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Theo Kossenas / The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Nutcracker - Holiday Performances in Washington, DC

15+ Holiday-Themed Theater Performances & Shows in Washington, DC

The seasonal vibes flow through these can’t-miss holiday-themed theatrical performances in the nation's capital.

As the winter holidays near, Christmas music plays, holiday displays and lights illuminate the District and, most importantly, you need ways to let your seasonal spirit flourish. The nation’s capital has plenty of options, so get that ugly sweater ready for a month’s worth of revelry at DC's theater and performing arts venues.

Your ultimate guide to wintertime in Washington, DC




Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical – Nov. 23 – Dec. 5
The incredible stage show of Dr. Seuss’ classic comes just in time for Christmas, with performances set to begin at the National Theatre on Nov. 23 (two days before Thanksgiving). One of the most revered holiday stories in American history comes to musical life. All the hit songs – “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “Welcome Christmas,” etc. – will be performed, as audiences are again dazzled by Dr. Seuss’ classic tale and the play’s awesome costumes and scenery.
The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

A Christmas Carol – Nov. 24 – Dec. 27
Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace assumes the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in a lavish Victorian-style musical production of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, the staging of which is a time-honored holiday tradition in the nation’s capital. Scrooge’s riveting journey alongside the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is a joy even if you’ve experienced it a hundred times before – especially in one of the world’s most historic theaters.
Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Miami City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker – Nov. 24-28
The Kennedy Center’s annual tradition of presenting an American Nutcracker continues with this set of performances from the Miami City Ballet. Audiences will be swept away to a winter wonderland inhabited by toy soldiers, snowflakes, flowers, the Sugarplum Fairy and a nutcracker who comes to life. Tchaikovsky’s incredible score and Balanchine’s choreography will be supported by more than 100 dancers, a live orchestra and new designs and projections.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Leslie Odom, Jr.: The Christmas Tour – Nov. 26-27
A star on Broadway, a star on television, a star on film and a star as a solo performer, Leslie Odom, Jr. is among the most versatile artists of this generation. He played Aaron Burr in a Tony Award-winning performance in Hamilton, acted as soul singer Sam Cooke in Regina King’s One Night in Miami and stole the show as a hustler named Harold in David Chase’s The Many Saints of Newark. Now, the uber talent brings this wondrous Christmas show to the illustrious Kennedy Center.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

The Nutcracker – Nov. 27 – Dec. 26
The Washington Ballet pulls out all the stops for this classic Christmas tale that features a special DC twist. The Russian ballet goes local thanks to a Nutcracker Prince in the likeness of George Washington and cherry blossom set designs. Set in historical 1882 Georgetown, you will be dazzled by an impressive roster of dancers and the beautiful Tchaikovsky score.
Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas – Dec. 4
Every year, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Kennedy Center join forces to bring outstanding jazz pianists together to perform their favorite Christmas classics for one night only. This holiday tradition has become a favorite in the District, so make sure to purchase your tickets well in advance.
7 p.m. & 9 p.m. | Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC Holiday Show – Dec. 4, 11 & 12
Tap-dancing elves, a moving Christmas tree, snow and unforgettable choral renditions of holiday classics will all be part of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC's annual holiday show. The festive program will include songs like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and “Boogie Woogie Frosty”. Expect performances from the full Chorus, soloists, all GMCW ensembles and the GenOUT Youth Chorus.
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009


Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show – Dec. 9-19
DC’s Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, puts on a holiday extravaganza at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in the H Street neighborhood this December. The family-friendly show will combine clapping, stomping and stepping for a dazzling array of percussive dance. Furry friends from the animal kingdom and a dance party hosted by DJ Frosty the Snowman are also on the docket.
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002


An Irish Carol – Dec. 10-31
The Irish have something to say about that “Carol” of yours, Mr. Dickens. The Keegan Theatre stages this acclaimed play that subs pub-owning David for Scrooge. He’s distanced himself from his family through his profitable bar, but a visitor from the past, along with present figures and the prospect of a sad future could turn David around. With searing wit, fast-paced dialogue and a classic Irish sensibility, Matthew Keenan’s play is perfect for holiday laughs – and intended for audiences 16 and older.
Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC 20036


The Joy of Christmas – Dec. 11-12
The Washington National Cathedral is a beautiful place to celebrate Christmas, as it becomes adorned with themed lights and elaborate decorations each year. The Joy of Christmas is the Cathedral’s marquee event, featuring renditions of Christmas classics and a carol sing-along.
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016


HOT 99.5's Jingle Ball presented by Capital One – Dec. 14
DC's favorite local radio station gets into the holiday spirit with this annual star-studded concert inside Capital One Arena. This year's lineup is truly incredible, with Meg Thee Stallion, The Jonas Brothers, Doja Cat, Saweetie and Black Eyed Peas all on the bill, among others. Please note that a negative COVID-19 test within the last 48 hours or proof of full vaccination will be required to enter the venue.
7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Cirque Dreams Holidaze – Dec. 16
The MGM National Harbor's Theater will welcome Cirque Dreams Holidaze to light up the stage this December. The popular and dazzling family holiday spectacular wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for parents and children alike.
The Theater at MGM National Harbor, 101 MGM National Avenue, National Harbor, MD 20745


John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Washington, DC

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

National Symphony Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah – Dec. 16-19
This holiday epic, which explores the story of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, is performed at the Kennedy Center each year. The National Symphony Orchestra will be joined by standout singers and, for the first time, will be conducted by music director Gianandrea Noseda at the beautifully decorated Concert Hall to tell Handel’s riveting tale through song.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


The Washington Chorus presents A Candlelight Christmas – Dec. 16-23
The Washington Chorus consists of more than 130 voices that work in tandem with brass, organ and percussion to create wonderful renditions of Christmas classics. The chorus will also be accompanied by the National Capital Brass and the audience will be asked to join in joyous sing-alongs. A beloved and traditional candlelight processional also takes place at this annual event.
Kennedy Center Tickets | Strathmore Tickets
Dec. 19, 21 & 22: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566
Dec. 16, 17 & 23: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852


The Hip Hop Nutcracker – Dec. 20-22
Yep, you read that right. This imaginative performance blends modern hip-hop choreography, an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist to re-create The Nutcracker in truly original fashion. Adults will be wowed by the contemporary take on Tchaikovsky’s score while the kids revel in the hip-hop musical performances. This year, special guest emcee Kurtis Blow, best known for “The Breaks,” opens the show with a rapping introduction. Digital scenery will color the background of this entertaining cultural mash-up that will be performed for three nights only at Strathmore's Music Center.
The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852


The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents Christmas Music – Dec. 20 & 24
The Choral Arts Chorus and Youth Choir come to Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall for the performance of classic holiday carols and seasonal favorites. The entire family is invited to enjoy this festive celebration of the winter holidays. In addition, make sure to check out The Choral Arts Society of Washington’s A Family Christmas on Dec. 10 and Dec. 24.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


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