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'Nutcracker' to John Waters: Traditional to weird holiday shows in NYC

New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild as The

New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild as The Sugarplum Fairy and Joaquin de Luz as her Cavalier in George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" Act II. Credit: The George Balanchine Trust

Just because there aren't any specific holiday offerings on Broadway this year doesn't mean the city lacks for seasonal cheer. All around town, traditional, brand-new and, OK, just plain weird events are happening, or about to happen before year's end.


"The Nutcracker" George Balanchine's magical vision of the Tchaikovsky classic score -- complete with the levitating tree -- continues at the Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, through Jan. 4. Visit

"Radio City Christmas Spectacular" The Rockettes, an art deco landmark and a 3-D ride with Santa. Enough said, through Dec. 30. Visit

"A Christmas Story: The Musical" Last year's wickedly funny Broadway musical, adapted from the offbeat 1983 film, begins Wednesday and runs through Dec. 29 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. All the important grown-ups -- Dan Lauria, John Bolton, Erin Dilly -- will be back. Visit

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" John Tartaglia ("Avenue Q") narrates this concert version of the TV holiday special at Carnegie Hall at 2 p.m. Dec. 21, performed by the New York Pops, the New York Theatre Ballet and child actors from TADA! Youth Theater. Visit

"A Christmas Carol" Patrick Barlow (who created the inventive stage adaptation of "The 39 Steps") turns to Charles Dickens' classic at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 W. 46th St., through Jan. 4. Visit

"It's a Wonderful Life, The 1946 Live Radio Play" Set in a '40s radio station, six actors play 25 beloved and familiar characters in this stage adaptation of the screenplay at the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22nd St., through Dec. 29. Visit

"Shea: Prince of Christmas" Shea, the one-named singer out of Louisiana and Branson, Mo., performs both Christmas classics and lesser-known songs as he celebrates the holiday around the globe. The show begins Wednesday and runs through Dec. 27 at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. Visit

"The Yorkville Nutcracker" For the 18th year, Dances Patrelle presents its idea of "The Nutcracker" as a tour of old New York landmarks. Performances at noon and 5 p.m. today. Visit

"A (15-Min!) Christmas Carol" That's right, free lunchtime servings of what's called a "bite-sized classic" will be presented at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday in the lobby of One Liberty Plaza and repeated at the same times Dec. 18-20 at Brookfield Place, Winter Garden. Visit



"Cirkopolis" Although not literally about the holidays, this circus-arts showcase by Montreal's Cirque Eloize runs Dec. 18-29 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place. Visit

"John Waters Christmas" The irrepressible force behind "Pink Flamingos" and "Hairspray" before it ever dreamed of being a musical may not be your family's best choice for a frolic through yuletide cheer. Of course, I don't know your family. No one younger than 16 will be permitted at this one-man show that runs Friday and Saturday at Stage 48, 605 W. 48th St., in Hell's Kitchen. Doors open at 6 p.m., show begins at 8. Visit

"How LTR Stole Christmas" The Horse Trade Theater Group presents what promises to be a "chaotic Christmas spectacular" with elf choirs, alien trees and "staged readings of the worst-ever TV holiday specials." If you're still curious, you should know that LTR stands for the Less Than Rent theater company and performances run through Dec. 17 at The Kraine Theater, 85 E. Fourth St. Visit

"Nutcracker Rouge" Company XIV, a neo-baroque dance company, presents the New York premiere of its erotic reimagining of the Nutcracker tale. The company promises a mash-up of baroque style, burlesque, ballet, circus, opera and "sumptuous design." Again, if you are younger than 16, don't even think about it. The show runs through Jan. 5 at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane. Visit

And don't count Broadway out. Just because there aren't any Christmas shows opening that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of family-friendly offerings. "Annie" still has tomorrows until early January, while "Cinderella" and "Matilda" are still here from last year. And there are always and forever the long-runs -- "The Lion King," "Wicked," "Newsies." Curtain times may be different this time of year, so check for holiday schedules.

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