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25 Connecticut holiday shows happening soon

Hartford Courant logo Hartford Courant 12/2/2021 Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant
The Hip-Hop Nutcracker featuring Kurtis Blow is at The Bushnell Dec. 17. © Provided by Hartford Courant The Hip-Hop Nutcracker featuring Kurtis Blow is at The Bushnell Dec. 17.

Christmas can’t come soon enough for some people. Stores are already being decorated, and theaters are beginning to bring in the holiday shows. Here — listed in the order in which they are happening, from now through Dec. 19 — are 25 upcoming seasonal theater shows and concerts to get you in the holiday mood.

It’s an eclectic selection, from Celtic to improv to Peanuts to the Million Dollar Quartet, not to mention Nutcrackers sweet, short and spicy.

Don’t wait until the 12 days of Christmas to get tickets. You’ll notice that many of these shows start happening right around Thanksgiving.

Nutcracker Short and Suite: Ballet Hartford. Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Wadsworth Mansion, 421 Wadsworth St., Middletown. $30, $20 children.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play: Hartford Stage can’t present its usual holiday fare, “A Christmas Carol,” this season, so has substituted a stage adaptation of a different holiday classic about a man whose worldview is changed entirely, because it’s Christmas. Connecticut playwright Joe Landry’s version, staged as if it was a live Golden Age Radio broadcast, has had hundreds of productions throughout the country. Nov. 26 through Dec. 26 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. $30-$100.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage: A human version of the first “Peanuts” special comes to the Shubert, 254 College St., New Haven, Nov. 27 at 1 and 5 p.m. $34-$56.

Elf on the Shelf: The much-mocked sedentary toy has his own nationally touring holiday show, also starring Santa’s Scout Elves. At the Oakdale, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford on Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. $20-$59.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Nov. 28 at The Bushnell. The national tour of the stage version of the beloved stop-motion special about a deer, a dentist, a yeti and a grizzled prospector. For the stage, the show has been expanded to include another of composer Johnny Marks’ holiday hits, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Two performances, at 1 and 5 p.m.; the earlier one is sensory friendly/relaxed. $35-$82.

Christmas on the Rocks: TheaterWorks Hartford’s homegrown hipster holiday cartoon psychology session “Christmas on the Rocks” is back for its ninth season. (Its eighth was virtual.) It’s a brash collection of comical scenes written by some major American playwrights, each showing a celebrated character from a Christmas TV special walking into a bar. Ted Lange plays the bartender. Recommended for ages 16 and up. Dec. 2-23. 233 Pearl St., Hartford. $40-$55.

A Christmas Story — The Musical: The Broadway musical based on the movie comedy, which in turn was based on stories by Jean Shepherd, with songs from the same team that later wrote “Dear Evan Hansen.” Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Palace Theater, 100 East Main St. Waterbury. $49-$79.

Tchaikovsky & Grieg: Hartford Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky’s landmark Christmastime composition “The Nutcracker” and two works by Edvard Grieg. Dec. 3-5 at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford.

Boston Pops Holiday Concert: The annual visit of Keith Lockhart, conducting the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. Also visiting: Santa. Dec. 4 at 8 p.m.

Video: Christmas Tree Lit On Boston Common (CBS Boston)


My Christmas List — A Pandemic Yuletide Tale: A Sea Tea Improv special event. Dec. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. $15. Sea Tea Comedy Theater, 15 Asylum Street, Hartford.

An Improvised Christmas Carol: Dec. 9-19 at Sea Tea Comedy Theater, 15 Asylum Street, Hartford. Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. $18, $10 children.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze: A touring holiday-themed circus show stocked with “ballerinas, nutcrackers, snowmen, penguins, reindeer, ethereal aerialists, gingerbread people, carolers and colossal ornaments.” Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. $29-$177.50.

The Nutcracker: Woodbury Ballet. Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Palace Theater, 100 East Main St., Waterbury. $28-$48.

Holiday Cirque Spectacular: Hartford Symphony Orchestra brings back its popular seasonal blend of classical music, acrobatics and holiday cheer. The touring troupe Cirque de la Symphonie performs alongside the HSO. Dec. 11 at 2 and 7 p.m. $27-$64.50.

Annual Marion Meadows Holiday Show: The jazz saxophonist and his friends, with their annual carol-filled jam. on Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ($30-$50) and the jam band Kung Fu’s annual Toys for Tots benefit Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ($20).

Ballet Theatre Company’s The Nutcracker: From West Hartford. Dec. 11 and 12 at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. $43-$78.

The Nutcracker Suite & Spicy: CONNectic Dance’s audacious modern reworking of Tchaikovsky, directed by Carolyn Paine, is a virtual delight this year, streaming for free Dec. 11-31.

A Merry Little Christmas Carol: A script-in-hand, radio-theater-styled version of “A Christmas Carol,” written and directed by Mark Shanahan. Dec. 13-18 at Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport. Ticket prices yet to be announced.

Christmas with the Celts: An Irish holiday concert. Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ridgfield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield. $47.50.

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams — A Very Slambovian Christmas: The endlessly creative multi-styled jam band in the groovy outfits hold a Christmas bash. Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. at Infinity Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford. $29-$44.

Kung Fu’s annual Toys for Tots benefit: The jam band’s fan bring piles of toys and lots of charity cash to this annual feel-good rock concert. Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. $20.

Hip Hop Nutcracker: National tour. Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. $23-$92.

Million Dollar Quartet Christmas: The hit off-Broadway show about a real-life get-together of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, has been rethought as a Christmas revue. Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theater, 100 East Main St., Waterbury. $36-$66.

The John Valby XXXmas Show: Vulgar comedian and piano player John Valby has been crooning dirty ditties at Toad’s Place for decades. He’s put together a special saucy holiday show of song parodies and foul-mouthed patter. Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. $15. 300 York St., New Haven.

Jim Brickman — The Gift of Christmas: Annual holiday concert by the gentle pianist. Dec. 19 at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. $43-$78.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at


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