Of all the ways to experience Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," my favorite is the production called "Dickens by Candlelight."
Holiday Giving – Feed the Need Campaign raises $96,000 to fight hunger
On Dec. 3 the first annual Feed the Need campaign celebrated the spirit of giving in Winter Park as the result of the 22-day fundraiser to end hunger in our community was presented. After many generous events, promotions and donations, Feed the Need raised $96,145 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. All of Winter Park can join in the pride shared with Patrick Chapin, president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce as he said, “I’m incredibly proud of the Winter Park community for responding to the Feed the Need campaign in such a remarkable way.” Visit feedtheneedwp.org
Now through Dec. 23 – ‘Dickens by Candlelight’ – with tea and cookies
Of all the ways to experience Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” my favorite is the production called “Dickens by Candlelight.” The production brings us into the action by seating us at tables where we are served tea and homemade cookies as the extraordinary three actors (who play all the parts) ‘act’ among us. This year is extra special to have Robin Olson, who created “Dickens by Candlelight” in 1997, return to the cast along with audience favorites John DiDonna and Monica Tamborello. Running through Dec. 23, call 407-222-7669 or visit Dickensbycandlelight.com
Dec. 19 to 22 – The Abbey Presents – ‘Naughty is Nice: a Christmas Cabaret’
As part of a weeklong holiday celebration, The Abbey in downtown Orlando will present “Naughty Is Nice: A Christmas Cabaret” from Dec. 19 to 22. Featuring Orlando’s brightest talent on-stage for a festive and slightly off-color Christmas Cabaret; Andrea Canny, Rebecca Fisher, David Kelley, David Dorman, Anitra Pritchard and young Kennedy Joy Foristall, will explore the naughty side of Christmas music, and present saucy new holiday songs. In six-performances-only, visit AbbeyOrlando.com
Dec. 19 to 23 – ‘The Nutcracker’ by the Orlando Ballet
“The Nutcracker” ballet is a classic holiday tradition performed around the world and a family favorite. When Clara receives a toy Nutcracker on Christmas Eve she is transported on a magical journey. Based on a fairytale in which the Nutcracker comes to life as an enchanted Prince, everyone loves the story – as danced by the Orlando Ballet – that includes a visit to the Land of Sweets and a celebration of dances from around the world. Visit orlandoballet.org or call 407-426-1739.
Dec. 20 and 21 – ‘Star of Bethlehem’ at the Buehler Planetarium at Seminole College
A favorite seasonal presentation of planetariums around the world, the Seminole State College Planetarium will present the “Star of Bethlehem.” Praised by secular and religious audiences alike, “Star of Bethlehem” looks at the Christmas star, explaining the astronomical event from a scientific standpoint. Appropriate for ages 9 and up, presentations will take place at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on both nights. Call 407-708-2421 or visit seminolestate.edu/planet
Dec. 20 and 22 – ‘Christmas Connected’ is a Toys vs. iPad smackdown
In this Northwest Dance Studio performance, two children lose themselves in an isolated world of digital devices with no interest in their old toys. Realizing the kids have lost their sense of wonder, the toys devise a plan to take the children on an adventure, dancing through time (with a few surprises) and guaranteeing an amazing experience for the entire family. The free performances are at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20 and at 9 a.m. and noon on Dec. 22 at the Northwest Church at 5495 Clarcona-Ocoee Road in Orlando. Call 407-578-2088.
Dec. 20 – The Power Chords’ ‘Very Merry Christmas Concert’
In a one-night-only concert featuring youthful singing and dancing to some of the Holiday Season's most popular songs, this high-energy performance by the Orlando Repertory’s Power Chords are sure to put you into the holiday spirit. The REP’s Power Chords is comprised of some of Central Florida's most talented ‘triple-threat performers,’ ranging from 14 to 18 years of age. The show begins at 7 p.m. Visit OrlandoRep.com or call 407-896-7365.
Dec. 21 and 22 – Central Florida Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
Central Florida Ballet’s “Nutcracker” has long held the title of “most entertaining ‘Nutcracker’” as featured in ABC Nightline News; voted a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society; named as “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation” by CNN Headlines News; and – thanks to some on-stage fireworks – it was called “the pyrotechnic Nutcracker” by USA Today. This version of the holiday classic will be performed on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center. Call 407-849-9948 or visit CentralFloridaBallet.com
Dec. 22, 23, 24 – David McElroy in the ‘One-Man Christmas Carol’
Southern Winds Theatre presents three opportunities to see their “One-Man A Christmas Carol,” adapted for the stage and starring David A. McElroy performing all 37 characters from the Dickens classic. Performances are Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. at Bay Street Players in Eustis (call 352-357-7777 or visit baystreetplayers.org); Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at The Venue in Orlando (call 407-341-3495 or visit southernwindstheatre.com); and Dec. 24 with a Christmas Eve Dinner-Show at the View in Lake Wales (863-324-5810 or email [email protected]).
Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Open House at the Morse Museum
One doesn’t immediately think of spending Christmas Eve in a museum, but the annual invitation to do just that – from the Morse Museum – is sincere and welcoming in every way. The free event will include music from the Raintree Chamber Players from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 407-645-5311 or visit morsemuseum.org
Dec. 24 – St. Luke’s Cathedral’s Christmas ‘Oratorio de Noel’
Organist Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the lovely “Oratorio de Noel” in less than two weeks before its premiere on Christmas 1858. The “Oratorio” will be sung by the St. Luke’s Cathedral Choir and soloists – with chamber orchestra – at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, followed by a midnight mass. The event is free and open to the public.
Dec. 26 – Mennello Museum’s Holiday Open House
Following a kindly established tradition, the Mennello Museum is free and open to the public on the day after Christmas − a gift to the community from the museum from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec 26. The Museum is at 900 E. Princeton St. in Orlando. Call 407-246-4278.