From jazz to theater to ballet to family fun, these nine shows offer something for everyone.

Holidays at the Dakota

There's an especially savory and eclectic holiday menu on tap at downtown Minneapolis' jazzy supper club this year, starting with playful Texas jazz vocalist Kat Edmonson's date behind her new "Holiday Swingin' " album (Dec. 4). Innovative New York-via-Minneapolis jazz/R&B singer José James returns for a two-night stand (Dec. 9-10). Vaudevillian NYC piano/vocal group the Hot Sardines host their Holiday Stomp (Dec. 12, two sets). Veteran Kansas City-based Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter and "Prairie Home Companion" regular Kelley Hunt promotes her "Winter Soulstice" record (Dec. 16). Then Dakota regulars Bruce Henry (Dec. 17), the Peterson Family (Dec. 18-19) and the JazzMN Orchestra (Dec. 20) take us home. (Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $30-$45,


Big Band Holidays

After helping the Minnesota Orchestra launch its season in September, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns, this time without its leader, Wynton Marsalis. But this concert full of swinging songs of the season features a singer who helps make this a destination concert. Dianne Reeves is a jazz legend and a five-time Grammy winner who stands as one of the masterful interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Alas, emerging jazz vocalist Samara Joy won't be coming, as originally planned, but that might mean more from Reeves. (7:30 p.m. Nov. 30; Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.; $52-$100; 612-371-5656 or


'The Snow Queen'

In December 2020, Ballet Co.Laboratory premiered its production of "The Snow Queen" virtually, filming its production at the Cowles Center and releasing the performance online as a video recording. This year, the company reboots the project for an in-person audience. Set to music by queer British composer Dame Ethel Mary Smyth, a contemporary of Tchaikovsky, the adaptation takes a nuanced approach to the characters first created by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. (7 p.m. Dec. 2, 2 & 7 p.m. Dec. 3, 2 p.m. Dec. 4, The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $38, $28 youth, 612-206-3600,


The Northern Express

Traveling to the North Pole might be a challenge, but a magical alternative is this winter festival. Embracing the holiday spirit, families can participate in themed activities, stroll through the tree forest and meet llamas and reindeer. Take a look inside Santa's Workshop, the Claus kitchen, elf academy and more. Shoppers can support local businesses in the holiday gift market and enjoy sweet and savory treats. The final weekend culminates in a festival of lights. (10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, Dec. 17; noon-5:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 9, 11, 16 & 18; $15-$20. Camp Fire, 3300 Tanadoona Drive, Excelsior.


'Striking 12'

The Little Match Girl becomes the little musical girl in Minneapolis Musical Theatre's adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tragic classic. It's New Year's Eve and a grumpy New Yorker is primed for some attitude adjustment courtesy of a woman who's peddling light bulbs in the musical from the creators of "The 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." (7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m., Dec. 2-18 plus 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Gremlin Theatre, 500 Vandalia St., St. Paul, $20-$40,


The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys aren't just about the good vibrations of an endless summer. They also do holiday music, though they might be wearing Hawaiian shirts. In their heyday, the Beach Boys had seasonal success with "Little Saint Nick," which was spotlighted on 1964's cool-to-be-yule "The Beach Boys' Christmas Album." The project featured other originals, including "The Man With All the Toys" and "Santa's Beard." Beach Boys singer Mike Love added to the holiday repertoire with 2018's solo album "Reason for the Season." For this year's 'Tis the Season Tour, expect Love and cohorts to mix in some Christmas chestnuts with their perennial gifts of surf, sun and car classics. (7 p.m. Dec. 16, Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Red Wing, $59 and up,


'Christmas at the Local' premiere

A cast that both sings and plays instruments is set to deliver "Christmas at the Local," a heartwarming new holiday show featuring the poems of Dylan Thomas and Maya Angelou. Thomas' classic "A Child's Christmas in Wales" has been set to music by Welsh singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews and composer Mason Neely. Composer Chastity Brown does the honors for Angelou's "The Longing for Amazing Peace." Directors Larissa Kokernot and Peter Rothstein stage "Local" for Theater Latté Da, which developed the show in its new works series. (Nov. 29-Jan. 1, 2023, Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls. Tickets start at $35. 612-339-3003 or


Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Put some circus into your holiday plans when Cirque Dreams Holidaze comes to town. The Hennepin Theatre Trust is presenting the show, put together by Cirque Productions, a subsidiary of Cirque du Soleil. The touring extravaganza weaves together an original score of Broadway-style musical numbers sprinkled with fresh takes on holiday tunes. Throw in jugglers, acrobats, aerial acts, penguins, toy soldiers, reindeer and more and you get a glitzy spectacle topped with holiday cheer. (4 & 8 p.m. Nov. 25, 3 & 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26, The Orpheum, $33-$103, 800-982-2787,


'Black Nativity'

What traditionally has been the season's most soulful holiday show returns to Penumbra Theatre with an emotional edge. For years, Yolande Bruce, the Twin Cities vocalist and choir leader whose spirited choir direction was often a show onto itself, led the "Black Nativity" choir at Penumbra. Her death of leukemia in March 2021 has been deeply felt by the cast and crew, including singer Dennis Spears and conductor Sanford Moore, longtime collaborators who will use grief as fuel to further raise the roof in this gospel-drenched holiday party. Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy again directs Langston Hughes' oratorio that likens the birth of Jesus to the birth of Black freedom (Nov. 29-Dec. 23, Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. $20-$45. 651-224-3180 or