The Nutcracker at L.A. Ballet
Christmas is coming! You can tell because FM radio has been playing holiday carols since late October.
Get into the Yuletide spirit early with a classic ballet or seasonal cocktail party, or explore the city's burgeoning culture of interactive theater. From a pub-set A Christmas Carol to a sing-along chorus to a festival that explores the darker side of Christmas, the city is hosting so many wintry diversions that you might never finish your holiday shopping.
5. The Definitive Nutcracker
The annual snowstorm of Nutcracker productions begins this week, and the most polished and professional belongs to L.A. Ballet. Set in 1912 Los Angeles, this Nutcracker is an original, choreographed by company co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, with set design by L.A. artist Catherine Kanner. Now in its eighth season, LAB continues to demonstrate how well it understands this city: Home theaters in Glendale, Westwood, Northridge and Redondo Beach bring ballet to you rather than forcing you into gridlocked traffic. Plus, since the company performs throughout the year, ticket income is spent onstage here, not taken back to another city, as with touring productions. LAB dancers are splendid performers who make the challenging choreography look effortless -- although, in full disclosure, we might be a bit biased: Your scribe continues to volunteer to observe the ballet from an onstage chimney. For an extensive list of the season's Nutcracker productions, check out blogs.laweekly.com/arts/dance. Alex Theatre, 216 Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 8, 2 p.m.; $30-$95, seniors, students, children 12 & younger $24-$76. (310) 998-7782, losangelesballet.org. Also at Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff Ave., Northridge; Sat., Dec. 14, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 1 p.m.; at UCLA Royce Hall, Wstwd.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 21-22, 1 & 5 p.m.; and at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 28, 1 & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 29, 2 p.m. --Ann Haskins