They perform among - and interact with - the audience.
‘Dickens by Candlelight’
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is presented to us annually in many formats, but the most moving and personal is Robin Olson’s production, in which three actors portray dozens of characters. They perform among — and interact with — the audience, who are seated at tables enjoying Christmas cookies and cups of tea. This year’s production of “Dickens by Candlelight” will be staged in the main hall of the Dr. Phillips Center (home of the Orlando Ballet) for eight performances. The Ballet’s building will host a cast of Orlando’s finest actors — John DiDonna, Morgan Russel and Monica Tamborello. The Dr. Phillips Center is on Lake Ivanhoe at 1111 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando, and the eight performances run from Dec. 17 through Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Call 407-409-1619 or visit www.DickensByCandlelight.com
‘Michael Andrew’s Holiday Spectacular’
One of the great performers who happens to call Orlando home is Michael Andrew, who Merv Griffin once called “one of the greatest singers of all time.” Each year Michael and his Atomic Big Band bring “Michael Andrew’s Holiday Spectacular” to the Plaza Theater. In four performances — Friday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. — we can glory in Michael’s dynamic show. Combining great songs of the ’50s with the energy of the ’90s club scene, this holiday variety show is an Orlando tradition. This year, Michael welcomes guests including comedian Max Winfrey, the vocal group 42FIVE and the Park Avenue Dancers to join his 18-piece band for a stylish holiday performance. The Plaza Theater is at 425 N. Bumby Ave. Call 407- 228-1220.
It’s so popular and such a Christmas tradition that many folks forget that “The Nutcracker” is a ballet. This year, The Orlando Ballet is dancing better than ever under new Artistic Director Robert Hill, so the visions of Sugarplum fairies, dancing snowflakes and waltzing flowers give us even more to cherish in this annual holiday entertainment. The Orlando Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 17-19 at the Bob Carr with gorgeous sets, beautiful costumes and enhanced choreography from the talented Mr. Hill. Staying true to the ballet’s classic elements, Hill has breathed new life into the show by injecting his own mix of choreography. A condensed children’s version of “The Nutcracker” will be presented on Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. For tickets, visit www.orlandoballet.org or call 407-426-1739.
‘Gender in Art’ at OMA
XX or XY have long been the recognized scientific symbols for man (XY) or woman (XX). Whether it determines your identity or your gender is now debatable in the 21st century as ‘gender issues’ become increasingly complex. ‘What is gender’ will be addressed in the Orlando Museum of Art’s new exhibit called “XX-XY/Gender Representation in Art”. The exhibit presents visitors with a picture of the nuances in gender representation. On exhibit from Dec. 18 to June 5, it examines the roles of men and women as portrayed in different cultures and different time periods. Monthly lectures will be offered to the public by UCF professors free of charge at the OMA, and tours of the exhibition will be offered for discussion after each lecture. The OMA is located in Orlando Loch Haven Park at 2416 N. Mills Ave. Parking is free. Call 407-896-4231 or visit www.omart.org