7 Christmas Performances in the Seattle Area

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Angela Sterling.

A holiday evening out in the greater Seattle area isn't complete without a trip to the theater. And local theater schedules are packed with live, family-friendly entertainment, from choral concerts to ballet to traditional theatre plays. Well-known institutions like the Pacific Northwest Ballet and A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) provide seasonal entertainment that's deeply woven into the fabric of Seattle's holiday traditions. And local arts organizations like the Seattle Symphony and the Northwest Boyschoir also have holiday-themed performances in December.

Top off your next shopping trip into the city with a quick bite to eat and an inspiring cultural event that's sure to get you into the holiday spirit

Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Nutcracker

A quintessential Nutcracker performance has long been a part of the holidays, no matter what city you're in, and Seattle is no exception. The Pacific Northwest Ballet has put on a classic and amazing production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker for many years. While you'll find productions of The Nutcracker at many (many!) Pacific Northwest theaters throughout the holidays, this is the premier production. With more than 30 scheduled performances each year, it's also one of the easier shows to fit into your schedule. This ethereal ballet is accompanied by Tchaikovsky's score in a sometimes playful and always spectacular style that guests have come to expect. Bring the whole family and celebrate the season together.

Seattle Symphony's Messiah

This December performance takes on a slightly new form each year and features rotating conductors, the Seattle Symphony, a full choir and a host of exceptional coral soloists. Each seasonal showing of Handel's work wows the audience with brisk instrumental tempos, energetic soloists and accurate depictions of the original performance. Standing ovations are always a norm and leaving the theater inspired and uplifted is not uncommon.

Magical Strings' Celtic Yuletide

The Magical Strings ensemble includes three generations of the Boulding family who play Celtic harps, hammered dulcimers, whistles, concertinas and various other stringed instruments. Their yuletide concerts feature Celtic dancers, a traditional tale, and a rousing and joyful medieval processional. And the evening doesn't end when the performance is over. A Christmas carol sing-a-long follows the entertainment, as children of all ages join in the festivities.

A Contemporary Theatre's (ACT) The Christmas Carol 

Take the family on a journey through a Charles Dickens holiday classic. This story follows the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation from surly employer to a warm-hearted friend. And it's been part of ACT's play schedule for decades. Each kid-friendly production includes creative illusions and special effects to keep the attention of the little ones during the duration of the tale.

Northwest Boychoir's Festival of Lessons & Carols 

Regarded as one of the best children's choirs in the nation, the Northwest Boychoir features dozens of incredibly talented young singers between the ages of 10 and 14. The Festival of Lessons & Carols has followed the same basic format for the last 30 years: Nine biblical passages are read ("the lessons"), each followed by a carol. The angelic boys' voices are jaw-dropping and their annual concerts sell out. So don't wait until the last minute to buy your tickets.

Puget Sound Revels' The Christmas Revels 

This mid-winter celebration has four performances and is usually held at the Rialto Theatre in Tacoma each year. It's a fabulous display of acting and signing that usually follows a heartwarming storyline, complete with comedy hits and seasonal nuances. Sit back and enjoy a colorful display of seasonal folk music and dance woven in and out of a story that may transport you to another location and time. The shows include performers of all ages and audience participation is encouraged and is also part of the fun.

Tacoma City Ballet's The Nutcracker & the Tale of the Hard Nut

The Tacoma City Ballet traditionally spins a unique twist on this popular Christmas-time production. The show is performed by students of the Tacoma City Ballet and is accompanied by the a live orchestra. With both matinee and evening show times, this production offers a unique take on the traditional Christmas play - namely adding in the Tale of the Hard Nut, which is about a 30-minute addition onto the beginning of the play that shows the origin of the Nutcracker himself. Production values are high and the Tale of the Hard Nut is likely to be your children's favorite part as it's more action packed than the rest of the play!

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