Art spot: ‘The Nutcracker,’ Johnny Mathis and other holiday favorites this season
Published - 12/16/17 - 09:47 AM | 2892 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘The Nutcracker’ will run at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
‘The Nutcracker’ will run at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
The Christmas season is arguably the busiest time of year, and the thing is that it never takes age into account. Look at Johnny Mathis. He’s 82, and he still hits the hustings every holiday. He’s stopping by San Diego Symphony’s Copley Symphony Hall today, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m., with “Johnny Mathis: A Christmas Concert 2017,” featuring your classic holiday favorites and Johnny’s legendary hits like “Misty” and “Chances Are.” Amid a 60-year career, and whatever the season, Johnny still has one of the most remarkable voices in music. Copley Symphony Hall is located at 750 B St. downtown. For more, see or call 619-235-0804.

She’s been called the logical successor to the late Dinah Washington such a colossal honor, in fact, comes along once in a lifetime, and that’s only if you outlive the honoree. For you, that once in a lifetime is Sunday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m., when pre-eminent jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves visits downtown’s Balboa Theatre with music from her celebrated album, “Christmas Time Is Here,” courtesy La Jolla Music Society. Renowned for her improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Reeves melds grace, elegance and charisma into unforgettable jazz renditions of holiday favorites such as “Little Drummer Boy,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Christmas Waltz,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Let It Snow.” The Balboa Theatre is at 868 Fourth Ave. For more, see or call 858-459-3728.

Every family has treasured holiday traditions that bring it together in celebration of the most special time of year. Around these parts, one of those traditions is San Diego Symphony’s holiday concert, “Noel Noel,” set Friday, Dec 22 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec 23 at 2 and 8 p.m at Copley Symphony Hall downtown. Holiday favorites and a carol sing-along, as well as a visit from the fat man himself, mean that this is the concert your family won’t want to miss. The venue is located at 750 B St. Further information is available at 619-235-0804 or   

If the carolers in the Spreckels Theater lobby don’t inspire you to the season, maybe “The Nutcracker” will. City Ballet of San Diego’s elegant production, running through Dec. 24, will take you on Clara’s magical journey from her family Christmas party, wherein toy soldiers and mice accompany her to the enchanted Snow Forest and on to the Land of Sweets, where she is welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and magical performances from dancers throughout the world. But you know the story. Now go see it. The Spreckels is at 121 Broadway downtown. Showtimes and more information can be found at 858-274-6058 or  

Not to be outdone, San Diego’s California Ballet Company is mounting “The Nutcracker” through Dec. 23 at downtown’s Civic Theatre through Dec. 23. See or call 858-570-1100 for more.

Every night since Nov. 4, The Old Globe Theatre has morphed into Whoville, Dr. Seuss’ oasis for the peaceful Whos and a boon for the evil Grinch, bent on spoiling the village’s holiday. And every night until Dec. 24, little Cindy Lou Who will turn the Grinch’s heart on a dime with the love of the season. See for yourself in “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!,” which hasn’t lost a step in its 20th year. The Old Globe is located at 363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Showtimes and more details are available at or at 619-234-5623.

Before his days as a heavyweight music mogul, Motown icon Berry Gordy was a no-name featherweight boxer soon to launch the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Broadway San Diego’s “Motown the Musical,” which runs Dec. 26 to 31 at downtown’s Civic Theatre, fetes the sound that shattered barriers, shaped lives and made us move to the same beat. Featuring classics such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the story is a monument to Broadway as well as it continues to break records in New York. The Civic is at 1100 Third Ave. For more, see or call 619-564-3000.

Broadway San Diego calls it “the story of America then as told by America now” -- and the latter can’t get enough of the former. You can see the excitement for yourself from Jan. 6 to 28 as the group mounts the colossal “Hamilton,” the story of West Indian immigrant Alexander Hamilton, the new country’s first Treasury secretary and one of George Washington’s right-hand men during the Revolutionary War. It took playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda seven years to produce the book—add a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway, and this piece just might run until the next revolution. The Civic Theatre, at 1100 Third Ave., is Ground Zero; dates and times are available at or 619-564-3000.

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