Finding the Spirit of Christmas on Stage

Whether you're already feeling the holiday spirit or need a push to get into the Christmas mood, here are live performances from around the state including "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol" productions. Looking for other holiday events? Our calendar also includes craft fairs, opportunities to meet Santa, tree lightings, holiday house tours, holiday strolls and plenty of other festive fun. Plus, visit our Holiday Guide page for a list of places to cut your own Christmas tree, gift ideas, recipes and everything else you might need to enjoy this merry season.

Where to see "The Nutcracker"

What's it all about? Get whisked away with Clara to the Land of Sweets with these local performances of this magical holiday tradition.

The Palace Theatre

Don’t miss this classic ballet performed by the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theatre, accompanied by Grammy Award-winning conductor John McLaughlin William and a live orchestra.

When: November 23-25, 2018
Shows at 7:30 p.m. on November 23-24, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on November 24, 12 and 4:30 p.m. on November 25
Where: The Palace Theatre
80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $25-$49
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Windham High School Theater

This full-scale professional holiday production includes a cast of 100, featuring national American Ballet Theater and Pennsylvania Ballet stars who will grace the Windham stage. Presented by the New England Dance Ensemble.

When: November 24-25, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Where: Seifert Performing Arts Center
44 Geremonty Dr., Salem
Tickets: $25-$35
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Lebanon Opera House

City Center Ballet presents “Clara’s Dream, A Nutcracker Story” based on the beloved classic ballet story, “The Nutcracker.” Make the day even more special with a Clara's Tea event before the performance.

When: December 8-9, 2018
December 8: Clara's Tea 11:30 a.m., show at 1 p.m.
December 8: Show at 4 p.m. (there is no tea before the 4 p.m. performance)
December 9: Clara's Tea 1 p.m., show at 3 p.m.
Where: Lebanon Opera House
51 N. Park St., Lebanon
Tickets: $9-$38
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Oyster River High School/Kingswood Arts Center

Begin the holiday season with a trip to the Land of the Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker in Northeastern Ballet Theatre's full-length, professional production of this classic ballet.

When: December 2 and 15-16, 2018
December 2: 2 p.m. at Kingswood Arts Center
December 15: 7 p.m. at at Oyster River High School
December 16: 2 p.m. at at Oyster River High School

Where: Oyster River High School
55 Coe Dr., Durham

Kingswood Arts Center
21 McManus Rd., Wolfeboro
Tickets: $20 – adults, $17.50 – seniors/students, $60 – family of four
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Exeter High School

This performance is put on by the Portsmouth School of Ballet.

When: December 1-2, 2018
December 1 at 5 p.m., December 2 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Where: Exeter High School
1 Blue Hawk Dr., Exeter
Tickets: $20 for adults, $15 for children
Tickets are available for purchase at the Portsmouth School of Ballet office and will also be available for purchase at the theater the day of the performance.
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Claremont Opera House

A modern twist on the traditional classic ballet, "The Nutcracker." Enjoy watching all genres of dance to a mix of contemporary and classical music.

When: December 1-2, 2018
December 1 at 6 p.m., December 2 at 1 p.m.
Where: The Claremont Opera House
58 Opera House Square, Claremont
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Capitol Center for the Arts

Follow young Clara and her Nutcracker on their journey through the snow as Tchaikovsky's cherished score is played by a live orchestra and choreography beautifully danced by students and alumni of Eastern Ballet Institute of Concord.

When: December 1-2, 2018
December 1 at 2 and 7 p.m. and December 2 at 2 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts
44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $18 and $23
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St. Paul's School

In the spirit of the holiday season, the St. Paul’s School Ballet Company will present an abridged version of "The Nutcracker," "The Nutcracker: Act II."

When: TBA
Where: St. Paul's School, Memorial Hall
325 Pleasant St., Concord
Tickets: This abridged version of "The Nutcracker" is free of charge and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
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The Rochester Opera House

A classic holiday event, this production has become a regional favorite! Tchaikovsky's glittering ballet of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker is a delight, capturing the magic and wonder of the holiday season. Sole City Dance pulls out all the stops with elaborate sets, costumes, special effects and outstanding dancers.

When: December 8-14, 2018
December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
December 9 at 2 p.m.
December 13 at  7 p.m.
December 14 at 7 p.m.
Where: The Rochester Opera House
31 Wakefield St., Rochester
Tickets: $24-$28
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Concord City Auditorium

Dancers from Concord's Turning Pointe Center of Dance perform the full length ballet. This production has something for all ages, and is a tradition not to be missed.

When: Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 2 p.m.
Where: Concord City Auditorium
2 Prince St., Concord
Tickets: $18 in advance and $20 at the door.
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The Dana Center at St. Anselm College

Ballet Misha’s warm and original production of The Nutcracker was voted “The Best Art Event of the Year” for 2012, 2013 and 2014 in the Hippo Press. This joyful performance is a family favorite sure to put everyone in a holiday mood.

When: December 15-16, 2018
Where: The Dana Center at St. Anselm’s College
100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester
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Stockbridge Theatre

A simple gift transforms a festive holiday party into an enchanted battle with militant mice and a princely hero. Join Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the talented young cast of the Gate City Ballet on a magical journey to a shimmering land of confectionary fairies, glittering global flair, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

When: TBA
Where: Stockbridge Theatre
5 Pinkerton St., Derry
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Where to see "A Christmas Carol"

From the a production of "A Christmas Carol" at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

What's it all about? Follow Scrooge's journey as he learns the true meaning of Christmas in this classic play by Charles Dickens.

The Palace Theatre

Voted Best Live Theatrical Production and Best Theatre Event of the Year in Manchester by Hippo Press readers, this show has become an audience holiday favorite at the Palace.

When: Various dates and times from November 30 through December 23, 2018
Where: The Palace Theatre
80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $25-$49
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The Rochester Opera House

Option 1: Two special sneak preview performances of the 2018 National Touring Company's production.
When: November 20-21 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $16-$18

Option 2: This ghostly tale of the past, present and future is brought to life in this exciting new musical adaptation. Keeping true to the original text, it draws upon the themes of time, family and society's ills to warm even the coldest of hearts. Bringing the atmosphere of Victorian Christmas traditions to the stage, this vibrant and joyous musical takes you on a journey of discovery.
When: December 6-23, 2018
Shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Special educational performances for grades 1-12 at 10 a.m. December 19-21

Where: The Rochester Opera House
31 Wakefield St., Rochester
Tickets: $12-$24
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The Players' Ring

Spend the holiday season gathering with your favorite people and watching some of the season’s most beloved characters come to life before your eyes! The Players' Ring is proud to present Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol."

When: November 30-December 23, 2018
Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 and 7 p.m.
Where: The Players' Ring
105 Marcy St., Portsmouth
Tickets: $10-$18
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Nashua Community College

Gerald Charles Dickens, the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, author of "A Christmas Carol" will appear in a one-man show of the beloved holiday classic. If you haven't been to one of his shows, then you are missing out. 

When: Wednesday, November 27, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Where: Nashua Community College
505 Amherst St., Nashua
Tickets: $30
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Holiday Concerts and Entertainment

Even more great events from around the state to celebrate the holiday season.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

When: November 23, 2018 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: SNHU Arena
555 Elm St., Manchester
Tickets: $79.50, $66.50 and $47.50
Available in person at the box office, via Ticketmaster or by phone (800) 745-3000
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Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas

Jim Brickman’s distinctive piano style and captivating live performances have revolutionized the popularity of instrumental music, making him a driving force behind modern American music.

When: Friday, November 23, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Where: Tupelo Music Hall
10 A St., Derry
Tickets: $45-$65
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"Elf The Musical"

"Elf The Musical" is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth.

When: November 28 through December 16, 2018
Times vary – see the schedule here.
Where: Portsmouth Music Hall
28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth
Tickets: Prices depend on the day and time and range from $45-$97
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Ed Gerhard

Enjoy a very special evening with one of the country's finest acoustic guitarists. Gerhard will perform soulful arrangements of well-loved carols, as well as his own concert favorites.

When: December 1, 7, 14-15, 2018
Where: The Belknap Mill, Laconia (December 1), Sunapee Methodist Church (December 7), Unitarian Church, Portsmouth (December 14-15)
Tickets: See website for information
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Tuba Christmas

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Tuba Christmas, an international event that started as a tribute to famous tuba player William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas in 1902. Hearing your favorite Christmas tunes in all-tuba form is not your usual yuletide tradition. For those tuba players out there, the invitation is open to join – registration times and fees are noted on the website, Various instructions include whether or not you should bring a music stand or to wear red and green.

When: December 1-22, 2018
Where: There are five New Hampshire Tuba Christmas performances in Colebrook (December 22, Trinity United Methodist Church), Keene (December 2, Keene State College), New London (December 1, First Baptist Church), Plaistow (December 8, Timberlane Regional Performing Arts Center) and Wolfeboro (December 8, All Saint's Episcopal Church). 
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NH Gay Men's Chorus' 2018 Holiday Concert Series: "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel"

NHGMC is giving four performances of the 2018 Holiday Concert Series "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel"

When: December 1-2 and 8-9, 2018
December 1: First Baptist Church of Nashua at 7:30 p.m.
December 2: South Church, Portsmouth at 4 p.m.
December 8: Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord at 7:30 p.m.
December 9: Derryfield School, Manchester at 4 p.m.
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Greater Keene Pops Choir Holiday Concert

The Greater Keene Pops Choir is a unique performing ensemble that sings popular American music in all its many styles. Under the direction of Diane Cushing and accompanied by Walt Sayre, the “Pops” will be singing music from around the world celebrating the holiday season.

When: Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 3 p.m.
Where: Colonial Theatre
95 Main St., Keene
Tickets: $12 in advance and $15 day of
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"Songs of the Season"

The Granite State Choral Society presents "Songs of the Season," an intimate evening of music to put you right into the spirit of the holidays.

When: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Where: Rochester Opera House
31 Wakefield St., Rochester
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
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Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis

In 1984, Mannheim Steamroller released "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas," an album that changed the sounds of Christmas. Already a multi-platinum recording artist through its "Fresh Aire" series, Davis decided to record an album of Christmas music combining the group’s signature mix of Renaissance instruments with rock and roll beats.

The resulting album was a runaway hit and Mannheim Steamroller went on to become the biggest selling Christmas music artist in history. The group’s Christmas tour has become an annual holiday tradition right along with decorating the tree, exchanging presents and creating unforgettable moments with friends and family.

When: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capital Center for the Arts
44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $49
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“A Victorian Christmas”

Pontine Theatre’s Co-Artistic Directors, Marguerite Mathews and Greg Gathers, celebrate the holidays with a program of Victorian-era Christmas stories. The centerpiece of “A Victorian Christmas" is an original toy theatre adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Toy theatre is a form of miniature theatre that was popular in the Victorian era. This is an entirely different way to experience a familiar Christmas story.

When: December 6-9, 2018
December 6 at 3 p.m., December 7 at 7 p.m., December 8 at 3 p.m. and December 9 at 2 p.m.
Where: Pontine Theatre
1 Plains Ave., Portsmouth
Tickets: $27
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"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play"

Inspired by the classic film, "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" brings the holiday tale to captivating life as a 1940s radio broadcast. George Bailey, Zuzu, Clarence the Angel, and grumpy old Mr. Potter all return to tell the story of an idealistic George Bailey as he considers his mortality one fateful Christmas Eve.

When: December 6-16
Shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and Wednesday, December 12
Where: Peterborough Players
55 Hadley Rd., Peterborough
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Eric Mintel Quartet's "Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas"

"Charlie Brown" jazz includes the legendary "Linus and Lucy," "Skating," "Christmas is Coming," "Christmas Time is Here" and many reworked holiday favorites. Featuring Eric Mintel on the piano, Nelson Hill on the sax and flute, Jack Hegyi on the electric bass and Dave Mohn on the drums.

When: Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Where: The Palace Theatre
This show will be in the new Spotlight Room
80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $29
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"Miracle on 34th Street"

A live musical radio play at the historic Town Hall theatre in Exeter. Proceeds raised from this special winter production will support Prescott Park Arts Festival's core summer offerings. When a department store Santa claims he’s the real Kris Kringle, his case gets taken all the way to the Supreme Court and a little girl’s belief makes the difference in the "miracle." Based on the movie of the same name, "Miracle on 34th Street" is a heart-warming tale of the triumph of holiday cheer over cynicism.

When: December 7-16, 2018
7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Exeter Town Hall
9 Front St., Exeter
Tickets: $25 adult/$10 youth (12 & under)/$20 senior (65+) plus $40 for VIP admission (includes premium seating and a drink ticket)
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An Irish Christmas

Join Symphony NH for an Irish Christmas featuring the music of Ireland and its Celtic influences around the world, all in celebration of the holiday season.  

When: Saturday, December 8 (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, December 9 (3 p.m.)
Where: Keefe Center for the Arts (December 8)
117 Elm St., Nashua

Concord City Auditorium (December 9)
2 Prince St., Concord
Tickets: $32 and $52
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Christmas at the Little White Church

A charming concert featuring pianist Dana Cunningham and cellist Max Dyer. Eaton’s Little White Church invites you to enjoy the simple beauty of acoustic piano and cello in this extraordinary setting.

When: Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Where: Little White Church
2371 Eaton Rd., Eaton Center
Tickets: $30
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The Christmas Revels

Each year, Revels North explores the holiday traditions of a different country and time. This year’s performance is titled "A Venetian Celebration of the Winter Solstice,” where it’s the height of the Renaissance, and the vibrant city of Venice is bursting with excitement. La Vigilia di Natale, Christmas Eve, is fast approaching. The Doge, overwhelmed with governing the city and organizing its Feast of the Seven Fishes, has lost perspective. Will a tatty troupe of comedians, fresh off an unsuccessful European tour, remind the Doge to embrace the magic of his city at this most festive time of the year?

When: December 13-16, 2018
December 13 at 6 p.m.
December 14 at 7 p.m.
December 15 and 16 at 1 and 5 p.m.
Where: The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College
4 E. Wheelock St., Hanover
Tickets: Prices vary and range up to $48
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Buzz Ball

Your hosts for this 8th annual event are Greg and the Morning Buzz. Join them and their crazy friends for this wonderful holidays treat. The show features New England’s best entertainment with some very special guest musicians, comedians and actors. This is the ultimate holiday rock and roll variety show.

When: Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts
44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $35 and $45
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Rockapella Holiday

They’ve become one of the world’s most sophisticated, lasting, and imitated vocal groups around today. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more influential group out there in this new era of network television a cappella shows like NBC’s "The Sing-Off," movies like "Pitch Perfect," and innumerable college vocal groups that own the corner of cool on campuses everywhere.

When: Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Where: Stockbridge Theatre
5 Pinkerton St., Derry
Tickets: $15-$35
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Boston Pops Holiday Concert

Join the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and Conductor Keith Lockhart for this annual, beloved Holiday Pops concert. Attendees can look forward to their favorite holiday songs and crowd sing-a-longs.

When: Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: SNHU Arena
555 Elm St., Manchester
Tickets: $78, $58, $48 and $43
Available in person at the box office, via Ticketmaster or by phone (800) 745-3000
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Home for the Holidays

This family-friendly holiday extravaganza, created and directed by Patrick Dorow, has been a tradition in New England for the past seven years. Paying homage to the classic holidays specials, and true to a Broadway production style, with full set, costumes and dance, this high-energy, fast-paced show includes original vocal arrangements and medleys of nearly 50 holiday songs, appealing to all ages.

When: December 15-16, 2018
Shows at 7 p.m. December 15 and at 1 and 4 p.m. December 16. Dinner and a show reservations are available for December 15, and expanded concessions are offered for the two December 16 shows.
Where: Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center
39 Main St., Plymouth
Tickets: See the website for more information.
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"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Performed by the Heather Pierson Trio

Heather Pierson is a pianist, singer/songwriter and performer based in Conway. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was originally telecast in December 1965 and was an instant hit with audiences who connected with Peanuts' creator Charles M. Schultz’s cast of characters – especially with its round-headed hero Charlie Brown, his woefully scrawny Christmas tree and his typewriter-wielding dog Snoopy.

When: Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Where: The Tillotson Center
14 Carriage Ln., Colebrook
Tickets: $10 and $5 for students
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Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra Family Holiday Pops

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s Family Pops Concert is a favorite tradition in Portsmouth’s holiday season. This concert will feature many holiday favorites with new twists, a blend of the old and new with a special performance from artist-in-residence Billy Butler. A holiday favorite, “Sleigh Ride,” will feature guest conductors.

When: December 18-19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Portsmouth Music Hall
28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth
Tickets: $15-$30
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Holiday Pops

Ring in the holiday season with the annual yuletide program featuring the Capital Jazz Orchestra and guest vocalists CJ Poole and Laura Daigle, along with narrator Laura Knoy of NHPR who will be reciting her traditional version of “The Night Before Christmas.”

When: Sunday, December 23, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts
44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: Starting at $27.50
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Categories: Holiday Guide Events