“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” will be staged at the Fox Theatre.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” will be staged at the Fox Theatre.

Photo provided by 313 Presents

Bask in the warm glow cast by holiday shows

By: K. Michelle Moran | Metro | Published November 17, 2021

 The Motor City Brass Band will perform seasonal tunes at the Ford Performing Arts Center.

The Motor City Brass Band will perform seasonal tunes at the Ford Performing Arts Center.

Photo provided by the Motor City Brass Band

 “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” brings modern dance and sounds to the classic holiday ballet.

“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” brings modern dance and sounds to the classic holiday ballet.

Photo by Tim Norris, provided by Broadway in Detroit

 Santa will join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the DSO’s “Home for the Holidays” concerts.

Santa will join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the DSO’s “Home for the Holidays” concerts.

Photo provided by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra


METRO DETROIT — With most theaters now operating again, the holiday show tradition returns to stages throughout the area, warming hearts of all ages with music, dance and plays.

For many families, the holidays aren’t complete without seeing Meadow Brook Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.” Thomas D. Mahard is back as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Chris Bertini, of St. Clair Shores, is Tiny Tim for the 39th annual production, which runs Nov. 19-Dec. 23 on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester. For tickets or more information, call (248) 377-3300 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.mbtheatre.com.

“We know things everywhere are different this year, but I hope that people will find comfort and joy in the familiarity of ‘A Christmas Carol,’” MBT Artistic Director Travis Walter said via email. “This is our largest cast of the season. While delivering a powerful show to audiences throughout the holiday season, the cast and crew becomes a family itself. Professional actors work side by side with local children, and the playful energy and friendships forged create a real family atmosphere both on and offstage.”

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, located on the main campus of Macomb Community College in Clinton Township, features the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys” in “The Midtown Men Holiday Hits” Dec. 3, Macomb Symphony Orchestra’s “Holidays in Orchestral Color” Dec. 5, the PRISM Men’s Chorus’ “Holiday Concert — Simply the Best” Dec. 10, “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas” Dec. 11 and Macomb Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” Dec. 17-19. For tickets, call (586) 286-2222 or visit www.macombcenter.com.

“This year at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, we have a fantastic selection of shows to brighten the holidays,” Macomb Center Marketing Assistant Deborah McAleer said via email. “We are proud to be the only presenting organization offering professional productions in Macomb County. So if you love the glitz of Broadway and holiday music sung by the best in the business, then you won’t want to miss ‘The Midtown Men Holiday Hits’ and ‘Million Dollar Quartet Christmas.’ We also have plenty of wonderful holiday entertainment from our community partners, including the Macomb Ballet Company, the Macomb Symphony Orchestra and PRISM Men’s Chorus. We are thrilled to welcome the community back to experience the magic of live theater.”

313 Presents offers “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” Dec. 3-5, a Christmas concert with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith Dec. 9, “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” Dec. 11, “A Magical Cirque Christmas” Dec. 12, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis” Dec. 18, and 105.1 The Bounce Holiday Heat with Ludacris, Nelly and Trina Dec. 19, all at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.  97.9 WJLB presents the “Big Holiday Show” with Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, Moneybagg Yo, Babyface Ray, Trick Trick and Polo Frost Dec. 17 and Trans-Siberian Orchestra Dec. 28 at Little Caesars Arena. For tickets, call (800) 745-3000 or visit www.313presents.com.

In addition, Magic of Lights is back at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston Nov. 19- Jan. 1. For tickets, visit https://magicoflights.com/events/clarkston.

“In 2020, 313 Presents was excited to debut Magic of Lights at DTE Energy Music Theatre, which provided families the opportunity to take in dazzling holiday lights from the safety and comfort of their own vehicles,” 313 Presents President Howard Handler said by email. “The return to live in July allows us to expand our holiday offerings, once again featuring a variety of programming at our venues across Metro Detroit, including treasured holiday favorites at the Fox Theatre and Little Caesars Arena.”

Broadway in Detroit brings three very different entertainment options to the stage during the holidays: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” featuring rap pioneer Kurtis “The Breaks” Blow, Dec. 5 at the Detroit Opera House, re-envisions Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet; “Jersey Boys,” Dec. 12-18 at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit, tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; and Pulitzer Prize finalist “What the Constitution Means to Me” is at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit Dec. 14-Jan. 2. For tickets, visit www.BroadwayinDetroit.com, www.ticketmaster.com or (800) 982-2787.

“We’re very excited to welcome our patrons back to the theater this season,” said Broadway in Detroit Marketing Director Scott Myers by email. “Families are going to love the ‘Hip Hop Nutcracker’ at the Detroit Opera House, ‘Jersey Boys’ is a great holiday date night at Music Hall, and for anyone who loves a good thought-provoking piece of theater, we have ‘What The Constitution Means To Me’ at the Fisher.”

Holiday concerts inside Orchestra Hall at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit — home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra — include legendary jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves in “Christmas Time is Here” Dec. 3, conductor Thomas Wilkins leading the orchestra in the Young People’s Family Concert Series entry “Winter Wonderland” Dec. 11, the John Williams-scored “‘Home Alone’ in Concert” featuring the beloved family film Dec. 15, and conductor Stuart Chafetz leading the DSO and vocalist Michael Preacely in the “Home for the Holidays” concerts Dec. 17-19, which also include a visit from Santa. For tickets, call (313) 576-5111 or visit www.detroitsymphony.com.

“Holiday programming at the DSO is a cherished tradition,” DSO Senior Director of Artistic Planning Jessica Ruiz said by email. “Year after year, friends and families gather to enjoy live music experiences and create lasting holiday memories. From staple offerings like ‘Home for the Holidays’ and ‘“Home Alone” in Concert,’ to Paradise Jazz Series and family performances, there’s something for everyone this season at the DSO.”

For belly laughs that would get Santa’s approval, Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale presents its 12th annual original holiday show, “The Santa of the Opera,” Nov. 26-Dec. 23. For tickets or more information, call (248) 327-0575 or visit www.gocomedy.net.

Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings perform their annual Holiday Brass concert with Measure for Measure Dec. 4 at Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Hills and with Madrigal Chorale Dec. 5 at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. For tickets, visit https://detroitchamberwinds.org or call (248) 559-2095.

“Melding the majesty of a large brass choir, outstanding choruses, and spectacular churches, this DCWS seasonal celebration has been captivating audiences for four decades,” DCWS President Maury Okun said via email.

The holidays shine boldly with the Motor City Brass Band’s “Sounds of the Season” concert Dec. 19 at the Ford Community Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. For tickets or more information, call (248) 788-6618 or visit www.mcbb.org.

“Nothing says holiday like the sound of brass, and our 30-member brass band will celebrate the season in style,’’ MCBB Musical Director and Conductor Craig Strain said via email. “Motor City Brass Band is known for its innovative and entertaining performances, delivering on the promise that ‘It’s more than a concert ... It’s a SHOW!’”

Check with individual venues in advance for their COVID-19 safety protocols and requirements.