Opening: Here is a chance to see actors you might normally see at the Guthrie, up close and personal. Dark & Stormy Productions gives the regional premiere to this show about co-workers in an office that receives a visitor from corporate HQ. The high jinks go from there. Sally Wingert stars, alongside Bill McCallum ("Clybourne Park" at the Guthrie), Sara Marsh and Harry Waters Jr. Benjamin McGovern directs the show, to be staged in an office inside the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Mon., Thu., ends Jan. 4, Suite 500, 250 3rd Av. N., Mpls., $15-$25, 612-724-5685 or

Graydon Royce



Opening: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre revives a version of this song cycle about this quietly mysterious time of year. Sandy Spieler, Esther Ouray and Laurie Witz­kowski head a creative team that has brought a new vantage point to exploring the "emotional journey through night." (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 22; Heart of the Beast, 1500 E. Lake St., Mpls.; $20, 612-721-2535 or


Friday-Sunday: For more than 10 years Twin Cities Ballet has marked the holiday season with its own rendition of "The Nutcracker." Choreographed by Denise Vogt and performed by over 120 professional, apprentice, community and student dancers, this production is focused on the youngsters who propel the familiar story about the magic and mystery of growing up. This is a solid "Nutcracker" choice for south metro audiences. (7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7 p.m. Sat., 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sun., Burnsville Performing Arts Center, 12600 Nicollet Av. S., Burnsville. $16-$32. 1-800-982-2787 or



Saturday-Sunday: St. Paul City Ballet breaks Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" into bite-sized pieces, with a focus on the dances from the fantasyland featured in the second act. "Clara's Dream" delivers the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of Flowers (plus more) in an evening directed by Zoé Henrot. This hourlong show is a great introduction to the young ballet lovers among us who may be more interested in tutus than tendus. Saturday's performance will be in Chanhassen and Sunday's in St. Paul. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Chanhassen High School, 2200 Lyman Blvd., Chanhassen, $20; 1 & 6 p.m. Sun., Macalester College Theater, 1600 Grand Av., St. Paul, $15-$20, 651-690-1588 or