30 Holiday Performances to See in Asheville, N.C.
By Jason Tarr
Feel the holiday spirit rise with the curtain onstage in Asheville, N.C. These 30+ performances are your ticket to a holiday filled with song, laughter, and the Asheville area’s top-notch talent in theater, dance, and music.
*Dates listed below are for year 2019.
Dancers help kick off the holiday season with performances of The Nutcracker. Take in Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre’s ninth annual performance of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Dec. 6-7) at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Expect the unexpected in this interpretation that they say, “couldn’t be farther” from the original.
The Asheville Ballet puts on The Nutcracker the following week (Dec. 13-15) at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. The Ballet Conservatory of Asheville delivers its version of the show at the Wortham Center the week after (Dec. 19-21).
And, as part of its international tour, the Moscow Ballet dances into Asheville’s US Cellular Center (Dec. 1). This classic interpretation of the Great Russian Nutcracker features performers from top Russian ballet schools.
The Asheville Community Theatre brings the spirit of the holidays in the mountains to life with Miracle on 34th Street (Dec. 5-Dec. 20), a timeless story and faithful adaptation of the classic 1947 film.
Meanwhile, Asheville Community Theatre's 35below stage hosts The Santaland Diaries (Dec. 11-15). When an out of work slacker takes a job as an elf in Macy's Santaland, his hilarious observations of the shoppers and employees are much more naughty than nice. This is a one-man-act now in its 18th year!
Poet James Navé takes the stage at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts Theatre to present the classic story "A Child's Christmas in Wales," by Dylan Thomas. Navé transports us to another time and another place where the season was packed with delights for all our senses, when children believed and villagers created a special time in that special place. As a gift to the community, Navé has been presenting the rich language of Thomas’s evocative holiday classic poem since 1988.
At the North Carolina Stage Company, actors will perform Handle with Care (Dec. 4-Dec. 22), a bilingual romantic comedy. Circumstances both hiliarious and tragic bring together a young Israeli woman, who has little command of English, and a young American man, who has little command of romance.
A group of four actors, original organ music and live sound effects breathe new life into the beloved story of It's a Wonderful Life at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall. Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's a Wonderful Life (Nov. 29). This fresh adaptation of the classic film is set in the fictional studio of WVL Radio Theatre, which is struggling to stay on the air one snowy winter's night. The professional voice actors are unable to get to the studio, but the show must go on—and so a small but intrepid band of employees manages to create the story’s dozens of characters and scenes using just their voices and some everyday household items for sound effects.
At the Colonial Theatrer in nearby community of Canton, the share the joy and magic of the Christmas season with your friends and family at the Carolina Christmas Show (Dec. 6-7), a dazzling production of live music, dance and comedy! This heartwarming Broadway-style show features the finest performers from Western NC & special guest artists presenting sacred and secular Christmas favorites, including Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, O Holy Night, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and Go Tell it On the Mountain.
The State Theatre of North Carolina, the Flat Rock Playhouse, delivers the tradition of A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas (Nov. 29-Dec. 22). The show features favorite holiday songs by an all-star cast from all over the United States. Go on a musical journey celebrating the best holiday music from around the world for Feliz Nat-vidad (Dec. 9-10) with Flat Rock Playhouse's favorite, Nat Zegree.
In the community of Mars Hill, the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) will perform Miracle in Bedford Falls (Dec. 5-Dec. 22), a musical based on It's a Wonderful Life.
The Montford Moppets, the youth theatre division of the Montford Park Players, act out an original adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (2019 dates to be announced). Performances are free but advance reservations are highly recommended.
Meanwhile, for a performance geared solely for the adults, take in the raucous 10th Annual Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular (Dec. 5-Dec. 21) at the Magnetic Theatre. This R-rated comedy holiday sketch delights audiences with new material each year and is notorious for sell-out performances.
Internationally-renowned recording artists and multi-instrumentalists Al Petteway, Amy White, Robin Bullock, David Holt and other special guests join together at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts for A Swannanoa Solstice (Dec. 22). There are two performances: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
At the Orange Peel, the 8th Annual Home for the Holidays Fundraiser (Dec. 20) supports local non-profits that work with people who are homeless. The show features live local music by Lyric and Swing Step, along with pictures with Santa, kid's games and a silent auction.
Isis Restaurant and Music Hall celebrates the holidays throughout the season with a full lineup of performances. Holiday highlights include the Holiday Swing with Queen Bee and the Honeylovers (Dec. 8), a jazz group performing your favorite classic tunes with a sprinkling of original compositions. AmiciMusic presents a special Four-Hand Holiday program (Dec. 14) featuring two pianists performing holiday favorites together on a single piano. Hear The Reel Sisters playing harps, popes, whistle and song during A Celtic Celebration with the Reel Sisters (Dec. 15). On the same day, Christmas Time with Bob Sinclair and The Big Deals (Dec. 15) provides music from an acoustic string band. If you grew up with those Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams & Perry Como Christmas shows like Russ did then you'll likely enjoy Russ Wilson Presents "Have Yourself a Swingin' Little Christmas" (Dec. 22). Or, enjoy jazz standards, folk carols, winter ballads and tropic tunes at Amanda Horton's third annual Warm December Jazz with Amanda Horton and Daniel Keller.
At The Grey Eagle, the lineup includes "Feelin' Groovy with Peggy, Hank and Paula: Holiday Harmony & Acoustic 60s Pop" (Dec. 22).
As part of the Winter Wonderland celebration at the historic Grove Arcade building in downtown Asheville, there will be live music on select dates. Performances include the Mars Hill Brass Quintet (Dec. 7) and musician/songwriter Aaron Price (Dec. 14).
Join in a sing along to some of the world's most classic carols (Dec. 8) at a free event at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. A little later in the season, Black Mountain Center for the Arts hosts the Mountain Folk Harpers (Dec. 22) as they present their Christmas Ensemble.
Take a musical trip around the world with the help of the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (Dec. 14).
At Lake Junaluska (about 30minutes from Asheville), the Lake Junaluska Singers host a Christmas Concert (Dec. 14). The 16-piece, award-winning ensemble has national and international performances to its name. A week later, a group of regional choristers, orchestra and the Lake Junaluska singers will sing selections from Handel's "Messiah" (Dec. 13).
Celebrate the season with a classic parade in the Asheville area!
The Asheville Holiday Parade (Nov. 23) features floats, bands, dancers and musicians. The Parade travels through downtown Asheville.
View our event calendar for a full list of upcoming shows and performances.
Explore our live music calendar for a full list of upcoming shows.
Top photo and A Christmas Carol photo courtesy of Flat Rock Playhouse. Photo of the O'Connor Band provided by Isis Music Hall.