’Tis the season to sing, dance and laugh — check out these merry Bay Area events 

click to enlarge Smuin Ballet: “The Christmas Ballet” includes tap, jazz and ballet along with premieres by Amy Seiwert and Robert Sund. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Smuin Ballet: “The Christmas Ballet” includes tap, jazz and ballet along with premieres by Amy Seiwert and Robert Sund.

It’s not exactly a winter wonderland, but the Bay Area has enough singing, dancing and just plain laughing to make spirits merry.


Smuin Ballet

“The Christmas Ballet” includes tap, jazz and ballet along with premieres by Amy Seiwert and Robert Sund.

When: Dec. 14-24

Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., San Francisco

Contact: (415) 978-ARTS, www.smuinballet.org

Ragazzi Boys Chorus

“Christmas Classics” is a mixed program including chants from the 10th century and contemporary pieces.

When: 4 p.m. Dec. 4

Where: Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., San Francisco

Contact: (650) 342-8785, www.ragazzi.org

MERRY MELODIES

Songs of the Season


Donna Sachet and a cast of cabaret performers appear in the 19th annual variety show benefiting the AIDS Emergency Fund.


When: 8 p.m. Nov. 28-30

Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 558-6999, www.songsoftheseason.net

GLIDE Annual Holiday Festival/Jam


Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo and the GLIDE Ensemble and Change Band perform in “The Love Groove.” This year’s fundraiser for one of the Tenderloin’s key charities is a  tribute to Nick Ashford.

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 1

Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.thewarfieldtheatre.com

San Francisco Bach Choir

“PSALLITE! A Candlelight Christmas” is an atmospheric presentation of Baroque classics and joyful tunes from the European classical canon.


When: 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Dec. 4

Where: Calvary Presbyterian, 2515 Fillmore St., S.F.

Contact: (855) 4SF-BACH, www.sfbach.org

Help is on the Way for the Holidays

Mary Wilson of the Supremes and Sally Struthers appear in the 10th anniversary holiday gala benefit for the Richmond/ERMET Aids Foundation; patrons may also purchase tickets for a post-performance dessert cast party at the Hotel Rex.

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5

Where: Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., S.F.

Contact:  (415) 273-1620, www.helpisontheway.org

A Cathedral Christmas

For the 64th year, Grace Cathedral presents the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys performing sacred classics and familiar holiday favorites.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-18; 7 p.m. Dec. 19

Where: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com

Oakland East Bay Symphony

Joan Baez is the special guest artist at “Let Us Break Bread Together,” also featuring performances by the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Kugelplex, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and Mt. Eden High School Choir.

When: 4 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.oebs.org

California Pops Orchestra

The annual “Pops Family Christmas Fantasy” also includes a singalong medley of holiday tunes.


When: 3 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: Calvary Church, 16330 Los Gatos Blvd., Los Gatos

Contact: (650) 856-8432, www.californiapopsorchestra.com

Christmas is the Best!

The Yule Logs perform indie rock holiday tunes on a double bill with Uni and her Ukulele at this annual Amnesia festivity.


When: 9 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: Amnesia, 853 Valencia St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 970-0012, www.amnesiathebar.com

Schola Cantorum

The 100-voice choir performs its 48th annual Christmas concert with the Oxford Street Brass in a family-friendly program including a singalong and a visit from Santa Claus.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto

Contact: (650) 254–1700, www.scholacantorum.org

How the Grouch Stole Christmas Tour 2011

Hip-hop’s the Grouch appears with Eligh, Evidence, Zion I and numerous special guests.

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 12

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com

Celtic Yuletide with Michael Londra

The renowned Irish tenor performs Gaelic renditions of holiday tunes and Irish carols accompanied by dancers, an 11-piece orchestra and fiddlers, drummers and pipers.

When: Dec. 13 to Jan. 1

Where: Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 771-6900, www.marinesmemorialtheatre.com

San Francisco Girls Chorus

“Angelic Voices” is the 2011 holiday program for the 300-strong female chorus, accompanied by harp, organ, piano and guitar.

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20

Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.

Contact: (415) 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com

Chanticleer

The Grammy Award-winning S.F. a cappella choir performs “A Chanticleer Christmas,” a mixed program of peaceful and joyous music.

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 17

Where: St. Ignatius Church, University of San Francisco, 650 Parker Ave., S.F.

Contact: (415) 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.coms

A Baroque Christmas

One of San Francisco’s best church choirs, St. Dominic’s Solemn Mass Choir & Orchestra, performs Baroque delights, including works by Charpentier, Bach and Handel.


When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19

Where: St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, 2390 Bush St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 567-7824, www.stdominics.org

DANCE

Peninsula Youth Ballet


Professional and student dancers appear in the popular “Nutcracker,” now in its 17th year under leadership of artistic director Ayako Takahashi. Patrons also may buy tickets to a tea party after each performance.

When: Nov. 26-Dec. 4

Where: Bayside Performing Arts Center, 2025 Kehoe Ave., San Mateo

Contact: (650) 286-0241, www.pyb.org

Ballet America

The Redwood City dance troupe’s eighth annual production of “Nutcracker” features Maia Wilkins as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Michael Levine as the Cavalier.  

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 2

Where: Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City

Contact: (650) FOX-7770, www.balletamerica.org

San Francisco Ballet

The City’s world-class troupe, which has performed “Nutcracker” longer than any other company in the U.S., presents a lush, Victorian-era production with a unique plot twist.


When: Dec. 9-27

Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.

Contact: (415) 865-2000, www.sfballet.org

Moscow Ballet

The acclaimed touring group featuring award-winning performers  presents “The Great Russian Nutcracker.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16

Where: Flint Center for the Performing Arts, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.nutcracker.com

GATHERINGS

Embarcadero Center Ice Rink


Skaters of all levels and ages are invited to join the fun at the rink, a holiday season staple for two decades.

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closes Jan. 8

Where: Justin Herman Plaza, near Four Embarcadero Center, S.F.

Contact: (415) 837-1931, www.embarcaderocenter.com

Macy’s Tree Lighting

Ice skating star Johnny Weir, San Francisco School of the Arts, the Glide Ensemble, UC Men’s Octet and Santa are guests at the 22nd annual event in which 21,000 lights will shine from the 80-foot fir.

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 25

Where: Union Square, Powell and Geary streets, S.F.

Contact: www.unionsquareshop.com

Embarcadero Center Building Lighting

The shopping complex kicks off its Winter Carnival festivities with an excerpt from “Disney on Ice” at 4 p.m., the lighting of the buildings at 6 p.m. and a fireworks display.

When: 4 p.m. Nov. 18

Where: Justin Herman Plaza, Four Embarcadero Center, S.F.

Contact: (415) 837-1931, www.embarcaderocenter.com

Pier 39 Tree Lighting

Entertainment from Disneyland Resort includes live music before the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 20

Where: Pier 39, Beach Street at The Embarcadero, S.F.

Contact: (415) 421-2259, www.pier39.com

Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting


The 47th annual ceremony — featuring caroling, performances, family activities and a visit from Santa — is hosted by Roberta Gonzalez of CBS 5 Eyewitness News.

When: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25

Where: 900 North Point St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 775-5500, www.ghirardellisq.com

Union Street Fantasy of Lights

The Snow Queen leads a parade of children bringing toys to children’s charities. The day of costumed characters, music and entertainment culminates at 5:30 p.m. with a visit from Santa at 2055 Union St.

When: 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3

Where: Union Street between Van Ness Avenue and Steiner Street, S.F.

Contact: (800) 310-6563, www.sresproductions.com

AT THE THEATER

Beach Blanket Babylon’s Seasonal Extravaganza


Steve Silver’s holiday take on the traditional production follows Snow White on her quest to find Prince Charming, which introduces her to contemporary celebrity characters, including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Snooki, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

When: Nov. 16 to Dec. 31

Where: Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard (Green St.), S.F.

Contact: (415) 421-4222, www.beachblanketbabylon.com

Yes Sweet Can

For the fifth year, Sweet Can Productions, the homegrown intimate theatrical circus, serves up funny and amazing acrobatics in its holiday season run, which features cabaret performances called “Mittens and Mistletoe” on Dec. 24-25.

When: Dec. 16-Jan. 1

Where: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 225-7281, www.sweetcanproductions.com

Paula Poundstone’s Ha Ha Ho Ho Holiday Show

The comedian returns with her second annual evening of holiday humor.

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 17

Where: Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., S.F.

Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical


The live show, inspired by original illustrations from the famed book, includes the songs “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated series.


When: Dec. 21-31

Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F.

Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

A Christmas Carol


American Conservatory Theater presents Dickens’ classic in a multifaceted production directed by Domenique Lozano, with music by Karl Lundeberg and choreography by Val Caniparoli.

When: Dec. 1-24

Where: American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org

Cinderella

The African-American Shakespeare company gives the fairy tale a soulful, whimsical twist in its annual holiday presentation.

When: Dec. 2-18

Where:
Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., S.F.

Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.African-AmericanShakes.org

MISCELLANEOUS

Reindeer Rendezvous


Get up close and personal with Santa’s mysterious and intriguing animals that migrate about 3,000 miles per year
.

When:
Nov. 23 to Jan. 16; closed Nov. 24 and Dec. 25

Where: California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, S.F.

Contact: (415) 379-8000, www.calacademy.org

Cookie Exchange

The community food organization 18 Reasons’ installment of DIY Desserts invites participants to bring and swap three dozen of their favorite seasonal treats.

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 1

Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 568-2710, ww.18reasons.org

Family Past Times program

In this free session, create old-fashioned holiday tree ornaments to take home. The event also features the San Francisco State University handbell choir performing holiday tunes at 1 p.m.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3

Where: San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City

Contact: (650) 299-0104, www.historysmc.org

Crafts Day

Kids and families create treasures for friends and family at the drop-in afternoon of crafting. Projects include beeswax candles, soaps and candy houses.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 3

Where:
Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, S.F.

Contact: (415) 554-9600, www.randallmuseum.org

Family Cardmaking Workshop

Block printing, collage wintergreen photo transfers, painting and drawing are on the program presented by art teachers. Preregistration is encouraged.

When:
10 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 and 10

Where:
San Francisco Children’s Art Center, Fort Mason Center, Building C, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F.

Contact:
(415) 771-0292, www.childrensartcenter.org

Muir Beach Quilters’ Arts Fair


The free juried show in Marin County features exceptional arts and crafts, free fun for children in the Gingerbread Attic and a gourmet buffet.

When: Dec. 3-4

Where: Muir Beach Community Center, 19 Seacape Drive, Muir Beach

Contact: www.muirbeach.com/QuiltersFair/index.html

Silver Tea

The San Francisco Museum & Historical Society’s third annual traditional high tea includes sandwiches, pastries, Champagne and tea served using antique tea sets in the historic Old Mint Building.

When: 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 9

Where: The Old Mint, 88 Fifth St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 537-1105, www.sfhistory.org

Frosting the Conservatory

Drop in and create a gingerbread house at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. For a $10 fee, graham crackers, frosting, candy and other building materials will be provided so participants may make the mini greenhouse of their dreams.

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive, Golden Gate Park, S.F.

Contact: (415) 831-2090, www.conservatoryofflowers.org

Holiday films

Childhood winter memories are celebrated with two films: Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and Sheldon Cohen’s “The Sweater.”

When: 2 p.m. Dec. 17

Where:
McBean Theater, Exploratorium, Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 561-0363, www.exploratorium.org

Winter Zoo Camp

Children learn how seasonal weather changes affect survival in the animal kingdom during activity-packed, winter break day camp.

When: Dec. 19-23 and Dec. 26-30

Where: San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway

Contact: (415) 753-7080, www.sfzoo.org

Kung Pao Kosher Comedy

Elayne Boosler, Avi Liberman, Jeff Applebaum and Lisa Geduldig appear in the 19th annual show featuring Jewish standup comics in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas.


When: 6 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 23-24; 5 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 25

Where: New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., S.F.

Contact: (415) 522-3737, www.koshercomedy.com

Jewish Museum Free Day


Target sponsors free admission to the museum, which is featuring the exhibition “Houdini: Art and Magic,” the opportunity for visitors to make optical-illusion spinning tops and magic performances by Jade throughout the day.

Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 25

Contact: (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.org

Kwanzaa Celebration

The children’s museum offers free admission to this African-American celebration of family and community, which features hands-on art activities and performances by the African Roots of Jazz at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.


When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 26

Where: Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito

Contact: (415) 339-3900, www.baykidsmuseum.org

Animation Festival

Stop-motion, pixilation and other techniques are utilized in these humorous short films, including “Western Spaghetti,” “Dahlia” and “Fetch.”

When: Noon, 2 and 4 p.m. daily Dec. 26-30

Where: McBean Theater, Exploratorium, Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., S.F.

Contact: (415) 561-0363, www.exploratorium.org

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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