This Weekend: Holiday sights and sounds

Charlie Brown!

The Wilton Playshop will present Charles Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas this weekend: Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 and 11, at 2 and 4 p.m. The musical, based on the 1965 television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, was adapted for the stage by Eric Schaeffer and has musical direction by Ben McCormack, with choreography by Conservatory of Dance owner Chris Titus.

The show is recommended for children of all ages; it runs about 40 minutes. For tickets ($20/adults, $10/ages 10 and younger), visit wiltonplayshop.org. The theater is on Lovers Lane, just off Route 33 at the Wilton Congregational Church.

Also classic

The holiday favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, will run Dec. 9-18 at Music Theatre of Connecticut MainStage, 509 Westport Avenue (behind Nine West Outlet), Norwalk.  The show, adapted for stage by Joe Landry, brings the story to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast; it’s suitable for all ages. Five professional Equity actors will play more than 50 characters and perform live sound effects. Kevin Connors directs.

Performances are Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 4 and 8, and Sundays at 2. Tickets are $30 to $55, available online at musictheatreofct.com or by calling 203-454-3883.

Celtic Christmas

Christmas with The Celts, featuring Irish-born and Irish-American musicians, will perform their holiday special at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. there will be a complimentary wine tasting in the lobby at 7:15, courtesy of The Wine Group/Benziger Family Winery.

Tickets are $47.50, available at ridgefieldplayhouse.org or by calling 203-438-5795.

Polar PJ Parties

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk invites young guests, still wearing their pajamas, to come to the Aquarium early on Saturday or Sunday (Dec. 10-11 or 17-18) at 9 a.m. for Polar Express Pajama Parties. Guests will start out with sweets and hot chocolate, plus photos with Santa and an educational activity station, before a screening of the IMAX movie The Polar Express at 10.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for kids ages 3-12; advance reservations are required. Call 203-852-0700 x2206 or visit maritimeaquarium.org.

Artisan Fair

A Flurry of Talent, the Redding Artisan Fair, will take place Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 to 3 at the Redding Elementary School, 33 Lonetown Road/Route 107, Redding Center. Holiday gifts will include accessories, jewelry, candles, leather goods, toys, ornaments, soaps, food, art, wall decor and more will be for sale. Admission is free. For more information, call 203-938-2519.

Zoo breakfast

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, will host Breakfast with Frosty and Friends on Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 10, 11, 17, 18, and 24, from 9 to 10 a.m. Characters will be available for photo ops.

The cost is $15 per person, which includes zoo admission, photos and breakfast; for reservations (required), call 203-394-6569 or email [email protected].

Nutcracker scenes

The Darien Art Center’s dance companies will present Scenes from the Nutcracker, geared for younger audiences, on Saturdays and Sunday, Dec. 10, 11 and 17, at noon and 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18, at noon.

Reservations are strongly recommended; email [email protected] or call 203-655-8683.

Ballet Etudes

With guest artists from the New York City Ballet, Ballet Etudes Company will perform The Nutcracker on Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Westport Country Playhouse. With a nearly 100-member cast, the holiday ballet is being danced for the 28th year by Ballet Etudes.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $30 for seniors and $20 for children and students. For reservations, visit westportplayhouse.org or call 203-227-4177.

Holiday concerts

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will perform its Holiday Extravaganza, led by pops conductor Chelsea Tipton and featuring the Elm City Girls’ Choir and a special guest, on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:30 at Hamden Middle School, and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 at Shelton High School. Tickets are $35-$49.

Conducted by William Boughton, with the Christ Church Choir, the symphony will perform Handel’s Messiah on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 at Woolsey Hall in New Haven, on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 at Sacred Heart University Chapel, on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 at the First Congregational Church of Madison, and on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 5, at Middletown High School.

For ticket information, visit newhavensymphony.org or call 203-865-0831 x20.

Family concert

The Westport Historical Society will present Mary Ann Hall’s Music for Children & Beyond on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., featuring songs of Christmas and Hanukkah. Tickets are $15 per family, $5 per person, free for children two and younger. Reservations are strongly suggested; call 203-222-1424. The historical society is at 25 Avery Place; westporthistory.org.

Christmas Joy

Grace Farms in New Canaan will launch Christmas Joy at the River, a series of programs, on Saturday, Dec. 10, with Fireside Stories from 4 to 6 p.m. (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe). Songs of the Season will be performed on the Sanctuary stage Tuesday through Saturday, Dec. 14-23, from 2 to 3 p.m. There will be a Moonlit Stroll on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 5:30 to 6:30, led by Grace Farms Foundation Nature Initiative Director Mark Fowler.

On Friday, Dec. 16, a Community Dinner featuring holiday jazz from 6 to 7:30 p.m. will be followed by Gifting for Good from 7:30 to 8:30 ($20 donation to assemble holiday packages to help local immigrant families through Neighbor’s Link). Gifting for Good will also take place Saturday, Dec. 17, from noon to 4 and there will be Fireside Stories from noon to 4 as well (A Christmas Carol). A Poetry Potluck will take place Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. and the Christmas Cup three-on-three basketball tournament will take place Friday, Dec. 23, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Grace Farms is at 365 Lukes Wood Road in New Canaan; for more information, visit gracefarms.org or call 203-920-1702.

Christmas Carol

Historic Hudson Valley will present a dramatic performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk on Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 10-11 and 17-18, at 4, 5:15 and 6:30 p.m. at The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns, 42 North Broadway (Route 9), Tarrytown, N.Y. Seating is limited and tickets should be purchased in advance at hudsonvalley.org or call 914-366-6900.

Pre-holiday concert

Music for Youth Free Young Persons’ Concert series will present the second annual Pre-holiday Program featuring the Chamber Singers of the Fairfield County Children’s Choir on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 1719 Post Road, Fairfield.

The concert is free for adults attending with children but adults attending without children are asked to make a goodwill donation. All are encouraged to make a cash or food donation for Operation Hope. For more information, visit musicforyouth.net.

Audio theater

A new show by Voicescapes Audio Theater will be presented on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 at the Easton Library Community Room, 691 Morehouse Road. The show consists of short plays, both comedy and drama, which are performed with scripts and live and recorded sound effects.

After the show there will be a question and answer period with the cast. For information, visit voicescapesaudiotheater.com or call 203-268-5954.

In Dulci Jubilo

The Westfair Singers women’s choral ensemble will present In Dulci Jubilo, a Christmas celebration under the direction of Mary Jane Newman, on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 at South Salem Presbyterian Church, 111 Spring Street, South Salem, N.Y. The program will introduce Paige Edmonds, a student at Greenwich High School who is the 2016 winner in the Westfair’s Annual Scholarship Competition.

There will be music by Handel, Britten and Anthony Newman, along with carols arranged by John Rutter and David Willcocks. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, available at westfair.org. For more information, call 703-598-7950.

Love Wins

The 2016 Love Wins Benefit Concert, which supports the Ana Grace Project, will take place at 8 on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at the Western Connecticut State University Westside campus, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury. Ana Grace Marquez-Greene died in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012; her father, saxophonist and WestConn professor Jimmy Greene, will lead the concert.

Tickets are $50 with a VIP reception with the musicians before the concert or $35 general admission. For information, visit anagraceproject.org.

Handel’s Messiah

The Stamford Symphony, with the Pro Arte Singers, will perform Handel’s Messiah  (Part I and the Hallelujah Chorus) on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8 at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, 279 Atlantic Street, Stamford. Tickets are $55, $45, and $25; for reservations, visit stamfordsymphony.org or call 203-325-4466.

Neo-Urban Traditional

Voices Café at the Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road, will present Stacy Phillips and Paul Howard on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7:30. The duo have created their own approach, which they call Neo-Urban Traditional Music. Phillips plays dobro and violin and Howard plays guitar and is a singer/songwriter.

Tickets are $20; for reservations, visit voicescafe.org or for table reservations (minimum four people), call 203-227-7205 x14.

Mansion open house

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum at 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, will have a holiday open house on Sunday, Dec. 11, from noon to 4 p.m., in collaboration with the Norwalk Public Library, New Canaan Dance Academy, Matthew Surapine Studio and Santa Claus. Visitors may view the exhibit, Holiday Splendor at the Mansion: Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations, and enjoy a special reading at noon, visit with Santa Claus and his reindeer from 12:30 to 1:30, see dancers from the New Canaan Dance Academy from 2 to 2:45, and hear holiday favorites by students from the Matthew Surapine Studio from 3 to 3:45.

Admission to the open house is $5 for adults and children; for more information, visit lockwoodmathewsmansion.com or call 203-838-9799.

Young dancers

The Ridgefield School of Dance will present the Nutcracker Ballet and Holiday Dreams on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1:30 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School, East Ridge at Branchville Road, Ridgefield. The presentation includes the classic ballet as well as a performance by dancers from the school’s jazz department, with original choreography including jazz, contemporary, lyrical and tap.

Tickets ($22.50, $20 for seniors, $15 for age 3-18) are available online at theridgefieldschoolofdance.com and at the door. For more information, call 203-894-5957.

Poetry with Ira Joe

Ridgefielder Ira Joe Fisher will read and lead a discussion of some poems by some of his favorite poets on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street. Fisher, a published poet and teacher of poetry, communications and broadcast history, is the author of Remembering Rew, a poetry chapbook, and the full-length collections Some Holy Weight in the Village Air, Songs from an Earlier Century, and The Creek at the End of the Lawns.

To register, visit ridgefieldlibrary.org or call 203-438-2282.

Holiday harmony

The Silk’n Sounds Chorus, performing four-part a cappella harmony, will present their holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 830 Whitney Avenue in New Haven. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and students, and free for children 12 and younger. For reservations, call 203-248-7348. For more information, visit silknsounds.org.

Holiday Baroque

The Fairfield County Chorale will perform Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi’s Gloria as well as Baroque favorites by Handel and Bach on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 at the Norwalk Concert Hall, 125 East Avenue. The concert will also include a sing-along of carols and other holiday favorites, all accompanied by orchestra with timpani and trumpets. Five young soloists will include sopranos Carla Cottini and Anna Lenti, mezzo soprano Kate Maroney, tenor Stephen Beigner and baritone Joshua South.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, $5 for students. For reservations, visit fairfieldcountychorale.org or call 203-254-1333.

Wilton Singers

The Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road, will present a concert by the Wilton Singers on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m., featuring highlights from their Holiday Feast, a sing-along, and a visit from Santa. Tickets are $5 per child, $10 per adult (maximum $20 per family) at the door (check or cash only).

For more information, visit wiltonsingers.org.

Advent concert

The Adult Choir of Our Lady of Fatima Church will perform the Christmas Cantata: Nowell, Nowell, Emmanuel, scored for choir and congregation, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m. in The Chapel of the Villa de Notre Dame, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton. The free concert will include several other works and traditional carols.

For more information, call 203-216-7999.

Holiday music

Greenfield Hill Congregational Church at 1045 Old Academy Road in Fairfield will host a holiday concert by Wendy Gerbier and friends on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. Pianist Michael Fennelly will accompany Gerbier and soprano Virginia Herrera and bass-baritone John Dominick III.

The concert is free; for more information, visit greenfieldhillchurch.com.

Lessons & Carols

Music & Arts at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, 75 Church Lane, Westport, will present its annual festival of Christmas Lessons & Carols on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m., with anthems sung by the church choir and congregational Christmas carols, combined with readings.

Non-perishable food items will be gathered to stock the Food Pantry at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bridgeport. There is no charge for admission but early arrival is recommended; doors open at 4:30. For more information, visit chtwestport.org/music-arts or call 203-227-0827.

And coming up …

Ceramic Sculpture in Post-War American Art will be the subject of a lecture by Sequoia Miller, Ph.D. candidate at Yale, on Monday, Dec. 12, at 1 at the Bruce Museum, One Museum Drive, Greenwich. The Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle meeting is open to non-members; admission is $25. For more information, visit ctcsc.org.

* * * *

The Westport Country Playhouse’s next Script in Hand playreading, on Monday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m., will be Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, directed by Anne Keefe. Tickets are $20 and may be reserved by visiting westportplayhouse.org or call 203-227-4177.

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