Best Holiday Shows to Get Your Visiting Family Out of the House

Post-election doom and gloom are in full effect. Before you hit publish on another depressing Facebook post, think about getting out of the house and getting into the holiday spirit. There’s tons to see in Dallas and Fort Worth right now, from comedy shows to Amy Grant. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a Nutcracker, and even if it’s 70 degrees outside you can snuggle up in the Texas air conditioning and soak up some holiday joy. Some of these are perfect for the whole family, and some are best served with the kids in bed. Here are some good bets on what to do in December.

The Sleeping Beauty 
Cox Playhouse
1517 H Ave., Plano
through Dec. 30
$11 to $21

The Sleeping Beauty is a traditional British panto — a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation. It is the holiday entertainment in Britain and has been popular since the early 1800s. It’s a fairy tale told in the style of melodrama. Cheer for the good guys, boo and hiss the bad guys and join in with the characters on stage. Theatre Britain first introduced panto to Dallas in 1996. Many families now consider it their holiday tradition.

Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
2301 Flora St.
through Dec. 18
$23 to $113

Christmas at the Dallas Symphony kicks off with Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops, the annual holiday musical tradition. The program features Christmas classics, holiday favorites, sing-along carols and a visit from Santa. Christmas Pops also includes the Dallas Symphony Chorus, soprano soloist Meredith Lustig and is conducted by Lawrence Loh. Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas (Cynthia Nott and Terrie Preskitt-Brown, conductors) will appear at matinee performances.

11th Annual Black Nativity
Bishop Arts Theatre Center
215 S. Tyler St.
Dec. 8 through 18
$12 to $18

Each year, TeCo Theatrical Productions (Bishop Arts Theatre Center) invites a new director to bring a fresh perspective to its celebrated holiday production of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes. This year nationally touring artist Lisa B. is at the helm of the artistic staff. “Black Nativity will be rich in movement, infused with colorful dialogue and led by insightful narrative wrapped in gospel songs and folk spirituals. Since its first stage performance in 1961 on Broadway this story has become a family tradition not only in the African-American community but a staple in professional theaters across the country,” says artistic director Teresa Coleman Wash. The performance will also feature students from W. E. Greiner Arts Magnet Middle School theater department.

How Santa Got His Groove Back
Dallas Comedy House
3025 Main St.
through Dec. 23
$15 to $20

Between attending festive parties, finding that perfect gift and dealing with your family, all of us can find the holidays a stressful time — including Santa. Working 12/25 may be the way he makes his living, but it's no way to make a life. The latest Dallas Comedy House Sketch Revue follows Santa through his magical snow globe as he gets his groove back and remembers what the holidays are all about.

Jeff Swearingen’s The Ultimate Holiday Experience
Fun House Theatre and Film
1301 Dolphin Drive, No. 706
through Dec. 10

Fun House takes the opportunity of one of the most divisive years on record, 2016, to bring back their cult classic of a yuletide tale. Fun House Theatre and Film takes audiences back to the 1980s for the tale of the night Dan Quayle saved Christmas. Jeff Swearingen and his crew of small but mighty actors do what they do best in creating an original story that appeals to adults and children alike.

Broadway Christmas Wonderland
Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dec. 6 through 18
$17 to $29

Dallas Summer Musicals fills the Music Hall with a warm festive glow as it kicks off its 2016-2017 season with one of the most enchanting Christmas shows ever, Broadway Christmas Wonderland, Dec. 6 through 18. A cast of 24 singers and dancers in dazzling costumes take you on an unforgettable journey and watch as the stage sensationally converts into a glistening ice pond with world champion ice skaters and then Santa along with his merry helpers make it snow inside the Music Hall.

Black on Black
DBDT Studios
2700 Ann Williams Way
6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10

Dallas Black Dance Theatre brings you a holiday party like no other. Black on Black is a complete dance and holiday experience guaranteed to bring good tidings and cheer. It all takes place in the creative space of DBDT’s studio. Enjoy the artistry, creative talents and innovative works choreographed and performed by DBDT and DBDT: Encore! At 6:30 pm, mingle at the reception with complimentary light bites and cocktails. At 7:30 p.m., enjoy the choreography and performances of DBDT & DBDT: Encore! At 8:30 p.m., jingle at the after-party with DBDT dancers and a live DJ.

Frosty: Songs of Redemption - The Musical!
Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park
1121 1st Ave.
Dec. 9 through 16

The perennially performing troupe is returning an original show this year — something House Party Theatre doesn’t usually do. Expanding on last year’s tale of yuletide woe with new songs and new characters, the musical catches up with Frosty 15 years after the events of the beloved cartoon Christmas special. The Snowman's life has taken a turn for the worse: drugs, alcohol, you name it. With global warming no longer just a fantasy, Frosty realizes the path to redemption is a dark one. Offering an irreverent departure from the usual holiday show standbys, the original musical will make you laugh, cry, and ask how far you’re willing to go for redemption. The late night Friday shows will immediately follow Nouveau47 Theatre’s annual A Very Nouveau Holiday show featuring short plays from local playwrights performed at the Margo Jones. Present that night’s playbill from the Nouveau47 Show at the box office and receive $5 off your Frosty ticket.

A Very Merry Clown Double Feature
Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park
1121 1st Ave.
9 p.m. Dec. 11

Physical comedy and variety performance come to The Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park as movement theater company PrismCo and street performer and mime Dustin Curry present an evening of clown drama. This late night show, running approximately 60 minutes without intermission, will premiere two new holiday-themed works of physical comedy and wordless storytelling.

The Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Dr Pepper Arena
2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
$22 to $87

Bring the entire family to hear some of the greatest holiday songs of all time live with the Dallas POPS and see the cast of Cirque Musica perform feats of strength, skill and grace to holiday music favorites.

The Nutcracker
Dallas Children’s Theater
5938 Skillman St.
through Dec. 21
$23 to $30

Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts prides itself on using puppets to tell stories when actors can't do them justice. When it comes to introducing young children to this classic ballet, it doesn't get any more charming. Plus it's the troupe's 20th anniversary of presenting this title at DCT. If one Christmas classic isn’t enough, try two. DCT is also presenting A Charlie Brown Christmas, bringing Charles Schulz's classic animated television special to life.

Santa Claus: A New Musical
Casa Manana
3101 W. Lancaster Ave.
through Dec. 23
$20 to $29

Delivering toys to children all over the world on Christmas Eve isn’t easy, especially when you’ve been doing it for over a thousand years. When Santa announces that this will be his last Christmas, the search is on for someone to fill some very big boots. But not everyone in the North Pole is feeling too giddy about Santa’s first choice for a replacement. Now it’s up to Father Christmas and his workshop of elves to get the new Santa Claus ready in time for Christmas! Santa Claus: A New Musical has new original songs and lots of holiday cheer.

The Holiday Experience 2016: An Electric Experience
The Kessler Theater
1230 W. Davis St.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23
$22.05 to $500

John Holiday brings his Holiday Experience 2016 to The Kessler Theater in Dallas, Dec. 23. Holiday, who recently completed appearances in the role of “first male voice” in Paradise Interrupted at the Singapore International Arts Festival 2016 and the Lincoln Center Festival 2016, will celebrate the season with an electric mix of jazz, classical, R&B and gospel. Joining him on stage will be Neeki Bey, Kristin Yost, Nigel Rivers, David Marquis and the Texas String Quartet.

Reliant Lights Your Holidays
AT&T Performing Arts Center
2403 Flora St.
TBA (postponed due to weather)

Reliant Energy is illuminating the center’s campus with dazzling LED lights to celebrate the holiday season. This free festival includes a gigantic fireworks show and holiday concert featuring A.B. Quintanilla y Elektro Kumbia, country superstar RaeLynn and a special appearance by Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields. The illumination of hundreds of thousands of dazzling LED lights placed on the center’s iconic venues and trees, and free photos with Santa Claus round out a dazzling holiday night.
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Katy Lemieux is a Dallas-based writer covering theater and the arts. She is a mother to two beautiful human children and three beautiful animal children. She has been published in Esquire Magazine, Texas Monthly, D Magazine, TheaterJones, American Theatre Magazine and most notably The Senior Voice.