It's the time of year when most of us start to get a little crazy. Our savage, cosumerism instincts have kicked in and we're in dire need of downtime.
Let this list serve as your reminder: don't forget to take the time to kick back and relax as the holiday's approach. And what better way to do that than by picking up tickets to a local show? While you've been busy shopping, the folks who make up some of the Charlotte area's finest theater groups have been learning lines and fine-tuning seasonal productions. We've put together a list of 12 shows going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area. There's something for everyone, so we've divided the list in two groups — "Keeping it classy" for the folks who like more traditional fare and "Something different" for the folks who like a twist to the seasonal offerings. We also grouped a variety of Nutcracker performances together.
Keeping it Classy
A Christmas Carol This is the 10th year of this Theatre Charlotte production, which says a lot — largely that folks haven't gotten tired of the show based on Charles Dickens' classic. There's something about seeing the grumbly Ebenezer Scrooge visited by ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future that warms the spirit and will have you dropping the bah-humbugs in no time. $27. Dec. 7-9, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2:30 p.m. Theatre Charlotte, 501 Queens Road. 704-376-3777. theatrecharlotte.org.
The Birth This is the 11th year of this Starving Artist Productions performance, which was nominated as "Theater Event of the Year," twice for CL's Best Of Charlotte in previous years. Drama mixes with music and dance for this reason for the season showdown. $15-$25. Dec. 14-17, 7 p.m. Duke Energy Theater, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000. blumenthalarts.org.
The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical Actor's Theatre of Charlotte is notorious for staging this cat fight twist on Christmas shenanigans. The musical is focused around a holiday decorating contest takes a turn for the worst when someone starts sabotaging the area. Oh, and as noted on ATC's website: "This year's trashiest Christmas celebration will be held at the Charlotte Ballet's Center for Dance. That's right: Class meet Crass!" $28-$50. Dec. 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9-10, 8 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 14-15, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Dec. 18, 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 20-22, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 23, 8 p.m. Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance, 701 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. atcharlotte.org.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Matthews Playhouse of Performing Arts presents this show about an unusual family that's chosen to host the church's annual pageant. Wise men with pizza and an angel that's straight out of a comic book? This clueless bunch might not have the story straight, but they sure as hell have some interesting ideas about how to give this Nativity some oomph. $11-$13. Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 3, 2 p.m.; Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 10-11, 2 p.m.; Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 17-18, 2 p.m. Matthews Community Center (Fullwood Theater), 100 McDowell St. East, Matthews. 704-846-8343. matthewsplayhouse.com.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical Children's Theatre of Charlotte are also staging an adaptation of playwright Barbara Robinson's Yuletide show, but there's a musical twist from Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner. Creative Loafing critic Perry Tannenbaum has already hit this show up and hails it as "a very gratifying achievement at Charlotte's fantasy palace." $22-$34. Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 10, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Dec. 17, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; Dec. 18, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Dec. 22, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; Dec. 23, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. ImaginOn (McColl Family Theatre), 300 E. 7th St. 704-973-2828. ctcharlotte.org.
Soulful Noel If you've never been to one of OnQ's seasonal Soulful Noel shows, this is the year to change all that. It's full of classic songs that get a soulful spin. One-night-only! $18-$30. Dec. 9, 8 p.m. McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000. blumenthalarts.org.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) This is a funny, fast-paced romp that's filled with characters you've come to associate with this time of year. The Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, George Bailey and more are all targets. Take it all in with a cold one. $24-$28. Dec. 9-10, 7 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2 p.m.; Dec. 16-17. 7 p.m.; Dec. 18, 2 p.m. NoDa Brewing Company, 2921 N. Tryon St. chickspeare.com.
Holly & Tinsel Lake Norman's Davidson Community Players are sprucing things up this year with Holly and Tinsel. When two families end up stranded at a diner due to a snow storm, they meet a waitress and a cook who remind them of the true meaning of Christmas. Sounds like greasiness and gratitude all in one. $12-$20. Runs through Dec. 18. Armour Street Theatre, 307 Armour St., Davidson. 704-892-7953. davidsoncommunityplayers.org.
Scrooge's Christmas Trolley Tour Though it's a bit of a tread to Salisbury, this was too good to skip past. The folks at Lee Street Theatre are presenting this theatrical experience that take folks on a trolley ride with stops at historic spots where scenes from the holiday classic will be acted out. $15-$20. Dec. 9-10, 6 p.m.-6:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m.-7:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-8:15 p.m., 8:15 p.m.-9 p.m. Also on Dec. 16, 17 and 23. Salisbury-Rowan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 204 E Innes St., Suite 120. 704-310-5507. leestreet.org.
Clara's Trip: A Cirque & Dance Nutcracker The folks at Caroline Calouche & Co. like to put their own special twist on this seasonal classic. The storyline revolves around Clara, who trips and breaks her ankle before a party. Her friends visit her in the hosiptal, which comes alive through twists and turns from professional dancers and aerialists. $25-$40. Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2 p.m. Booth Playhouse, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. blumenthalarts.org.
Charlotte Ballet: Nutcracker In it's most traditional form, the folks who make up Charlotte Ballet take an elegant approach to this classic. Complete with choreography from Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and live music from the Charlotte Symphony. $25 and up. Dec. 13-16, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 17-18, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 22-23, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. blumenthalarts.org.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker This is one of the most entertaining adaptations of the Nutcracker that I've seen yet. You can envision a scene of hip-hop (provided by a DJ/emcee), breakdancing and graffiti as the story is told in a creative, new way. $19.50 and up. Dec. 27-29, 7 p.m.; Dec. 30, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. blumenthalarts.org.