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Art & Soul: The Performance Arts - An Abundance Of Holiday Performances To Choose From

Michigan Theater
Michigan Theater

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the performance arts.  WEMU's Lisa Barry and Wendy Wright talk about the many different performances taking place locally from theatre to jazz to community concerts.





Theatre Nova

Fri-Sun November 29th – December 29th

Kids ages 2 to 102 will enjoy this rollicking family entertainment, complete with heroes, villains, original tunes, and parodies of popular songs, physical comedy, and fun (and candy!) -- this time set to the hip-hop stylings of DJ Whittington and his Kool Kat’s sick beats.

The Santaland Diaries

by David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello

Kickshaw Theatre

Bobcat Bonnie’s (formerly Bona Sera) - Ypsilanti

Friday - Sunday, December 13th – 22nd

Working in Santaland for the holiday season, as a reluctant, but relentlessly cheerful, elf, newly christened “Crumpet” shares his observations of the mayhem in front of and behind the scenes during one chaotic December.  Based on real experiences, Sedaris’ beloved witty look at the combination of retail hell and theatrical spectacle that is the holiday season is sharp, narrowly observed dark comedy.  Mature audiences only.

The Secret Garden

Music by Lisa Simon, Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman
The Encore Musical Theatre Company – Dexter

Thru December 22nd
Join Mary Lennox on her journey to Yorkshire, England in this beloved tale that comes to life onstage through a hauntingly beautiful score, and a story of rediscovery, faith and love.

A Christmas Carol

The Wild Swan Theater

WCC Morris Lawrence Building

December 5th – 8th (check for times)
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, Wild Swan’s version of this wonderful holiday classic has been especially created for family audiences.  A Christmas Carol tells of the astonishing transformation of miserly old Ebeneezer Scrooge after he is visited by three spirits on the night before Christmas.

A Man for Christmas: A Made for TV Musical Parody

Neighborhood Theatre Group

Fri December 13th – 15th

The BackOffice Studio – Ypsilanti

Those holiday TV musicals we know you watch are brought to the stage in an original musical parody!

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Michigan Irish Repertory Theatre – Ann Arbor
Sat December 14th 2PM at Kerrytown Concert House

Sun December 15th 2PM at Michigan League Hussey Room
Presented in the style of a BBC Wales radio show, this Dylan Thomas's nostalgic story recalls his boyhood holiday experiences.  Described by the New York Times as "a caroling session sprinkled with occasional reminiscences." With Welsh cakes and hot cider.


Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Big Band Holidays

Hill Auditorium


They celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with seasonal confections that put the heart and soul into the holidays.  With fresh arrangements, playful improvisation, and abundant good cheer, their big band arrangements of songs both sacred and secular.

Handel’s Messiah

Hill Auditorium


Music director Scott Hanoian conducts the UMS Choral Union and the Ann Arbor Symphony in this annual community tradition.

Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce

Power Center


The ultimate holiday survival guide, taking the season head-on and celebrating all of its dysfunction, Mac reframes the songs you love and the holidays you hate, taking aim at Santa’s lap, nativity scenes, consumerism, and more in a dazzling, and at times shocking, take-down of the sentimentality of the holidays. For mature audiences only.


Free Holiday Classic Film Series

The Michigan Theater

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas – December 1st 1:30PM

A Christmas Story – December 8th 1:30PM

Elf – December 15th 1:30PM

It’s a Wonderful Life – December 22nd 1:30PM

The Blue Llama Jazz Club

Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Memphis Soulphony

Fri & Sat, November 29th & 30th, 7 & 930 P.M.

World citizen and consummate entertainer Dee Dee Bridgewater explores her Memphis roots with Soulphony.  It’s pure party when Memphis soul meets Broadway and incomparable improvisation.

Louis Hayes: Serenade for Horace

Fri & Sat, December 6th & 7th, 7 & 9:30 P.M.

Born with a natural sense of swing and cadence, Detroit native Louis Hayes - now 82 years old - commands rapt attention from the drum throne for his charismatic leadership and pure pleasure in jazz.

Randy Napoleon Quartet

Fri December 13th, 7 & 930 P.M.

It’s a holiday homecoming for the Ann Arbor guitarist. Known as a forward-thinking musician with a passion for the jazz tradition, guitarist Randy Napoleon is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University.  He is currently touring as a leader after twenty years of road apprenticeship with some of the most celebrated musicians and groups of our time. 

The Ark

Matt Watroba

Friday, November 29th – 8:00 PM

The annual Thanksgiving tradition continues

Mr. B

Saturday, November 30th – 8PM

The B-all and end-all of blues and boogie piano is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition.

Community Concerts

Dec 6th 8PM - Measure for Measure wsg the Boychoir of Ann Arbor Sounds of the Season - St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Dec 8th 2PM Ann Arbor Tuba Christmas – Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market

Dec 8th 3PM Dexter Community Band Holiday Concert – Dexter High School

Dec 12th Ypsilanti Community Choir Home for Christmas – WCC

Dec 13th 8PM Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 8th Annual Holiday Pops Concert – Hill Auditorium

Dec 14th 7:30PM EMU Choral Program 1st Annual Candlelight Concert – Pease Auditorium

Dec 15th 4PM Dexter Community Orchestra Holiday Concert

The Nutcracker

Dec 7th & 8th 2PM -Ballet Chelsea – Chelsea High School

Dec 14th 2PM - Ann Arbor Dance Classics – Milan High School

Dec 14th 6:30PM - Academy of Russian Classical Ballet and Michigan Classical Ballet – Michigan Theater

Dec 14th 7PM & 15th 3PM – Dance Alliance – Saline High School

Dec 21st 2PM & 8PM - Randazzo Dance Company – Power Center

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU todayto keep your community NPR station thriving.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Wendy Wright has been on the radio at WEMU since April 2000. She served as host of 89.1 Jazz, Sunday mornings from 5-8 a.m. for seven years, when she was asked to host From Memphis to Motown. She was then asked to create the Soul Break which airs Wednesday afternoons.
Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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