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Theo Kossenas / The Washington Ballet

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

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



Ford's Theater Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol – Nov. 18 – Dec. 31
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


Kansas City Ballet: The Nutcracker – Nov. 23-27
Welcome the holiday season as Kansas City Ballet’s seasonal tradition of The Nutcracker returns to the Kennedy Center. The annual presentation of America’s best Nutcrackers continues to captivate audiences with enchanting theatrics, holiday magic and classic storybook scenes.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


The Washington Ballet presents The Nutcracker – Nov. 25 – Dec. 30
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. 3
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. The holiday tradition has become a favorite in the District, so make sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. This year's concert features Hiromi, Bob Thompson and José André Montaño.
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 Holiday Show

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC Holiday Show – Dec. 3, 9 & 11
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 “Sleigh Ride”, “Underneath the Tree” and “The 12 Rockin' Days of Christmas”. Expect performances from the full Chorus, soloists, all GMCW ensembles and the GenOUT Youth Chorus.
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009


NSO Pops

NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! with Laura Benanti – Dec. 9 & 10
The sparkling holiday celebration hosted by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) returns with fresh takes on comforting classics and sing-along favorites in the festively decorated Concert Hall. This year, the NSO welcomes Tony Award®–winning actress and singer Laura Benanti, whose remarkable talents have inspired audiences across Broadway stages and television screens.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show – Dec. 9-18
DC’s Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, puts on a holiday extravaganza at the illustrious Arena Stage 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 Nutcracker are also on the docket.
Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024



The Joy of Christmas – Dec. 10-11
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

HOT 99.5's Jingle Ball presented by Capital One – Dec. 13
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 Sam Smith, Pitbull, Charlie Puth, Khalid and Tate McRae all set to perform, among others.
7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Handel’s Messiah

National Symphony Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah – Dec. 15-18
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 will be conducted by Baroque authority Fabio Biondi 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


An Irish Carol – Dec. 15-31
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 Washington Chorus presents A Candlelight Christmas – Dec. 17-18
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 75-minute holiday music experience will also offer thrilling special guests. A beloved and traditional candlelight processional also takes place at this annual event.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


The Hip Hop Nutcracker – Dec. 19-22
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


A Family Christmas – Dec. 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 at 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
11 a.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


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