Nutcracker Alternatives For Tweens

By Michael Berick

los angeles holiday events

Amélie arrives at the Ahmanson this month. PHOTO BY CHESHIRE ISAACS/COURTESY BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE

“Another Nutcracker?” your tween might moan after years of going to see sugar plum fairies dancing across stages. Your teenager might even become a Scrooge about seeing “A Christmas Carol” for the 10th time. Happily, a few December performances offer something different enough that they might hold your kids’ interest.

Trumpeter Jeff Bordes will be something of a Louisiana Santa at the James Armstrong Theatre (3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance; www.TorranceArts.org) at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 4. His “A New Orleans Christmas” concert has a unique holiday groove. The noted jazz trumpeter and his musical compatriots will perform seasonal standards flavored with the spirited rhythms of New Orleans. Tickets are $20-$30.

Or go Irish with a pair of performances celebrating Christmas and Celtic music. The Irish group Danú visits the Valley Performing Arts Center (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; www.valleyperformingartscenter.org) at 8 p.m. Dec. 11. The acclaimed acoustic ensemble will present a holiday show entitled “Féile Na Nollag,” which means “Festival of Christmas,” showcasing their masterful musicianship and love for traditional music. Tickets are $25-$78.

The following weekend, you can celebrate “An Irish Christmas” at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium (332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena; www.caltech.edu) at 8 p.m. Dec. 17. The performance delivers a lively mix of songs, storytelling, music and dance featuring Kevin Horton, formerly of “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance,” as a principal dancer. Tickets are $30-$40 adults, $10 children.

The Ahmanson Theatre (135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.), meanwhile, welcomes a special guest by the name of “Amélie.” Opening Dec. 16 (previews begin Dec. 4) and running through Jan. 15, this musical is based on the five-time Academy Award-nominated 2001 French film. Directed by Tony winner Pam MacKinnon and featuring a book by three-time Tony nominee Craig Lucas, the stage adaptation has the same charming, fanciful qualities as the movie. Visit www.centertheatregroup.org to get complete information on tickets, show dates and times for “Amélie,” which is recommended for ages 10 and older.

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