With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, the Christmas season will be close behind — and for some families, one of the traditions is to go as a group to enjoy a concert or performance.
In Salt Lake City, such shows as Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker,” the Utah Symphony’s singalong of Handel’s “Messiah” or composer Kurt Bestor’s annual Christmas shows are as much a part of the season as hanging the stockings and leaving cookies out for Santa.
Here’s a handy guide to holiday programming at the major performance venues in Utah.
Ballet West • The dance troupe’s Christmas tradition, “The Nutcracker,” runs Dec. 8-27. Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at BalletWest.org.
Broadway at the Eccles • The national touring production of “Mamma Mia!,” the beloved ABBA-based musical, runs Dec. 19-24. Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main St., Salt Lake City. Tickets available at saltlakecity.broadway.com.
“The Forgotten Carols” • Michael McLean’s beloved Christmas musical tours again this season: Wednesday, Nov. 22, Tooele High School, 301 W. Vine St., Tooele; Saturday, Dec. 2 (two shows), Uintah High School, 1880 W. 500 North, Vernal; Monday, Dec. 11 (two shows), Cox Performing Arts Center, 325 S. 700 East, St. George; Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 13-16 (two shows on Saturday), Cottonwood High School auditorium, 5715 S. 1300 East, Murray; Monday, Dec. 18, Dee Events Center, 4444 Event Center Drive, Ogden; Tuesday, Dec. 19, Wasatch High School, 930 S. 500 East, Heber City; Friday-Saturday, Dec. 22-23, Mountain West High School, 665 W. Center St., Orem. Tickets available at forgottencarols.com.
Hale Center Theatre • Utah’s durably popular community theater organization has two Christmas productions scheduled: “Elf: The Musical” in the Jewel Box from now through Jan. 6; and the 39th annual staging of “A Christmas Carol” in the Centre Stage, Nov. 24 to Dec. 28. Mountain America Performing Arts Centre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy. Tickets available at hct.org.
Pioneer Theatre Company • Ahead of Christmas, PTC is staging the only U.S. production this year of the musical “Christmas in Connecticut,” based on the 1945 movie about a New York women’s columnist who has to fake being a competent homemaker. Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at PioneerTheatre.org.
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company • The company is in its 60th anniversary season, and mourning the death of co-founder Joan Woodbury. The troupe will feature “Synthesis,” its young adult showcase, Dec. 13-15. Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at RirieWoodbury.com.
301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City. For tickets and information, go to deltacenter.com.
Tuesday, Nov. 21: Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” its trademark hard-rock Christmas music with lasers (two shows, at 3 and 7 p.m.).
Friday, Nov. 24: Stand-up comedian Ryan Hamilton performs.
Sunday, Nov. 26: The 1975, the acclaimed pop-rock band, performs; opening act is Dora Jar.
Sunday, Dec. 3: Adam Sandler performs stand-up comedy on his “I Missed You Tour,” with a “surprise guest.”
3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City. For tickets and information, go to maverikcenter.com.
Thursday, Nov. 30: The Christian pop duo For King + Country performs “A Drummer Boy Christmas.”
Thursday, Dec. 7: Pop icon Chris Isaak performs a Christmas show, with The Shootouts opening.
131 S. Main, Salt Lake City. For tickets and information, go to live-at-the-eccles.com.
Friday-Saturday, Nov. 24-25: Gentri - The Gentlemen Trio performs a pair of Christmas concerts.
Thursday, Nov. 30: Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, the popular Utah violinist and her musical family, will perform Christmas music.
Friday, Dec. 1: “Wheel of Fortune” Live, the game-show experience.
Saturday, Dec. 2: Marie Osmond, the singer and Utah icon, performs “Christmas With Marie,” featuring the Lyceum Philharmonic and David Osmond (Marie’s nephew).
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9: The father-daughter duo Mat & Savanna Shaw are slated to perform Christmas music.
Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 14-16: The annual performance of “A Kurt Bestor Christmas,” with guest star David Archuleta.
Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at utahsymphony.org.
Wednesday, Nov. 22: 63rd Annual Salute to Youth • Utah’s most talented young musicians go through a rigorous audition process for a chance to perform a movement of a concerto with the Utah Symphony, in this annual event.
Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 25-26: Utah Symphony and Utah Opera’s “Messiah” Sing-in • The annual tradition continues, with a Thanksgiving weekend performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” with the Utah Opera Chorus and members of the audience singing the famous “Hallelujah” chorus.
Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 2: “Appalachian Spring” and Bach with Pianist Awadagin Pratt • Conducted by Teddy Abrams, with pianist Awadagin Pratt. Program: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A Major, Jessie Montgomery’s “Rounds” for Piano and String Orchestra, Teddy Abrams’ Overture to “The Greatest,” Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” (The Nov. 30 concert will be at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, Orem.)
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9: David Robertson conducts Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony • Conducted by David Robertson. Program: Sibelius’ “En saga,” Ives’ “Three Places in New England,” Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish.”
Tuesday, Dec. 11: Celtic Woman • The popular Gaelic foursome Celtic Woman performs Christmas music with the Utah Symphony.
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 15-16: Holiday Pops Extravaganza! • A seasonal staple, featuring vocalist Carmen Bradford and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Hot chocolate in the lobby.
Saturday, Dec. 16: “Here Comes Santa Claus!” • The kid-friendly matinee concert, with a narrative played out by actors, and closing with a singalong — and an appearance by a certain man in a red suit — is a holiday tradition.
Tuesday, Dec. 19: “Love Actually” in concert • The symphony plays along to the Christmas movie (the PG-13 version, so the Martin Freeman scenes may not survive) to mark its 20th anniversary.
Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 21-23: “Frozen” in concert • The Disney hit that spawned “Let It Go” and a snowman named Olaf screens, with the Utah Symphony playing the score live.
Tuesday, Nov. 21: Utah alt-pop musician Addison Grace performs on their first headlining tour, finishing up at home at Soundwell, 149 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at SoundwellSLC.com.
Saturday, Nov. 25: The Utah rock band Royal Bliss throws its annual Thanksgiving bash, at The Depot, 13 N. 400 West, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at depotslc.com.
Nov. 30-Dec. 3: Retro-swing group Squirrel Nut Zippers performs its “Holiday Caravan” show at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City. Tickets available at parkcityshows.com.
Friday, Dec. 1: A Deseret Book Christmas, a concert featuring the Truman Brothers, The Bonner Family and Emma Nissen. Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at DeseretBookPresents.com.
Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 6-9: The folk ensemble The Lower Lights, which boasts some 30 members, gathers for its annual Christmas concerts at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at UtahPresents.org.
Monday, Dec. 11: Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand, Utah’s own country-bluegrass group, plays a Christmas concert at UCCU Center, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem. Tickets available at UCCUCenter.com.
Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 14-16: The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square presents its annual Christmas concerts, featuring Broadway actor-singer Michael Maliakel and “Downton Abbey” co-star Lesley Nicol. At the Conference Center, 60 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Tickets have already been distributed; go to tabernaclechoir.org for more information.