Friday, December 16, 2016

8 Things to Do in St. Louis This Week to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 6:33 AM

click to enlarge COURTESY SAINT LOUIS BALLET
  • COURTESY SAINT LOUIS BALLET
Christmas Eve is one week from tomorrow, which means this week is chock-full of holiday-related merriment. Do you want to see The Nutcracker on the campus of Wash U or at UMSL? What about a hip-hop Nutcracker at the Fox? And while we're at it, what about a screening of White Christmas?

Now, maybe your idea of the Christmas spirit is more along the lines of "Bah, humbug." If that's the case, may we suggest getting tickets to the Blues, or perhaps checking out a comedian at Helium Comedy Club? When we promised you'd get into the spirit of things, we didn't promise that would be all peace and joy. Ho, ho, ho also counts, as does a good old hockey brawl. Proceed accordingly with this week's eight picks.

1. See The Nutcracker (Missouri Ballet Theatre version)
If you believe it's just not Christmas until you take in a performance of The Nutcracker, this is your week. Missouri Ballet Theatre presents its annual production of the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet. Watch as Clara receives the gift of a nutcracker soldier from family friend Herr Drosselmeyer, and falls asleep dreaming of his his dashing adventures in a wintery wonderland of dancing dolls and malevolent rat kings. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday (December 16 to 18) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; www.edison.wustl.edu). Tickets are $40 to $60.


2. Catch a comedian at the Helium Comedy Club
Comedian Hari Kondabolu transcends most of the easy labels. He's a first-generation American who's just as comfortable exposing the idiocy of celebrity interviews as he is unspooling a long riff about race and politics in America. Kondabolu somehow approaches every topic from a unique position of sharp social commentary combined with empathy, all delivered in a weary tone that implies he shouldn't have to be telling you this in 2016. He's currently on tour across the country, and you'd better believe he has stuff to say about this past year. Hari Kondabolu performs at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (December 15 to 17) at the Helium Comedy Club in the Galleria (1151 St. Louis Galleria; st-louis.heliumcomedy.com). Tickets are $15 to $20. It's an eighteen and older show, so if you can't vote yet don't show up.

3. See our best LGBT Concert Band in U. City
This year marks BandTogether's twentieth season as the city's premiere LGBT concert band. In that time the group has grown from a handful of friends gathered together to form a small marching band for the Pride Parade to a more than 100-member strong powerhouse. BandTogether's repertoire includes pop standards, modern symphonic works and, at this time of year, holiday music. You can bet you'll hear a sleigh-full of that last genre at BandTogether's seasonal show, In the Christmas Mood. Expect music from TV Christmas specials, carols and a few surprises. In the Christmas Mood starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the 560 Music Center (560 Trinity Avenue, University City; www.bandtogetherstl.com). Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.


4. Catch a holiday classic in Edwardsville
Singing along with a film is normally frowned upon at the cinema, but because it's so close to Christmas, we will allow it for today only — and only because the film in question is White Christmas. The 1954 musical features Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as a pair of dashing veterans who have teamed up as a very successful song-and-dance duo. They meet beautiful sisters Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen and form a quartet, in more ways than one. Together they plan to put on a televised show to save the failing inn owned by our heroes' former commanding officer. Their secret weapon is a treasure trove of great Irving Berlin songs, including "Sisters," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" and the title track. White Christmas is shown at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Wildey Theatre (254 North Main Street, Edwardsville, Illinois; www.wildeytheatre.com), and singing along is encouraged. Tickets are $10 to $15 and include a goodie bag of props to use during the screening.


Turn the page for more four more events this week, including two more Nutcrackers.

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