra, it means they’re working overtime to do their part to make it wonderful. Their annual concert, “The Glorious Sounds of Christmas,” includes vocalist Charlotte Blake Alston and popular guest conductor William Eddins, continuing the tradition established by Eugene Ormandy in 1962. Come early on Friday for the free Silent Night Sing-In.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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