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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 5 years ago

Josh Garrick: Culture for Your Calendar

There's still plenty of time to see these great holiday performances that you won't want to miss.
by: Josh Garrick Columnist

Now is the time to make a list and check it twice as you choose from among the splendid holiday performances and events in Central Florida. These are all highly recommended, and in most cases we still have about two weeks to take in the performances.

Now through Dec. 28 – A new ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Orlando Shakes

This new production of “A Christmas Carol” is written by Orlando Shakes’ Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and is blessed by the spirit of Charles Dickens himself. Helsinger wrings every possible moment of Christmas joy and every moment of holiday pathos from material we’ve known since childhood. The cast is brilliant, the staging is crazy inventive, and Helsinger’s use of Christmas carols (refer to title, please) enhances each perfect moment. “God bless the Orlando Shakespeare Company – god bless them – every one.” Call 407-447-1700 or visit

Now through Dec. 28 – Dickens by Candlelight (with tea and cookies)

Of the many ways to experience “A Christmas Carol” this season, the production called Dickens by Candlelight brings us into the action by seating us at tables where we are served tea and cookies as the three actors (who play all the parts) act among us. The enormously talented John DiDonna plays Scrooge (and other characters) through Dec. 28 at the Shakespeare Theater – side-by-side with the production being offered by Orlando Shakes. That’s two different productions in the same theater complex, so be sure which tickets you wish to order. Call 407-222-7669 or visit

Now through Dec. 28 – ‘A Christmas Story’ at Orlando Rep

“A Christmas Story the Musical” is the classic account of Ralphie’s hilarious quest to ensure that the most perfect gift ends up under his Christmas tree – a Red Ryder Carbine-Action BB Gun! All the cherished moments are here – the Old Man’s leg lamp, the tongue-on-a-frozen-flagpole, and the bunny suit are all here – on-stage for us to enjoy in this Tony-nominated Best Musical. Presented through Dec. 28 at Orlando Rep, call 407-896-7365 or visit for tickets.

Now through Jan. 4 – James Joyce's ‘The Dead’ at Mad Cow

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a ghost story, so why not celebrate the holiday season with James Joyce’s “The Dead” at Mad Cow Theatre through Jan. 4. Joyce's story is about a set of sisters gathered at a Christmas party in turn-of-the-century Ireland. The Tony-Award nominated score, dances and festivities are pure Irish, but the themes, of love, loss, joy, and fear are universal. Call 407-297-8788 or visit

Now through Jan. 4 – ICE! featuring ‘The Nutcracker’ at Gaylord Palms

Of the many ways to experience the magic of “The Nutcracker” this season, ICE! at Gaylord Palms brings us Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four interactive slides. Favorite scenes from the ballet, the beloved music, and ice-carving artists from China are at Gaylord Palms through Jan. 4. New this season, adults 21 and over may chill out at On The Blocks — the exclusive ICE Bar. Call 407-586-2000 or visit

Dec. 26 to Jan. 4 – ‘The Book of Mormon’ presents Orlando as heaven!

Having won the Best Musical Tony Award – and every other award you’ve ever heard of – one might think this musical has brought us the rapture (if it weren’t for the blasphemy). “The Book of Mormon” features a book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park,” and it’s worth seeing just to see Orlando sung about as a teenager’s idea of heaven. At the Dr. Phillips PAC, call 800-448-6322.

Dec. 31 – The Orlando Museum of Art's New Year’s Eve Party

Join us as the Orlando Museum of Art reaches the finale of their 90th anniversary year in their first-ever New Year’s Eve Gala Party. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, the Museum intends for this party to be the place to be with a red carpet entry, party favors, open galleries, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, live music by Soul Funktion, a champagne toast, fireworks – and – they say that’s only the beginning. Tickets are $90 for singles; and $150 for couples. Call 407-331-1993 or contact Jake White at [email protected]

And looking ahead to 2015!

Jan. 8 to 11 – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Brings Xtreme to Orlando

The greatest show on earth continues to amaze as Circus Xtreme turns audiences into adventure-seekers from Jan. 8 to 11 at the Amway Center. An all-female troupe of Mongolian riders, freestyle BMX riders and tumblers, and circus elephants are the headliners at the circus this season. The party begins an hour before the show at the pre-show (free with ticket purchase) as your family gets to meet the performers, get up close to the animals, and even try on circus costumes. Tickets at or or by calling 800-745-3000 or 407-440-7900.

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