Josh Garrick: Culture for Your Calendar

The city of Winter Park invites us to celebrate the holiday season as the Orlando Philharmonic presents its annual Holiday Pops Concert in Winter Park's Central Park.

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  • | 1:55 p.m. November 26, 2014
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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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, the bunny suit – on-stage for us to enjoy as a Tony-nominated Best Musical. Presented through Dec. 28 at Orlando Rep, call 407-896-7365 or visit for tickets.

Now through to April 12 – ‘Large Birds of Florida: The Art of John Costin’

In the Polasek Museum’s new exhibit, “The Art of John Costin” exhibits the artist’s intricate artwork – a masterful combination of copperplate etching, printmaking and hand-painting. Like Audubon before him, this resident of Florida visually captures the majestic beauty of the diverse species of birds native to Florida. The exhibit will include Costin’s large-scale prints as well as his personal collection of original Audubon prints from the late 19th century. The Albin Polasek Museum is at 633 Osceola Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-647-6294 or visit

Nov. 29 – ‘Home for the Holidays’ with the Orlando Philharmonic

The Orlando Philharmonic continues a beloved holiday tradition with Maestro Albert-George Schram – and special guests – in a program of carols and holiday favorites. Featuring the Holiday Singers and children of the Florida Opera Theatre Youth Program, the filled-with-cheer “Home for the Holidays” is the perfect orchestral program to begin your family’s holiday season. Presented Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, visit or call 407-770-0071.

Nov. 29 – ‘Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker’

In this adaptation of the popular classical ballet, “Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker” features musical scores by Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington, featuring Billy Strayhorn and Donald Byrd’s jazz melodies. The pageantry of “The Nutcracker” is there with dazzling costumes and dance performed in ballet, stepping, jazz, modern, swing, gospel and hip-hop. The whole family will travel with Clare and her friends the Chocolate Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy to the Kingdom of Sweets. Call 844-513-2014 or visit

Nov. 30 – Free performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Messiah Choral Society

The 42nd annual performance of Handel’s Messiah ushers in the holiday season on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m. at the Bob Carr PAC in a free performance as a gift to the Central Florida community. Conducted by Dr. John Sinclair, the concert features all the familiar “master-moments” including the ever-popular “Hallelujah Chorus” performed by a 120 member choir, professional soloists and orchestra. The Society continues its support of the Second Harvest Food Bank by requesting concert attendees bring donations of food items to the performance. Visit or call 321-285-6382.

Nov. 30 – Free Holiday Pops Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic

The city of Winter Park invites us to celebrate the holiday season as the Orlando Philharmonic presents its annual Holiday Pops Concert in Winter Park’s Central Park at 4 p.m. on Nov. 30. The Philharmonic will present a free program of holiday favorites for all ages with audience members encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to re-stock the pantries at Second Harvest Food Bank. Bring a blanket and enjoy a program of holiday favorites that will be sure to put everyone in the spirit of the season. Visit

Dec. 2 – Celebrate the Holidays at Casa Feliz

The sixth annual Holiday Open House – Christmas at the Casa – will take place Dec. 2 beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsored by a grant from Commerce National Bank in Winter Park, guests may have photos taken with Santa, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, admire the Christmas decorations at Casa Feliz, and enjoy a quartet of carolers. There is no charge to attend Christmas at the Casa, but a donation of $2 per person is suggested. Call 407-628-8196 or visit

Dec. 3 – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s State of Downtown Address

After a life-changing year for all Central Floridians, Mayor Buddy Dyer will share the visioning process for the continued re-vitalization of Orlando in his address set for Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Church Street Exchange Building. The speech is the annual fundraiser for the Downtown Orlando Partnership (DOP). The cost is $40 or $50. Register online at and/or visit

Dec. 3 to 28 – Get your ‘Bah Humbug’ at Orlando Shakes

Considering the phenomenal success of their full-length “Nicholas Nickleby” (last season), expectations for Orlando Shakes’ new production of “A Christmas Carol” are magical. Written by Artistic Director Jim Helsinger, nine actors will bring Charles Dickens’ classic to life in a new production featuring the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Call 407-447-1700 or visit

Dec. 4 – The 36th magical Christmas in the Park

All the holiday season is packed into two hours beginning on Dec. 4 at 6:15 p.m. in Winter Park’s Central Park. This highly-anticipated free event, presented this year by the Morse Museum and the city of Winter Park, includes love, family, sharing, good cheer, Christmas music by the Bach Festival Choir, and the magical experience of lighting nine of the priceless Tiffany windows for which the Museum is renowned. This highly recommended event retains its hometown feeling as offered by the late Hugh and Jeannette McKean who first shared Christmas in the Park in 1979. Visit

Dec. 4 – Affordable art at Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursday

The Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursdays are always fun, but my personal favorite is OMArt’s December exhibit with the annual theme of affordable art. It’s a much-appreciated art-exhibit-and-party-as-promo to get us to consider giving original art as a gift this holiday season. On Dec. 4, each piece of original art, created by Central Florida Artists, is offered under $200. Join us as we support our local artists (and find some serious art bargains). Visit or call 407 896 4231, ext. 260.

Dec. 4 to 15 – The Phantom haunts our new Performing Arts Center

Even without his usual notes of a most amiable nature, “The Phantom of the Opera” couldn’t wait to “haunt” our new Performing Arts Center. Taking over the Center from Dec. 4 to 15, the Phantom is up to his old tricks – threatening our chandeliers – in the touring production that Andrew Lloyd Weber called the best version yet. Read that as “spookiest ever” as this most successful Musical in history arrives with new special effects that didn’t even exist when the Musical first opened in 1986. Visit or call 800-448-6322.

Dec. 5 to 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 from Dec. 5 to 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

Dec. 5 to 7 – Marvel superheroes save the Amway Arena

OK, listen up – The fate of the universe depends on Marvel fans coming together from Dec. 5 to 7 at the Amway Arena for Marvel Universe LIVE! In this brand-new live show Marvel superheroes Spider-Man, the Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk and more, fight off the universe’s most dastardly villains. Hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever, the special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, and motorcycles offer Marvel fans of all ages a monumental performance. Visit

Dec. 5 to 21 – ‘Christmas by Committee’ – A musical in Winter Garden

“Christmas by Committee” is a world-premiere musical written and directed by Rob Winn Anderson for the Garden Theater in Winter Garden. With old-fashioned “Let’s put on a show” energy, Amy plans to pull the annual Village Christmas show out of a slump. With spunk and holiday cheer, Amy must convince the town’s surly Christmas Committee that the show is about more than personal agendas. Filled with song, dance and laughs, our holiday heroine comes to the rescue. Call 407-877-4736 or visit

Dec. 6 – ‘MAKULU: A Contemporary African Ballet’

In a fusion of traditional African dance with contemporary ballet and modern dance, the Center for Contemporary Dance presents “MAKULU” on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The story of a mother wildebeest’s journey to reunite with her herd, “MAKULU” celebrates the magic of love and family. This spirited performance for the entire family offers the joy and exuberance of African dance in performance at Trinity Prep in Winter Park. Call 407-695-8366 or visit


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