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    Holiday Arts Preview

    Night Bloom – A Light and Sound Experience
    December 2–January 6
    Conservatory of Flowers
    100 John F. Kennedy Drive
    San Francisco

    Night Bloom is a five-week light, art and sound exhibition with installations dispersed throughout the Conservatory of Flowers. Just under one mile of walking is required to experience every eye-catching element. Visitors may repeat the walk as many times as they like.

    American Conservatory Theater – A Christmas Carol
    December 6–29
    A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
    415 Geary Street
    San Francisco

    Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes and those deliciously spooky ghosts, one of the Bay Area’s favorite holiday traditions returns as American Conservatory Theater presents its celebrated production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Now in the theater’s 42nd year of presenting the holiday classic, this version that is adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff stays true to the heart of Dickens’ timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language.

    Michael Feinstein – A Holly, Jolly Holiday
    December 6–9
    Feinstein’s at the Nikko
    222 Mason Street
    San Francisco

    Known as the ambassador of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein is a five-time Grammy nominee who has twice been nominated for Emmy awards for his popular PBS specials. Now he brings his powerful pipes, dapper looks and onstage charm to Feinstein’s at the Nikko (the intimate nightclub that bears his name as part owner) in San Francisco with a special show celebrating the magic of the season. During A Holly, Jolly Holiday, the quintessential crooner will perform holiday favorites, as well as beloved standards from the Great American Songbook.

    San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus: Brassy and Sassy
    December 7–8
    Nourse Theater
    275 Hayes Street
    San Francisco

    Brassy and Sassy is an all-new holiday show featuring artistic director and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Dr. Tim Seelig and the 250 men of the Chorus plus special guest, acclaimed coloratura soprano Marnie Brekenridge. Backed by a brass quintet, the Chorus will present a program of favorite holiday songs with special twists. The show will also be presented at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley on Sunday, December 9, and at the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park on Sunday, December 16.

    Hanukkah Shabbatikah Fryday
    December 7
    3200 California Street
    San Francisco

    The JCCSF will host its annual Hanukkah Shabbat celebration, inviting guests of all ages to gather together to light the menorah and Shabbat candles. Guests will celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah, and the end of the work week with special drinks, food and live music.

    Theatre of Yugen – A Noh Christmas Carol
    December 7–30
    Theatre of Yugen
    2840 Mariposa Street
    San Francisco

    Theatre of Yugen’s beloved adaptation of A Noh Christmas Carol utilizes the traditional Japanese theatre forms of Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and the avant-garde dance form Butoh to retell the Dickens classic. Ebezo Sukurooji (Ebenezer Scrooge) receives a visit from his deceased business partner Jakube Mashima (Jacob Marley), warning him to change his miserly ways or be doomed to linger forever as a hungry ghost. Sukurooji is taken on a wondrous journey by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come, to remind him of the value of life beyond business and profit.

    Saturnalia! A Raunchy Circus Christmas
    December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22
    Shelton Theater
    533 Sutter Street
    San Francisco

    “Bow & Arror: A Circus Theatre Collective” returns after a smashing success last winter with the raunchy circus cabaret. The Cartier sisters are throwing their second annual circus solstice party, but when a spell goes wrong, light battles dark and the world is thrown topsy turvy. Get ready for a holiday show like no other. The eclectic circus-theater cabaret at San Francisco’s Shelton Theater is inspired by the Pagan origins of Christmas traditions and features pole dance, comedy, contortion, a live rock band, sword fighting and more.

    Dance Along Nutcracker – San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band
    December 8–9
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    700 Howard Street (at 3rd Street)
    San Francisco

    Each year, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band blends Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite with a fun theme. The result: a memorable musical production brimming with wit, artistry and ingenuity. The talented cast sings and dances their way through the performance, and when the “Dance-Along” sign flashes, the audience is invited to tug on their tutus and sashay along with the cast. Even audience members who don’t want to dance have a blast! For 2018, the theme is Clara Potter and the Elder Baton, so grab your owl and a broom and go back to school at Fogwarts, an exclusive school for those with extraordinary magical and musical talent. Join Clara Potter and her friends on a fun-filled musical adventure, featuring secret riddles, an evil school board, kazoos, a three-ish headed dog and more music and dancing than you can shake a wand at.

    Christmas Revels 2018: Ancient Mysteries of Andalusian Spain
    December 8–9, 14–16
    Scottish Rite Center
    1547 Lakeside Drive

    The Revels story begins in 1600 in Andalusia, Spain. Three individuals—a young Moorish woman, a Sephardic Jew and a Castilian scullery maid—happen to meet, each armed with a mysterious clue that is guiding them on a quest. They are all hoping to find their way back through time to the era of La Convivencia, a time when, as they understand it, those who are Muslim, Jewish and Christian lived in a spirit of tolerance and peace. Directed to pay attention to the celestial bodies, and swept up in the Revels celebration of the Solstice, they learn how each culture celebrates the Sun, the Moon and the stars in song, dance, poetry and story. By looking to the heavens, they learn the secret of finding the Convivencia. They come to realize that, despite the things that make each of us different and unique, in the end, we all live under the same sky.

    REAF’s Help Is on the Way for the Holidays XVII
    December 10
    Marines’ Memorial Theatre
    609 Sutter Street
    San Francisco

    The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s annual concert and gala, benefiting Project Open Hand and PRC, is a holiday season tradition featuring a program rich in talent and followed by an After Party at Clift Royal Sonestra Hotel. Including on the program are Grammy award-winning star of Broadway Maureen McGovern, America’s Got Talent’s Shawn Ryan, Tony-nominated cabaret star Sharon McNight, jazz diva Paul West, cast members from Bay Area Musical’s Crazy for You and more.

    Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet
    December 13–14
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    700 Howard Street (at 3rd Street)
    San Francisco

    Smuin’s signature holiday program, The Christmas Ballet, is like a festive box of chocolates. While each season marks the return of many audience favorites from founder Michael Smuin, the Company looks forward to surprising audiences with new works every winter. Since its debut in 1995, no two productions of The Christmas Ballet have been exactly alike. Over the years, Michael Smuin choreographed a total of 52 works, and 15 different choreographers have been invited to create original pieces to add to The Christmas Ballet’s repertoire. As the Company celebrates its 25th anniversary season, Company dancer Erica Felsch and former Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler will each be presenting new ballets for the production. In addition to the return of some beloved Michael Smuin works, these two world premieres will appear opposite each other in Act I and Act II: “The Classical Christmas” and “The Cool Christmas.”

    Kim Nalley – Gospel Christmas
    December 16
    Feinstein’s at the Nikko
    222 Mason Street
    San Francisco

    Internationally-acclaimed jazz and blues singer Kim Nalley has twice been awarded as being San Francisco’s Best Jazz Singer. She has numerous acting credits and her CDs have charted in the Jazz Top 20. She will be accompanied by organist and composer Tammy Hall, one of the most in-demand musicians in the Bay Area. A classically trained musician and church pianist, she has a unique style fusing Jazz, Gospel and Classical.

    The Hip Hop Nutcracker: A Holiday Mashup
    December 21, 22, 28 & 29
    Fox Theatre
    2215 Broadway Street
    Redwood City

    Peninsula Ballet presents this new holiday classic. Tchaikovsky music still reigns supreme with several new twists and re-imaginings brought to life by choreographers Alee Martinez and Issac “Stuck” Sanders. Co-founders and directors of The Tribe and Poise’n, both Martinez and Sanders have a rich dance and hip hop history. They mix the iconic pieces of the story and Tchaikovsky’s score (with some added twists) and create explosive hip-hop dance.

    Brian Wilson Presents The Christmas Album Live
    December 22
    Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
    50 Mark West Springs Road
    Santa Rosa

    Brian Wilson, who wrote some of the greatest tunes in American pop music as a founding member of The Beach Boys, performs The Christmas Album in its entirety at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. Fans can expect to hear Beach Boy classics “Little Saint Nick,” “The Man with All the Toys” and a selection of Wilson’s favorite Yuletide songs including “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Joined by longtime bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, the performance will also include cuts from Wilson’s critically acclaimed solo Christmas album All I Really Want for Christmas and other holiday fan favorites.

    Oakland Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker
    Saturday, December 22
    Paramount Theatre
    2025 Broadway

    Fly away to an enchanted Land of Sweets when Oakland Ballet Company’s annual performance of Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker returns to the Paramount Theatre. Set to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score, audiences of all ages will fall in love with the classic holiday tale of a young girl who experiences a truly enchanted winter evening after receiving the gift of a Nutcracker for Christmas. Oakland Ballet’s colorful and spritely version of this Christmas spectacular is filled with dynamic dancing, gorgeous costumes and lovely sets, making it a beloved Bay Area tradition that should not be missed.

    26th Annual King Pao Kosher Comedy
    December 23–25
    New Asia Restaurant
    772 Pacific Avenue
    San Francisco

    Described as “Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant,” the show, created by comedian Lisa Geduldig, has evolved into a treasured annual outing for all. The program for 2018 is headlined by Seinfeld writer Carol Leifer and also features Vietnamese-Jewish comic Joseph Nguyen, New Yorker Jordan Ferber and host Geduldig, plus a menu of Chinese favorites. Partial proceeds benefit Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay – Refugee & Immigrant Services and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice.

    Home for the Holidays – San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
    December 24
    Castro Theatre
    429 Castro Street
    San Francisco

    The Christmas Eve tradition that began in 1990 continues with the annual show created originally to bring the holidays home to those who had none. This night of joyous music and heartwarming festivities includes three performances to choose from at 5 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm.