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‘The Nutcracker’ and more live theater events this season

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Holiday theater events include “Love, Actually Live,” top left; the Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble, bottom left, and Pacifico Dance Company, bottom right, at the L.A. County Holiday Celebration; Los Angeles Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” center; and Hal Landon Jr., top right, in “A Christmas Carol” at South Coast Rep.
(Left top: Lawrence K. Ho; bottom: Ed Krieger; center: Reed Hutchinson; right top: Jim Cox / South Coast Repertory; bottom: Gennia Cui)

Snow or no snow — this being Southern California, that’s probably a “no” — ’tis still the season for visions of sugar plum fairies, miserable misers getting their just desserts, and trolling an ancient yuletide carol or three. So gather up family, friends and any out-of-town guests loafing and/or lurking about and get them out to see one or more of these “Nutcrackers,” “Christmas Carols” or other holiday-themed performing-arts events. Here are our top picks:

“Love Actually Live” at the Wallis

“Love Actually Live” at the Wallis.
Rex Smith, below left, and company in “Love Actually Live” at the Wallis.
(Lawrence K. Ho)

“Love Actually Live,” an immersive, multimedia-enhanced musical celebration of the star-studded, holiday-themed and veddy British 2003 romantic comedy, returns to the Wallis for a second year.

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Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. Nov. 27-Dec. 29. $39-$125. (310) 746-4000. thewallis.org

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“The Nutcracker Suite”

American Contemporary Ballet’s “The Nutcracker Suite”
American Contemporary Ballet’s “The Nutcracker Suite.”
(Art Lessman)

L.A.’s American Contemporary Ballet puts its own spin on a holiday favorite in the intimate and immersive show “The Nutcracker Suite.”

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Info: Metropolis Los Angeles, Upper Level, 877 S. Francisco St., downtown Los Angeles. Nov. 29-Dec. 24. $55-$137. acbdances.com

Welcome to our comprehensive gift guide for the 2019 holiday season. This list encompasses the most popular and best gifts for everyone in your life.

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Los Angeles Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Los Angeles Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Petra Conti and Tigran Sargsyan in the Los Angeles Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.”
(Reed Hutchinson/Credit Photo: Reed Hutchinson)

Coming soon to a theater near you, it’s Los Angeles Ballet’s annual locally touring production of “The Nutcracker.” This unique staging lends a little early-SoCal vibe by setting the tale in the City of Angels circa 1912.

Info: Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos; also, Dec. 7-8 at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Dec. 13-15 at Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Dec. 20-24 at the Dolby Theatre (with live orchestra), Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; and Dec. 28-29 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 E. Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach. $34-$109; Dolby only, $44-$131; 10% discount for students, children, seniors and military. (310) 998-7782. losangelesballet.org

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“A Christmas Carol” at South Coast Rep

Hal Landon Jr., who has played Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” at South Coast Rep since seemingly time immemorial, “bahs” his last “humbug” with this year’s edition of the company’s beloved staging of the Dickens classic.

Info: South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Nov. 30-Dec. 24. $27-$86. (714) 708-5555. scr.org

Start shopping for holiday gifts early, writes columnist Chris Erskine. Try decorating a cactus instead of a typical Christmas tree. Explore local holiday pop-ups and craft fairs.
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LA Times Critics’ Choice
“A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within

“A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within
Geoff Elliott, center, in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within.
(Craig Schwartz)

A Noise Within co-artistic director Geoff Elliott is back in the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge — the penny-pinching, holiday-hating wretch whose gets a major attitude adjustment courtesy of the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future — in the company’s annual staging of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday fable “A Christmas Carol.”

Info: A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Dec. 4-23. $25 and up. (626) 356-3100. anoisewithin.org

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LA Times Critics’ Choice
“Bob’s Holiday Office Party”

Leave the littler kids at home for this one: An insurance agent’s office in Iowa serves as the setting for “Bob’s Holiday Office Party.” The raucous seasonal comedy returns for a 24th year; for ages 16 and up.

Info: Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Dec. 5-22. $25, $35. (800) 838-3006. bobsofficeparty.com

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“A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens” at Independent Shakespeare Co.

“A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens” at Independent Shakespeare Co.
David Melville and Kalean Ung in “A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens” at Independent Shakespeare Co.
(Grettel Cortes)
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Independent Shakespeare Co., the kindly folks who bring you the annual Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival each summer, are proud to present “A Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens.” Company cofounder David Melville re-creates a performance of the holiday favorite by the author himself in this show for ages 8 and up.

Info: Independent Studio, 3191 Casitas Ave., #130, Atwater Village. Dec. 5-22. $25-$45. (818) 710-6306. iscla.org

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Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” at the Soraya

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s staging of “The Nutcracker” will feature an international cast of dancers performing the ballet’s traditional Russian, Spanish, and Chinese dances.

Info: Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Dec. 7-8. $49–$109. (818) 677-3000. thesoraya.org

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“Handel’s Glorious Messiah” with Pacific Symphony

Pacific Symphony will once again join forces with Pacific Chorale and guest soloists for “Handel’s Glorious Messiah,” a full-throated presentation of the Christmas favorite.

Info: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Dec. 8. $25-$199. (714) 755-5799. pacificsymphony.org

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LA Times Critics’ Choice
“The Latina Christmas Special” at A Noise Within

A trio of funny females — Sandra Valls, Maria Russell and Diana Yanez — reminisce about holidays past shared with family and friends in “The Latina Christmas Special.”

Info: A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Dec. 9. $10-$50. (626) 356-3100. anoisewithin.org

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“A Snow White Christmas” at Pasadena Civic Auditorium

Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris plays the part of the magic mirror — onscreen anyway, not in person — in “A Snow White Christmas.” The classic fairytale gets a silly makeover in this family-friendly song- and dance-filled show in the style of a raucous British holiday panto.

Info: Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Dec. 13-22. $28 and up. (626) 449-7360. thepasadenacivic.com

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ABT’s “The Nutcracker”

American Ballet Theatre returns to Orange County for another year with its spectacular staging of “The Nutcracker,” with Pacific Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s classic score for the fantastical holiday favorite. Featured dancers include homegrown star Misty Copeland, and ABT artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky supplies the choreography.

American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”
Snowflakes in the American Ballet Theatre production of “The Nutcracker.”
(Gene Schiavone)

Info: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Dec. 13-22. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org

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She & Him Christmas Tour at the Theatre at Ace Hotel

She & Him, the whimsical duo consisting of actress-singer Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”) and alt-folk singer-songwriter M. Ward, will sing seasonal favorites and more, in their inimitable style, in a two-night stand as part of this year’s “She & Him Christmas Tour.” The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A. Dec. 13-14. $40.50-$100.50. axs.com

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“Nochebuena” at the Soraya

The Latin-flavored celebration “Nochebuena” is back for two shows, with Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles, Mariachi Garibaldi and superstar vocalist Eugenia León, a.k.a. “La Diva de México.”

Info: Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Dec. 14. $39–$86. (818) 677-3000. thesoraya.org

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Los Angeles Master Chorale performs Handel’s Messiah

Los Angeles Master Chorale is never busier than during the holidays. Among with the ensemble’s myriad concerts this time of year is the 39th annual sing-along presentation of Handel’s Messiah, where the audience members themselves support the soloists by supplying the chorus parts. For those who would prefer to sit back and enjoy, there’s a reprise of the Baroque-era composer’s oratorio a few days later with the full chorale but sans the sing-along. Grant Gershon conducts both evenings.

Info: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Sing-along on Dec. 18, $25-$175; full chorale on Dec. 21, $29-$129; children under 6 not admitted. (213) 972-7282. lamasterchorale.org

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“Fiesta Navidad” at Segerstrom Center

Mariachi Los Camperos returns with “Fiesta Navidad,” a family-friendly music- and dance-filled celebration of the holiday traditions of Mexico.

Info: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Dec. 19. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org

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“Holiday Sing-Along” at Disney Hall

Melissa Peterman is back as your hostess with the mostest for not one but two presentations of Disney Hall’s annual “Holiday Sing-Along,” featuring Angeles Chorale, a jazz combo, the hall’s massive pipe organ — and you!

Info: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Dec. 21. $35-$89. (323) 850-2000. laphil.com

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The 60th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration

Pacifico Dance Company
Pacifico Dance Company performs at the Los County Holiday Celebration.
(Gennia Cui)
Pacifico Dance Company
Pacifico Dance Company performs at the Los County Holiday Celebration.
(Gennia Cui)

’Tis the afternoon before Christmas, which means it’s time for the 60th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration. This family-friendly multicultural show feature dozens of local music, dance and choral ensembles — including Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble, Pacifico Dance Company and a capella group Street Corner Renaissance — over the course of a three-hour show. And the best part — it’s free.

Info: The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Dec. 24. Free; no tickets or reservations required; first come, first seated. (213) 972-3099. holidaycelebration.org

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“Salute to Vienna” at Segersrom

The Strauss Symphony of America returns with a cohort of singers and dancers to perform classic waltzes, operetta selections, etc., by Johann Strauss II in the ever-effervescent “Salute to Vienna.”

Info: Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Dec. 28. $49 and up. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org

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“A Viennese New Year” with the LA Phil

Conductor emeritus Zubin Mehta will ring in the new with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and guest artists in “A Viennese New Year with Zubin,” featuring festive favorites by Mozart and Johann Strauss II.

Info: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Jan. 1. $20-$185. (323) 850-2000. laphil.com


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