Bad Santas

With Holidazzle long gone from the Nicollet Mall and Macy’s perhaps following suit, at least one holiday tradition continues along downtown Minneapolis’ under-construction strip. The beloved and bedeviling Bad Plus always winds down the year playing four nights at the Dakota. This year, the trio played at the Newport and London jazz festivals and dozens of club gigs following the release of its most acclaimed album to date, “It’s Hard,” featuring jazzy reinterpretations of modern classics by TV on the Radio, Peter Gabriel and Prince.CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

7 & 9 p.m. Thu.-Fri. & Dec. 25 & 26, the Dakota, Mpls., $40-$45,

Joseph Vass created “The Soul of Gershwin,” exploring the Jewish musical roots of George Gershwin and finding lots of song spots for a chanteuse, a griot, a cantor and a klezmer band. This show, originally staged in 2011, causes theatergoers to listen differently to such classics as “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “I Got Rhythm.” Maud Hixson, Geoffrey Jones and Maggie Burton are the singers, and Michael Paul Levin plays the great American composer.


Ends Dec. 31, Park Square Theatre, St. Paul, $40-$60,

Nachito Herrera, Minnesota’s great Cuban-American pianist, has found some simpatico world-class players who can match his chops, creativity and energy. The Universals are bassist Cheikh Ndoye from Senegal, drummer Raul Pineda from Cuba and violinist Karen Briggs and saxophonist Mike Phillips from the U.S. Their emotional first gig ever was on the night the Cuba embassy opened in Washington, D.C., in 2015. This will be their first gig since Fidel Castro died.


7 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota, Mpls., $35-$45,

This is the third year for “Visions of Sugarplums,” Twin Cities choreographer Lily Verlaine’s naughty take on the Nutcracker craze. Like Myron Johnson’s “Nutcracker (Not So) Suite,” burlesque-inspired show bawdily sends up the holiday dance tradition, using aerial tricks and playful theatrical ensembles to celebrate the human body. Nadine Dubois hosts a production whose cast includes lyrical movers Stephanie Fellner, Zhauna Franks and Alexa Lautenbach.


8 p.m. Thu.-Fri., Ends Jan. 1, the Lab Theater, Mpls. $35-$50,

Twin Cities structures have been made into edible forms at this temptingly tasty exhibit. Local bakers from Honey and Rye Bakehouse, Common Roots, Sweet Retreat and others have baked and constructed gingerbread replicas of Twin Cities buildings. Although the buildings are not available for consumption, treats from Ingebretsen’s are for sale for snacking.


11 a.m.-3 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue. and Thu.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed. Free-$5. Norway House, Mpls.,

There are live Nativities and then there are La Posada puppet parades. In the Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theatre has once again pulled its larger-than-life Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Magi out of storage to remount its annual Latin American-inspired “La Natividad” parade. The action begins at In the Heart of the Beast’s theater and concludes two blocks away with a fiesta at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.


6:30 p.m. Sun. and Tue.-Thu. Heart of the Beast, Mpls., $17-$23,

Calling a concert “family-friendly” doesn’t have to mean “bring little kids.” The Midtown Men will put on the sort of show that grown-up kids buy their parents tickets for — and then decide to come along. All four singers were in the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys,” though technically, Michael Longoria was the alternate to play falsetto crooner Frankie Valli. Backed by a band, they’ll sing songs of the season in the style of the Four Seasons.


7:30 p.m. Thu., Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $40-$99,

No Twin Cities choir outclasses Cantus in the Christmas department. The eight-man vocal ensemble offers an effortless combination of outstanding vocal quality, versatility and winning stage presence. This year’s holiday show mixes new and old, including the group’s Facebook-famous “Ave Maria” by Biebl.


Sun., Tue., Wed. and Thu., various Twin Cities locations; $10-$40,

Before they won NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2013, Minnesota’s Home Free made two homegrown holiday albums. This year, the a cappella quintet offers one on Columbia Records. On “Full of (Even More) Cheer,” they interpret the chestnuts, deliver humor (“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”) and even offer Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” as holiday fare. Why not. Let’s hope they warm us with “Ring of Fire,” the song that defined their victory on “The Sing-Off.”


7:30 Wed. Northrop, Mpls.,$29.50-$150;