Surrounded by the company of “A Christmas Carol,” Thomas D. Mahard, center, plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Meadow Brook Theatre’s annual production.

Surrounded by the company of “A Christmas Carol,” Thomas D. Mahard, center, plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Meadow Brook Theatre’s annual production.

Photo by Sean Carter Photography, provided by Meadow Brook Theatre


Holiday shows set the stage for merry moments

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published November 19, 2018

 The acclaimed ensemble Canadian Brass will perform new and traditional carols Dec. 8 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

The acclaimed ensemble Canadian Brass will perform new and traditional carols Dec. 8 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

Photo courtesy of the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

 The family opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” will be staged at several metro Detroit venues in December.

The family opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” will be staged at several metro Detroit venues in December.

Photo provided by the Michigan Opera Theatre

METRO DETROIT — If your holidays are more hectic or ho-hum than happy, there’s nothing like toe-tapping seasonal tunes and timeless tales to get you in the spirit, so grab your coat and head out to one of the many festive productions brightening local stages this year.

• The Vienna Boys Choir will perform at Orchestra Hall in Detroit Nov. 25. Under the direction of conductor Lawrence Loh, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present its bestselling “Home for the Holidays” concerts Dec. 21-23, featuring carols, classics, a visit from Santa, vocalist Meredith Lustig, the Lake Orion High School  chorale and chamber choir, and the Bloomfield Hills High School chamber choir and The Jills. Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos will lead the DSO in a performance of the John Williams score for “Home Alone” as the movie plays on the big screen Dec. 19. In some non-DSO shows, singer Storm Large will present “Holiday Ordeal” Dec. 10, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio will play the jazzy soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Dec. 7, and the Young People’s Family Concert presentation of “The Snowman,” for ages 6 and older, will be Dec. 8; before “The Snowman,” Sean Dobbins and Friends will perform a Dr. Seuss-themed Tiny Tots concert for ages 2-6. Performances will take place in one of the venues inside the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. 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 by email. “We feel honored that so many people have made it a tradition to visit Orchestra Hall during the holidays, and unique programming like the Vienna Boys Choir or ‘Home Alone’ makes what we do here even more exciting.”

• Brighten the season with Lightwire Theater’s “A Very Electric Christmas,” a heartwarming tale about a young bird who gets separated from his parents while heading south for the winter and goes on a quest to find them by Christmas. Told with electroluminescent puppetry, this tale combines technology, modern sculpture, beloved holiday songs and dance Nov. 25 at the Music Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Detroit. Tickets: www.musichall.org or (313) 887-8501.

“We are so fortunate that our modern Christmas tradition continues with our friends from Lightwire Theater,” Music Hall President and Creative Director Vince Paul said by email. “They are in demand all over the world but always find time for Detroit since our friendship began in 2007.”

• 313 Presents will feature “Elf: The Musical” through Nov. 25, John Legend’s “A Legendary Christmas” Dec. 6, The Piano Guys’ “Christmas Together Tour” Dec. 7, “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” Dec. 15, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis Dec. 16, “A Christmas Story, the Musical” Dec. 20-22, and the Moscow Ballet presents: The Great Russian Nutcracker “Dove of Peace” tour Dec. 23, all at the Fox Theatre, in downtown Detroit; “‘Twas a Girls Night Before Christmas: The Musical” Dec. 13-16 at City Theatre, inside Hockeytown Café; and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” Dec. 29 at Little Caesars Arena. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or www.313presents.com.

• The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, on the main campus of Macomb Community College in Clinton Township, will bring a classic production of Handel’s Messiah by the Metropolitan Detroit Chorale Nov. 25, and Canadian Brass will play new and traditional carols with flair Dec. 8. Tickets: (586) 286-2222 or www.macombcenter.com.

“We are very excited about presenting the Canadian Brass,” Macomb Center Director of Cultural Affairs and Community Engagement William R. Wood said via email. “They are an iconic ensemble that has been presenting great performances around the world for over four decades. Their concerts are legendary for the virtuosity of their playing and their ability to incorporate wit and humor into their performances.”

• The Michigan Opera Theatre, at the Detroit Opera House in downtown Detroit, will feature BalletMet’s “The Nutcracker” — an MOT tradition since 2002 — Nov. 24 and 25; the 17th annual rousing jazz-gospel version of Handel’s Messiah, “Too Hot to Handel,” Dec. 1 with leading jazz musicians and vocalists; and the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus, featuring some of the top student singers in the region, performing “A Winter Fantasy” Dec. 2. MOT will present “Amahl and the Night Visitors” — a family-friendly opera about a meeting between a poor boy and the three wise men — Dec. 9 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms, at Most Holy Redeemer Church in Detroit Dec. 15 and at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township Dec. 22. Tickets: www.MichiganOpera.org or (313) 237-SING.

“‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ is a beautiful and ideal opera for children because the entire work is seen through the eyes of a child,” MOT Director of External Affairs Arthur White said in a press release. “All the beauty, magic and wonder are revealed in this story of faith and love.”

• Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings will present its annual “Holiday Brass” concerts of seasonal tunes for choir and a large brass ensemble. The group will be at Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Hills with the Stoney Creek High School choir Dec. 15, and on Dec. 16 it will be at St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Detroit with the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School choir. Tickets: detroitchamberwinds.org or (248) 559-2095.

“The holiday season is such a wonderful time for celebrating with beautiful music,” DCWS President Maury Okun said by email. “Our world-class artists partner with some of the area’s finest high school choirs to bring Detroit and Bloomfield Hills some of the most beloved holiday classics in beautiful and historic churches, and nothing says holiday cheer more than uplifting songs that everyone can enjoy!”

• For many families, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing “A Christmas Carol,” so for the 37th year, Meadow Brook Theatre — on the Oakland University campus in Rochester — will present the classic Charles Dickens tale of love and giving, which runs through Dec. 23. Tickets: (248) 377-3300, www.ticketmaster.com or www.mbtheatre.com.

“Families come back to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ year after year,” MBT Managing Director Cheryl Marshall said in a press release. “People who came as kids and have since grown up and moved away come home for the holidays and make sure to include us in their visits. We’re thrilled to be part of their family traditions during the holiday season.”

• Nigerian carols, Hanukkah songs and gospel-tinged Christmas favorites will be performed during a concert featuring celebrated pianist Alvin Waddles Dec. 8 at Congregational Church of Birmingham and presented by the Cranbrook Music Guild. Tickets: www.cranbrookmusicguild.org.

• The award-winning Detroit Concert Choir will present a Christmas concert Dec. 8 at St. Hugo of the Hills in Bloomfield Hills, at Old St. Mary’s in Greektown Dec. 9 and at the Macomb Center Dec. 16. Tickets: www.detroitconcertchoir.org or (313) 882-0118.

It’s not technically a holiday show, but it’s a great option for restless youngsters during the holidays: Disney’s “Aladdin,” featuring Royal Oak native Erik Hernandez, will be performed Dec. 12-Jan. 13 at the Detroit Opera House. Tickets: www.BroadwayinDetroit.com, www.ticketmaster.com or (800) 982-2787.