Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, love good entertainment, or just want some down time from the holiday hustle bustle, here are a few local events to put you in the holiday spirit.
At the Alex Theatre, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has three performances of its annual Holiday Spectacular Dec. 21-22. Under Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim artistic director, and associate conductor of the LA Master Chorale, GMCLA performs choral classics, timeless Christmas carols as well as a medley of hits from the film “Love Actually,” Broadway bonanzas and Mariah Carey. Tickets are $25 to $95.
If you just need to laugh, on Thursday, Dec. 26, the Alex Film Society presents its 9th annual “Greatest Classic Cartoons Ever” bill of the Golden Age of Classic Cartoons (1940s-1950s), featuring Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Yosemite Sam, Goofy, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Donald Duck, Mighty Mouse and Woody Woodpecker. Tickets are $17.
The Alex Theatre is located at 216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale. For more info, call (818) 243-ALEX (2539) or visit alextheatre.org/events.
One Pasadena tradition is the 90-minute A Noise Within adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,”which continues until Dec. 23. Adapted by Geoff Elliott and directed by Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, you’ll be inspired by this tale of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Audience members will also get to take photos with Scrooge (Elliott), Marley (Jeremy Rabb) and Tiny Tim (Estrella Stuart). Recommended for ages 5 and up. A Noise Within is located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Tickets are $25-$72. For more info, call 626) 356-3100 or visit anoisewithin.org.
If you want to sing about tradition, this movie is a must-see and sing. The 12th annual “Fiddler on the Roof” sing-a-long at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 on the third night of Hanukkah (Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.) lets your “rock the Shtetl” Expect a candle lighting, trivia contests, prizes and, of course, songs. Costumes are encouraged and children welcome. The 1971 film about a poor Russian Jewish peasant who wants to marry off his three daughters while breaking from tradition troubles him as anti-Semitism threatens his small village won three Oscars and two Golden Globes. Buy your tickets fast because this event sells out! The Playhouse 7 is located at 673 E. Colorado Blvd. Tickets are $18-$15. Call (310) 478-3836 or visit laemmle.com/theater/playhouse-7.
Bob Baker’s adaptation of “The Nutcracker” continues at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theater. Over 100 handcrafted puppets from the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre take the audience on a journey to meet the Sugarplum Fairy and dance with the waltzing flowers while cheering on the brave Nutcracker. “Bob Baker’s Nutcracker” continues until Dec. 29 at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, 39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena. Tickets are $20-15; children under 2 are free. Call (626) 356-7529 or visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.
If you want some real dancers on stage, you have two choices: “The Nutcracker” at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse or the Ahmanson Theatre.
The Pasadena Dance Theatre presents three more performances of its annual “The Nutcracker” at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (Dec. 21-23). Eighty dancers bring to life Clara’s dream of a Rat King, a Sugarplum Fairy and a handsome Nutcracker Prince. Tickets are $22-$68. The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse is located at 320 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel. For more info, call (626) 683-3459 or visit missionplayhouse.org.
The Ahmanson has Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” with birds of a masculine feather who are more viciously virile than ethereally thin. In Bourne’s version, a young prince finds himself alienated from his cold mother, the queen, and heartbroken by the fake love of his girlfriend. In his dreams, he finds true love in the arms of a muscular swan and sometimes dreams come tragically true. Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” continues until Jan. 5 at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are $35 to $145. For more info call (213) 972-4400 or visit centertheatregroup.org.
If you want to escape from the crazy crowds, far away from mall madness, get a ticket for the Moonlight Forest Magical Lantern Art Festival at the LA County Arboretum, which continues until Jan. 12 (Wednesday-Sunday). Chinese acrobats, dancers and face changers perform at 6, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., with an additional performance at 9:15 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Ticketed entries times are 5:30, 7 and 8 p.m. A variety of gourmet food trucks will be on hand. Tickets are $28-$20. Dress to keep warm, but photo-ready. The LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcaadia. For more info, call (626) 821-3222 or visit arboretum.org.
Descanso Gardens also has an Enchanted Forest of Light until Jan. 5, but Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 26-28 are member-only nights. On this one-mile walk, some of the large-scale light displays are interactive, allowing visitors to manipulate the light and sounds. Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Tickets are $28. For more info, call (818) 949-4200 or visit DescansoGardens.org.
Join in some local traditions or make new ones for your family during this holiday season.