Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Nutcracker, Cinderella, Rudolph, more holiday classics light up Triangle stages

Posted November 17, 2015

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. (For more holiday events, news, crafts and recipe, see our Holiday Central page).

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!

Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella runs Dec. 4 to Dec. 20. 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. 27 to Dec. 30. Tickets start at $23. This show, which is faithful to the TV holiday special classic, is great for younger children. Bonus: We have a ticket deal if you get your tickets through Nov. 27!

Disney on Ice returns to the PNC Arena for shows Dec. 9 to Dec. 13. 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 features "100 years of magic," pulling in characters from all kinds of Disney movies over the years (including Anna and Elsa). Tickets start at $12.

Theatre in the Park's A Christmas Carol runs Dec. 9 to Dec. 20, starting at the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh and wrapping up at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The theater is celebrating the 41st anniversary of this class holiday show. It will sell out. 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 The Day Before Thanksgiving: A Frozen Journey on Nov. 25, featuring music from "The Polar Express" and "Frozen." There also are holiday pops concerts and a Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular in December.

Forest Moon Theater will present "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13 at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts. This fun family show features the Herdman kids, some of the most awful kids in town who end up bring a new meaning to the Christmas spirit. Advance tickets are $15 (plus tax) for adults and $13 (plus tax) for students/seniors.

And we have lots of Nutcrackers!

The Carolina Ballet runs Dec. 5 to Dec. 27 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 on Raleigh on Dec. 18 where it stays. 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 23rd annual performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12, at Stewart Theater at N.C. State University. Tickets start at $10. 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. 5 and Dec. 6 at Robert C. Hanes Theater in Chapel Hill. It moves over to the Carolina Theatre in Durham on Dec. 12. Tickets are between $10 and $27.

The Cary Ballet Company will present two versions of its A Very Cary Christmas at the Cary Arts Center. A Mini Very Cary Christmas show is 10 a.m., Dec. 20. The hour-long show is an introduction to the Nutcracker story. Tickets are $8 per person. The longer A Very Cary Christmas show runs Dec. 18 to Dec. 20 at the arts center. Tickets are $18.

Infinity Ballet in Apex will present Dances from The Nutcracker Suite on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 at Halle Cultural Arts Center in downtown Apex. Tickets are $6.

The Jill M. Taylor Dance Company will present The Nutcracker on Dec. 12 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. 6. It includes a modified version of The Nutcracker, along with performances from the studio's jazz, tap and hip hop companies. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for ages 18 and under.

Barriskill Dance Theater in Durham presents The Nutcracker on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 and Reynolds Theater on the campus of Duke University. Tickets are $25 to $30. They are $15 for ages 10 and under.

The North Carolina State Ballet will take the stage at Crown Complex Theatre in Fayetteville for shows Dec. 6, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13. Tickets are $19. Kids are $6.

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  • Eric Goodson Nov 18, 2015
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    Please don't forget the NRACT (North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre) show "Nuncrackers"! More on that at