This holiday season, Oregon Art Beat and Arts & Life are helping you navigate the seasonal performances — some old and some new — with weekend previews of our best bets. Check out some of what’s on tap this weekend.
Oregon Symphony: Ode to Joy
Remember when the Oregon Symphony played Beethoven’s Ninth to three sold-out houses in February? If you missed it, you have another chance to see it as you ring in the new year with some of Portland’s best talent.
Under the direction of Carlos Kalmar, the Oregon Symphony is hoping to make its New Year’s Eve event, Ode to Joy, an annual tradition. That may be possible, especially considering the event’s lineup: Portland celebrities like Thomas Lauderdale, Gus Van Sant, China Forbes, the von Trapps and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana. If you have other plans on New Year’s Eve, you can catch the show on December 30 with an added bonus: Storm Large will perform.
In addition to those acts, the symphony will feature several soloists, including Angela Niederloh (mezzo-soprano), Carl Moe (tenor) and Richard Zeller (baritone), along with the Portland State University Chamber Choir, the Pacific Youth Choir and the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus.
Ode to Joy, December 30-31, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
More Weekend Holiday
Classical Revolution PDX: Bachxing Day
After a steady diet of holiday music, Classical Revolution PDX offers a reprieve in its day-after-Christmas celebration of all things Bach.
December 26, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland
Michael Allen Harrison: Christmas at the Old Church
Pianist Michael Allen Harrison returns with his annual holiday show, with special guests Julianne Johnson, rock concert violinist Aaron Meyer and jazz pianist Tom Grant.
Through December 26, The Old Church, Portland
Lakewood Theatre Company: White Christmas
The classic musical based on the 1954 movie is becoming a tradition at Lakewood. Hear the holiday favorites “Blue Skies,” “Sisters” and of course, the title Bing Crosby hit.
December 26-29, Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego
Artists Repertory Theatre: Xmas Unplugged
A holiday debauchery double bill for mature audiences, Xmas Unplugged is two short plays: The Reason for the Season and The Night Before Christmas. Playwrights Matt Pelfrey and Anthony Nielson’s two plays feature a churlish Santa, a kidnapped elf and a handful of hapless souls.
Through December 29, Alder Stage, Portland
Portland Center Stage: The Santaland Diaries
Based on David Sedaris’ true-life experience as Crumpet the Elf during a memorable holiday season, this humorous Portland holiday tradition has Darius Pierce returning as Crumpet.
Through December 29, Ellyn Bye Studio, Portland
Oregon Cabaret Theatre: It’s A Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play
A piano, sound effects and five actors tell the classic George Bailey tale in a live radio play production. It’s a tried-and-true way to step back into the golden age of radio.
Through December 31, Cabaret Theatre, Ashland