20 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 20 performances are your ticket to a holiday filled with song, laughter, and the Asheville area’s top-notch talent in theater, dance, and music.
Dancers help kick off the holiday season with performances of The Nutcracker. As part of its international tour, the Moscow Ballet dances into Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center. The show features performers from top Russian ballet schools.
For a very different take on Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, take in Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre’s fifth annual performance of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at the Diana Wortham Theatre. Expect the unexpected in this interpretation that they say “couldn’t be farther” from the original.
Fans of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the characters of A Christmas Carol have two options in the Asheville area. On its Main Stage, the cast of the Flat Rock Playhouse performs an adventurous adaptation by Richard Hellesen that takes the famous story and infuses it with laughter, love, and an original score by David De Berry.
At the Asheville Masonic Temple, the Montford Park Players act out their own take on this holiday institution. For a unique experience before the performances on Saturdays and Sundays, they offer a “Day with Dickens” on Saturday and Sundays when you can enjoy free hot cider, chocolate, and coffee with the cast and crew.
The Asheville Community Theatre brings the spirit of the holidays in the mountains to life with Snowbound, which is billed as a “mountain play with mountain music.” On Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small-town train depot, snowy weather causes travel delays which help strangers become friends. This heartwarming show features original bluegrass music played live onstage by members of Buncombe Turnpike and Sons of Ralph.
In a more poignant performance, the actors of North Carolina Stage Company relive the moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holidays together during World War I. The dramatic presentation of All is Calm, features traditional patriotic and holiday songs from both sides of the Western Front.
Mist and candlelight transform the Flat Rock Playhouse’s downtown Hendersonville stage for A Celtic Christmas. Traditional carols receive the Celtic treatment in a family-friendly, one-of-a-kind Christmas show.
Meanwhile, for a performance geared solely for the adults, take in the raucous 45th Annual Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular at the Magnetic Theatre. This R-rated comedy holiday sketch delights audiences with new material each year and is notorious for sell-out performances.
While the Asheville Christmas Jam is sold out, tickets are still available for the Christmas Jam By Day. Spread across two days at Asheville Music Hall, The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall, and Jack of the Wood, the Christmas Jam By Day event brings together a wide variety of performers and special guests.
Internationally-renowned recording artists and multi-instrumentalists Al Petteway, Amy White, and Robin Bullock join together at the Diana Wortham Theatre for A Swannanoa Solstice.
In another collaborative effort, The Asheville Symphony Orchestra presents Goodness and Light with the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Asheville Youth Choir. Proceeds from the concert benefit the educational programs of the Orchestra and the Academy for the Arts.
The Orange Peel offers up two holiday shows aimed at supporting local children’s organizations. The annual Hometown Holiday Jam benefits Mission Children’s Hospital and Manna Food Bank. Meghan Woods, Calavera, Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats and Joe Lasher Jr. highlight a star-studded line up. The 15th Annual Make-A-Wish Christmas Party Benefit Concert features a lineup of rock to blues music.
At Grey Eagle, proceeds from the 5th Annual Holiday Hang Benefit with Town Mountain and the Honeycutters go toward Manna Food Bank. The holiday schedule is also highlighted by the Christmas tour of the Secret Sisters, a country/rock duo now working on a record produced by Brandi Carlisle.
And, at Isis Music Hall, the spirit of An Appalachian Christmas comes alive with violin/fiddle legend Mark O'Connor and the O'Connor Band as they release a new album. With a different influence, longtime favorite Robin Bullock joins Steve Baughman to celebrate the season with a Celtic Guitar Christmas. Later in the month, Isis will also host Jamie Laval's Scottish Solstice Holiday Celebration. And, Peggy Ratusz and some of the area’s finest instrumentalists and vocalists in the area come together for Everybody is a Star. Other shows feature the music of the holidays played by a 5-piece band, acoustic guitarists, and jazz musicians.
View our event calendar for a full list of upcoming shows and performances.
Top photo and A Christmas Carol photo courtesy of Flat Rock Playhouse. Photo of the O'Connor Band provided by Isis Music Hall.