Credit: Chris Bennion
A Christmas Carol
Right about now is when I start to stress and grumble about the holidays and all that they entail. So I’m grateful that Charles Dickens sure knew how to write a story and that our own ACT Theatre sure knows how to deliver an absorbing production that never fails to put me squarely in the holiday spirit. This year marks the 40th year of ACT’s production. Two of Seattle’s finest—Kurt Beattie and Charles Leggett—alternate as crochety Scrooge. Lucky me, it’s where I’ll be on Christmas Eve!
If you go: A Christmas Carol, ACT Theatre, Now through Dec. 30 (Tickets start at $37) –F.D.
Christmas Eve Dinners
If you’re looking for a delicious way to spend Christmas Eve, there are lots of great restaurants open, some with special menus, others just wanting to welcome you in for a night of spirited togetherness. The always local, organic, and impeccable Golden Beetle in Ballard will have an all-night happy hour that includes beef fat-fried, sumac-dusted French fries and mini roasted squash pizza. Head to Shiro’s in Belltown for their award-winning sushi or the nearby Local 360 for a special $50 tasting menu featuring sunchoke bisque with wild black trumpets and smoked ribeye. In Capitol Hill, Ernest Loves Agnes will be offering a Christmas Eve feast including a roasted goose and hot buttered rum, while up the hill POCO Wine and Spirits will be showing Christmas movies by the fire and featuring some new spirits as part of their Misfits Christmas Eve. –N.C.
One of the most reliably funny comedy groups in town, improv troupe Blood Squad performs only a handful of times a year. Lately, shows have been coinciding with holidays, which fits their horror genre riffs quite nicely when the holiday is Halloween — but why not a horrific Christmas? “He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…” at Capitol Hill’s Annex Theatre is a special one-night-only show that pays homage to Christmas horror films such as Gremlins, Black Christmas, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. You’ll be be shocked, you’ll be horrified, but most of all you’ll laugh. A lot.
If you go: Blood Squad, Annex Theatre, Saturday 12/26 at 8 p.m., $10 –N.C.
Ellington’s “Sacred Music”
For the last 26 years, Earshot Jazz has put on this holiday tradition, showcasing Ellington’s masterpiece in the holy, gorgeous space of Town Hall Seattle. Written over the last decade of his life, Ellington’s Sacred Concerts are now considered a historic piece of the 1960s civil rights movement, bringing together jazz and religion. True to Ellington’s original concerts, this performance will include big band (in the form of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra), gospel choir (the NW Chamber Chorus), solo artists (Stephen Newby and Nichol Veneé Eskridge), and special guest tap-dancer Alex Dugdale.
If you go: Earshot Jazz Presents Ellington’s “Sacred Music,” Town Hall Seattle, Saturday 12/26 at 7:30 p.m., $14-38
Brian Setzer Orchestra
Guitarist Brian Setzer—Mr. ‘Stray Cat’ himself—brings his musical prowess, his rockabilly charisma and his boyish good looks to Benaroya Hall for what will surely be a swinging good time. His playlist will be culled from his new Christmas album, “Rockin’ Rudolph,” which includes the song Yabba-Dabba Yuletide. Now seriously, doesn’t this sound like fun?
If you go: Brian Setzer Orchestra, Benaroya Hall, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 (Tickets start at $40) –F.D.
It’s A Wonderful Life *
Speaking of local holiday traditions (this one’s in its 45th year!) that will remind you of what really matters in life, here’s one for those of us happiest curled up at the Grand Illusion with a tub of popcorn and a medium Coke/Diet Coke mix. Oh George Bailey: You, Elf and John McClane are who I most look forward to movie-wise each December.
If you go: It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grand Illusion, Now through Dec. 30 ($9) –F.D.
* event costs $15 or less