Can’t-Miss Events in Orange County This Month (December 2018)

"It's A Wonderful Life." Photo credit: Kirk Schenck

DISNEY ON ICE’S “DARE TO DREAM”
DEC. 19 THROUGH 23
Disney heroines Moana, Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Anna, and Elsa embark on adventures and make their dreams come true with Minnie and Mickey Mouse as guides. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714-704-2400, hondacenter.com

YULE CELEBRATION
DEC. 15
The Bowers Museum celebrates the winter solstice at its annex for young visitors, Kidseum, with traditional Medieval Yule festivities, including music and games. Bowers Kidseum, 1802 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714-480-1520, bowers.org

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE PRESENTS “THE NUTCRACKER”
DEC. 14 THROUGH 23
With choreography by artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky and sets and costumes created by Richard Hudson, who won a Tony Award for his work on “The Lion King,” this holiday favorite staged by one of the country’s premier ballet companies features more than 100 performers. Pacific Symphony performs the Tchaikovsky score, and principal dancer Misty Copeland performs in select shows. Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787, scfta.org

“THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST”
DEC. 1 THROUGH 9
In Oscar Wilde’s most famous farce, the characters aren’t who they seem—everyone is pretending to be someone else to get out of certain social obligations. Set in Victorian England, the satirical comedy is packed with quick, witty dialogue. Little Theatre, UC Irvine, 949-824-2787, arts.uci.edu/boxoffice

SOLO PIANO WITH DANIEL HSU
DEC. 2

He is 21 years old, but pianist Hsu has already garnered critical acclaim for his elegant style of play, along with first prize at the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition. In this program, he’ll play selections from Beethoven, Chopin, and Schumann. Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, 949-480-4278, soka.edu

Pianist Daniel Hsu. Photo credit: Kurumiya

 

CAPISTRANO LIGHTS 2018
DEC. 1 THROUGH JAN. 6
Mission San Juan Capistrano adds a tree lighting to its Christmas at the Mission for the first time. The Dec. 1 festivities include a reading of “The First Christmas,” carolers, mariachis, and Father Christmas. A separate ticket is required for that event, but nightly tree lighting Dec. 2 through Jan. 6 is included in your visit. Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, 949-234-1315, missionsjc.com

WINTER FEST OC
OPENS DEC. 20
Santa and his reindeer fly over the fairgrounds at this festival, which also features a nightly Christmas tree-lighting celebration with a parade, fireworks, and snow flurries. Guests can tube down an eight-lane ice “mountain,” frolic in a snow-play area, and ice skate. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-1500, winterfestoc.com

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ALLEY CATS
DEC. 15 AND 16
This four-man a cappella group combines 1950s and ’60s doo-wop with lively banter and jokes in a popular holiday show. The singers have served as Jay Leno’s opening act for the past seven years and performed at the White House. Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, 714-990-7722, curtistheatre.com

“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”
THROUGH DEC. 22
The classic holiday film gets reimagined as a live 1940s radio broadcast in this play written by Joe Landry. An ensemble cast brings the characters to life while telling the story of George Bailey, who learns what his town and family would have been like without him one fateful Christmas Eve. STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, 714-525-4484, stagesoc.org

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: A CHRISTMAS ROSE”
DEC. 5 THROUGH 30
Tony Award-nominated director Sheldon Epps takes the helm for this modern version of the classic story choreographed by Mandy Moore and performed by Lythgoe Family Panto. The family-friendly show encourages the audience to participate, from singing along to cheering for favorite characters. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949-497-2787, lagunaplayhouse.com

110TH NEWPORT BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE
DEC. 19 THROUGH 23
Competing for top honors, the yacht, boat, kayak, and canoe owners participating in this longstanding holiday tradition go all out with their decorations, festooning their vessels with thousands of lights and even special effects, all in line with a seasonal theme. Homes along the harbor where the boats sail are likewise extravagantly decorated for the holidays. Starting and ending at the tip of Lido Isle. Newport Beach, christmasparadeboats.com

BOBBY RODRIGUEZ—LATIN JAZZ CHRISTMAS
DEC. 2
Jazz trumpeter and Grammy nominee Rodriguez has performed and recorded with world-class musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Poncho Sanchez, and Ray Charles. In this concert, he leads a Latin jazz ensemble in his own signature versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “The Christmas Song,” and more. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949-854-4646, thebarclay.org

BRAD WILLIAMS
DEC. 28 THROUGH 30
Williams, who did his first stand-up comedy shows when he was a teenager, now sells out venues around the world. He has also filmed his own comedy specials for Showtime, appeared in several TV shows and films, performed on “The Tonight Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and served as a regular contributor on KROQ’s “The Kevin and Bean Show.” Irvine Improv, 527 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, 949-854-5455, irvine.improv.com

HANDEL’S “MESSIAH”
DEC. 9
Pacific Chorale and Pacific Symphony team up to perform Handel’s celebrated oratorio, complete with trumpets, timpani, and the timeless “Hallelujah!” chorus. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787 scfta.org

“A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS”
DEC. 7 THROUGH 23
Adapted from Charles M. Schulz’s much-loved story, this stage show follows Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they produce their own Christmas play and discover the true spirit of the season. Like the TV special, it features the classic soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888-455-4212, chancetheater.com

JOHN LEGEND HOLIDAYS AND HITS
DEC. 29
Join the singer-songwriter and member of the exclusive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) club for a concert following the release of his first holiday album, “A Legendary Christmas.” Expect a few original tracks among renditions of classics such as “Silver Bells” and “Christmas Time Is Here.” Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787, scfta.org

33RD ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT WALK
DEC. 7 THROUGH 9
More than 1,000 luminarias light the paths around the 19th-century church, school, and home in Heritage Hill Historical Park. Strolling carolers and musicians add a seasonal flair. Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, 949-923-2230, ocparks.com/heritagehill

HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
DEC. 17
Festive families browse an arts and crafts fair and take in live stage performances while noshing on snacks and sipping craft beer at this free, annual outdoor event. Kids can also participate in free art workshops, run around in the play area, and visit Santa. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton, 714-738-6595, themuck.org

“CULTURE CLASH (STILL) IN AMERICA”
OPENS DEC. 30
Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza perform in this reboot of the show that first put them on the map. No public figure or sacred cow is safe from their smart, irreverent, thought-provoking comedy. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714-708-5555, scr.org

THERE’S MORE!
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