Dance performances

The holidays give rise to performances of theatre, music and dance

Act I: Williamston reopens with a perennial holiday favorite

When it comes to the holidays, there are stories that people return to again and again, seeking to recapture that heartwarming feeling that accompanies every story.

The Williamston Theater kicks off its first season back from the pandemic with one of its favorites: the one-person version of George Bailey’s classic story, “This Wonderful Life.” The Williamston Theater’s John Lepard plays the unlucky Bailey, reprising his award-winning role in the play.

Or, more specifically, roles, because he’s not just playing George Bailey, but everyone in Bedford Falls. It reenacts everyone from Clarence Odbody to Mary Hatch to Mr. Potter.

For those unfamiliar with the tale – or who may have confused it with other holiday classics – “It’s a Wonderful Life” begins with George on a bridge about to kill himself. He is stopped by an angel, Clarence Odbody, who takes him back to his life, first showing events as they were, then as they would have been had he never been born.

The show’s team is bringing back many people who worked on the pandemic-shuttered Williamston show, “These Mortal Hosts,” including Tony Caselli as director, Bartley H. Bauer as set designer , Dennis D. Miller as lighting designer. , Michelle Raymond as props designer and Stefanie Din as stage manager. It also features sound design by Quintessa Galinatt.

Williamston opened the show last weekend and it will run until December 19. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for all members of the public.

Act II: Choirs present Christmas concerts

Both the Delta Community Choir and Sistrum present their first full choir performances since 2019.

The Grand Ledge High School Auditorium will host Delta Community Choir’s “Seasons of Love: A Winter Concert” at 4 p.m. on December 5. Conducted by Ellen McKenzie and accompanied by Christine English, the concert will feature the full choir, small ensemble performances and a presentation from Canines for Change, a local organization that trains service dogs.

With a theme taken from the musical “Rent,” the song selections were chosen to reflect the many shows of love shown during the pandemic. In honor of the season, there will be a few songs with a holiday twist, including a humorous look at the 12 days after Christmas and the choir’s traditional holiday closing number, “Night of Silence/Silent Night”. .

“With this concert, we have attempted to cling to the music and lyrics of shared human thoughts, needs and feelings over the month of December – thoughts on grief and loss, needs and wishes, the hope and thanksgiving, joy and laughter, and more. everything…love,” McKenzie said.

There will also be songs performed in memory of loved ones who have passed away over the past year and a half.

The concert is free, but donations are accepted to benefit Canines for Change. Masks are mandatory regardless of vaccination status.

Sistrum presents its first full concert since December 2019. As they sing together, the concert itself is featured on YouTube. It premiered last Wednesday and will continue to be available on Sistrum’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/channel/UCTN6E2brIcth8YNDNj9Ejgw.

The theme is “Rising from the Ashes,” which symbolizes the challenges the choir overcame during the pandemic and the individual human resilience to overcome everything with compassion and understanding.

Act III: Wharton Center resonates with the holiday spirit

The doors of the Wharton Center are open again and December is filled with music and holiday events.

A longtime favorite opens the month—Mannheim Steamroller. The group recorded their first album in 1975 and their first Christmas album in 1984. With the exception of 2020, they have been touring with their Christmas concerts for 35 years and make a reappearance at the Wharton Center on December 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Each holiday season, two separate troupes visit 90 cities.

From December 2-5, the freshman class of the Michigan State University Theater Department will hold its 15and annual Freshman Showcase, this year entitled “Together, we will improvise”. They will take the audience’s suggestions into performing a spontaneous and collaborative performance.

MSU College of Music Presents “Songs of Comfort and Joy” at 8 p.m. on December 4, the festive return of choral singing.

The MSU Choral Union, University Choir, State Singers, and MSU Symphony Orchestra will perform a selection of music, including favorites from Handel’s “Messiah,” Mendelssohn’s “Eliljah,” and other pieces.

December 5, Leslie Odom Jr. will arrive for a one-night show. The Tony Award-winning actor who portrayed Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” he’s a singer, songwriter, author, and actor. He has received Tony, Grammy, Emmy and Oscar nominations and awards.

He recently starred in “One Night in Miami”, where he performed the songs of Sam Cooke. He currently plays the character of Owen Tillerman in the musical comedy series “Central Park” and stars in David Chase’s “The Many Saints of Newark”.

Bis!

The Children’s Ballet Theater will perform its annual Nutcracker at Grand Ledge High School at 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at http://cbtdance.org/.