Out & About

Here are some things to do in Middle Georgia this December

School children from around Middle Georgia watch the Dance of the Snowflakes during a special performance by the company of the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia at the Grand Opera House in Macon in 2012.
School children from around Middle Georgia watch the Dance of the Snowflakes during a special performance by the company of the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia at the Grand Opera House in Macon in 2012.

Ol’ Santa won’t be flying into town for a couple more weeks, but when it comes to holiday entertainment, a sleigh-load of goodies has already arrived. This weekend alone will bring us a blizzard of fabulous events for every taste.

My annual favorite, the Mercer Singers’ “Lessons and Carols” was Dec. 1 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, but some of the same talent —teamed with the Choral Society of Middle Georgia — will be presenting Handel’s “Messiah” in that very same venue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. While most people are familiar with the famed “Hallelujah Chorus,” these two performances provide the opportunity to hear highlights from the entire piece. In an entirely different genre, the Jazz Association of Macon will host its holiday concert on Saturday night — a great reason to become a member.

The Douglass Theatre will show the Metropolitan Opera’s holiday production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” on Saturday. Donald Runnicles conducts in this HD broadcast. On the following day, also at the Douglass, the Macon Film Guild will present three screenings of “Loving Vincent,” not just about van Gogh but also the world’s first fully-painted feature film.

In a lighter vein, this weekend is also chock full of theater. “Beauty and the Beast” is in the midst of a run (through through Dec. 17) at Theatre Macon, while Macon Little Theatre’s “Annie” opens Friday. In Forsyth, the Backlot Players presents “Sounds of the Season,” which is billed as featuring “Monroe County’s finest talent.”

Over in Milledgeville, the Milledgeville Players will team up with the fine arts program at Georgia Military College for what should be an entertaining look at the way radio was before the advent of recording technology. “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Love Radio Play” opens Friday for three performances.

Houston County residents won’t need to drive to Macon to see a holiday production of “Annie.” Running through Dec. 17 is the Perry Players production of that hit musical.

After Dec. 17, the midstate’s offerings of both music and theater slow down drastically. Fortunately, Macon’s Grand Opera House, recently refurbished and not finished yet, has scheduled a pair of appealing music events. “A Carpenters Christmas” arrives on Dec. 20 and features Lisa Rock. Just two days later, John Berry will return to the Grand for his nineteenth year of presenting a Christmas concert.

Contractor Michael Cash says his crew installing new seating at the Grand Opera House will finish in time for Oct. 13th event--and the audience will be comfortable.

Road trip

If you’re one of those traditionalists who simply must see Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” I’m afraid you’ll have to make the 70-mile drive. The Alliance Theatre is staging this iconic work at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. A bit closer to the midstate is the Atlanta Shakespeare Company production on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

At either location, Dickens’ message is the same. Mankind’s misdeeds create a chain to be dragged through life. The good news, however, is that the future is ours to change.

If that’s too solemn for you, David Sedaris’ iconoclastic “Santaland Diaries” is at the Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points.

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.

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