In 1944, critics were stunned when Christensen staged the first full-length Nutcracker in America. “We can’t understand why a vehicle of such fantastic beauty and originality would not be produced in its entirety in this country until now.” It was produced on a shoestring budget, but captivated a nation. Now, during this momentous year and following a $3-million new production, see the original choreography, just as Mr. C intended it — and only at Ballet West.
7Saturday — The Nutcracker: 75th Anniversary
Capitol Theatre, 116 S. Rio Grande St., times vary through Dec. 26. Tickets $42-109, balletwest.org
As a long-jawed Salt Lake City tradition, join the Salt Lake Men’s Choir for their 38th annual Christmas Concert. Ring in the holiday season with this family-friendly music event. The choir sings Christmas music from many genres: classical, swing, contemporary, sacred, humorous, and always with a smile on their faces. This year the choir is joined by an orchestra, full brass section, and the First Baptist Church’s incredible pipe organ. And don’t forget to take food donations to help the Homeless Youth Resource Center, which will collected at the door.
13Friday — SLMC: Christmas Flourishes
First Baptist Church, 777 S. 1300 East, 7 p.m., through Sunday. Tickets $20, brownpapertickets.com or at the door.
The new holiday rock opera The Bell Ringer is coming to Utah. The show features former Trans-Siberian Orchestra members Jody Ashworth and Valerie Vigoda, and delivers a powerful and inspiring experience in the early TSO tradition, combining rock music with poignant storytelling.
The Bell Ringer is the debut album from Seattle-area progressive rock band Symphony North, and it relates a story that builds on the ideas of selflessness and self-worth, employing the talents of musicians hailing originally from as far as Sweden, Spain, Russia, and Turkey. The Bell Ringer album also features members of Dream Theater — James Labrie and Jordan Rudess — weaving anthemic renditions of Holiday classics with powerful original songs.
The show is raising money for the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, to give kids not just a gift to open during the holidays, but the skills to help them build their futures.
19Thursday — The Bell Ringer
Jeanne Wagner Theatre, Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $30-40, artsaltlake.org
A red rider BB gun, a tongue stuck to a frozen pole, a gaudy woman’s leg wearing a fishnet stocking lamp, a boy’s mouth washed out with soap, hillbilly neighbors with 785 smelly hound dogs, and more weirdness – all make for the perfect Christmas Story.
An Other Theater Company stages the Christmas holiday hit by writer David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries. Out of work, our slacker decides to become a Macy’s elf during the holiday crunch. At first the job is simply humiliating, but once the thousands of visitors start pouring through Santa’s workshop, he becomes battle-weary and bitter. Finding consolation in the fact that some of the other elves were television extras on One Life to Live, he grins and bears it, occasionally taking out his frustrations on the children and parents alike.
The title says it all – and that’s why it was one of Broadway’s funniest and longest-running plays, and now it comes to the Pioneer Theatre Company stage. A hilarious hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes, the opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor is one you won’t forget. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’ll be a riot for this holiday season.
3Tuesday — A Christmas Story
Delta Performance Hall, Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main St., times vary through Dec. 8. Tickets $50-120, artsaltlake.org
6Friday — The Santaland Diaries
An Other Theater Company, 1200 Centre Blvd., Provo, 7:30 p.m., through Dec. 21. Tickets $12-15 online/$14-17 at the door, anothertheatercompany.com
6Friday — The Play That Goes Wrong
Pioneer Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, UofU, times vary through Dec. 21. Tickets $33-47, pioneertheatre.org