The Magic of Christmas

  • By Kenne Hoffman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Southern CA has so many great holiday productions to choose from. One of my favorite holiday memories has always been the productions by the Young Americans, and this year’s extravaganza The Magic of Christmas at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The Young Americans have cultivated so many talented young performers through the years from film and television to Tony Award-winning leading ladies. They give these aspiring entertainers the opportunity to hone their talents and expand their dreams. Young American performers are accepted into the organization based on their talent and their interest in helping other students attain self-confidence, self-esteem, and respect for others through music, dance, and performance.

This year the Young Americans are bringing merriment, majesty, and music with them. Featuring state of the art 45-foot LED walls, The Magic of Christmas will transport you from the polar ice caps of the North Pole to the jolly old streets of Dickensian London and from Toyland to the visions of sugarplums we all dream about. This winter wonderland variety show includes many of our favorite Christmas carols. Heralded for their legendary choral sound, the Young Americans will fill the La Mirada Theatre with majestic and inspiring Christmas music, while filling your heart with the joy of the holiday season!

For tickets, click here.

Holiday Fun

  • By Arlene Winnick

This holiday season, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa is offering an exciting program of holiday shows from international music, magic and dance to performances by top recordings artists.  The highly-regarded American Ballet theatre returns with the perennial favorite, “The Nutcracker,” based on The Nutcracker and the King of Mice written by E.T.A. Hoffman with Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by Pacific Symphony.  Making it extra special this year – aspiring dance students from the Segerstrom’s William J. Gillespie School will perform alongside the ABT dancers.

Popular jazz vocalist Kurt Elling commemorates the holidays with his acclaimed show “The Beautiful Day” on December 11. Celebrating his 65th year in the music industry, legendary singer Johnny Mathis takes the stage with his smooth singing style on December 21 with the “Voice of Christmas.”

Salsa Navidad with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra celebrates the winter holidays on December 12th with music that will make you want to stand up and dance.  More festive music and dance arrive on December 22 with Grammy Award®-winning Mariachi Los Camperos’ “Fiesta Navidad.”  “A Magical Cirque Christmas” amazes with an evening of dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists on December 26.  You’ll want to end the year with the New Year’s Day concert, “Salute to Vienna.” And heads up, coming in January is “Two Lost Souls,” a cabaret act starring television icons Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery

For all things happening at Segerstrom, click here.

Long Beach Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo Katie Ging/LB Ballet)

The Nutcracker

  • By AC Remler
  • Photo By Katie Ging/LB Ballet

Jump into the holidays with one of the most beloved productions of the season, The Nutcracker from the Long Beach Ballet—officially named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. by Goldstar in 2018 and 2019. With five performances and a full symphony orchestra, this year’s fan-favorite production takes place at the Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Dec. 17-19, 2021.

Families attending the holiday-favorite production will be treated to a variety of other spectacular highlights including a flying sleigh, a live horse, and on-stage pyrotechnics.  Former Disney designers Elliot Hessayon and Scott Schaffer created the enchanting scenery, artist Adrian Clark designed the costumes, and magician Franz Harary created the special effects.

This year, Long Beach Ballet’s Nutcracker features a cast of over 200 including Steven Morse in the role of the Prince. Morse is a soloist with the San Francisco Ballet and a Long Beach Ballet student veteran.

The Long Beach Ballet is led by Artistic Director David Wilcox, who co-founded the company as well as the highly successful Long Beach Ballet and the Long Beach Ballet school which is considered one of Southern California’s leading classical ballet institutions. 

“I like using the beauty of the classical art form of ballet… to form a production that’s enticing and exciting. It has pyrotechnics, it has magic; it’s got everything I can think of to make it thrilling,” Wilcox said.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Celebrate the Holiday Season at The Beverly Center

The Beverly Center

  • By Arlene Winnick

The Nutcracker ballet has become an annual holiday tradition for me and my granddaughters (following in my mom’s footsteps) so I was thrilled to discover something new and difference this year — the world premiere of The Immersive Nutcracker debuting at The Beverly Center this month.

This family-friendly experience takes you on a journey inside the fairy tale as your walk through four ‘rooms’ featuring iconic moments, characters and settings as seen in the beloved ballet.  Truly bringing the magical story to life is Tchaikovsky’s timeless score which plays in the background.  From the mysteries of Drosselmeyer’s chest to the Tannenbaums’ Grand ballroom to the magical Christmas tree room and the unforgettable Kingdom of Sweets, you’re sure to be amazed in this new way to envision the classic story.   

I see it as arts meets technology as The Immersive Nutcracker combines virtual reality (VR) storytelling, projection, theatre and a lush physical environment for a dreamlike experience.  This event is a visual delight (bring your camera) and was created by the Producers of the Russian Ballet Theatre.

The Immersive Nutcracker will run thru December 31. Other Beverly Center activities: Holiday Photo Booth and Live Music in Grand Court; Winter Wonderland with Santa’s sleigh, Frosty and more; a Holiday Pop-up gift market benefiting WGIRLS Los Angeles; and photos with Santa Claus, of course.

For all things at The Beverly Center, click here.