'Tis the 2012-2013 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 holiday offerings in that guide and below are suitable for kids.
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 $15 and up.
Everyman George Bailey learns about life in this live-radio play adaptation of Frank Capra’s movie.
At Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley 94941. General admission tickets $36-57.
Nov. 30-Dec. 24, various dates
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 $25-170.
Through Dec. 24
San Francisco Symphony's specials include Peter and the Wolf with Olympia Dukakis narrating; evenings with a mariachi ensemble, Natalie Cole, Judy Collins and the Count Basie Orchestra; ’Twas the Night (Dec. 22-24), a show of cozy seasonal favorites with the SFS Chorus and organ accompaniment; and of course Handel's Messiah (Dec. 13-15).
At Davies Symphony Hall. Tickets $15 and up; half-price for ages 17 and under.
Dec. 1-23; Saturdays at 11 am, 2 & 4 pm; Sundays at 2 & 4 pm
Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF performs a Nutcracker catered to kids: Packed with action (the musicians, for instance, join the dance scenes). Condensed to 50 minutes. Afterward, the dancers meet the audience for pictures and autographs.
At Fort Mason, Building D, Southside Theater, San Francisco. Tickets $25.
Dec. 6-30; 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. Tickets $30.
Dec. 7 & 8 in Carmel; Dec. 14-23 in San Francisco
Clever, sensuous, humorous and beautiful vignettes composed of dance ranging from classical ballet to flirty jazz to rollicking tap, and set to music as varied as Christmas carols and Elvis.
At Sunset Center, San Carlos St. at Ninth Ave., Carmel; and at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., San Francisco. Ticket prices vary.
Dec. 7-28, various dates
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. Tickets $20-325.
The huge cast of about 175 includes guest soloists from Memphis Ballet and Diablo Ballet, dozens of local ballet students ages 8-18 and Marin Ballet alumni.
At Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael 94903. Tickets $25, 40.
San Jose's Nutcracker features new choreography by principal dancer Karen Gabay, sets and costumes from American Ballet Theatre and music performed by Symphony Silicon Valley. Carolers sing in the lobby before the show.
At San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose. Tickets $30-105.