Holiday Shows in Washington, D.C. in 2020

Illuminated Christmas tree with White House in background
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When it comes to enjoying the holiday season in the Washington, D.C. area, there are few better ways than taking in a special performance at one of the Capital Region's many performing arts centers and theatres. Throughout November and December each year, venues across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia welcome to the stage a host of holiday classics like "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker"—as well as some original and new shows perfect for the Christmas season.

"A Christmas Carol"

You and your family can explore the magic and wonder of the story of Scrooge being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future at several venues in the Washington, D.C area this year. The Charles Dickens' classic tale is being performed at the following venues:

  • Ford’s Theatre: From November 21, 2020, to January 1, 2021, Washington, D.C.'s historic theater will present a new production starring Craig Wallace that reinvigorates the timeless tale with musical accompaniment.
  • Little Theatre of Alexandria: From December 6 to December 22, 2020, you can catch a special presentation of this holiday classic complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and Tiny Tim.
  • Keegan Theatre: From December 12 to 31, 2020, you can catch an original take on the Dicken's tale. Set in a modern Dublin pub, "An Irish Carol" is an homage to Dickens’ classic—told with the biting humor and incisive candor of its Irish playwright. The play, both comic and touching, follows one evening in the life of David, a wealthy pub owner who has lost touch with his own humanity in the interest of self-protection and material success.

"The Nutcracker"

The classic holiday ballet "The Nutcracker" is performed at a variety of venues in the Washington, D.C. area each year. You can take the whole family to marvel over Clara’s Christmas fantasy wherein the wooden toy soldier comes alive and takes her on a magical tour of wonderful holiday adventures. Venues range from dance studios to professional theaters, but there are a few of the performances you won't want to miss:

  • Kennedy Center: From November 27 to December 1, 2020, the Atlanta Ballet will perform with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Arlington Children's Chorus.
  • Warner Theatre: From November 30 to December 26, 2020, the Washington Ballet will perform at this historic theatre in D.C. The performance features a D.C. twist to the classic tale with General Washington as the Nutcracker, George III as the Rat King, and several other historical figures in the cast.
  • Momentum Dance Theatre: On December 6 and 8, 2020, the "Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker" will be performed at the Publick Playhouse. This modern spin on the traditional classic has been an area tradition since 2000.
  • The Puppet Company: From November 29 to December 29, 2020, you can enjoy this child-friendly version of the holiday classic in Glen Echo Park, Maryland.
  • Fairfax Symphony Orchestra: On December 21 and 22, 2020, you can catch a special performance at the George Mason University Center for the Arts, in Fairfax, Virginia.

"The Christmas Revels"

From December 7 to 15, 2020, you can enjoy an Elizabethan celebration of the Winter Solstice presented by The Washington Revels at the G.W. Lisner Auditorium in George Washington University. This year's show will be a lively celebration with a journey to 1599 England. Gather to celebrate the season with carols, wild dancing, and foot-stomping instrumentals, blending old English traditions with New World ingenuity.

According to the Revels' website, this production is in the style of a "Mummers plays meet 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' in this boisterous blend of high and low, city and country, art and folk, along with timeless Revels favorites: rousing carol sing-alongs, dancing in the aisles, children’s singing games, the eerily hypnotic Abbots Bromley horn dance, and the glorious tones of the Washington Revels Brass."

"Seasons of Light"

The Discovery Theatre (South Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive Southwest, Washington, D.C.) will present this seasonal favorite from December 2 to 20, 2020. A member of the Smithsonian, the Discovery Theatre is a children's theatre that celebrates the warmth of many holidays filled with light each year with "Seasons of Light", a special showcase of holiday traditions where guests can learn the history and customs of Devali, Ramadan, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Christmas, and the First Nations tradition of the Winter Solstice. The show sells out early, so be sure to book your tickets in advance.

"The Living Christmas Tree"

On December 14, and December 15, 2020, the Riverdale Baptist Church (1177 Largo Road) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, will present "The Living Christmas Tree," a unique annual performance that features a 30-foot-tall steel structure that holds an 80-person choir. The family-friendly show inspires the celebration of Christmas through musical performances and dramatic scenes. Tickets go on sale each year around October 1 and are expected to sell out by the beginning of December. You can also stop by an hour before each performance to view the Living Nativity outside, which presents the story of Jesus' birth through costumed actors.

"An Invitation to Christmas: The Musical"

From December 13 to December 22, 2020, the Encore Theatrical Arts Project (Encore TAP) in Annandale, Virginia, will present a Broadway-style holiday show about how the residents of the North Pole discover an unexpected guest among their new elf recruits. Fun for all ages, this special holiday showcase is part of an annual tradition at Encore TAP to bring a bit of Broadway Christmas cheer to the folks of Annandale.

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