A choir and musicians in long white robes. A precocious kid too talented for her age. Tap dancers. Comedians. The lineup of the Polyphonic Spree's Fourth Annual Holiday Extravaganza reminds us of many childhood holiday seasons spent in nursing homes, tap-dancing to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Jingle Bells" in the cafeteria while senior citizens ate pudding topped with Redi-Whip and maraschino cherries. But this holiday isn't octogenarian-specific. Sure, your grandma is welcome, but keep her away from the pit. There's no moshing, but we don't want to be responsible for someone's Nana getting poked in the eye by an enraptured rock fan armed with a bubble wand and the need to bounce and flail during "Hanging Around the Day, Part 2." In addition to the Polyphonic Spree led by their own charismatic and Frosty the Snowman-esque singer Tim DeLaughter, this year's two-day festival at the historic Lakewood Theater features the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players (the "indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band" featuring dad Jason, mom Tina and daughter Rachel, the band's drummer), Shibboleth (the Chomsky-related instrumental poppy, loungey band), Spread a Little Love Sound System, Patrick Park and "other holiday fare," which in previous incarnations has included the Syncopated Ladies (tap dancers from the Denton Senior Center), accordion players, improv comedy, break-dancers and more bands. Admission for the shows Friday and Saturday is $20 cash in advance from Good Records or $25 at the door. New, unwrapped, non-Christmas toys also are being collected for donation to Toys for Tots. The Lakewood Theater is located at 1825 Abrams Parkway. Call Good Records at 214-752-4663. --Shannon Sutlief
A Date with Disaster
You do not have to wear your hoity-toity black designer dress and guzzle champagne to see the opera. Girls are always looking for an excuse to get all gussied up for a night on the town; and guys, it's good to have something worth the effort to attend. The Dallas Opera invites you to brush up on your Italian during this month's performances of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème. Girl meets guy, guy and girl fall in love, plot thickens. Set in France, sung in Italian. But fear not, there are subtitles. Set during Christmas in the 1830s French Quarter, La Bohème exposes the vivacity of life and bohemian ideals of convention. So, let Dallas know that you are refined while impressing your lady friend. La Bohème runs December 12, December 14 (matinee only), December 17 and December 20 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Matinees begin at 2 p.m., and evening performances are at 7:30. Tickets start at $19. Call 214-443-1000 or visit www.dallasopera.org. --Danna Berger
Like an Egyptian
This year, get your yuletide helping of go-go boots, attempted fratricide and funky calypso music from Repertory Theater Company's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which runs at the Eisemann Center--2357 Performance Drive in Richardson--through December 21, combines three narrative schoolgirls and an adulterous wife with Elvis-style Egyptian royalty and an enslaved Jewish seer to create a polychromatic alternative to other local, more green-and-red-tinted offerings. The role of Joseph will be played by University of North Texas music major Matthew Vala. The show is suitable for all ages. Tickets are $20 for orchestra, $16 for adult terrace and $11 for child terrace and are available by calling or dropping by the box office. Call 972-690-5029 or visit www.rctheatre.com. --Mary Monigold
Holes in Your Stockings
Holiday concert rocks around the Christmas tree
The Edge scored a major coup by landing Jane's Addiction for its annual How the Edge Stole Christmas concert. It has since been renamed How the Edge "Been Caught Stealing" Christmas in honor of the venerable Los Angeles band that's obviously lowering its standards by playing a Christmas show. The band needs to redeem itself since its headlining set at last summer's Lollapalooza barely lasted an hour. But with four other acts on the bill, don't get your hopes up. If you're lucky, Jane's Addiction might actually bother to change its set list from its summer outing, but again, keep those expectations low. Also on the bill are dance-floor chemists The Crystal Method, struggling alt-rock saps Blue October, local "next big thing" the Burden Brothers and Chicago buzz band Kill Hannah. The show is Friday at 6:30 p.m. at NextStage in Grand Prairie. Tickets are $23.50 to $31 by calling Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000 or visiting www.kdge.com. --Jay Webb
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New tricks for the holidays
Friends and dogs are pickable. Unfortunately, family is only packable. That's why Christmas comes just once a year and with eggnog. So pump up the family extensions with some eggnog (Aqua Velva will bring that cozy holiday feeling on sooner, and it's cheaper than bourbon), strap them into the U-Haul tethered to the back of the Suburban and roll them out to the Pocket Sandwich Theatre for All Scrooged Up, a Christmas show to frighten the aunties. Performed by Pavlov's Dogs, the premier troupe for intelligent comedy (they know to drool when the electric knife is fired up), this is not your run-of-the-mill holiday show (for that, see the Osmonds perform in Branson, which is where the King of Pop will plop in two years--trust us). All Scrooged Up includes holiday-themed games and riveting short-form improv. Pavlov's Dogs is an energetic troupe formed to combine the smart, sophisticated pace of scene-based improv with gripping short-form intensity and a solid rhythm with no two shows ever alike. Scrooged begins at 11:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, at 214-821-1860. --Mark Stuertz