Bed & Breakfast
The Puppetmongers (siblings Ann and David Powell) are a theatrical institution, and you owe it to yourself to see at least one of their all-ages seasonal shows. This one, a reworking of the Princess And The Pea tale, is performed in a beautifully detailed miniature mansion where the Powells' expressive puppets play out an upstairs-downstairs story about love.
December 17 to January 1 at Tarragon Extra Space. 416-531-1827, puppetmongers.com
What would the holidays be without multiple stagings of the Tchaikovsky ballet? You can decide between two traditional productions by local companies, Ballet Jörgen's, choreographed by Bengt Jörgen (December 14 at the Betty Oliphant; December 30 at Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts, balletjorgen.ca), and the National Ballet of Canada's, by James Kudelka (December 10 to January 3 at the Four Seasons Centre, thenutcracker.ca). The Pia Bouman School presents an interactive version (December 15 to 18 at Humberside Collegiate, piaboumanschool.org). And if you want a production that hails from the country that first performed it, check out the State Ballet Theatre of Russia in their December 8 performance at Brampton's Rose Theatre (rosetheatre.ca).
Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Revue
If spending time with family or waiting in line at stores starts to grate, head over to the Second City for their compilation of scenes and songs sending up the season. Ending the year with a laugh sounds like a good plan.
To December 30, secondcity.com
December 13 to 30 at the Evergreen Brick Works. 416-504-7529.
A Very Lupe Xmas
December 8 to 17, Gallery 918, totix.ca
Hallelujah! It's time for George Frideric Handel's Messiah to light up Toronto stages, and there are several ways to get your fix of the popular seasonal oratorio. The most glittery version is offered by the Toronto Symphony and the Mendelssohn Choir, December 16 to 19 at Roy Thomson Hall. 416-872-4255.
Or you can hear accomplished musical theatre star Michael Burgess when he appears with the Toronto Chamber Choir and the Ontario Philharmonic at Christ Church Deer Park on December 17 (416-443-9737, ontariophil.ca).
Experiencing the awesome acoustics of the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall is reason enough to check out the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir's performance (December 14 to 17). tafelmusik.org.
But if you want to let 'er rip and belt out that famous chorus along with the performers onstage, Tafelmusik offers a singalong Messiah on December 18 at Massey Hall. 416-872-4255. masseyhall.com.
The Sound Of Music Sing-Along Special
You've seen the movie musical a dozen times and know all the words to My Favorite Things. So why not show off that knowledge among other fans at one of three singalong screenings hosted by none other than cabaret performer extraordinaire Shawn Hitchens, who's helmed similar events during Nuit Blanche. Nun and dirndl costumes optional.
December 16 and 30 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. tiff.net