It’s the most wonderful time of the year


Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 6:45 p.m.

From the offbeat to the traditional — holiday favorites return to the stage this season, with a few new additions.

At the Hippodrome State Theatre, the season’s staples— “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” and the wacky “A TUNA CHRISTMAS”—continue through Dec. 18.

Dance Alive!, the state touring company, brings its “NUTCRACKER” back from the road to the Phillips Center with shows Dec. 17-18, after the annual goof-fest “THE CRACKED NUT” on Dec. 15, in which a plethora of Gainesville notables perform a fractured version of the beloved ballet.

On Dec. 2, the Santa Fe Singers give a free holiday concert in SFCC’s Auditorium E, while the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra offers an evening of festive music at the Thomas Center, Dec. 18.

The ‘40s-flavored musical “G.I. HOLIDAY JUKEBOX” swings into the Gainesville Community Playhouse Dec. 8-18; it’s the final show in GCP’s temporary digs before “CINDERELLA THE MUSICAL” opens Jan. 27 in the new Vam York Theater. The Acrosstown Repertory Theatre will also host a holiday event—a variety show featuring students of the G A I N E S V I L L E ASSOCIATION OF THE CREATIVE ARTS — Dec. 8- 18.

Local classics “THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL” by the Gainesville Ballet Theatre (Dec. 2-3) and D a n s c o m p a n y ’ s “CINDERELLA” (Dec. 10) return to the Phillips Center this year to showcase the area’s young dancers. Then, the Phillips Center changes gears on Dec. 13, when the Tony-Award-winning “BLAST!” takes the stage. “Blast!” defies classification—with 35 musicians and visual performers, it’s part marching band and part theater, with music from classical to techno to blues.

As the holiday season winds down, the action onstage only intensifies, with deadpan comedy, Mozart’s 250th birthday and even a Jellicle Ball.

STEVEN WRIGHT brings his wry wit (“What’s another word for thesaurus?”) to the Phillips Center on Jan. 24.

CONDUCTOR CHARLES DUTOIT and VIOLINIST JOAN KWUON come the Phillips Center with the ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Jan. 11 with a program of Mozart and Tchaikovsky, while the New York Chamber Soloists celebrate Mozart’s birthday with two performances at the University Auditorium. On Jan. 27, the soloists play a selection of his works for adults. On Jan. 28, it’s the family-friendly narrated tale of “FERDINAND THE BULL.”

Also family-oriented: GCO’s Jan. 22-23 “Dance! Dance! Dance!” concert at the University Auditorium, as well as the acrobatic dance of DIAVOLO at the Phillips Center Jan. 14.

The Jan. 21 “MOTOWN ON THE PLAZA” event is a party with a purpose: The food, music and fun will raise funds for the Florida Museum of Natural History, Phillips Center and the Harn Museum of Art, while jazz fans can catch a pre-holiday concert by the NANCY KELLY QUINTET on Dec. 14, as well as a Jan. 24 performance by the ROSS TOMPKINS TRIO. Both are part of the FRIENDS OF JAZZ AND BLUES series at Savannah Grande.

The new year brings the muchheralded play “FROZEN” to the Hippodrome stage from Jan. 6-29, while the Acrosstown offers NEIL SIMON’S “LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS” from Jan. 19-Feb. 18.

In the Constans Theatre Black Box on the University of Florida campus, “VINCENT IN BRIXTON” runs from Jan 27-Feb. 5. Another UF group, AGBEDIDI, brings “DANCING AFRICA IN TIME AND SPACE” to the Constans mainstage Dec. 1-4. Also on campus: L.A. Theatre Works takes “THE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL,” based on the Scopes trial, to the University Auditorium Jan. 17-18. EDWARD ASNER, MARSHA MASON and JAMES CROMWELL are slated to perform.

Rounding out the Phillips Center schedule are the Moscow-based HELIKON OPERA’S “DIE FLEDERMAUS” on Jan. 18, renowned soprano RENEE FLEMING on Jan. 20 and the dancing felines of “CATS” Jan. 28-29.

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