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Top Holiday Shows and Performances in Philadelphia for 2015

Visions of sugarplums dance across Philadelphia’s world-class performance venues as the city ushers in the holiday season.

Families journey to the grand Avenue of the Arts for traditional seasonal performances including The Nutcracker by the Pennsylvania Ballet or holiday songs from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The city’s smaller stages also capture the holiday spirit with new twists on old classics, original works and even a bit of humor to close out the year.

Put on your dancing shoes, warm up your singing voice and enjoy a few of the best performing arts the city has to offer during the holidays.

Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Performances, December 11-31, 2015 (select dates)
Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy, December 13, 19, 2015
If it just isn’t the holidays without the dancing snowflakes, sword-fighting mice, princesses in tutus and an enormous tree that grows and grows, then you’ll want a prime seat at The Academy of Music (opened in 1857) for the Pennsylvania Ballet’s classic production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker — a Philadelphia tradition that’s 47 years strong.

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A true holiday tradition, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker has delighted audiences for nearly five decades. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

The Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular

December 4-22, 2015 (select days)
Performing both delightful seasonal classics and glorious gospel music, the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular is a marvelous way for the whole family to enjoy the holidays together. Once again, Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be filled with the gorgeous sounds of the season. A cheerful performance for the entire family, the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular features a special mix of joyous choirs, merry sing-a-longs, and a special visitor from the North Pole.

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philly pops christmas spectacular

Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be filled with the gorgeous sounds of the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular. (Photo courtesy Philly Pops)

A Christmas Story, The Musical at Walnut Street Theatre

November 10, 2015 – January 10, 2016
The Walnut Street Theatre invites audiences to join in the laughter when the Tony Award-nominated Broadway hit A Christmas Story, The Musical makes its Philadelphia debut. Fans of Ralphie and his lovably oddball family will howl with glee when the oversized pink bunny pajamas, the longed-for Red Ryder BB gun, the “fra-gee-lee” kooky leg lamp, the world’s crankiest Santa and other icons turn up in this song-and-dance version of the quirky holiday classic film held at America’s oldest theater.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Christmas Kids Spectacular

Saturday, December 5, 2015
Bring the entire family to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts‘ Verizon Hall to see a festive performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra fit for kids on Saturday, December 5. Not just an orchestral performance, this family-friendly matinee includes holiday sing-alongs, dancers, actors and even a visit from Santa Claus.

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Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Concert Messiah

December 11-13, 2015
A holiday tradition for more than five decades, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s Messiah fills the Kimmel Center with the joyful sounds of the season. Usually limited to one performance a year, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the orchestra will put in three for 2015, making the holiday season three times as nice.

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Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Concert Glorious Sound of Christmas

December 17-20, 2015
Conductor Bramwell Tovey joins the Philadelphia Orchestra for four nights of cheerful holiday songs and arrangements, from traditional holiday carols to Tovey’s own original compositions, including “Rittenhouse Carol.”

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The Kimmel Center hosts a number of holiday performances including free shows, songs from the Philadelphia Orchestra and more. (Photo courtesy the Kimmel Center)

Disney on Ice Presents 100 Years Of Magic at the Wells Fargo Center

December 24, 2015-January 3, 2016
Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and all your favorite Disney princesses (including, yes, Elsa) as Disney on Ice Presents 100 Years of Magic at the Wells Fargo Center staring on Dcember 24. Expect sing-alongs to more 30 classic songs as well as exciting moments from films including Toy Story, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and more.

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Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Concert New Year’s Eve with Yannick Nézet-Séguin

December 31
Ring in the New Year with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Start your New Year’s Eve celebration with the Fabulous Philadelphians and say goodbye to 2015. The concert ends before midnight, so you’ll still be able to catch Philadelphia’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River!

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Free Family-Friendly Fun at the Kimmel

Christmas Posada, December 10, 2015
Tuba Christmas, December 20, 2015
New Year’s Day Celebration, January 1, 2016

The Kimmel Center is hosting a handful of free holiday events this December including musical performances, international traditions and Tuba Christmas, featuring more than 100 tubas in Commonwealth Plaza.

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

December 17-20, 2015
Everyone’s favorite reindeer comes to life in the all-new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, celebrating 50 years since the television special’s first release.

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Nutcracker 1776

November 27-28, 2015
The Rock School for Dance Education, one of the nation’s most renowned pre-professional ballet training programs, puts a Colonial spin on a holiday classic with its production of Nutcracker 1776.

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Bells, Brass & The Boys

December 3-5, 2015
There’s a special ring in the air when the Impulse Handbell Ensemble, a professional youth group, joins the 120-voice Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus in the Bells, Brass & The Boys holiday concert.

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This Is the Week That Is

November 27-December 31, 2015
Take a light-hearted look back at the top headlines of the year with the semi-political, totally-satirical This Is The Week That Is from 1812 Productions. For 10 years, the comedic group has put their humorous spin on the year’s local and national headlines with a fast-paced and ever-changing script that keeps audiences laughing.

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The Academy of Music on the Avenue of the Arts hosts the Pennsylvania Ballet’s beloved performance of The Nutcracker. (Photo courtesy the Academy of Music)





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