Janet Drozda of Lansing ranks "The Nutcracker" as her favorite holiday stage show.
"It's hard to pick, but like so many others, I have a special fondness for 'The Nutcracker," said Drozda, who is a graduate of the School of the Hartford Ballet.
"There are some pretty wonderful productions of 'The Nutcracker,' right here in the Region. And of course, everyone loves The Joffrey in Chicago and their annual 'Nutcracker' stage traditions."
Holiday shows and ticket choices abound this month to welcome the arrival of "holiday spirit."
Here are just a few of the area ticket finds that make perfect "early" gifts for grateful audiences of all ages and interests.Keep checking the theater listings feature every Thursday for even more great ticket descriptions to put everyone on the gift list in the holiday spirit of applause. Today's list is only a start for Santa's stage wish list of show suggestions.
• Indiana Ballet Theatre presents "The Nutcracker" 7 p.m. tonight (Dec. 5) at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children and seniors. FYI: (800) 745-3000 or starplazatheatre.com
• Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso presents "Little Women," the beloved story of the March Sisters growing up during the Civil War Era, completing a holiday run this weekend with remaining performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are adults $21, seniors (55+) $18, military/students (valid ID) $18. Later this month, on Dec. 19 and 20, it's "A Good Old Fashioned Christmas" with Christmas stories, caroling, and "grandma's homemade cookies." Tickets for adults $16, seniors (55+) $14 and military/students(with Valid ID) $14. FYI: (219) 548-9137 or memorialoperahouse.com.
• Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso has "The Santaland Diaries" playing now until Dec. 20. It's the edgy one-man show written by David Sedaris sharing tales working as a bitter department store elf during the busy holiday season. Tickets are $15 to $25. As a second offering, this theater space also has "Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!" now until Dec. 22, entertaining audiences with her visions of the holidays through the eyes of a little girl with big ideas. Tickets are $12 to $25. FYI: (219) 464-1636, Ext. 1 or chicagostreet.org.
• Theatre at the Center in Munster offers "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" now through Dec. 22, featuring the music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Mike Ockrent with Ahrens and based on the story by Charles Dickens with a musical twist on a classic story. Actor Larry Adams stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in this musical twist on the tale of redemption. Tickets are $38 - $42. FYI: (219) 836-3255 or TheatreAtTheCenter.com.
• "The Nutcracker" performed by Salt Creek Ballet ($20-$40), returns to Governors State University Center for Performing Arts in University Park, Ill., at 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday. FYI: centertickets.net or (708) 235-2222.
• Holiday Pops Concert by the Northwest Indiana Symphony and conductor Kirk Muspratt ($10, $25, $35), $45) 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. FYI: (219) 836-0525 or NISOrchestra.org.
• "A Fabulous 50s Christmas-Swank 60s Christmas"at Towle Theatre in Hammond ($17) now through Dec. 22. The 11th annual performance, this run is always a sell-out and tickets go fast. FYI: (219) 937-8780 and towletheater.com.
• M & M Productions and Ross Music Theatre have a duo to delight audiences this season with a production of "Scrooge," the musical version of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," performed 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in Reinhart Auditorium at Merrillville High School. Tickets in advance range from $9 to $12, with group rates as low as $5. Combination ticket specials for "Scrooge" and "Merry Christmas George Bailey" run as low as $15. "Merry Christmas, George Bailey" is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, offering a live rendition of the 1940s radio show based on "It's A Wonderful Life." FYI: (219) 742-6478 or m-mproductions.com.
• Singer Michael Bolton's Christmas Show 9 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Silver Creek Events Center at Four Winds Casino and Hotel in New Buffalo.
• "A Christmas Carol" is also the Footlight Players' production this season, opening Friday and running until Dec. 15 at their stage in Michigan City. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and reservations are strongly recommended. FYI: (219) 874-4035 or footlightplayers.org.
• "Celtic Woman Home For Christmas - The Symphony Tour" is at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. Tickets start at $46. FYI: (800) 745-3000 or horseshoehammond.com.
• Singer Michael McDonald's Christmas Show 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. FYI: (800) 745-3000 or starplazatheatre.com
• "The Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker" celebrates the 26th Anniversary of Robert Joffrey's production ($31-$132) in a 23-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago, opens Friday and runs until Dec. 28. FYI: (800) 982-2787 and joffrey.org.
• "A Christmas Carol" 36th Anniversary ($25-$83) at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. now until Dec. 28. FYI: (312) 443-3800 and GoodmanTheatre.org.