Once the lights are up, the tree is decorated and the presents are wrapped, you’re going to need something to keep busy during the holiday season. But do you really want to watch the same old Christmas specials? If you’re in Northwest Arkansas, you’re in luck, as many theaters offer great holiday specials for the stage.
A traditional Irish ensemble, Danú, will perform A Christmas Gathering: ‘Féile na Nollag’ at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10 in the Walton Arts Center. Two local groups, The Link Ensemble and Rince Arkansas Academy of Irish Dance, will perform on-stage with Danú. This performance will feature a sampling of songs, music and stories that have emerged from Christmas celebrations held across Ireland for hundreds of years. Tickets start at $15.
Multi-platinum, two-time Grammy® Award-winning female vocalist LeAnn Rimes is bringing her Today is Christmas tour to the Walton Arts Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, just in time for the holidays. Single tickets start at $45 and discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available. In her first Walton Arts Center performance, Rimes will sing traditional and original Christmas songs, along with some of her hits like “Blue” and “How Do I Live.”
The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) will bring several special performances to the Walton Arts Center for the holidays: the annual Christmas Pops concerts with special guest soloists and performers, and the return of The Snowman concert/screening especially for children and families. See A Very SoNA Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 16, with two show times – an afternoon matinee performance at 2 p.m., and an evening concert at 7:30 p.m.
A Very SoNA Christmas will delight audiences with a blend of holiday favorites that celebrate the magic and beauty of Christmas. Along with the SoNA Singers, Bentonville High School Chamber Choir, Har-Ber High School Camerata Singers and University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum, this year’s featured guest soloist is Michael Tynes, an award-winning cellist with the Ozark Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
The following day, SoNA and Walton Arts Center present The Snowman: A Family Concert on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. This features a special screening of the hit holiday film The Snowman with an extraordinary orchestral soundtrack that SoNA musicians perform live. Captivating for all ages, a winter wonderland comes to life in the timeless tale of a young boy’s special friendship with a snowman. Together, the two go on an enchanted adventure, soaring through the sky, making friends and meeting Santa Claus himself.
All three SoNA holiday performances will be held at Walton Arts Center’s Baum Walker Hall, 495 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville. Tickets for The Snowman are only $9 and tickets for A Very SoNA Christmas are $30, $42 and $52.
Across the street at the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Gallery, TheatreSquared will bring another holiday classic to life. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play takes an inventive twist on Frank Capra’s classic film, bringing the ever-timely story of disaster, redemption and holiday magic to life on stage before your eyes and ears. Tickets are $17-$47 and $10 for anyone under 30. Group discounts are also available. Performances take place Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The production runs through Dec. 31. It lasts 110 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.
All Walton Arts Center tickets can be purchased in person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling 479-443-5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org. The listed prices do not include fees.
All year long, the people of Springdale have gathered for Main Street Music Night. The final one for 2017 will feature Smokey and the Mirror, Shannon Wurst and Cameron Johnson. This free event takes place on December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Center of the Ozarks.
The following day, Arts Center of the Ozarks teams up with the Artist’s Laboratory Theatre for La Gran Posada, a community holiday performance and celebration that features the bilingual telling of the traditional Las Posadas story of Joseph and Mary on their search for lodging in Bethlehem. Several different performances will take place around downtown Springdale with the finale at Arts Center of the Ozarks. These include the world premiere of Sammi Saves the World, a Pastorela play, by Marisol L. Torres and dance performances from the Ballet Folklórico, Chinelos Morelenses Unidos and Danza Azteca.
The show begins at 5 p.m. on Dec. 17, so audience members should arrive at 4:30 p.m. at Shiloh Square, 106 W. Emma Ave., to join the procession. Participants should dress for cold weather. This event is free and open to the public.
The Arkansas Public Theatre will host a production of the holiday classic A Christmas Story, which follows the shenanigans of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa. The show takes place Dec. 8-1o and Dec. 14-17. Showtimes vary and tickets range from $28-32. They can be purchased here.
As you can see, NWA offers plenty of options for the stage this holiday season. Now you just need to figure out which ones you want to see. Happy Holidays!