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Theo Kossenas / The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Nutcracker - Holiday Performances in Washington, DC

Holiday-Themed Theater Performances & Shows in Washington, DC, 2024

The seasonal vibes flow through these can’t-miss holiday-themed theatrical performances in the nation's capital.

As the winter holidays near, Christmas music plays, holiday displays and lights illuminate the District and, most importantly, you need ways to let your seasonal spirit flourish. The nation’s capital has plenty of options, so get that ugly sweater ready for a month’s worth of revelry at DC's theater and performing arts venues.


Ford's Theater Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace assumes the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in a lavish Victorian-style musical production of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, the staging of which is a time-honored holiday tradition in the nation’s capital. Scrooge’s riveting journey alongside the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is a joy even if you’ve experienced it a hundred times before – especially in one of the world’s most historic theaters.
Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Ballet West: The Nutcracker
Welcome the holiday season as Ballet West, the preeminent company of the Intermountain West, takes on the seasonal tradition of The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. The company's long-running rendition of the production will captivate audiences with enchanting theatrics, holiday magic and classic storybook scenes.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


The Washington Ballet presents The Nutcracker
DC's favorite ballet company pulls out all the stops for this classic Christmas tale that features a special DC twist. The Russian ballet goes local thanks to a Nutcracker Prince in the likeness of George Washington and cherry blossom set designs. Set in historical 1882 Georgetown, you will be dazzled by an impressive roster of dancers and the beautiful Tchaikovsky score.
Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas
Every year, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Kennedy Center join forces to bring outstanding jazz pianists together to perform their favorite Christmas classics for one night only. The holiday tradition has become a favorite in the District, so make sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. This year's concert features Melvis Santa and Alfredo Rodriguez.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


An Irish Carol 
The Irish have something to say about that “Carol” of yours, Mr. Dickens. The Keegan Theatre stages this acclaimed play that subs pub-owning David for Scrooge. He’s distanced himself from his family through his profitable bar, but a visitor from the past, along with present figures and the prospect of a sad future could turn David around. With searing wit, fast-paced dialogue and a classic Irish sensibility, Matthew Keenan’s play is perfect for holiday laughs – and intended for audiences 16 and older.
Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC 20036


Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC Holiday Show
Tap-dancing elves, a moving Christmas tree, snow and unforgettable choral renditions of holiday classics will all be part of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC's annual holiday show. The festive program will include songs like “Sleigh Ride”, “Underneath the Tree” and “The 12 Rockin' Days of Christmas”. Expect performances from the full Chorus, soloists, all GMCW ensembles and the GenOUT Youth Chorus.
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009


NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops!
The sparkling holiday celebration hosted by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) returns with fresh takes on comforting classics and sing-along favorites in the festively decorated Concert Hall. 
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Handel's Messiah
The Washington National Cathedral is a beautiful place to celebrate Christmas, as it becomes adorned with themed lights and elaborate decorations each year. Join the Cathedral's choir and baroque orchestra for a stirring rendition of Handel's beloved Messiah. You will be dazzled by the performance set against the Cathedral's architecture and Gothic splendor.
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016


Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
DC’s Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, puts on a holiday extravaganza at the illustrious Arena Stage this December. The family-friendly show will combine clapping, stomping and stepping for a dazzling array of percussive dance. Furry friends from the animal kingdom and a dance party hosted by DJ Nutcracker are also on the docket.
Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024


Hot 99.5's Jingle Ball

HOT 99.5's Jingle Ball presented by Capital One
DC's favorite local radio station gets into the holiday spirit with this annual star-studded concert inside Capital One Arena. This year's lineup is truly incredible, with One Republic, Flo Rida, Jelly Roll, Big Time Rush, David Kushner and Doechii all set to perform, among others.
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


National Symphony Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah
This holiday epic, which explores the story of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, is performed at the Kennedy Center each year. The National Symphony Orchestra will be joined by standout soloists and the University of Maryland Concert Choir as Laurence Equilbey makes her highly anticipated conducting debut at the beautifully decorated Concert Hall.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566



The Washington Chorus presents A Candlelight Christmas
With more than 130 voices working in tandem with brass, organ and percussion to create wonderful renditions of Christmas classics, the Washington Chorus is a wonder to behold. This 75-minute holiday music experience will offer thrilling special guests and a traditional candlelight processional that is an annual highlight.
The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Yep, you read that right. This imaginative performance blends modern hip-hop choreography, an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist to re-create The Nutcracker in truly original fashion. Adults will be wowed by the contemporary take on Tchaikovsky’s score while the kids revel in the hip-hop musical performances. Special guest emcee Kurtis Blow, best known for “The Breaks,” opens the show with a rapping introduction. Digital scenery colors the background of the entertaining cultural mash-up that will be performed for four nights only at Strathmore's Music Center.
The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852


Go-Go Symphony Holiday Show: 'Twas the Night
Experience an unforgettable Christmas journey with the Classical Jazzical Spectacular featuring the timeless tale of 'Twas the Night. The symphonic extravaganza seamlessly blends the classical charm of a grand symphony with the vibrant beats of DC's Go-Go music. Celebrating over a decade of mesmerizing performances, the Go-Go Symphony, led by exceptionally talented musicians, promises a night of festive magic that will have the audience on their feet, cheering, as noted by The Washington Post.
Union Stage, 740 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

Christmas Day Organ Recital – Dec. 25
Enliven your Christmas afternoon with a trip to the National Cathedral as house organists Thomas Sheehan and Rebecca Ehren perform a program of festive music. The free performance does not require tickets to attend. A livestream will also be available.
Free Admission
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016


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