Clara and the case of real-live Nutcracker

The Minnesota Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” is the classic tale of young Clara’s super-special and magical gift from Uncle Drosselmeyer and the world tour of fairies and dance that it inspires.

The Minnesota Ballet's "Nutcracker" (2017 file / News Tribune)
The Minnesota Ballet's "Nutcracker" (2017 file / News Tribune)

But first: a fight with a bunch of mice and negotiations with a cheese canon.

This ballet, choreographed by Allen Fields, is set in Edwardian-period Manhattan just off Central Park. Minnesota Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Mark Whitlock, has the live Tchaikovsky score, and the Minnesota Duluth’s Women’s Chorus has vocal accompaniment.

Minnesota Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-Dec. 14, 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at Symphony Hall. Tickets: Start at $22 at Ticketmaster outlets including the DECC box office, or the Minnesota Ballet offices, 218-529-3742

"The Santaland Diaries" (2017 file / News Tribune)
"The Santaland Diaries" (2017 file / News Tribune)

Crumpet versus Christmas

Long ago, in a department store far-far away, young David Sedaris took a seasonal job as one of Santa’s elves. “Santaland Diaries” tells of the resulting threats from moms, flirtation with a fellow elf, and his revisionist story of Santa stealing toys from naughty kids. Forget what you’ve heard about coal. The traditional-ish tale, which originally played on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” in 1992, gets its annual staging with Luke Moravec in the role of Crumpet. Cheryl Skafte directs.

“Santaland Diaries” is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-14 at The Underground. Tickets: $20 available at duluthplayhouse.org.

Five Finger Death Punch (photo from fivefingerdeathpunch.com)
Five Finger Death Punch (photo from fivefingerdeathpunch.com)

FFDP to play Amsoil

Las Vegas-based metal band Five Finger Death Punch, which is two months out from releasing its eighth studio album, plays a show today at the DECC. The band is on its last few shows of a tour that started in early November. In 2018, Five Finger Death Punch’s “And Justice for None” was the No. 1 streaming hard rock/heavy metal album.

The band just released the song “Inside Out,” which starts orchestral before giving way to the band’s signature growls.

Also: Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire From the Gods. And: The DECC is testing out a new bags policy during this performance.

Five Finger Death Punch plays at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Amsoil Arena. Tickets: Available at Ticketmaster outlets including the DECC box office.

Members of the Twin Ports Choral Project rehearse for an event in October. (File / News Tribune)
Members of the Twin Ports Choral Project rehearse for an event in October. (File / News Tribune)

All the stuff, one stage

A lot can happen in, on, or around Teatro Zuccone in a year: themed short stories, a live recording of a fictional podcast, Dungeons & Dragons played as a spectator sport. A Holiday Spectacular Extravaganza Pageant is a combining of forces for the purposes of a seasonal variety show.

The third annual event includes performances by: Colder By The Lake, Superior Shorts, Beer & Hymns, Nerd Nite, Twin Ports Choral Project, the one-man band ZOZATRAS, Twin Portals, Take it With You and more.

A Holiday Spectacular Extravaganza Pageant is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Teatro Zuccone. Tickets: $10 at zeitgeistarts.com

"Gremlins" is coming to Zinema 2. (Warner Bros.)
"Gremlins" is coming to Zinema 2. (Warner Bros.)

Gremlins gone wild

Among the seasonal faves: The story of a furry little gift that was doomed the second the scrappy neighborhood Christmas tree delivery boy spilled water on him. Soon enough, the big-eyed and cooing Gizmo has sprouted spawns sneaky enough to score late-night eats and then go on a rampage through the streets of Kingston Falls. “Gremlins,” released in 1984, is the story of Gremlins gone wild — and the rule-breakers who must tame them. (It's one of the "PG" movies credited with establishing the PG-13 rating back in the day.)

“Gremlins” plays at 7 p.m. Monday at Zinema 2, 222 E. Superior St. Tickets: $12 at zeitgeistarts.com.

Roe Family Singers (photo by John Noltner)
Roe Family Singers (photo by John Noltner)

The Roes and the Hoots share a stage

The Roe Family Singers, a Twin Cities-based bluegrass band, and The Holy Hootenanners, the Mahtowa-based country gospel mega-band, will share a stage on Friday at Teatro Zuccone.

Roe Family Singers is led by Kim and Quillan Roe and features banjo, autoharp, clogging — and has twice won a jug band title. The Hoots, as they might be called, can fill a stage with its members and played last year’s City on the Hill Music Festival in addition to regular Homegrown Music Festival appearances.

Roe Family Singers and The Holy Hootenanners play at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Teatro Zuccone, 222 E. Superior St. Tickets: $12 at zeitgeistarts.com.

Arrowhead Chorale (Facebook)
Arrowhead Chorale (Facebook)

Arrowhead Chorale offers Celtic Christmas

Arrowhead Chorale’s “Holiday Jubilations & Traditions: A Celtic Christmas” will feature the handbell choir Strikepoint and Eira, a local Celtic band. Expect traditional and contemporary carols from Ireland, Scotland and Wales and John Rutter’s “When Icicles Hang” and more.

Arrowhead Chorale’s “Holiday Jubilations & Traditions” is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at The Depot’s Great Hall, 506 W. Michigan St. Tickets: $25 adult, $10 students