Must-see holiday shows in Buffalo

Three productions that will spread holiday cheer this season

By FELICIA HUNT
On November 19, 2013

  • Neglia Ballet's production of Christmas classic The Nutcracker has been performed at Shea's Performing Arts Center every year since 2009. Courtesy of Gene Witkowski

The Queen City takes pride in its theatre and music scene with venues that host well-known, established national acts. From Shea's to First Niagara Center, there are productions and shows for every type of holiday event-goer. Spread some holiday cheer with friends and attend one or more of these musicals, ballets or concerts this season.

For the ballet enthusiast

The Nutcracker

When: Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.

Where: Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y.

Ticket Price: $40.25-$83.25

In 2009, Neglia Ballet collaborated with Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Shea's for a new production of The Nutcracker. They performed for 7,668 people - the largest audience the Neglia Ballet has ever had.

Since then, the company has continued to put on the show every year, and it remains the only ballet company in the area to have a live orchestra accompany its production.

The timeless Russian ballet takes the audience into a land of sweets and a dreamlike atmosphere. UB students have had the chance to help make the magic come alive.

Lynne Koscielniak, the theater design program chair at UB and set designer of the production, enlisted her students to create the lane of sweets, and Chris Van Patten, a 2012 UB alum with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in theater design and technology, signed up.

"I was very interested in scenic design and Lynne needed the help," Van Patten said. "I had the opportunity to construct set pieces with my peers outside the boundaries of school."

The ballet will be at Shea's the weekend after Thanksgiving, so if you come back to Buffalo early, head down to Main Street to check out The Nutcracker.

For the kid at heart

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

When: Tuesday, Dec. 17 to Sun. Dec. 22; various show times listed on Shea's website

Where: Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y.

Ticket Price: $38.25-$76.25

Dr. Seuss captured young children's hearts with his book How The Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. Since then, the story has become a holiday classic as two films and a musical adaptation.

Now, the Broadway hit will make its debut in Buffalo for the holiday season.

The Big League Productions, from New York City, will perform the show at Shea's as part of the M&T Bank Broadway Series during December.

The musical features songs from the original animated series such as "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas," while Max the Dog narrates The Grinch's evil doings.

The Grinch, who has a heart that is "two sizes too small," wants to steal Christmas away from the loving and Christmas-obsessed people of Whoville. Through his evil plans, he learns the true meaning of Christmas and his heart grows "three sizes that day."

Whether you're a freshman or a senior, growing up with Dr. Seuss was almost mandatory. If you live in Buffalo, take your younger relatives or a group of friends to reminisce on past Christmas memories.

For the progressive metalhead (with a love for Christmas music)

Trans Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour 2013: The Lost Christmas Eve

When: Monday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Where: First Niagara Center, 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza, Buffalo, N.Y.

Ticket Price: $30-$68

Head-bangers and air guitarists rejoice.

The progressive metal Christmas group Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is returning to Buffalo with its last performance of The Lost Christmas Eve, the third installment of its trilogy.

This year marks TSO's 15th year performing, so more lights and pyrotechnics than ever will accompany the rock opera, according to the group's website.

Composer, lyricist and producer Paul O'Neill founded the band in 1993. Since then, the group has grown in size with five successful albums - it has also become the first major rock band to never play as an opening act, according to Lumino Magazine.

What's more impressive is that TSO has sold more than 10 million concert tickets since they began touring in 1999. 

Though the show is after Christmas, TSO's legendary status will surely bring in a large crowd, and tickets to the show can double as the perfect gift for the music fanatic in your life.

 

email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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