The holiday season has arrived and some familiar faces have returned to Vancouver’s theatre and arts scene. The nutcracker prince is ready steal Clara’s heart. Ebenezer Scrooge is ready to embark on his epic Christmas Eve journey with the three spirits.
This year, there are three distinct versions of Scrooge’s journey – the classic one, an East Vancouver-themed production, and a twisted adult-themed puppet version.
Orchestras and choirs are set to serenade us with their harmonious renditions of Christmas carols. And while not technically Christmas-related, Belle and the Beast are joining us for the holidays, along with the whole crew including Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and yes…even bad boy Gaston. The more the merrier, right?
Whether you’re looking for some great entertainment to enjoy with your family, friends or significant other, here’s a rundown of some of the top theatre, dance and musical performances in and around Vancouver this holiday season. Cheers!
As warm and wonderful as the holidays are, there’s also a lot of stress and anxiety leading up to the big day. Arts Club Theatre Company has brought back the hilarious comedy The Day Before Christmas, which many audiences will be able to relate to. The play, which ironically was written by two playwrights who hate Christmas, centres on Alex, a perfectionist intent on holding onto her Christmas traditions, despite a turbulent whirlwind of family, work and other personal issues. This year’s production has some fresh new energy as it features two new leads, Jennifer Copping and Paul Herbert.
The Vancouver Bach Choir presents its annual concert, featuring over 400 singers. Performers of all ages, including children as young as five, will harmonize together while singing a selection of traditional Christmas carols, along with works by Bach. Performed in the stunning Orpheum Theatre, this is a grand way to celebrate the holidays, especially for those who enjoy the classics.
This racy, adults-only puppet show offers its own twisted version of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Performed by acclaimed puppet master Ronnie Burkett, this version’s take on Ebenezer Scrooge is a female diva by the name of Esmé Massengill. She’s miserable, drunk and bitter. Watching her claw at the three spirits as they try to steer her onto the road to redemption will be quite the holiday treat!
Arts Club Theatre Company has brought back one of its long-time favourites, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This Broadway stage production of the Academy Award-winning film has been enjoyed by generations. This production will feature brand new sets and costumes. As Belle, Shannon Chan-Kent leads a talented, multi-racial cast of performers who represent some of the top talent in the city. This “tale as old as time” will be sure to captivate the hearts of audiences of all ages.
Where: Stanley Industrial Alliance State – 2750 Granville St, Vancouver
When: December 6 to January 13
Tickets: From Arts Club Theatre Company, $29-$119
Yet another unique take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, this production is a local-flavoured, modern-day version set in East Vancouver. It addresses current social issues such as the housing crisis, poverty, addiction and the struggle for reconciliation. Featuring a cast of diverse talent, including many First Nations artists, Bah Humbug! is celebrating its eighth year.
There have been many versions of Charles Dicken’s classic tale, but the original Christmas Carol never goes out of style. Join Gateway Theatre and be transported back to Christmas Eve in 20th Century London, where an old miser by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, when three spirits lead him through his past, present and future. A poignant tale of family, love, forgiveness and redemption, this perennial Christmas story will give you all the feels.
Where: Gateway Theatre – 6500 Gilbert Rd, Richmond
When: December 7 to 24
Tickets: From Gateway Theatre, $27.62-$52.38
There’s something magical about hearing your favourite Christmas carols played with the grandeur and eloquence of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. That’s why the orchestra’s annual holiday concert, A Traditional Christmas, is such a must-see event. This family-friendly concert series is held at venues throughout the Lower Mainland such as St. Andrew Wesley Church in Vancouver, Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver and the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. So go ahead and bring your friends, family or a date, and sing-a-long to some old-time favs.
Where: Various Venues
When: December 8 to 17
Tickets: From Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, $35-$43
The Nutcracker is perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas traditions. Set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious musical score, Vancouver audiences will have two opportunities to enjoy this beloved ballet. From December 14 to 19, The Goh Ballet, which will feature two principal dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet, will perform its production at the Centre of Performing Arts, accompanied by the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
Next, Alberta Ballet will bring its spectacular Calgary production of The Nutcracker to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from December 28 to 30. Accompanied by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Alberta Ballet will be joined onstage by over 80 local children from dance schools across the Lower Mainland.
Bring On Tomorrow Co. along with Kay Meek and Creber Music Productions present a musical version of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless story, Little Women. Telling the heartfelt story of four sisters in 20th century New England, this production hopes to deliver Alcott’s inspiring message of strong, independent women and sisterhood to new generations of audiences. The show features Ranae Miller, recently seen this summer as Mary Poppins with Theatre Under the Stars, along with other talented young performers Michelle Creber, Jennifer Gillis and Julia MacLean. William Tippery plays the cute boy-next-door. Because what story is complete without one?
Where: The Grosvenor Theatre at the Kay Meek Centre – 1700 Mathers Ave, West Vancouver
When: December 27 to 30
Tickets: From Kay Meek, $25-$39