'Tis the 2013 season of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, caroling concerts and other holiday shows in San Francisco. Since this is the Bay Area, we get productions faithful to the originals as well as zany spin-offs, which are listed in chronological order below. If you're on a budget, be sure to check our Free Christmas and Holiday Events guide. Nearly all of the offerings in that guide and below are suitable for kids.
The Dickens classic is tweaked, told from the perspective of the ghost, Jacob Marley, who's trying to reform Scrooge, his greedy old partner.
At Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley 94941. General admission tickets $37-58.
Nov. 22-Dec. 28
Clever, sensuous, humorous and beautiful vignettes composed of dance ranging from classical ballet to flirty jazz to rollicking tap, set to music as varied as Christmas carols and Elvis.
Nov. 22-23 at Lesher Center for the Performing Arts, Walnut Creek; Nov. 29-30, Bankhead Theater, Livermore; Dec. 6–7, Sunset Center, Carmel; Dec. 11–15, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; Dec. 18–28, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Ticket prices vary.
Nov. 23-Dec. 22 weekends, & Nov. 29, at 10 am-7 pm
Victorian London is re-created in the Bay Area with decorated lanes, shops full of Christmas finds, roving carolers, pubs, high tea, dance and stage performances for all ages, and characters such as Father Christmas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and even Charles Dickens.
At Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City 94014. Ticket prices vary.
Nov. 29-Dec. 15
ODC/Dance’s adaptation of the Margery Williams classic about a child’s toy rabbit that becomes real. The tale of love, hope and loyalty moves even cynical adults.
At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. Tickets $20-75.
Through Dec. 31
San Francisco Symphony's specials include Peter and the Wolf with John Lithgow narrating (Dec. 14); evenings with Dianne Reeves and composer Burt Bacharach; 'Twas the Night (Dec. 22-24), a sing-along show of holiday favorites with the SFS Chorus and organ accompaniment; Handel's Messiah (Dec. 19-21); and a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball.
At Davies Symphony Hall, Grove St. at Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102. Tickets $15 and up; some concerts half-price for ages 17 and under.
Dec. 5-22; Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 7 pm
Four drag queens (Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin, Pollo Del Mar) perform two Christmas episodes of the 1980s sitcom/cult classic.
At Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $30.
Scrooge (and any humbugs in the audience) learns important lessons from the Christmas ghosts and Tiny Tim, in Dickens’ immortal story.
American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco 94102. Tickets $20-150.
Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF performs a Nutcracker catered to kids (over age 2): Packed with action and live music. Condensed to 50 minutes. All performances are matinees. Afterward, the cast meets the audience for pictures.
At Fort Mason, Building D, Southside Theater, Marina Blvd. at Buchanan St., San Francisco. Tickets $18, 28.
San Francisco Ballet has special claim to the magical Christmastime ballet that's produced in cities nationwide: It was the first company to dance Nutcracker in America, in 1944. Artistic director Helgi Tomasson's production is set in San Francisco in 1915.
At War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102. Tickets $25-315.
The Dickens classic is moved to contemporary San Francisco and centers on Carole, a cranky corporate secretary with a Scrooge of a boss. The Ghost of Christmas Bonuses and its colleagues bear messages about consumerism and other modern-day ills.
At the Creativity Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 4th St., San Francisco. Tickets: Adults, $20; ages 14 & under, $10.