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Top Holiday Shows and Performances in Philadelphia for 2016

Philadelphia’s performing arts venues celebrate the holidays with a season of delightful programming this year.

Head to the grand Avenue of the Arts for traditional seasonal performances including The Nutcracker by the Pennsylvania Ballet and 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 shows the city has to offer during the holidays.

Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

A true holiday tradition, the Pennsylvania Ballet's performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker has delighted audiences for nearly five decades. (Photo by Paul Kolnik for the Pennsylvania Ballet)

December 9-31, 2016 (select dates)

A beloved tradition, Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music. Audiences get swept away to the magical “Land of the Sweets” as Tchaikovsky’s iconic score pairs with lavish sets, elegant costumes and the enchanting performances of the dancers. This classic tale touches the hearts of all with its endearing story of a girl, a gift and a wondrous dream.

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"A Christmas Carol" at the Walnut Street Theatre

Head to the Walnut Street Theatre this year for a classic holiday show. (G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

November 26 - December 23, 2016 (select dates)

Youngsters will be spellbound by Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future during the one-hour, kid-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol at the Walnut Street Theatre, a National Historic Landmark and America's oldest theater.

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The Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular

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

December 2-18, 2016 (select dates)

Even Scrooge would succumb to the charms of A Philly POPS Christmas. Under the baton of Michael Krajewski, the Philly POPS offer up a concert of confections featuring vocalist Tony DeSare, organist Peter Richard Conte, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Concerts

Christmas Kids Spectacular: December 10, 2016

Bring the entire family to the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall to see a festive performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra fit for kids on Saturday, December 10. Not just an orchestral performance, this fun matinee includes holiday sing-alongs, dancers, actors and even a visit from Santa Claus.

Glorious Sounds of Christmas: December 15-17, 2016

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."

Messiah: December 18, 2016

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.

"Home Alone" with the Philadelphia Orchestra: December 20-22, 2016

The much-loved 1990 comedy about a boy defending his house from burglars gets a one-of-a-kind screening this festive season. Virtuosos of the Philadelphia Orchestra bring new depth to John Williams’s rich score with live accompaniment to the holiday classic.

New Year's Eve Concert: December 31, 2016

Ring in the New Year with The Philadelphia Orchestra and special, Grammy-winning guest conductor Bramwell Tovey. The concert ends before midnight, so you'll still be able to catch the SugarHouse New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront!

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Holidays at the Kimmel Center

The Kimmel Center will be filled with holiday performances this season. (Photo courtesy the Kimmel Center)

A Soulful Christmas: December 13, 2016

Legendary gospel singer Richard Smallwood joins hundreds of performers from local community choirs for an uplifting evening of gospel numbers, spirituals and holiday favorites.

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Tuba Christmas: December 18, 2016

A worldwide holiday tradition since the 1970s, Tuba Christmas marks its fifteenth anniversary of Philadelphia performances. Tubas, sousaphones and euphoniums get decked out in tinsel and ornaments as more than 100 local instrumentalists perform a selection of seasonal tunes.

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Disney on Ice: Follow Your Heart at the Wells Fargo Center

December 23, 2016 - January 2, 2017

Follow characters from "Finding Dory," "Inside Out," "Toy Story," and "Frozen" on a series of musical adventures on ice. Featuring Ariel, Cinderella, and all your favorite Disney princesses.

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All Wrapped Up

December 1-3, 2016

The 120-voice Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus concert is All Wrapped Up in holiday style as they perform their 35th-anniversary season with popular seasonal hits, along with some musical surprises.

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Black Nativity: An African Holiday Musical Play

Celebrate The New Freedom Theatre's 50th anniversary with a holiday favorite. (G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

November 30 - December 18, 2016

This contemporary holiday tale weaves the story of an expectant couple in a Sudanese refugee camp with the biblical tale of Mary and Joseph into an uplifting play of faith and perseverance.

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A Child's Christmas in Wales at the Walnut Street Theatre

November 15 - December 23, 2016

At the Walnut Street Theatre, nostalgia plays a starring role in the stage adaptation of the Dylan Thomas classic "A Child’s Christmas in Wales," made all the more delightful with a musical score of contemporary and traditional tunes.

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Nutcracker 1776

Don't miss this unique take on the Nutcracker by the Rock School for Dance Education. (Photo courtesy The Rock School for Dance Education)

December 16-17, 2016

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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The Carols

December 1-31, 2016

Philadelphia’s all-comedy theater company presents a timely reworking of Dickens’s "A Christmas Carol." Set in 1944, a time of intolerance and upheaval, the original musical from 1812 Productions sees a Jewish couple join a trio of singing sisters in an unlikely Yiddish holiday tale.

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