Performing arts tickets make quick and easy gifts (click, click, click goes your mouse); they're also compact (they fit in an envelope), sophisticated (anyone you have to impress?), and maybe cheaper than you think. They can be especially fun to give if you find a post-Christmas performance that still has a little holiday spirit about it—like the Seattle Symphony's annual Beethoven's Ninth (Wed., Dec. 28–Fri., Dec. 30), their New Year's Gershwin gala (Sat., Dec. 31), or their Mozart birth- day festival (Thurs., Jan. 19–Sun., Feb. 5), for as little as $36 a pair (206-215-4747, www.seattlesymphony.org). Seattle Opera is offering the festive Die Fledermaus, with its champagne-soaked Act 2 masked-ball scene (Sat., Jan. 14–Sat., Jan. 28; 206-389-7676, www.seattleopera.org). At $48 and up per ticket, it's a bit more of a splurge—but it will be more fun in a stocking than some other operas would be. ("Merry Christmas, darling. We're going to Tosca! Everybody dies.") Pacific Northwest Ballet's next production is Valentine (Thurs., Feb. 2– Sun., Feb. 12) , comprising four romantic works based on music from Sinatra to Pärt. And for those who just can't let go of Christmas, they even have six post–Dec. 25 Nutcracker performances. ($20 and up; 206-441-2424, www.pnb.org.)
Seattle Rep leaves the choice to your giftee with a handy "Players Pack" of six vouchers that can be used for any performance in either the Bagley Wright or Leo K. Theatres ($246; 206-443-2222, www.seattlerep.org). Intiman, too, offers four-, five-, or six-performance flexpasses ($190, $230, or $280, respectively), as well as three-, four-, or five-play subscription packages ($100 and up)for their 2006 season, beginning in April with Shaw's Man and Superman (206-269-1900, www.intiman.org). Subscriptions for the six plays in ACT's 2006 season start at $201 (206-292-7676, www.acttheatre.org). It's not too late to buy subscriptions for the rest of Seattle Children's Theatre's 2005–06 season; their current production, Sleeping Beauty, runs through Sat., Feb. 4. Five-play packages run $65–$90 for kids, $100–$115 for adults; single tickets run $15–$26; and six-performance flexpasses are $150 (206-441-3322, www.sct.org). At the 5th Avenue Theatre, tickets ($19 and up) are on sale now for The Wedding Singer (Tues., Jan. 31–Sun., Feb. 19) and Les Miz (Wed., May 24–Sun., June 4)—or pick up a gift certificate redeemable for the two shows not yet on sale: Wonderful Town (Tues., March 21–Sun., April 9) or Pippin (Tues., May 2–Sun., May 21; 206-625-1900, www.5thavenuetheatre.org).
Check out www.theparamount.com/calendar/index for the Paramount Theatre's and Moore Theatre's upcoming offerings—surely there's something for everyone at venues that follow a ballroom-dance "Salute to Vienna" (Wed., Dec. 28) with the ultra-metal Jägermeister Music Tour (Sat., Jan. 7) and The Ten Commandments (the 1923 silent film; Sun., Jan. 8). Finally, if "cheap" is as big a factor as "quick" in your gift-buying plans, take a look at all Seattle has to offer outside the mainstream: fringe theaters, community orchestras, and all those small dance companies in all those Capitol Hill black-box spaces. You'll likely uncover some low-priced surprises while supporting struggling, and grateful, local emerging artists.