Atlanta's best holiday productions are as diverse as the city, with everything from classic to chaotic performances that enliven the season.
Venture into the time-traveling world of Ebenezer Scrooge, enjoy a lively and puppeted version of “Rudolph,” dance with the Snow Queen and King in “Nutcracker” or reimagine the age-old story of the nativity. In Atlanta, holiday Performances range from kid-friendly to adults-only, so take your pick, sit back and enjoy this season’s spectacular shows.
‘A Christmas Carol’
For close to 30 years, Alliance Theatre’s production of this timeless story by Charles Dickens has been an Atlanta holiday staple. Talented Atlantan actors bring the characters to life on a Broadway-quality set, transporting audiences to Ebenezer Scrooge’s world as he navigates away from selfishness and cynicism toward kindness and compassion. Tickets: $14-$72. Nov. 25-Dec. 24.
‘A Christmas Carol’
New American Shakespeare Tavern
Inspired by Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre, The New American Shakespeare Tavern presents the Bard’s plays, in addition to original works and American classics. In this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ quintessential Christmas story, a handful of actors transport audience members to Scrooge’s London house on the fateful night when he meets three ghosts and a boy named Tiny Tim. All of the Tavern’s shows are performed with live sound effects, music played on period-appropriate instruments and Elizabethan-style costumes. A pub-style menu is served 75 minutes before show time. Tickets $19-$39. Dec. 1-23.
Atlanta Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without watching Atlanta Ballet’s production of E.T.A. Hoffman's magical tale. The dazzling production is performed in an equally stunning venue, the fabulous Fox Theatre. Tchaikovsky's score is brought to life expertly by the Gwinnett Community Symphony Orchestra while the company's talented dancers pirouette and plié in shimmering costumes amidst intricate sets. Tickets: adults $21.50-$123.50, students $16.50-$98.50. Dec. 11-27.
Poet Langston Hughes culturally rewrote the story of the nativity in 1961, creating an uplifting performance with an entirely African-American cast and transforming traditional Christmas carols into soul-stirring gospel melodies. Through exalted voices, stunning choreography and beautiful costumes, this one-act version of Hughes’ original off-Broadway production takes the audience from a traditional black church to an Africanized Jerusalem at the Southwest Arts Center. Tickets: VIP $50, adults $40, senior and students $25. Nov. 30-Dec. 18.
Aurora Theatre has produced its original holiday extravaganza for 20 years, making it Gwinnett County’s longest-running theatrical holiday tradition. Throughout two acts and two hours, this musical revue showcases a cornucopia of classic holiday songs while transforming the theater into a nostalgic, high-energy winter wonderland. Tickets: $30-$65. Nov.17-Dec. 23.
Horizon Theatre joins forces with the Atlanta Children’s Theatre Company to produce this annual holiday show. “Madeline’s Christmas” tells the adorable story of the beloved little girl with her little yellow hat. In this musical play adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans’ famed book, Madeline and her boarding-school friends come down with the flu just before Christmas and worry the sickness will prevent their much-anticipated visits home for the holidays. A mysterious stranger then arrives, sending them on a whimsical and exhilarating holiday adventure. Tickets: adults $15, youth $12. Dec. 3-31.
‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’
Experience Rudolph’s snow-filled and string-clad world at the Center for Puppetry Arts. This dazzling performance is suitable for kids ages 4 and up, but teens and adults will likely fall head over hoof for the energetic and laugh-out-loud show. A range of puppetry styles, including rod, body, blacklight and animation, make this a true showcase of the Center’s talented artists. Tickets: $20.50. Through Dec. 27.
‘The Santaland Diaries’
National Public Radio’s David Sedaris penned “The Santaland Diaries,” a hilarious, adults-only tale about an unemployed writer who desperately accepts a job as a Macy’s elf. Before he can say, “Happy Holidays,” the main character is given his elfin name, Crumpet, and embarks on a series of misadventures. The result is a sardonic, satirical and sarcastic backstage pass to the secret lives of Santa and his elves performed at Horizon Theatre. Suitable for ages 18 and up. Tickets: general $25-$30, VIP $40-$45. Nov. 18-Dec. 31.