Ten not-to-miss holiday performances in Sonoma County

Redwood Empire Sing-along-Messiah (Crista Jeremiason/ PD FILE, 2012)


On the day after Thanksgiving, the live local holiday stage shows suddenly become as plentiful as lights on a Christmas tree. Some of them open within a week, and a few are already up and running.

To get started, here’s a chronological list of 10 solid choices you’ll want to consider as you make holiday plans.

1. “A Christmas Carol.” The 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square presents Charles Seibert of Healdsburg, who appeared on the CBS TV series “Trapper John, M.D.” from 1976 to 1986, as Scrooge in its production of “A Christmas Carol,” already open and running until Dec. 20. 52 W. Sixth St., $15-$37. 523-4185,

2. “Little Women: The Musical.” For those who don’t immediately identify this story with Christmas, let us quote from Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 novel: “Jo was the first to wake in the gray dawn of Christmas morning.” Opens today (Nov. 27) and runs through Dec. 20. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $16-$26. 588-3400,

3. “Polar Bears.” An autobiographical one-man play written and performed by Petaluma playwright David Templeton follows a father trying to make holidays bright for his two children after the death of their mother, his ex-wife. Dec. 3-20. Main Stage West, 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. $15-$27. 823-0177,

4. The Transcendence Theatre Company, which delights fans every summer with outdoor shows at Jack London Historic State Park in Glen Ellen, makes its Wells Fargo Center debut with the music and dance revue “Joy to the World” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4-5 and 2 p.m. Dec. 5. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $35-$129. 546-3600,

5. “Miracle on 34th Street.” Another classic film, this one about a kindly department store Santa who believes he’s really Kris Kringle, gets a live stage treatment. Dec. 4-13. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. $12-18. 894-2214,

6. “It‘s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” A radio script based on the beloved 1946 holiday film will be staged live as the last production at the Raven Theater in Windsor.

The board of directors decided earlier this year to close the site after they couldn’t afford to buy it. (Shows at the long-established Raven Theater in Healdsburg will continue as scheduled.) In the show, embittered idealist George Bailey gets to see what life would have been like without him.

Dec 4-20. Raven Theater Windsor, 195 Windsor River Road, Windsor. $10-$25.

7. “Holly Jolly Fund-Raiser.” Spreckels Performing Arts Center stages a family-friendly holiday show with the films “Elf” screening at 4:30 p.m. and “White Christmas” at 8 p.m., with live entertainment at 7 p.m., on Dec. 12, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $6-$8. 588-3400,

8 “The Great Russian Nutcracker” is back at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, where it has become a regular annual attraction, for two performances, at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 19. The professional company of 40 dancers will perform with young local dancers cast in supporting roles. $34-$181. 546-3600,

9. The Redwood Empire Sing-Along “Messiah,” one of Northern California’s iconic homegrown holiday events, returns for its 35th year, with the audience joining the onstage chorus in song.

It will be conducted by longtime local favorite Dan Earl and accompanied by the Santa Rosa Chamber Orchestra. The program starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 19. in the Jackson Theatre, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $20.

10. Handel’s “Messiah” will be performed by four soloists who will join the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, and the Philharmonia Chorale, directed by Bruce Lamott. The concert begins at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Tickets start at $55., 866-955-6040.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or On Twitter @danarts.