Out & About

Nutcrackers, fairy Godmothers, and "Monsters" on Ice.




December

Snow queens, fairy godmothers, and lovable monsters  By Polly Sparling

 

En pointe

Local productions of The Nutcracker are as numerous as candy canes at this time of year. But the Orange County Ballet Theatre’s full-length performances of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet spring from impressive professional roots. Darlene Wilson, an accomplished Broadway dancer whose credits range from Cats to Spamalot, is the new artistic director of the troupe. Besides her Great White Way credentials, the New Windsor native is a choreographer and has taught dance at NYU. Catch the company’s production of The Nutcracker at Monroe-Woodbury High School. Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. $12.50-$15, reservations required. 155 Dunderberg Rd., Central Valley. 845-562-6750.

 

Prime panto

The Valley’s newest professional theater group gets in on the holiday merriment this month. Poughkeepsie’s Half Moon Theatre stages Cinderella — but their panto version may surprise you. Described as an amalgam of an American musical and a traditional British pantomime, the show mixes music, fantasy, vaudeville, crazy humor — and cross-dressing. With homegrown music and lyrics written in rhyming verse, this is a holiday show “that all generations can enjoy,” says Margo Whitcomb, one of Half Moon’s founding members. Dec. 14-24. Call for exact schedule and ticket information. The James Earl Jones Theater at Poughkeepsie Day School. 260 Boardman Rd., Poughkeepsie. 845-235-9885 or www.halfmoontheatre.org

 

He did sleep here (really)

Washington’s Headquarters is among the many historic sites offering special events in December. Visit the Hasbrouck House — Washington’s home during 1782-3 — for a candlelight tour of the fragrantly decorated interior, with live musicians, hot cider, and sweets (Dec. 10, 3-9 p.m.). The site is open daily for tours given by costumed interpreters during Winter Welcome Week (Dec. 26-31, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). On the 29th, you can join the “night watchman” on his rounds through the house, and learn the stories behind some of the museum’s most interesting artifacts (6-8 p.m.). Call for fees. 84 Liberty St., Newburgh. 845-562-1195.

 

Scary stuff

If keeping the kiddies amused is a to-do list priority, head to the city of Monstropolis (a.k.a. Albany) for Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., this year’s offering from Disney On Ice. The show follows one-eyed Mike, his furry friend Sully, and little Boo (don’t worry, your kids know who they are) on a hilarious adventure in the Monster’s factory. The production features an international troupe of figure skaters, fast-paced music, and the state-of-the-art special effects that these two companies are known for. Family fun for all. Dec. 13-17, call for times. $12-$19. Pepsi Arena, Albany. 1-800-30-EVENT or www.disneyonice.com

 

Reality check

With all the rush and bustle of the holidays, it’s all too easy to forget the real reasons why we celebrate Christmas. Find the true spirit of the season at A Service of Lessons and Carols at the Vassar College Chapel. The school’s College Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Madrigal Singers — along with the Cappella Festival Chamber Choir and Children’s Chorus — perform traditional carols and hymns from various countries and time periods. The combination of beautiful music, meaningful readings, and candlelit chapel setting should help you regain your holiday perspective. Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. 845-437-7294 or music.vassar.edu/concerts.html

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