Theater & dance
“Christmas Belles.” The City Theatre is producing this Texas-set comedy, written about a church Christmas pageant that spins hilariously out of control. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, with no shows Dec. 21-24, through Dec. 30. $10-$25. 3823 Airport Blvd. citytheatreaustin.org.
“A Christmas Carol.” This Zach Theatre tradition is back for the fourth year running, though it’s not quite as fans of Charles Dickens’ book will remember it. Zach’s production combines new songs and reimagined carols with traditional Victorian setting and costumes. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31. $25-$150. 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
“The Drowsy Chaperone.” The University of Texas’ Department of Theatre and Dance presents this delightful tribute to Jazz Age musicals. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15-$26. B. Iden Payne Theatre, 300 E. 23rd St. 512-477-6060, theatredance.utexas.edu/stage.
“The Member of the Wedding.” Different States presents Carson McCullers’ beautiful adaptation of her own novella, about a lonely tomboy, Frankie Addams, growing up in 1945 Georgia. With few friends, she resolves to run off with her brother and his bride following their wedding. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 9. $15-$30. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. differentstagestheatre.org.
“A Miracle on 34th Street Classic Radiocast.” The seventh production in Penfold Theatre’s series of live radio plays for the holidays will take viewers back to 1946 as members of the KPNF radio station are assembling for a live radio performance of “A Miracle on 34th Street.” 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Dec. 23. $23-$25. Old Settler’s Hall, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. penfoldtheatre.com.
“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” How about a Jane Austin Christmas? The Austin Playhouse takes on a charmingly imagined sequel to Austen’s beloved literary romance “Pride and Prejudice” to tell the story of the oft-overlooked, bookish middle sister Mary, who has come into her own. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 23. $16-$36. 6001 Airport Blvd. austinplayhouse.ticketleap.com/miss-bennet/.
“Of Mice and Men: a Jazz Tap Nutcracker.” Tapestry Dance Company is giving “The Nutcracker” a jazzy update, with the score performed live by some of Austin’s best jazz musicians. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 17. $23-$34. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.
“Peter Pan.” You know the story: In “Peter Pan,” a wild and lost boy takes Wendy and her siblings to Neverland, an enchanted land filled with natives, mermaids and pirates. Sam Bass Theatre takes the Darling children’s adventures there to the local stage. 7:30 Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 23. $12-$15. 600 N. Lee St., Round Rock. sambasstheatre.org.
“The Santaland Diaries.” David Sedaris’ work, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, serves as a wry and witty look at the combination of retail hell and theatrical spectacle that has become the holiday season, and the Georgetown Palace Theater is offering it as a Christmastime treat for adults. Various dates and times through Dec. 30. $23-$35. 810 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. georgetownpalace.com.
“A Tuna Christmas.” Zach Theatre is kicking off its yuletide season in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, with this holiday favorite produced in collaboration with the Paramount Theatre. Co-creator Jaston Williams directs the actors from the recent hit tour of “Greater Tuna,” who play all 25 colorful citizens. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31. $30-$88. 1421 Riverside Dr. zachtheatre.org.
“Wild Horses.” The storyteller behind this production recalls the summer of being 13, when she remembers stealing liquor with her best friends, escaping her bedroom in the middle of the night and making a pact with them to break into a horse ranch and set the beautiful horses free. 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.
K.P. Gresham, Dave Swanson and Rachel Gauna. 7 p.m. Friday. The authors speak and sign “Murder in the Second Pew,” “The Dot on the Left” and “The Thinking Log,” respectively. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com.
Ryan Sharp. 4 p.m. Saturday. The poet speaks and signs “My Imaginary Old Man: Poems.” Malvern Books, 613 W. 29th St. 512-322-2097, malvernbooks.com.
David Taylor. 7 p.m. Monday. The poet speaks and signs “Palm Up, Palm Down.” Malvern Books, 613 W. 29th St. 512-322-2097, malvernbooks.com.
Art for the People. “3Ps (Pets, People, Places).” The multi-artist exhibit at Art for the People began as an idea to acknowledge gratitude for companion animals and expanded to include all animals and other entities that make a difference in the world, with a total of 55 local artists participating. Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and Tuesdays by appointment, through Jan. 27. 1711 S. First St. artforthepeoplegallery.com/exhibitions/3ps-pets-people-places.
Big Medium. Zack Ingram: “Skin Thick.” Big Medium is showcasing the winner of the inaugural Tito’s Prize winner, Ingram, a local artist who focuses on print and sculpture work. The Tito’s Prize is a partnership with Tito’s Handmade Vodka that awards $15,000 to help grow the recipient artist’s career. Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday through Dec. 16. 916 Springdale Road, Building 2, Suite 101. bigmedium.org.
Blanton Museum. “Austin Collects Contemporary: Selections from the Blanton’s Recent Gift from The Contemporary” celebrates the Contemporary Austin’s recent gift to the Blanton and underscores both galleries’ commitment to building a world-class collection of contemporary art in Austin. Through Dec. 30. “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip.” This multi-artist exhibit explores the photographic road trip as a genre and America as an imaginative resource, presenting the stories of photographers for whom the American road was muse. Through Jan. 7. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. $5-$9. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 512-471-5482, blantonmuseum.org.
The Contemporary Austin. John Bock’s “Dead + Juicy” centers around a film newly commissioned by the Contemporary Austin that was shot in and around Austin. The Jones Center also brings together new and existing work from Wangechi Mutu, anchored by a new, site-specific edition of “Throw,” an action painting generated by a performance in which Mutu throws black paper pulp against the wall, creating an abstract composition that dries, hardens, and then degrades over time. Both exhibits through Jan. 14. Plus new works in the sculpture park at Laguna Gloria. Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (gallery); 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (grounds). $3-$5 (free on Tuesdays). 512-453-5312, thecontemporaryaustin.org.
Davis Gallery. “Botanical Eclipse.” In his latest series, on display for a solo show, artist Matthew Fuller explores the constant, interconnected cycle of life forces flowing through our universe by creating magnified images of both earthly life and cosmic events. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 13. 837 W. Twelfth St. 512-477-4929, davisgalleryaustin.com.
De Stijl. “You I I I Everything Else.” The immersive, collaborative body of work by artists Elizabeth McDonald Schwaiger and Seth Orion Schwaiger explores the original function of the De Stijl gallery building, a modest bungalow, and creates a domestic environment. 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday through Dec. 16. 1006 W. 31st St. 512-354-0868, destijlaustin.com.
Dimension Gallery. “Sculp-chur.” This monthlong group exhibit represents a “product line” that consists of one-of-a-kind small sculptures packaged to mimic retail presentation. Each piece is an original artwork presented as if it just came out of a snack vending machine. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and by appointment. 979 Springdale Road. dimensiongallery.org.
Icosa Collective. “Tiger Strikes Austin.” The gallery’s last show of the year is a collaboration with artist-run spaces in Los Angeles — Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Monte Vista Projects — marking an effort to work with other groups sharing the same self-determining and organizing philosophy. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment through Jan. 6. 702 Shady Lane, Suite 190. icosacollective.com.
Link & Pin. “Heads in the Clouds.” The latest art from Jeffrey Butterworth depicts what a seemingly normal existence can yield, not shying away from flatulence, sex-crazed middle-age men and cats with breasts. Opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, with no hours on Christmas Eve, through Dec. 30. Link & Pin, 2235 E. Sixth St. #102. 512-900-8952, linkpinart.com.
Lora Reynolds Gallery. “The Last Tree on the Planet.” Jason Middlebrook’s fourth show features his new sculptures and drawings, inspired by a scene in the recent blockbuster “Blade Runner 2049” that depicted the last tree on earth. By isolating his paintings from the slabs of wood he typically paints on, he is imagining a world without trees. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday through Feb. 3. 360 Nueces St. Suite 50. lorareynolds.com.
Mass Gallery. “Staycation 2: What in the World?” This multi-artist exhibit highlights pieces from 10 Austin-based artists whose works — from glitched landscapes and Ikea geology to CNC-routed naturalism and homespun science — articulate humanity’s complex relationship to the natural world. 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 through Dec. 10; additional shows 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 15 and 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 16. 507 Calles St. #108. massgallery.org.
The People’s Gallery. 13th Annual Exhibition. The People’s Gallery in City Hall features a wide array of painting, sculpture, drawing and other media by nearly 90 artists across Central Texas. 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday through early January 2018. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St. Free. 512-974-7700, austintexas.gov/department/peoples-gallery.
Ransom Center. “Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce and Cultural Exchange, 1920-1945.” The Ransom Center’s newest exhibition “explores two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (Thursday until 7 p.m.), noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Jan. 1. Free. 300 W. 21st St. 512-471-8944, hrc.utexas.edu.
Stephen L. Clark Gallery. “Notes on the Universe.” The internationally acclaimed photographer and Lamar University professor Keith Carter will show off his recent works, which attempt to reflect hidden meanings in the real world. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Jan. 13. 1101 W. Sixth St. artnet.com/galleries/stephen-l-clark-gallery/.
Texas Folklife. “The Master & The Apprentice: Highlights from the Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program” features tools, instruments, finished works, photographs, audio, video and other documentation to show off the success of the apprenticeship program. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday through Jan. 12. 1708 Houston St. 512-441-9255, texasfolklife.org.
Wally Workman Gallery. “Light.” This group show will feature new works from more than 30 of the gallery’s artists, including Ian Shults, Honora Jacob, Diana Greenberg and Will Klem, exploring the idea of light. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Dec. 23. 1202 W. Sixth St. 512-472-7428, wallyworkmangallery.com.
Women and Their Work. “Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet.” In this solo show, Rachel Stuckey dissects the emotional pull of technology — our dependence on it and fears of what it can be used for — using video, site-specific projection, and custom software. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 11. 1710 Lavaca St. 512-477-1064, womenandtheirwork.org.
Yard Dog Art Gallery. “Odd Pottery” is a collection of new works by Waxahachie potter Carl Block, who takes the Southern folk art face jug in a very contemporary direction — equal parts Appalachian tradition and tattoo shop irreverence. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 29. 1510 S. Congress Ave. 512-912-1613, yarddog.com.
“An Early Christmas.” Texas Early Music Project will deliver a rich feast of Christmas music through the ages, ranging from medieval Spain and England to baroque France and Germany and beyond, encompassing more than 500 years of love, hope and joy. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave. 3 p.m. Sunday, First Presbyterian Church of Austin, 8001 Mesa Drive. $5-$30. early-music.org.
Charlie Brown Christmas. The Austin Chamber Music Center re-creates Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy take on Christmas standards from the 1965 television special, a beloved holiday classic. $22-$37. 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org. — Deborah Sengupta Stith
Handel’s “Messiah.” The Austin Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Austin are once again partnering up to perform the music of Handel’s “Messiah,” which includes the beloved “Hallelujah Chorus.” The symphony’s show has become a holiday tradition. 8 p.m. Tuesday. $25-$60. Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway. austinsymphony.org.
NEW THIS WEEK
Theater & dance
“The Nutcracker.” For the 55th year, Ballet Austin will dance the Tchaikovsky classic to life with choreography from the troupe’s visionary Stephen Mills and live accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional performances Dec. 19-21, through Dec. 23. $19.20-$89. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. balletaustin.org.
“A Christmas Carol: A New Musical.” This new musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, playing at the Georgetown Palace Theater, features original songs along with the familiar carols and songs of Christmas that we all want to hear. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 30. 810 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. georgetownpalace.com.
“La Pastorela.” In this bilingual retelling of a beloved story, a group of shepherds are traveling to Belén, where the angel San Miguel has told them that the redeemer will be born. The shepherds represent DREAMers seeking a hopeful future. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 17. $15-$20. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. teatrovivo.org.
“The Fine Art of Star Wars.” There will be a two-night opening weekend for this exhibit of pieces related to the blockbuster “Star Wars” franchise, the lastest film of which will hit theaters the following week. “The Fine Art of Star Wars” features original canvas works, limited-edition giclees, vintage film posters and other collectibles. RSVP required to attend. Opening reception 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 7. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. arton5th.com.
“Season’s Jewels.” Members of the more than 50-year-old Capitol Art Society group will have their work on display at North Hills Art Gallery. Opening reception 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 2. 7050 Village Center Drive. 512-345-4546, nwhillsumc.org.
COMEDY THIS WEEK
“Barrio Daze.” The Latino Comedy Project presents an encore of artistic director Adrian Villegas’ critically-acclaimed solo comedy, a sprawling and irreverent one-man tour through a single day in the barrio. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Dec. 16. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive. barriodaze.eventbrite.com.
Cap City Comedy Club. Special Event: Bruce Bruce, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $28-$33. Dudley & Bob + Matt Live Sideshow, 8 p.m. Tuesday, $15. Nate Bargatze, 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, $15-$20. 8120 Research Blvd. No. 100. 512-467-2333, capcitycomedy.com.
ColdTowne Theater. In 1971, Elvis Presley and a calvacade of stars taped a musical Christmas special for broadcast television that mysteriously never aired. “Elvis’ Rockin’ Nativity” is that special. 7 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday through Dec. 23. $10. 4803 Airport Blvd. coldtownetheater.com.
Esther’s Follies. It’s the Holly, Jolly Follies — the most wonderful time of the year. At least it is at Esther’s, where the performers are turning their comedic sights on holiday tradition and dysfunction in the White Houe with “A Trump Family Christmas” and “The Trump Wives Club.” Esther’s troupe will also roll out its annual “Esther’s Follies Dysfunctional Family Holiday” with burnt ham, stiff drinks and family secrets. 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday in December. $25-$35. 525 E. Sixth St. 512-320-0198, esthersfollies.com.
Hideout Theatre. “Dance Dreams: Life in Dance, Improvised” goes behind the scenes of a ballet company — behind the tulle and ribbon, the sweat and callouses — to reveal a troupe of driven, ambitious artists who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams. Each week, “Dance Dreams” improvises the story of this ficitonal dance company, covering their struggles, triumphs and rivalries. 8 p.m. Saturday through Dec. 23. $15. 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.com.
The Institution Theater. “God vs. the Devil: Pushing the Boundaries of Purgatory” is an improvised theatrical competition with the highest stakes imaginable. Conceived to break theatrical and improv conventions and boundaries, the cast of this hilairous show will pull out all the stops in the battle for their souls. 10 p.m. Friday through Dec. 15. $5-$10. 3708 Woodbury Drive. theinstitutiontheater.com.
The New Movement. “School Night,” 7 p.m. Sunday. Plus more improv and stand-up shows throughout the week. $7-$10. The New Movement, 616 Lavaca St. 512-696-2590, newmovementtheater.com.
The Velveeta Room. Five: 15 Show with Austin’s Finest, 11 p.m. Friday. $10. Rich Vos with Joe Hafkey, 9 p.m. Friday, 9 and 11 p.m. Saturday. $15. 521 E. Sixth St. 512-469-9116, thevelveetaroom.com.