Every holiday season, there are the classics—like The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, the Messiah, A Child’s Christmas in Wales—and the alternatives, some of which are on their way to becoming classics. Here are a few:
Theater and readings
The great alternative—and more than a reading: Wilde Irish theater company presents A Joycean Christmas, with excerpts from the modern master’s The Dubliners, Irish music—and a special place at the yule table for A Portrait of The Artist. $25 includes wine and plum pudding. 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17 through Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Gaia Center, 2116 Allston Way, near Shattuck. 644-9940. www.wildeirish.org.
A classic—A Christmas Carol, read by British actor Martin Harris, 7:30 Friday, Dec. 18, in the Members Lounge at the Berkeley City Club. 848-7800.
The Coverlettes Cover Christmas (Girl Groups holiday tribute by a trio of leading pop singers). 8 p.m. Monday–Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St. $25-$28. 843-4822. auroratheatre. org.
Sounds of the Season, Holiday Cabaret, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Contra Costa Civic Theater, Moeser Lane (at Pomona), El Cerrito. 524-9012. ccct.org.
Aurelia’s Oratorio at Berkeley Rep on Addison Street, through Jan. 24. $33-$71. 647-2949. berkeleyrep.org.
A classic transposed—It’s a Wonderful Life, a live radio play as a benefit for Berkeley Playhouse, at 7 p. m. Tuesday, Dec. 22 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave. $10-$25. 845-4542. berkeleyplayhouse.org.
An unusual alternative—Pacific Boychoir with the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Dec. 17) at Yoshi’s in Oakland. $12–20. 510 Embarcadero, Oakland, near Jack London Square. 849-8180. yoshis.com.
Howard Barkan (guitar), Vince Wallace (tenor sax), 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Dec. 17) at Chester’s Bayview Cafe, 1508 Walnut St. 849-9995.
A great alternative—Miss Faye Carol and Trio’s Holiday Show, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. 841-JAZZ. annasjazzisland.com.
A goofy alternative—The Christmas Jugband at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St. $22.50–$23.50. 644-2020. freightandsalvage.org.
A classic—Handel’s Messiah, American Bach Soloists, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 17 and 18, at Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill, San Francisco. $18-$60. (415) 621-7900. americanbach.org.
Buddhist Benefit Concert, Another Way to Celebrate the Season of Giving, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck Ave. $10 and up. 472-3170.
Women’s Antique Vocal Ensemble, O Holy Night, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at St. Marks Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way. $5-$15. 233-1479. wavewomen.org.
Fifth annual Holiday Caroling with Terrance Kelly and Ellen Hoffman, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. $14. 841-JAZZ. annasjazzisland.com.
Freight and Salvage Holiday Revue, 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20. 2020 Addison. $18.50–$19.50. 644-2020. freightandsalvage.org.
Berkeley Community Chorus, Schubert: Mass in E flat major; Mendelssohn: Verlieh uns Frieden. 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 at St. Joseph the Worker, 1640 Addison St. Free admission (donation requested). bcco.org.
Oakland Bay Area Community Chorus, We Have Seen His Star, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway, Oakland. $10-$20. 652-1941.
Voci Women’s Vocal Ensemble, Voices in Peace IX: The Greenest Branch, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 (see story, Page 15).
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Youth Choir Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, First Unitarian Church, 14th and Castro, Oakland. $10-$20. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A great alternative—Swingin’ Holidays: The Yule and the Cool, Junius Courtney Big Band with Denise Perrier at Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero, Oakland. $14 for the 8 p.m. show, $8 for the 10 p.m. show. 238-9200. yoshis.com.
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Concert, noon Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 12th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. Free admission.
Christmas Eve Jazz Concert, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina, Point Richmond. 236-0527.
Gracie Coates Holiday Show, 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, Beckett’s Irish Pub, 2271 Shattuck Ave. 647-1790.
Dance and holidday spectacles and
A classic in two versions—The Nutcracker (Sally Streets/Robert Nichols) Berkeley Ballet Theater, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave. $24. 843-4689. berkeleyballet.org.
The Nutcracker (Carlos Carvajal; Michael Morgan conducts members of Oakland East Bay Symphony) presented by the Oakland Ballet at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 24; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27 at the Paramount Theatre, Broadway at 19th Street, Oakland. $11.50–$50. 465-6400. oaklandballet.org.
A Classic in an alternative version—The Hard Nut, Mark Morris Dance Group, members of the Berkeley Symphony conducted by Robert Coles, with members of the Piedmont Children’s Choirs, directed by Robert Geary. 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 17 and 18; 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19; 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20. Zellerbah Hall, UC campus. 642-9988. calperfs. berkeley.edu.
A classic, spectacular alternative—The Revels (Bavarian theme, Robert Sicular as Sankt Nikolaus), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18; 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. $12-$50. 452-8800. californiarevels.org.
Garage Door Nativity (the Christmas story without spoken words), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 through Sunday, Dec. 20 at First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way. $5-$10. 848-3696.
The Snow Queen, puppet show, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20, at Children’s Fairyland at Lake Merritt, Oakland. $7. 296-4433.