#SparkTheArtsNC: 2021 Holiday Performing Arts Guide

North Carolina Arts Council

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Craving visions of sugarplums this holiday season or maybe a way to release your inner-scrooge, you’ll find a sleigh-full of theatrical offerings on stages large and small across North Carolina. A multitude of Ebenezer’s and Tiny Tim’s can be seen in live performances of A Christmas Carol, while other favorites on the seasonal roster include The Nutcracker and Black Nativity. 

And then ring in the New Year with First Night Raleigh, on Friday, Dec. 31 when The Raleigh Acorn is lowered to start the New Year, both early in the evening for young families and at midnight for the older set. Or scratch your sonic-nostalgic itch and ring in the New Year with your local symphony. Cap off the holiday season  by attending the Annual Kwanzaafest presented by the African American Dance Ensemble on January 1st. 

A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas, Flat Rock, N.C.
Nov. 26-Dec. 19
Presented by Flat Rock Playhouse

The tradition continues on the Rock after going virtual! Bring the whole family to this dazzling holiday celebration, Playhouse-style! An all-new show with the same great spirit and quality, A Playhouse Christmas 2021 will feature many seasonal classics along with several new adaptations and medleys. Showcasing a cast of Flat Rock favorites, this song and dance revue is sure to bring you great holiday joy!

Please note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required at the performance.

Lollipop Series: Holiday Puppet Show, Carborro, N.C.
Dec. 1 | 10:30am
Presented by Carrboro Century Center (@puppetshowinc)

Lollipop Series for Young Children, a special series of performances for younger children and the young at heart. Puppet Show Incorporated Presents: The Wish Tree Puppet Show Dec. 1st at the Carrboro Century Center. Registration required through Carrboro Park & Rec or call 919-918-7364.

Handel’s Messiah, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 3-5
Presented by The Charlotte Symphony

Divine. Passionate. Wondrous. Handel's stunning masterpiece is back by popular demand. Join your CSO, Charlotte Master Chorale, and four soloists for this enduring oratorio full of passion and exquisite beauty. "Hallelujah!"

The Nutcracker, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 3-23
Presented by the Charlotte Ballet

Feel the magic in the air as we celebrate our return to the Belk Theater for Nutcracker this December! Reserve your seats now to see costumes that sparkle, fairies that twirl in the Land of Sweets, and the party that you can’t miss. It’s the story you love – back in person!

Please note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required at the performance.

The Velveteen Rabbit, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 4-19
Presented by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (@ctcharlottenc) 

Adapted by Michelle Hoppe-Long, from the story by Margery Williams. A child's love of his favorite toy literally brings this story to life. A little boy awakens Christmas morning to discover a Velveteen Rabbit among his gifts. Adored at first, then cast to the toy box, the Rabbit is snubbed by the other toys for being old-fashioned. Over time, a friendship blossoms. The Velveteen Rabbit learns what it means to be truly loved by the Boy - and the smiles and tears that come from being "real". Adapted from the classic book, this poignant story has charmed generations of families and continues to be cherished by audiences today.

Jim Brickman: The Gift Of Christmas, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 6
Presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts

Jim Brickman, the multiple Grammy nominated songwriter and piano sensation is back this festive season with his annual holiday tour The Gift of Christmas,” a magical evening celebrating music, love and family. Brickman will warm the of all as sounds of faith and love make spirits bright, bringing family and friends together for anything but a silent night. Join Brickman for this LIVE and joyous concert experience that blends yuletide memories and holiday favorites with his own hit songs such as, “The Gift,” “Sending You A Little Christmas,” “Angel Eyes,” and “If You Believe”.

Handel’s Messiah, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dec. 7
Presented by the Winston-Salem Symphony

Enjoy the sublime Baroque artistry of Handel’s oratorio, truly one of music’s most inspiring works, as a perfect beginning to the holiday season.

Please note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required at the performance.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol A Play With Music, Asheville, N.C.
Dec. 7-Dec. 19
Presented by N.C. Stage Company

This two man adaptation is a fast-paced and imaginative production that combines Dickens’ brilliant original text with both traditional and unexpected Christmas music, along with  old-fashioned foley-style sound effects. These dynamic performers beautifully impart this epic, timeless story of discovery of the heart, appealing to both adults and children in a fresh way. Virtual options available. 

Statewide Holiday Pops 
Wilmington, Raleigh, Tarboro, Southern Pines, New Bern
Dec. 9-Dec. 22
Presented by the N.C. Symphony (@ncsymphony)

A holiday tradition with the songs you know and love—sure to get you in the spirit of the season!

A Christmas Carol, Raleigh and Durham, N.C.
Dec. 9-19
Presented by Theatre in the Park

Theatre In The Park Presents Ira David Wood III's A Christmas Carol 2021. The Tradition Returns! A musical comedy adaptation of the Dickens classic. The show has been performed annually since 1974 and was named one of the "Top 20 Events in the Southeast." Cited as "one of the most successful shows in North Carolina theatre history," A Christmas Carol has enjoyed critically acclaimed tours to England and France.

Magic of Christmas with Tony DeSare, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 10-19
Presented by The Charlotte Symphony 

Delight in the wonder of the holiday season with singalongs, falling snow, and so much more! NEW this year, entertainer Tony DeSare returns to Charlotte to help us spread holiday cheer.

Please note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required at the performance.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, Black Mountain, N.C.
Dec. 10-19 
Presented by Black Mountain Arts Center (@blackmountainarts)

It's the holiday classic like you've never seen before: the story is staged as a live radio broadcast! Actors portray numerous characters, and sound effects are done through Foley artists. It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast and tired to continue living. It will take help from a lovable angel to show George what life would be like if he wasn’t born for George to have a change of heart and understand the true spirit of the holidays.

Nativity According to the Gospels, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dec. 10-19
N.C. Black Repertory Company

An electrifying rendition of the Christmas story told with an infusion of gospel music, dance, and spoken word. A Winston-Salem holiday classic, Nativity According to the Gospels is a foot-stomping, hand clapping theatrical performance, filled with brilliant costumes and Afro-centric dance.

Black Nativity, Raleigh, N.C.
Dec. 11-12
Presented by The Justice Theater Project

Artistic leaders Dr. Asabi (Stephanie Howard) and Ray Watkins bring this soaring 45-minute gospel concert to life featuring nine soloists, West African and contemporary dance, a live band, vibrant costumes, and a beautifully poignant narrative. FREE and open to the public. Registration Required. This event is OUTSIDE - bring a lawn chair and blanket. General seating. The perfect family holiday experience.

Sweet Potato Pie: 8th Annual Homegrown Christmas, Sanford, N.C.
Dec. 14
Presented by the Temple Theatre

Sweet Potato Pie is a premiere all female band that has been entertaining audiences for nearly two decades with their classy blend of Americana, Bluegrass, Country and Gospel music mixed together in a style they call “sweetgrass”. Radio and TV are well acquainted with their “angelic” vocals from appearances on PBS, the Food Network and worldwide radio broadcasts. Hailed as the “Lennon Sisters of Bluegrass”, their show revolves around their beautiful 3-part harmonies, hard driving instrumentals and down home humor and story telling.

The Carolina Christmas Show, Canton, N.C.
Dec. 17-20
Presented by Marlumor

Share the joy & magic of the Christmas season with your friends & families at the 2021 Carolina Christmas Show, a dazzling production of live music, dance, & comedy! This heartwarming Broadway-style show features the finest performers from Western NC & special guest artists presenting sacred and secular Christmas favorites, including Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, O Holy Night, Let it Snow, and Go Tell it On the Mountain. Relax, unplug, & experience the Carolina Christmas Show, a celebration of the true spirit of Christmas that’s sure to become an annual tradition!  

The Nutcracker, Raleigh, N.C.
Dec. 17-24
Presented by the Carolina Ballet

Featuring a Live Symphony Orchestra, The Nutcracker is the perfect ballet for the young and young at heart. With illusions created by magician Rick Thomas, made possible by WRAL-TV, ours is one of the only Nutcracker productions with magic performed live onstage.

A Very Thorgy Christmas, Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 22
Presented by The Charlotte Symphony 

Thorgy Thor brings her charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent back to Charlotte this holiday season! Experience the world premiere of this holiday show in the Queen City, brought to you by the Queen of Classical Music.

Please note: Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required at the performance.

WRAL’s First Night Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
Dec. 31
Presented by Artsplosure

Wral First Night Raleigh is the City's Go-to destination on New Year's Eve, a popular tradition for thousands of residents. 

AADE Annual Kwanzaafest, Durham, N.C.
Jan. 1
Presented by the African American Dance Ensemble

Celebrating the holiday season and Durham's diversity, AADE’s annual Kwanzaa celebration is a time to enjoy family, community, and culture. Kwanzaa itself is a seven-day African holiday that celebrates a different principle each day. AADE’s Kwanzaa takes place on the seventh day, which is dedicated to Imani, or faith.