George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
The Land of the Sweets never looked as sumptuous as it does in this production with what has to be the best costumes ever: lacey skirts, flower-petal skirts and a skirt that looks like a peacock’s tail. Act Two opens with rows of angels that look like replicas of porcelain figurines; it’s one of those breath-taking wondrous moments as is when the entire parade of sweets — marzipan, chocolate, Mother Ginger — take the stage in front of the most brilliant blue backdrop to ever grace the McCaw Hall stage. This is not the Maurice Sendak-Stowell Nutcracker that delighted thousands before Pacific Northwest Ballet replaced it last year with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (with sets and costumes designed by Ian Falconer). But the production has moments that will charm young and old.
If you go: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, McCaw Hall, Through Dec. 28 (Tickets start at $25)—F.D.
So you’re looking for something different; you’re more Devil horns than reindeer antlers at this time of year. Behold raunch, angst, rock ‘n roll, “drunkels” (drunk uncles) and modern dance. Last year’s shows sold out. This year’s show has been amped and revamped and aims to delight even more. Local choreographer Diana Cardiff has the gift of being someone who can create modern dance that is utterly hysterical. I’d weather a winter snowstorm to witness that.
If you go: Buttcracker II…more crack!, Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, Through Dec. 18 ($25)—F.D.
It’s December, a time for eating as many cookies, crashing as many work holiday parties and seeing as much Dina Martina as possible. At a time when the mere thought of your local post office or your credit card statement is beyond stressful, Dina Martina is there to add much-needed levity. The Seattle drag queen, who‘s been a fixture since 1989, just gets funnier, stranger and more delightful with each performance. We all need to hear what she has to say about 2016, in between, of course, her Christmas songs, original costumes and audience gift-giving.
If you go: Dina Martina, Re-Bar, through Dec. 31 ($25)—N.C.
The music of Dinah Washington — the first black gay icon — is the soundtrack of this production that tells the story of five black queens. “Paris is Burning” meets Jean Genet is how this production is being billed. So if you love vogue and ball choreography, a story that centers queer and trans lives, and the talent of Andrew Russell (Intiman Theater, who co-created this with New York playwright Jerome A. Parker), this is for you. Hurry. The show is close to selling out, but there are special 10:30 p.m. late night shows as well as a 5 p.m. Sunday matinee.
If you go: House of Dinah, On the Boards, Dec. 7-11 ($25)—F.D.
I was in the break room at work when someone asked if I’d heard about the octopus in New Zealand. Inky, the octopus that got out of its tank, stealthily crawled across the floor, and bid the aquarium farewell as it escaped down a pipe leading to the ocean. This incident, which occurred earlier this year, is just the latest chapter in humans realizing how intelligent and complex these creatures — so different and dwelling so deep below us — truly are. Philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith will be at Town Hall to talk about his research on these cephalopods and their early signs of communication, as discussed in his book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.
If you go: Octopus Intelligence, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 ($5)—N.C.