Jungle Theater goes downstairs at Jane Austen’s Pemberley for ‘The Wickhams’

Nov. 28-Dec. 30: Last year’s Jane Austen-inspired holiday farce at Jungle Theater showed what happened upstairs during a chaotic Christmas at the palatial home of Fitzwilliam D’Arcy, the “Pride and Prejudice” hunk whom readers have swooned over for two centuries. This year’s brand-new companion piece takes place at the same time with many of the same characters — and actors, including James Rodriguez as D’Arcy and Kelsey Didion as hapless Lydia Bennet Wickham. But the action has shifted downstairs, presided over by housekeeper Mrs. Reynolds (Angela Timberman). While debates rage upstairs about love vs. money, she’s just trying to make sure the goose gets cooked. (7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sun. Nov. 28-Dec.30. 2951 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. $15-$55; 612-822-7063, jungletheater.com. )

CHRIS HEWITT

SPCO and the Singers present an ambitious interpretation of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Dec. 20-23: Handel’s choral masterpiece was not originally written for Christmas, but it has become a holiday staple nonetheless, with performances coming in many shapes and sizes. Baroque specialist Jeannette Sorrell leads the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s ambitious interpretation this year, bringing her considerable reputation as founder and conductor of Cleveland’s Apollo’s Fire early music ensemble. She teams up with the Twin Cities choral group the Singers for her SPCO “Messiah,” with soloists including countertenor Reginald Mobley and soprano Carine Tinney. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls.; 8 p.m. Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 23, Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $5-$50; 651-291-1144, thespco.org)

TERRY BLAIN

Ballet Co.Laboratory mashes up ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Dec. 14-16: Ballet Co.Laboratory — a new company made up of former St. Paul Ballet dancers — adds an extra dose of wonder to its version of “The Nutcracker.” Mixing “Alice in Wonderland” with Tchaikovsky’s classic score, “Nutcracker in Wonderland” populates a grown-up Clara’s adventures with characters from the Lewis Carroll novel, including Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts. Choreographer and artistic director Zoé Emilie Henrot leads the company’s first full-length production. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16, Huss Center for Performing Arts, St. Paul Academy, 1712 Randolph Av., St. Paul. $22-$35; balletcolaboratory.org)

SHEILA REGAN

Brian Wilson will perform ‘Christmas Album’ and other holiday gems

Nov. 28: Maybe Brian Wilson has an affinity for Minneapolis because his mother was from here. For the second time, the pop genius will kick off a new concept tour in the Twin Cities. In 2004, it was the world premiere of “Smile,” an unreleased 1967 Beach Boys album that he performed in concert. This time, he’s playing the Beach Boys’ 1964 “Christmas Album” in its entirety (including “Little St. Nick”) plus a few selections from his 2005 solo seasonal album, “What I Really Want for Christmas,” which featured new collaborations with Jimmy Webb and Bernie Taupin. For the monthlong holiday tour, Wilson will be joined by original Beach Boy Al Jardine and the group’s early ’70s guitarist Blondie Chaplin, among others. (8 p.m. Nov. 28, Orpheum Theatre, Mpls., $63-$499, ticketmaster.com)

JON BREAM

Get your Southern-fried rock with J.D. McPherson and the Rev. Horton Heat

Nov. 28-29: From opposite sides of the Red River, Oklahoma’s hard-swinging vintage rocker McPherson of “North Side Gal” notoriety and Dallas’ punkabilly vet the Rev. Horton Heat are coincidentally playing Southern-baked holiday shows on back-to-back nights at the Minneapolis club they’ve both frequented. The Reverend’s holiday trek features an impressive roster of vintage pickers including the Dave Alvin-less Blasters, Texas country guitar wiz/weirdo Junior Brown and Big Sandy. McPherson’s Socks: A Rock ’n’ Roll Christmas Tour date coincides with the release of his first Christmas album, “Socks,” a rawer answer to Brian Setzer’s great holiday releases with playful tracks including “Ugly Sweater Blues” and “Hey Skinny Santa.” (Horton Hayride: Nov. 28, $25; McPherson: Nov. 29, $22-$25. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls. first-avenue.com.)

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Bring your kids to meet Santa at the Minnesota Transportation Museum

Dec. 1-16: Before Santa begins his long night of delivering toys to the children of the world, he’ll make a stop at the Minnesota Transportation Museum. Children can give him their wish list and pose for a photo along with Mrs. Claus. Get a history lesson on the locomotive industry and take a tour of the blacksmith and restoration shop. Train rides will occur throughout the day as well as food, music and other activities. (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 1-16. $5-$12. Jackson Street Roundhouse and Museum, 193 E. Pennsylvania Av., St. Paul. transportationmuseum.org.)

MELISSA WALKER

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