Events

The Best Holiday Shows in Portland This Season

Drag queens, nutcrackers, mariachi, and more.

By Conner Reed and Matthew Trueherz

 

Portland's own inimitable tour de force, Pink Martini

You’ve chosen your holiday lights display. You’ve gotten a grip on your shopping. Maybe you’ve even popped in to a holiday market or two—we won’t tell. Now it’s time to book some tickets, kick back, and absorb a healthy dose of holiday entertainment. From nutcrackers to drag queens to Creed from The Office, these are the best holiday shows on offer in Portland this season.  

The Nutcracker  

Various dates & times Dec 10–24, Keller Auditorium, $24–146  

The Sugarplum Fairy, Dewdrop, and Cavalier fill out George Balanchine’s cast—and they’re back onstage for the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s annual production. Twelve special performances of the battle of mice and toy soldiers throughout the month feature live performances of Tchaikovsky’s legendary score from the OBT orchestra.  

 

Light the Way Home 

8 p.m. Fri & Sat, Dec 9 & 10; 3 p.m. Sun, Dec 1, Newmark Theatre, $20–56 

The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is billed for three shows of holiday classics, new and old—“plus more than a few surprises”—in part of its 43rd season. Expect holiday tunes, less-specific winter fare, and—as always—gorgeous choral harmonies from one of the city’s most delightful vocal ensembles.   

 

Christmas With Creed Bratton 

8:30 p.m. Sat, Dec 17, Wonder Ballroom, $27.50–40  

We know you still can’t fall asleep without The Office playing in the background. Creed, of Office fame, it turns out, is named Creed in real life, and he’s bringing his comedy/music Christmas special to town. (Note: if you fall asleep during this show, there will not be an “Are you still watching?” prompt.)  

 
A Very Merry Mariachi Christmas Concert 

7:30 p.m. Tue, Dec, 10, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $15+ 

In tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions, international mariachi sensation José Hernández leads Mariachi Sol de México; the show blends classical, jazz, pop, swing, and show tunes performed by an extensive mariachi ensemble.  

A Christmas Carol   

Various times & dates through Dec 30, Portland Playhouse, $28–65.50 

The classic Dickens novella adapted for the musical stage. Sing your heart out alongside Ebenezer Scrooge and the gang, and relive the story that’s said to have brought Christmas into the modern day. 

 

It’s a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play   

Various times & dates through Dec 24, Portland Center Stage at the Armory, $25–68  

The story of George Bailey can be traced all the bay to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the 1843 classic with Scrooge and all. Dickens’s story inspired Philip Van Doren Stern’s self-published short story,"The Greatest Gift,” in 1943. In 1946, Frank Capra adapted the story to film, with the title It’s a Wonderful Life. In 1996, acclaimed playwright Joe Landry adapted the film’s script as a live radio play.   

 

The Jinkx & Dela Holiday Show 

8 p.m. Tue, Dec, 27, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $49–89 

What started as a self-produced film and went on the become a smash hit Hulu special has since been adapted for the stage. Portland native Jinx Monsoon (winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season five) and their Drag Race costar BenDeLaCreme are back in town on their now-fifth international tour of comedy and song.   

Pink Martini New Year’s 

7 & 10:30 p.m. Sat, Dec, 31, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $34–115 

Portland’s own genre-defying and excessively multilingual band will be joined by NPR’s Ari Shapiro, the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and others for two shows to help you ring in the new year.  

  

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