Joined by the rest of the cast, Thomas D. Mahard, center, plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at Meadow Brook Theatre.

Joined by the rest of the cast, Thomas D. Mahard, center, plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at Meadow Brook Theatre.

Photo by Sean Carter Photography, provided by Meadow Brook Theatre


Holiday shows take a bow on local stages

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published November 29, 2017

 The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will again perform during a high-definition screening of the classic holiday film “Home Alone.”

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will again perform during a high-definition screening of the classic holiday film “Home Alone.”

Photo provided by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

 The Macomb Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” will be staged at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

The Macomb Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” will be staged at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

Photo provided by the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

METRO DETROIT — You could try to unwind and get into the holiday spirit by binge-watching heartwarming made-for-TV holiday movies — but then you’re still surrounded by all of the unwritten cards, unwrapped gifts and undecorated rooms awaiting your handiwork.

If you want to really find respite from the stresses of the season, a holiday show is probably the better way to go. And from traditional tales and concerts to modern laughs, some of the major venues in the Detroit area have plenty of options for families and grown-ups alike.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and guest artists will fill Orchestra Hall with seasonal sounds for people of all ages. The DSO — conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos — will accompany a high-definition screening of the classic film “Home Alone” Dec. 13; the pops series “Home for the Holidays” will feature the DSO — conducted by Jeff Tyzik — and vocalist Denzal Sinclaire, the Grosse Pointe South High School choirs, the Bloomfield Hills High School chamber choir, and The Jills Dec. 15-17; and the new vocal group Under the Streetlamp will sing holiday hits like “Run, Run Rudolph” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” Dec. 20. Tickets: (313) 576-5111 or www.detroitsymphony.com.

“The holiday season is one of our favorite times of year at the DSO, because there’s such variety in the events,” DSO Director of Audience Development Michael Frisco said in an email. “We feel honored that so many people have made it a tradition to visit Orchestra Hall during the holidays — for ‘Home Alone,’ ‘Home for the Holidays’ and other special concerts.”

Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Detroit will feature Grammy Award-winning singer Fantasia in “Christmas After Midnight” Dec. 2; the delightful European-style puppetry of PuppetART will perform the story “Banana for Turtle” Dec. 3 in Music Hall’s Jazz Café; and another family favorite, Lightwire Theatre, will stage “A Very Electric Christmas” Dec. 10. A tale of friendship, family and hope filled with holiday tunes, “A Very Electric Christmas” will brighten the stage literally and figuratively. New, unwrapped toys are being collected at the Lightwire Theatre performance for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. Tickets: (313) 887-8500 or www.musichall.org.

On Dec. 17 at the Detroit Opera House, the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus will perform its 10th annual “A Winter Fantasy” concert and fundraiser, featuring solos by MOTCC alumni and addresses by MOT CEO and President Wayne Brown and MOT founder and Artistic Director Emeritus David DiChiera. Some of the best local singers ages 8-16 have been members of MOTCC. On Dec. 16, the Detroit Opera House also hosts a great new tradition with the 16th annual performance of “Too Hot to Handel,” a jazz-gospel version of Handel’s “Messiah” featuring renowned soloists, the Rackham Symphony Choir and the Too Hot Orchestra, conducted by Suzanne Mallare Acton. Tickets: www.MichiganOpera.org or (313) 237-SING.

313 Presents — formerly Olympia Entertainment — will feature Cirque Dreams “Holidaze” Dec. 1-3, Neil Berg’s “Broadway Holiday” Dec. 10, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis Dec. 16, Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” Dec. 17 and “ELF the Musical” Dec. 20-24 at the Fox Theatre; “’Twas a Girls Night Before Christmas: The Musical” Dec. 14-17 at the City Theatre; and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Dec. 23 and the WWE Live Holiday Tour Dec. 27 at Little Caesars Arena. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or www.313presents.com.

Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings presents its annual “Holiday Brass” concerts Dec. 2 at Detroit’s historic St. John’s Episcopal Church and Dec. 3 at First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak. Musicians will be joined by the Metropolitan Detroit Chorale at the Detroit show and the Stoney Creek High School choir at the Royal Oak show. Tickets: (248) 559-2095 or www.detroitchamberwinds.org.

“This concert always involves new arrangements of traditional tunes filtered through the imagination of creative composers and arrangers,” said Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings President Maury Okun in a press release. “We like to create fun experiences while also keeping the artistic bar very high with quality performers, and the music that is performed is always interesting for the audience.”

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Meadow Brook Theatre’s classic production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which celebrates its 36th anniversary this year with shows through Dec. 24 at MBT, on the Oakland University campus in Rochester Hills. Thomas D. Mahard returns as Scrooge, and two local children — Ari Bigelman, of Bloomfield Hills, and Ethan Sharp, of Clarkston — alternate as Tiny Tim, the boy who helps Scrooge learn the true meaning of the season. For tickets or more information: (248) 377-3300, www.ticketmaster.com or www.mbtheatre.com. 

“This is our Christmas card to southeast Michigan,” said MBT Managing Director Cheryl Marshall in a press release. “We’re happy to be an important part of so many families’ holiday traditions. People of all ages look forward to it every year.”

Need some laughs? The Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale will stage the original holiday revue “Episode 8: The Last Magi” through Dec. 23, and the best-of holiday sketch revue “Naughty & Nice” will run Dec. 6-20. Tickets or more info: (248) 327-0575 or www.gocomedy.net.

Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will stage the original action spoof “Christmas Impossible” — a new adaptation of a 2003 Planet Ant comedy, “25” — through Dec. 16. Tickets: www.planetant.com.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, located on the Center Campus of Macomb Community College in Clinton Township, will entertain families and put smiles on faces with “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” Dec. 9; the Macomb Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 1-3; and the interactive play “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold” Dec. 19. Tickets: (586) 286-2222 or www.macombcenter.com.

“Start your holiday season with the classic performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker,’ offered in collaboration with the Macomb Ballet Company,” said Macomb Center Sales and Marketing Manager Kerrie L. Augustine by email. “Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the whole ‘Peanuts’ gang as they put on their own Christmas play and ultimately discover the true meaning of the season in ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage.’ Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season with ‘Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold.’ Sister will retell the story of the nativity, as only Sister can. This hilarious holiday production is bound to become a yearly classic and is the perfect way (to) unwind.  Gather your family and friends — we truly (have) something for everyone this holiday season!”