Nutcracker, Cinderella, Rudolph, more holiday classics light up Triangle stages
Posted November 22, 2016
Updated November 25, 2016
Live performances - from the classic Nutcracker to the zany Cinderella to the long-running A Christmas Carol - have become Christmas traditions for many families across the Triangle.
We are lucky to have so many options at a variety of different price points, making a trip to see something affordable for many families.
Before we get started on the list, I'll answer a common question that I get about these shows: What's the best age recommendation for these? My answer: It depends on the child. My younger daughter sat through the entire Nutcracker at age 3 completely mesmerized. I know not every three-year-old could do that.
Some questions to ask yourself about your child before you get the tickets: Are you OK if your child doesn't sit through the entire show or gets too tired to take part in all of the activities, especially considering the expense of some of the tickets? For evening performances, does your child do well past her bedtime?
Here's a good rule of thumb for live shows that a producer of family shows shared with me years ago: If your child is able to quietly sit through an entire movie of about 90 minutes to two hours, he's probably ready to sit through a live show.
Here's the rundown of live performances in the region. Some of these will sell out. Be sure to get your tickets!
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is that the Durham Performing Arts Center from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4. The run includes a special sensory-friendly performance on Dec. 3.
Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella runs Dec. 2 to Dec. 18. This long-time Raleigh favorite is a tradition for the community theater. It's a holiday-themed show. The big ball is set during Christmas. And it's hilarious. The stepsisters are played by men. The cast comes out into the audience to try on Cinderella's slippers. The fairy godmother is both kind and witty. My kids love this show, which runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $33 each for most shows. Love this one! Tickets will sell out!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer returns to the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh for shows from Nov. 25 to Dec. 24. Tickets start at $20. This show, which is faithful to the TV holiday special classic, is great for younger children.
Disney on Ice returns to the PNC Arena for shows Dec. 8 to Dec. 11. While it's not a full-on holiday show, it's definitely a seasonal favorite that families look forward to this time of year. This year, the show's focus is "Follow Your Heart," pulling in characters from many Disney movies. Tickets start at $10.
Theatre in the Park's A Christmas Carol runs Dec. 7 to Dec. 18, starting at the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh and wrapping up at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The theater is celebrating the 42nd anniversary of this class holiday show. Tickets start at $30. This show runs about 2.5 hours with a 20 -minute intermission.
The N.C. Symphony has a variety of concerts coming up, including Thanksgiving weekend concerts and more holiday-themed performances in December.
And we have lots of Nutcrackers!
The Carolina Ballet runs Dec. 3 to Dec. 24 this year. It moves quite a bit around the Triangle, starting at Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill, moving to Durham Performing Arts Center and, finally, landing at Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. In addition to the dance, costumes and story, special magic during the party scenes of the first act make this production very kid friendly. Ticket prices depend on where you see it, but they generally start around $30 each (plus fees) and go up.
The City Ballet will present its 24th annual performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 at Stewart Theater at N.C. State University. Tickets start at $15. The production features students from the City Ballet along with professional dancers from the Carolina Ballet.
The Triangle Youth Ballet will present The Nutcracker on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 at Robert C. Hanes Theater in Chapel Hill. It moves over to the Carolina Theatre in Durham on Dec. 10. Tickets are between $10 and $27.
The Cary Ballet Company will present two versions of its two versions of Nutcracker at the Cary Arts Center. The Nutcracker is designed for all ages. The Nutcracker Suite performance is one hour and designed for young families. Tickets start at $7 for the Nutcracker Suite and $25 for the full performance.
Infinity Ballet in Apex will present Dances from The Nutcracker Suite on Dec. 2, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 Halle Cultural Arts Center in downtown Apex.
The Jill M. Taylor Dance Company will present The Nutcracker on Dec. 10 at Wakefield High School in north Raleigh. Tickets start at $15 in advance.
Destiny Dance Institute will perform A Winter Gala at Heritage High School in Wake Forest on Dec. 4. It includes a modified version of The Nutcracker, along with performances from the studio's jazz, tap and hip hop companies. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for ages 18 and under.
Barriskill Dance Theater in Durham presents The Nutcracker on Dec. 16 to Dec. 18 at Reynolds Theater on the campus of Duke University. Tickets start at $15.