Original play, ‘Valentines and Mistletoe,’ at Central Catholic High School
The legendary characters of Jane Austen’s novels find themselves in small town America in the 1950s rock-’n’-roll era in an original play being performed by the students in Central Catholic’s Theatre Guild. Sharman Merrill, English teacher and theatre guild director, penned the original play, “Valentines and Mistletoe,” inspired by characters from Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”, “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Persuasion.”
Leading roles in the production are seniors Daniel Golden of Bradford, Megan Dwinell of Tewksbury and Liz Hogan of Pelham, N.H., and juniors Miranda Suarez and Tim Merrill of Methuen.
Shows are this Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The play is in the Allan B. Rogers Theatre at CCHS, 300 Hampshire St., Lawrence. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door on the day of performance or after 2 p.m. in room 204 at CCHS through Friday.
North Andover student in North Shore Music Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”
Kyle McAdam, 16, of North Andover, will be back for his fourth Christmas with North Shore Music Theatre, playing a teen caroler and younger Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” He is a 2013 Broadway World nominee in the category of best youth actor for last year’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” McAdam is a senior at North Andover High School, where he is an member of the drama and music programs.
Performances of “A Christmas Carol” are this Friday through Sunday, Dec. 22. Tickets are priced from $55 to $65. Kids 18 and younger save 50 percent on Family Friday (Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased by calling the North Shore Music Theatre Box Office at 978-232-7200, via the website at www.nsmt.org or in person at 62 Dunham Road (Route 128, exit 19), Beverly, Mass.
Seasonal storytelling and cookie decorating at Mass Audubon
Families with kids ages 4 and older are invited to join sanctuary Field Teacher and Storyteller Victor Atkins to hear stories of the season, followed by a cookie-decorating workshop with a professional cookie designer on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. until noon. A short optional walk will round out the morning.
The event is $10 for adults, $8 for children and discounted for Mass Audubon members. Advance registration is required. For more information call 978-887-9264 or register online at massaudubon.org/ipswichriver. Mass Audubon also will be hosting a variety of winter programs for children and adults, as well as special events during the week of winter vacation, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 28 and 29. Information on these programs can also be found online. Mass Audubon is located at 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield.
Youth orchestra concerts in Ipswich
The Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra will present an afternoon of concerts Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Ipswich Performing Arts Center, 134 High St., Ipswich. The afternoon will be split into two concerts, one at 2:30 p.m. and the other at 5 p.m. The earlier concert will feature the NMYO prelude and overture string ensembles, intermezzo orchestra, junior flute choir and flute choir. The later concert will feature the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble and select flute choir. This event will be the first full-length concert of NMYO’s 2012-2013 season. It is free and open to the public.
Northeast Youth Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’
Northeast Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” features the talents of more than 125 dancers who auditioned from the Greater Boston area, along with guest artists hailing from Australia, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and New York. The production will occur once again at the J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts, 80 Shawsheen Road, Andover.
Performances will run from Thursday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 15. Tickets are $26 for adults, $23 for children and seniors, and $22 for students and groups. They can be purchased by visiting www.northeastyouthballet.tix.com or by calling 800-595-4849. For those who qualify, complimentary tickets are available through NYB’s S.T.A.R.S., a community outreach program created for children and individuals of all ages who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the ballet.
N.E. Civic Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’
Local dancers will be filling the stage at the New England Civic Ballet’s annual performances of the “The Nutcracker.” Merrimack Valley dancers in the production include Isabelle Wilson, Emma Ventre, Jessica Beal, Jacob Miller, Kimberly Wentworth, Julia Jennings, Emily Bartner, Elaina Ventre, Kate Beaver, Emily Wilson, Julia Sugden, Riley Griffin, Abby Jankowski, Jessica Liao, Allison Jankowski, Louise Steenbergen, Kaitryn Hinchey, Victoria Wilson, Agnes Norman, Clair Mulcahey, Gary Mannion, Katelyn McMahon and Rachel Trowbridge. New Hampshire dancers include Luke Perkins, Kassia Swanson, Samantha Welch, Jane Hannon,Lily Chartrain, Elisabeth Robles, Cailyn Bourque, Katie Chartrain, Lindsay Jones, Alexandra Cazmay and Alexia Daviduk.
The ballet will be performed at the Rogers Center for the Performing Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.newenglandcivicballet.org or by calling the studio at 978-975-0289. Ticket prices are $25 for adults; $22 for children and seniors. Group rates are available. For more information contact director Phyllis George at New England Civic Ballet studios, 978-975-0289.
Whisker Wonderland at The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society
The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society’s headquarters at 63 Elm St. in Salisbury will become a Whisker Wonderland of shopping opportunities and holiday cheer on Saturday, Dec. 14 from noon until 5 p.m. Presents for four-legged friends, Kitteridge candles and soaps, the 2014 MRFRS Cat Calendar and Sponsor-a-Cat packages all are available.
There will be refreshments and a raffle for a lottery ticket tree. All adult cats will be available for half off their normal adoption fee during the event and all proceeds benefit the society. Call 978-462-0760, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.mrfrs.org
Curtis at Crossroads Coffeehouse
Crossroads Coffeehouse continues its 25th season with singer songwriter Catie Curtis on Saturday, Dec. 14. Curtis is a veteran singer and songwriter on the folk scene. She has toured throughout the United States for 20 years and released 13 CDs. She has been called a “folk-rock goddess” by the New Yorker and performed at the White House several times. Curtis will share music from her new holiday album,”A Catie Curtis Christmas, “ as well as new songs and old favorites.
Opening is Michelle Beaulieu, an aspiring singer-songwriter from the Merrimack Valley who is building her own musical history. In addition to her solo work on the ukulele, she is the lead saxaphone player for the North Shore Jazz All-Stars and the classic rock band OncomingTraffic. Beaulieu will play original compositions and holiday favorites.
Crossroads Coffeehouse of the North Parish U.U. Church is located at 3 Great Pond Road, 2nd floor, North Andover. Show starts at 8 p.m.; doors open 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available at www.crossroads.coffeehouse.org via PayPal. If available, tickets will be sold at the door on the evening of the concert. Crossroads is an all-age, alcohol-free venue; home-baked desserts, coffee and teas are sold before the show and at intermission.
String Project presents Winter Showcase
The UMass Lowell String Project, comprised of more than 80 musicians ages 8 to 18, will present a free concert for the public on Sunday, Dec. 15. The Winter Showcase will feature three String Project ensembles, as well as the UMass Lowell Youth Orchestra. The groups – which will perform for students, parents, teachers and members of the community – will showcase the education and growth as musicians the 88 members have achieved this semester.
The String Project offers group instruction on string instruments such as violin, viola and cello to Lowell public school students. The concert is at Durgin Concert Hall, located on the first floor of Durgin Hall, 35 Wilder St., Lowell. Free parking is available in the nearby Wilder Lot.
‘Forward Leap’ dance performance at NECC
Zombies will rock the stage at Northern Essex Community College during this student dance performance titled “Forward Leap.” The zombie-inspired hip hop dance was choreographed by Dance Program Coordinator Michelle Deane. The inspiration for this dance, Deane says, came from the “overall popularity of Zombies with shows such as ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Being Human.’”
Another piece choreographed by Deane has the students channeling their “Sandy” and performing to “You’re the One That I Want” from the musical “Grease.”
The dance showcase takes place on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sport and Fitness Center on the NECC Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $3 for children under 12, and can be purchased at the door.
NECC ensemble performances
The Northern Essex Community College Jazz Rock Ensemble will be performing on Friday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. The concert, in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St., is free. The following night, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m., the Small Ensemble Concert will take place at the same location. That concert also is free.
NECC Chorus Holiday Showcase
The NECC Chorus Holiday Showcase will feature centuries of music performed by local soloists, including James Clark Jr. of Methuen and Jenny Weiss of Amesbury.
“The chorus’ repertoire includes a 600-year span,” says Alisa Bucchiere, NECC Chorus director. “You can expect to hear everything from George Friedrich Handel to Irving Berlin.”
The concert is Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door. For more information contact Bucchiere at email@example.com.
‘A Christmas Carol’at NECC
While some may think of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as a classic, at Northern Essex Community College it is a tradition. The cast is comprised of an eclectic mix of NECC students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as their family members.
The play will be performed in the Chet Hawrylciw Theater on the third floor of the Spurk Building on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.
Performances are Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children 6 and under. They can be purchased at the door or through www.mvarts.info.
Local dance students in ‘Nutcracker’ productions
Fourteen local dancers from the Andover School of Ballet will participate in local productions of “The Nutcracker.”
Francesca Carnovale, 9, is in the Albany Berkshire Ballet production at Lawrence High School on Dec. 18 and 19.
Katie Beaver, 9, Louise Steenbergen, 9, and Julia Jennings,15, will perform in the New England Civic Ballet production at The Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College on Dec. 13, 14 and 15.
Katherine Bace, 13, Sarah Bace, 10, Francesca Carnovale, 9, Minh-Khue DoBa, 7, Daniela Friedman, 10, Bella Mohammed, 7, Kate Zdunczyk, 10, Grace Ventre, 8, and Olivia Ventre, 10, are in the Dance Prism production at The Collins Center for the Arts at Andover High School showing Dec. 21 and 22.
Anna Clark, 11, and Lily Clark, 7, are performing in the Ballet Misha production in Manchester, N.H., on Dec. 14 and 15.
Chorus performs Handel’s ‘Messiah’
For its 82nd season, Chorus North Shore is performing Handel’s “Messiah” with the Honors Youth Choir and the Festival Orchestra. The choir will be joined by soloists Jean Danton, soprano; Martin Kelly, tenor; and Mark Andrew Cleveland, bass. Handel’s “Messiah” was performed on Christmas Day 1818 by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston and since that time has become a Christmas favorite and a tradition for Chorus North Shore.
Concerts are Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope Church on Linebrook Road in Ipswich and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. at Hamilton-Wenham High School, 775 Bay Road in South Hamilton. Tickets are $20, $17 for students and seniors (children 12 and under are free). They are available at www.chorusnorthshore.org and at the door.
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic holiday concert and silent auction
The Merrimack Valley Philharmonic’s Holiday Concert will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2:30 p.m. at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College. This year the concert will feature the Merrimack Valley Ringers, as well as Trumpet Soloist Brendan McGuirk, a junior at Timberlane Regional High. McGuirk has participated in the 2012 and 2013 N.H. All-State Music Festival and 2013 N.H. All-State jazz band, as well as Timberlane Community Band and Jazz Band.
Doors open at 1 p.m. for the orchestra’s 12th annual silent auction. The auction will be held through intermission and winners will be announced during the concert. Many artisans and businesses donate their time, talents, products and services to the auction. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and students and $5 for kids ages 4 through 12. They can be purchased at the door or online at www.mvpomusic.org. The Rogers Center is located at 315 Turnpike St., North Andover.
Holiday Highlights will run throughout the coming month in advance of holiday-related performances and events. If your organization would like to be featured, please contact Assistant Editor Kelly Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-946-2256.