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Top Holiday Shows and Performances in Philadelphia for 2017

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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.

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Annie at the Walnut Street Theatre

The Tony Award-winning hit musical Annie comes to the Walnut Street Theatre just in time for the holidays. — Photo courtesy Walnut Street Theatre

November 7, 2017 – January 7, 2018

The Tony Award-winning musical about a brave little girl and the millionaire who’d become her dad is just the heart-warmer for the season for those who believe love is the best gift of all. The Walnut Street Theatre tells the set-in-1930s tale and ends on a high note with A New Deal for Christmas.

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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 8-31, 2017 (select dates)

The Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the grand Academy of Music for an elegant (yet kid-friendly) Philadelphia dance tradition. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score pairs with lavish sets, lavish costumes and enchanting performances — by the dancers, members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Philadelphia Boys Choir. This year’s sensory-friendly performance takes place December 27.

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A Christmas Carol at the Walnut Street Theatre

The Walnut Street Theatre's annual production of A Christmas Carol is a popular holiday tradition for Philadelphians. — Walnut Street Theatre

November 25 – December 23, 2017

The historic Walnut Street Theatre invites children to a just-for-them rendition of Charles Dickens’ famed tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future during this one-hour performance.

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A Philly POPS Christmas

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

December 2-19, 2017 (select dates)

Maestro Michael Krajewski takes the baton to lead the Philly POPS in a newly re-imagined, always beloved concert featuring vocalist Justin Hopkins, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, as well as a musical performance of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Concerts

This “Big Five” orchestra offers spirited performances throughout December in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Verizon Hall. Among them:

Christmas Kids Spectacular: December 2, 2017

This always-popular (and often sold-out) performance gives little ones a taste of the classics, encourages singing along and provokes gasps of joy when St. Nick arrives.

Glorious Sounds of Christmas: December 14-17, 2017

Bramwell Tovey conducts this tradition inspired by the 1962 album by legendary conductor Eugene Ormandy.

More about Glorious Sounds of Christmas

Messiah: December 21-22, 2017

The players play and the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir sings the Handel stunner.

More about Messiah

New Year’s Eve Concert: December 31, 2017

Ring in the New Year with The Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert ends before midnight, so you’ll still be able to catch the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront!

More about New Year’s Eve Concert

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The Great Russian Nutcracker

December 18-19, 2017

The Moscow Ballet adds a third perspective on Christmas’ best-known ballet during this 25th Anniversary Tour performance at the Annenberg Center. This Nutcracker comes with live nesting dolls and puppets and brilliant costumes.

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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 12, 2017

Gospel singer Lady Tramaine Hawkins joins hundreds of performers from local community choirs for an uplifting evening of gospel numbers, spirituals and holiday favorites at this annual holiday performance at the Kimmel Center.

Tuba Christmas: December 17, 2017

A worldwide holiday tradition since the 1970s, Tuba Christmas marks its 15th 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.

More on Tuba Christmas

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Tinseltown Tidings

November 30 – December 2, 2017

The 120-voice Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus performs Hollywood’s greatest holiday hits. Film score selections on the program hail from Babes in Toyland, Home Alone, The Polar Express, White Christmas and more.

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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

November 24-25, 2017

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 student-populated, undeniably professional-grade, 70-minute Nutcracker.

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