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. Take in Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre’s sixth annual performance of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) at the Diana Wortham Theatre. 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. 7-9) at the Diana Wortham Theatre. The Ballet Conservatory of Asheville delivers its version of the show at the Diana Wortham the week after (Dec. 13-15).
And, as part of its international tour, the Moscow Ballet dances into Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (Dec. 16). This classic interpretation of the Great Russian Nutcracker features performers from top Russian ballet schools.
Celebrate the joy of the season with a professional, Broadway-style production featuring the finest performers from Asheville and Western North Carolina. The Asheville Christmas Show (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) features holiday favorites.
The Asheville Community Theatre brings the spirit of the holidays in the mountains to life with Snowbound (Nov. 30-Dec. 16), described 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.
Meanwhile, Asheville Community Theatre's 35below stage hosts The Santaland Diaries (Dec. 12-16). 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.
A one-woman-show, The Twelve Dates of Christmas (Dec. 12-30), can be seen at the North Carolina Stage Company. After seeing her fiance on TV kissing another woman at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mary's life falls apart -- just in time for the holidays. Over the next year, she stumbles back into the dating world, where "romance" ranges from weird and creepy to absurd and comical.
The North Carolina Stage Company also presents Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's a Wonderful Life (Nov. 28-Dec. 16). 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.
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 through the mysterious side of favorite holiday tunes during a one-night only show (Dec. 11) with Flat Rock Playhouse's favorite, Nat Zegree.
At the Flat Rock Playhouse in downtown Hendersonville, see Junie B. in Jingle Bells Batman Smells (Dec. 6-16). Junie B. Jones, First Grader, is super-excited about the upcoming Holiday Sing-ALong and Secret Santa Gift exchange at her school. Too bad tattletale May keeps ruining all of Junie B.’s fun. So when Junie B. draws May’s name for Secret Santa, she comes up with the perfect plan to teach her nemesis a lesson! But will the Christmas spirit of peace and goodwill interfere before she can give you-know-who what she deserves?
The Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in the community of Weaverville partners with the American Myth Center to present Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Zebulon Vance smack dab in the middle. Visitors will go on an "extraordinary and illuminating" journey through the historic site.
In the community of Mars Hill, the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) will perform Sanders Family Christmas. This comedy features southern gospel and bluegrass tunes.
The Montford Moppets, the youth theatre division of the Montford Park Players, act out an original adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (Dec. 14, 15, 21-23) at Land of the Sky UCC (15 Overbrook Pl.). Performances are free but advance reservations are highly recommended.
Meanwhile, for a performance geared solely for the adults, take in the raucous 25th Annual Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular (Nov. 29-Dec. 15) at the Magnetic Theatre. This R-rated comedy holiday sketch delights audiences with new material each year and is notorious for sell-out performances.
This year marks the 30th Annual Warren Haynes Asheville Christmas Jam (Dec. 7-8)! Tickets are still available for the Friday night show featuring Dark Side of the Mule, Grace Potter, Jamey Johnson, Marco Benevento and Mike Gordon. Saturday's show featuring Dave Grohl, Eric Church, Gov't Mule, Jim James and Joe Bonamassa is sold out.
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 (Dec.16). They'll be joined by Grammy-winning special guest David Holt, along with Phil Jamison, Ellie Grace, E.J. Jones and his band, and host Doug Orr. There are two performances: 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Orange Peel offers up holiday shows aimed at supporting local non-profit organizations. First up is the 7th Annual Home for the Holidays Fundraiser (Nov. 30). The show features live local music by Lyric and Swing Step, along with pictures with Santa, kid's games and a silent auction. The 17th Annual Make-A-Wish Christmas Party Benefit Concert (Dec. 1) features Chappell with Artimus Pyle, Mojo Collins, Heather Gillis Band, The Log Noggins with Andrew Reed, Up Dog and Sunday Social Club. And, the annual Hometown Holiday Jam (Dec. 16) benefits Mission Children’s Hospital and Manna Food Bank. The concert features favorite Asheville musicians including Lyric and Joe Lasher.
At The Grey Eagle, the lineup includes Reverend Horton Heat's Holiday Hayride with Junior Brown, The Blasters and Big Sandy.
Isis Restaurant Music Hall showcases the holidays with the help of Jacob's Johnson's Almost Acoustic Christmas (Dec. 12). Johnson will play his quirky and inventive renditions of Christmas classics, as well as a few you may have forgotten about! Later in the month, experience the magic and joy of the season with the Reel Sisters as they present their Celtic Christmas Concert. The stage is set for holiday fun with beautiful harp, Scottish smallpipes, whistle and song.
For classic sounds and style, see Tim Shelton's Very Vintage Christmas (Dec. 6) at Asheville Community Theatre.
And, Crest Mountain hosts a Christmas dinner show: Fiddles N' Vittles featuring the Good Ol' Mountain Dewds and the J Creek Cloggers.
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.