Turn up the cheer through the New Year with holiday happenings for the whole family.
More than 40,000 people see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker each year at the Academy of Music.
It’s called the most wonderful time of the year—but it can also be the most stressful. Let these awesome, thoroughly Philly seasonal events and two of the world’s most adored musicals provide a temporary respite.
More than 300 performers take the Kimmel Center stage for The Philly Pops’ annual Christmas show.
The orchestra that serenaded Pope Francis and shared the stage with Andrea Bocelli is gearing up for its holiday performance series. After 40 years, The Philly Pops are just as popular as ever: Their 10-show run at the Kimmel Center kicks off with the sold-out opener Christmas Salute on December 2, and plays through December 18. “We have over 300 musicians participating and a stirring presentation of traditional Christmas songs,” says Michael Krajewski, Pops music director. This season, the orchestra will be joined by renowned jazz singer Tony Desare.
A tradition dating back 45 years, the historic homes at Fairmount Park offer a stroll through six select addresses, each decked out in seasonal decorations, December 3–17. Over the first two weekends visitors can explore the homes, all which pre-date the American Revolution, and enjoy special food and music events. “We are excited for this year’s A Very Philly Christmas because the program includes events at the houses that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the city,” says Ed Miller, historic houses coordinator at Fairmount Park Conservancy.
Mayara Pineiro in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, which marks its 50th anniversary with the Pennsylvania Ballet this season.
The Pennsylvania Ballet is closing in on a half-century of performing George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music. The famed two-act ballet composed by Peter Tchaikovsky is seen by over 40,000 people each season and, this year, runs December 9–31. “It’s the perfect event to round out a winter day,” says Ángel Corella, artistic director for the Pennsylvania Ballet. On December 11 and 17, guests can join the Sugar Plum Fairy for tea after the performances.
The feel-good musical Mamma Mia! rounds out this season’s many family events.
Catch a break from the holiday hoopla with two productions known for their classic sing-songy scores: The stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz runs through January 8 at the Walnut Street Theatre while the farewell tour of Mamma Mia! hits the Merriam December 27–31. Lizzie Markson, an Allentown native, will play lead character Sophie in Mamma Mia! “Not only do I get to perform this infectiously uplifting show at a beautiful venue,” says Markson, “but also I get to share the experience with my friends and family.”