A Christmas Carol—It's A Contemporary Theater's 25th annual presentation of Charles Dickens' classic, and once again, Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingiest man in London, discovers the



A guide to holiday happenings in the area

A Christmas Carol—It's A Contemporary Theater's 25th annual presentation of Charles Dickens' classic, and once again, Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingiest man in London, discovers the true spirit of Christmas. A Contemporary Theater, 700 Union, 292-7660. $16-$35/$13.50-$29 seniors and children. Thu 12/14-Sun 12/24, call 292-7676 or visit www.acttheatre.org for times.

Argosy Christmas Ship Festival—Hop on board The Spirit of Seattle, the official Christmas Ship, decked with thousands of white lights and other holiday decorations. Aboard ship, the Northwest's finest choirs sing holiday greetings; on shore, revelers gather 'round roaring bonfires. The Argosy Christmas Ship Festival cruises to over 45 waterfront locations throughout Seattle, Lake Washington, and the Puget Sound area, benefitting the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, which supports several Puget Sound charity organizations and social service providers. Call 623-1445 or visit www.argosycruises.com for times and locations. Christmas Ship: $26.50/$16.50 children; Argosy follow boats: $17/$12. Thu 12/14-Sat 12/23.

Nordys Giving Trees—Select a gift card from a Giving Tree at any Washington Nordstrom store and purchase the requested item for local charities to distribute. Each store selects a local charity in their community to support. For more info call your local store: downtown Seattle (628-2111), Northgate (364-8800), Bellevue (425-455-5800), Southcenter (246-0400), Tacoma (253-475-3630), and Alderwood (425-771-5755). Thu 12/14-Sun 12/24.

Santa Castle Outside Nordys—Read your wish list to and take a photo with Mr. Claus inside the snow-covered castle outside the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. "Santa, I'd like to reinvent myself." African-American Santa and American-Sign-Language Santa will be there as well. Sixth and Pine, call 628-1000 for more info or to schedule an appointment. Thu 12/14-Sun 12/24.

Wells Fargo Magic Season—Only three weeks left of Bellevue's holiday events and festivities. Some highlights: The Wells Fargo Ice Arena (Downtown Park, 10201 NE Fourth, Bellevue, 425-453-1223; $5 plus $2 for skate rental; 12/14-12/31) offers Nutcracker on Ice performances, special appearances, and private parties. Over 200,000 lights dress the Bellevue Botanical Garden in the Puget Sound Energy Garden D'Lights (Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main, 425-451-3755 or www.bellevuebotanical .org; $3 donation; 12/14-12/31). Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in Old Bellevue (Wells Fargo Ice Arena, call 425-453-1655 for prices; 12/14-12/30) deliver you from Main Street to Bellevue's past. Sponsored by Wells Fargo, Puget Sound Energy, STAR 101.5, 570 KVI, Eastside Journal, and the City of Bellevue. For more info, go to www.magicseason.com.

Poinsettia Festival—Surround yourself with 38 varieties of Molbak's-grown poinsettias and celebrate the season with a slice of Danish pastry and coffee compliments of the store. Every hour, there'll be a drawing for a free poinsettia. Molbak's, 13625 NE 175th, Woodinville, 425-483-5000. 12/14-24, Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-6.

Festivals of Light—Light up the short days of winter with Seattle's annual Festivals of Light, which showcase the holiday traditions of diverse cultures. Festivals include Santa Lucia (12/14-15), American Christmas: German Roots (12/16-22), and Kwanzaa (12/23-31). Seattle Center, the Children's Museum, call 441-1769 or visit www.thechildrensmuseum.org for event details. $5. Museum hours: Mon-Fri, 10-5; Sat-Sun, 10-6.

Holiday Ceramics Sale—A nonprofit arts organization that offers classes in ceramics and serves as studio space for local artists, Seward Park Art Studio showcases these artists' work at a fund-raising event for the organization. Seward Park Art Studio, 5900 Lake Washington Blvd S, 722-6342 or www.sewardparkart.org. Free. 12/14-24, weekdays 10-8, weekends 10-6.

KING 5 Winterfest—Go for a whirl on the Holiday Ice Rink (Seattle Center, Flag Pavilion. $6/$4 bring your own skates; $4 6 and under/$2 6 and under bring your own skates. 12/14-1/1/01, Sun-Thu 11-8, Fri-Sat 11-10. Sun 12/24, 11-8. Closed 12/31. Mon 1/1/01, 11-8) or take a ride on the painted ponies of the Holiday Carousel (Seattle Center, Flag Pavilion, Terrace. $1. 12/14-1/1/01, 11-6). Attractions inside Seattle Center House include the Holiday Train Display, Winterfest World Market, Sharing Gift Box, KING 5 Home Team Holiday Flights, Season's Readings Story Room, Season Student Music Performances, the Kwanzaa/African-American Holiday Celebration, and the Chinese New Year and Asian Pacific Holiday Celebration. Call 684-7200 or visit www.seattlecenter.com for event details.

Sharing and Caring Tree—Select a gift wish from the S&C Tree, buy the object of desire, return it unwrapped to the S&C Tree, and you'll make one kid's dream come true. Cosponsored by the University Sunrise Rotary Club, Boy Scouts of America Troop #186, and the Roosevelt High School Interact Club. The S&C Tree benefits the University Food Bank, Central Area Motivational Program (CAMP), Fremont Public Association, and the Department of Social and Health Services. University Village, Center Court, 532-0622. Thu 12/14-Sat 12/23, Mon-Fri 5-8, Sat 10-6, Sun noon-5.

Christmas Day in Hawai'i Nei—Award-winning trio the Makaha Sons perform Christmas favorites in both Hawaiian and English, with guest appearances by slack key guitar master Cyril Pahinui and contemporary Hawaiian chart-topper Robi Kahakalau. Presented by NaMele.com. Benaroya Hall, Mark Taper Auditorium, Third and Union, 417-0407. $20-$30. Thu 12/14 at 7 and 9. also at the Hawai'i General Store and Gallery, 258 NE 45th, call 633-5233 for ticket info. Fri 12/15, 5-7.

A Christmas Carol—Bob Zinn returns as Ebenezer Scrooge, the ungenerous misanthrope who's transformed into a caring and giving soul. Directed by Stephanie Shine. The Playhouse, 200 Madison N, Bainbridge Island, 206-842-8569. 12/14-23, Thu-Fri at 7:30, Sun matinees at 3. Pay-what-you-can performance Thu 12/21 at 7:30. $18/$15 seniors and students.

The Nutcracker—This year's performance of the holiday classic features the largest cast ever of Pacific Northwest Ballet students, choreography by PNB Artistic Director Kent Stowell, and magical sets and costumes designed by renowned author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. Seattle Center, Opera House, 292-ARTS. $15-$80. 12/14-17, Tue-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 1 and 5:30. Sat matinees at 2. 12/19-27, Tue-Sat at 2 and 7:30, Sun at 1 and 5:30 (except 12/24 at noon only). Ends 12/27.

Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant—Book-It Repertory Theater presents the story of Owen Meany, the smallest boy in Gravesend, New Hampshire, who enters a battle of wills with Christ Church's Christmas pageant director. The show's based on the chapters "The Little Lord Jesus" and "The Ghost of the Future" from John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. North Seattle Community College campus, Stage One, 325-6500. $18/$14 seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more. 12/14-23, Wed-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Tue 12/19 show at 7:30. Fri 12/22 and Sat 12/23 matinees at 2.

Sanders Family Christmas—Taproot Theater Company brings back its holiday musical comedy, featuring the Sanders family singing their hearts out on Christmas Eve, 1941, at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in North Carolina before their son goes to war. The show offers traditional bluegrass, gospel, country, and carols. Taproot Theater, 204 N 85th, 781-9707. Wed, Thu nights and Sat matinees: $17-$19. Fri and Sat nights: $23-$25, seniors $2 off. 12/14-30, Wed-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 and 8. Tue show 12/19 at 7:30.

Seattle Symphony—The Symphony revisits Handel's Messiah, featuring the Seattle Symphony Chorale. $10-$64. Thu 12/14 at 7:30, Fri 1/15 at 8, Sat 12/16 at 8, Sun 12/17 at 2. An exuberent blend of jazz, folk, and the classics, traditional Klezmer music is performed by the Klezmer Conservatory Band. $10-$64. Wed 12/20 at 7:30. With the accompaniment of a majestic concert organ, the Holiday Organ Sing-Along includes seasonal works by Rutter, Willcocks, Dupre, and Pinkham. $15-$49. Fri 12/22 at 8, Sat 12/23 at 2. Timeless Christmas favorites are performed at the Holiday Extras and Light Classics. $10-$64. Fri 12/29-Sat 12/30 at 8.

Black Nativity—Intiman Theater presents the third annual run of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity: A Gospel Song Play, performed by Reverend Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, Pastor Patrinell Wright, the Total Experience Gospel Choir, narrators Gael To'mas Jones and Vivian Phillips, and dancers Bertram Johnson and Erricka Turner, with choreography by Kabby Mitchell III. This production features the largest performing company in Intiman's history—41 actors, singers, dancers, and musicians—who tell the traditional story of Christmas through narrative, song, and dance. Seattle Center, Intiman Theater, 269-1900. $38/$28 seniors, students, and groups of 40 or more/$10 youth 16 and under. 12/14-23, Tue, Wed, and Sun at 7; Thu, Fri, and Sat at 8. Sat matinees at 2 and 8, Sun matinees at 2. Ends 12/24 at 2.

Dina Martina Christmas Extravaganza—She's baaack . . . in this holiday tribute to the Sands, the legendary hotel and casino of Dina's hometown, Las Vegas. The variety show includes never-before-seen film and video segments, a special excerpt from The Countrycracker, and gifts for lucky audience members. Also on hand: Dina's lovely daughter, Phoebe (pronounced Fo-eh-bee) and a very special mystery guest! On the Boards, 100 W Roy, 217-9888. $15-$18. Thu 12/14-Sun 12/17 at 8.

Ham for the Holidays IV: Glazing Saddles—Seattle favorites Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt (a.k.a. Dos Fallopia) continue the "Ham Series" (Ham for the Holidays, Son of Ham, Bride of Ham) with Glazing Saddles, which features a cornucopia of dysfunctional characters: the Sequim Gay Men's Chorus, a kosher lounge band, Sister Mary Agnes and Craft Lady, mother-daughter superstars the Spudds, and more. Directed by Burton Curtis. Theater Off-Jackson, 409 Seventh S, 325-6500. $15 (Wed, Thu, Sun, and all matinees)/$17 (Fri-Sat). 12/14-24, Wed-Sat at 8, Sun matinees at 4. Sat matinees 12/16 and 12/23.

Matt Smith's Beyond Kindness: The Holiday Edition—The acclaimed performer who brought Seattle audiences My Year with the Nuns portrays the author of a Machiavellian child-rearing manual who unveils not only his numerous child-rearing tips but also himself as he discusses his drive for fame at all costs and his own crazed family relationships. On the Boards, 100 W Roy, 217-9888. $12-$14. Thu 12/14-Sun 12/17 at 8.

X-mas at the Johnsons (An Evening of Real Art)—A Theater Under the Influence presents this celebration of the Association for Real Art, also known as the Oberiu, an avant-garde art group active in Leningrad between 1918 and the mid-1930s. Plotwise, the play concerns the Johnsons, "a unit that makes the Addams family look like a Goth Leave It to Beaver." Directed by Craig Bradshaw. Union Garage, 1418 10th, 720-1942. $12 Fri and Sat/$10 Sun. Pay-what-you-will Thu. 12/14-17, Thu-Sat at 8, Sun at 2.

Northwest Boychoir—Their "Festival of Lessons and Carols" features multiple performances in multiple venues. Hear the voices of angels—we mean children—as they sing traditional favorites and holiday hymns. Purchase tickets in advance or at the door. $10/$5 children. Arrive early, as concerts generally draw capacity audiences. Holy Rosary Church, 4139 42nd SW. 12/15 at 7:30. St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 4805 NE 45th. 12/16 at 7. Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 6211 NE 182nd, Kenmore. 12/17 at 7. Benaroya Hall, Mark Taper Auditorium, Third and Union. 12/21 at 7:30. Call 524-3234 for more information or advance tickets.

Natale! Christmas in Italy—Seattle Pro Musica presents 10 centuries of Italian music for the Christmas season, including Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 (selections); Verdi's Quattro pezzi sacri (selections); music by Palestrina, Gabrielli, and rarely heard music by Italian nuns of the 16th and 17th centuries; and an audience sing-along of Italian Christmas carols. Plymouth Congregational Church, Sixth and University. Fri 12/15 at 7:30, Sun 12/17 at 3. Also at the Chapel at Bastyr University, 14500 Juanita Dr NE, Bothell. Sat 12/16 at 8. Call 781-2766 for tickets. $12-$16adv/$14-$18.

Nutcracker Puppet Ballet—Carter Family Marionettes presents this holiday extravaganza, in which Brave Clara and her nutcracker journey to a land of dancing flowers, Russian bears, Chinese ribbon dancers, the Sugarplum Fairy, and a silly snowman. Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th NE, 523-2579 or www.nwpuppet.org. $8.50/$7 seniors/$6.50 children. 12/15-17, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 1 and 3, Sun at 1 and 3.

Holiday Laser Shows—Sit back and enjoy Holiday Magic and Laser Nutcracker. Santa, please keep the reindeer on the ground. Pacific Science Center, 200 Second N, 443-2001. $12.50/$10 13 and under (includes PSC admission). Sat 12/16-Sun 12/31 (closed Mon 12/25). Holiday Magic Sat and Sun at 2, Laser Nutcracker Sat and Sun at 4.

A Green and White Christmas—Set in Seattle during the early 1950s, the play concerns a Christmas Eve snowstorm that wreaks havoc on a family's holiday plans. Starring Chris Wedes, Bob Newman, Tracey Conway, and Dave Dolacky. A Q&A session with the actors follows the play. Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th E, 324-1126 or www.seattlehistory.org. $5.50/$3 55-plus and children 6-12/$1 children 2-5. Sat 12/16 at 3.

Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide Concert—Don't miss this festive family evening of Celtic music, Irish dancing, juggling, storytelling, processionals, and singing by Philip and Pam Boulding and their five children, ages 18 to 29—plus three spouses and two new grandchildren! First Presbyterian Church, Seventh and Spring, 292-ARTS. $12-$18adv/$15-$20/$24 reserved seating. Sat 12/16 at 7.

Bellevue Philharmonic Performs Handel's Messiah—Maestro Fusao Kajima performs this holiday classic for the first time with the Bellevue Chamber Chorus, under the direction of Geoffrey Boers. Soloists include Monica Harris, soprano; Geoffrey Boers, countertenor; David Maier, tenor; and Brian Box, bass-baritone. First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, 1717 Bellevue Wy NE, 425-455-4171. $18/$16 seniors and students. Sat 12/16 at 7:30.

A Mike Strickland Christmas—The pianist joins vocalist Becca Christel and bassist Clipper Anderson to perform jazz, popular holiday music, and other favorites. Proceeds benefit Hollywood Education and Literacy Project of Puget Sound (H.E.L.P.), a nonprofit literacy organization. Benaroya Hall, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Third and Union, 292-ARTS. $20/$10 children 2-12. Sat 12/16 at 8.

A Choral Arts Christmas—Choral Arts Northwest presents Christmas music familiar and freshly minted. Featuring works for classical guitar by Jeffery Van, played by tenor Robert McCaffery-Lent. Lagerquist Concert Hall, Tacoma. Sat 12/16 at 8. Also at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth. Sun 12/17 at 7:30. $15/$10 seniors and students. Call 1-877-404-2269 for tickets.

Piffaro, Renaissance Wind Band—"Piffaro puts the rowdy and rambunctious back into music before the time of Bach," said Esquire magazine. If the 16th century is your thing, don't miss two holiday concerts that feature Piffaro's rich, varied repertoire of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods (1400-1625). The program Nowell's Delight features an array of recorders, flutes, shaums, bagpipes, plucked instruments, percussion, and voice, along with lively tunes from King Henry VIII's songbook and the performance of traditional favorites such as Greensleeves. Part of the Early Music Guild International Series. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth, 325-7066. $25/$20 seniors/$16 students. Sat 12/16 at 8. Also, the Piffaro Family Concert features more of the band's trademark combinations of early string and wind instruments. Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S Alaska, 325-7066. $5. Sun 12/17 at 4.

Keep the Spirit Holiday Concert—Tickle Tune Typhoon presents original, traditional, and ethnic styles of music and dance celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and the winter season. Joining the cast will be the waltzing snowflakes, festive dancing Christmas trees, and a rock 'n' roll Santa singing "Santa's Belly Boogie." Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th E, 526-2768. $10. Sun 12/17 at 1 and 3:30.

A Christmas Carol: The Reading—Legendary actor John Gilbert reads A Christmas Carol; ArtsWest Theater managing director Michael Harris leads a sing-along. ArtsWest Theater, 4711 California SW, 938-0339. $15/$12 seniors/$10 students. Sun 12/17 at 3 and 7:30.

Medieval Women's Guild—Directed by Margriet Tindemans, the 60-women MWC sings Noel, Noel, a selection of medieval French music celebrating St. Nicholas. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth, 527-2667. $15/$10 seniors and students. Sun 12/17 at 3.

The Holiday Big Broadcast—For nearly 20 years, The Big Broadcast brightened the holiday season for tens of thousands of theatergoers, providing an entertaining glimpse back at the Golden Age of Radio from the 1930s and '40s. This new version examines the tradition of popular culture from radio to television. Presented by Boomer Classics. Fri and Sat $25/$21 seniors and students; all other days $23/$19 seniors and students; New Year's Benefit $75. Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland, Kirkland, 425-893-9900. $18-$24. Thu 12/21-Sat 12/23 and Tue 12/26-Sun 12/31 at 8; Fri 12/22-Sun 12/24, Wed 12/27, and Sat 12/30 at 2.

Sandy Bradley's POTLUCK!—A show that ran from 1984 to the mid-'90s, Susan Bradley's POTLUCK! returns to the stage with its traditional American music, ragtime, blues, novelty songs, and humor. Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th E, 324-1126. $10. Sat 12/23 at 11am and 1pm.

Ice Festival—Build an igloo, make a snowman, create an ice sculpture, discover the science and properties of ice at Pacific Science Center, 200 Second N, 443-2001. $8/$5.50 13 and under. Tue 12/26-Sun 12/31.

Handel's Messiah Sing-and-Play-Along—The entire oratorio will be performed under conductor Karen P. Thomas. Bring a vocal score if you have one; "loaners" will also be available at the door as well as a few scores for sale. Instrumentalists should bring their own music stands. Arrive early; this popular event draws a standing-room-only crowd. University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th NE, 525-8400. $10/$7 seniors and students. Tue 12/26 at 7.

Seattle Sings Messiah—A sing-along Messiah! Be part of the chorus. First United Methodist Church, Fifth and Marion, 622-7278 ext. 44, or visit www.seattlesingsmessiah.org. $9adv/$10. Sat 12/27 at 7.

Tudor Christmas—Performed by the Tudor Choir; featuring the Christmas Mass by Thomas Tallis. First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, 1717 Bellevue Wy NE, Bellevue. Fri 12/29 at 8. Also at St. Mark's Cathedral, 1245 10th E. Sat 12/30 at 8. Call 322-3118 for tickets/information. $18/$15 seniors and students.

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