The scoop on our favourite holiday theatre shows in 2020

Holiday shows will look a bit different this year. Most of the city’s favourite productions are happening online though some are cancelled completely, including the National Ballet‘s annual Nutcracker production. While nothing beats going to the theatre on a winter night, especially around the holidays, there are some benefits to catching a show from home, including less expensive tickets, warmer surroundings and the cheer that comes with seeing favourites on stage despite the climate outside.

Here’s how you can still watch your favourite holiday shows while staying safe.

Ross Petty’s Holiday Pantomime is a beloved Toronto tradition. This show will go on, but it will go on virtually this time around. We caught up with Ross, and he assured us that there would be a show this year called There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays. If you think that the show’s name sounds a lot like The Wizard of Oz, you’re right on target. Ross’s new show will feature Plumbum as played by Dan Chameroy; the hilarious Eddie Glen who returns for his 18th year; Camille Eanga-Selenge as Dorothy; AJ Bridel as the Holiday Spirit; and the Evil presence of Sara-Jeanne Hosie. The show will also include a magician, a dance troupe and the recent fourth-place finisher from TV show America’s Got Talent, Robert Battaglia. Tickets are $35 per family.  The one-hour show will be available for viewing anytime from 10 a.m to 9 p.m. on December 19 and 20. For more details, visit www.rosspetty.com.

Soulpepper’s Christmas Carol: Soulpepper won’t be doing a full virtual production of their holiday classic A Christmas Carol this year, but the company is “…working on some familiar holiday programming, virtually.” The representative we spoke with wasn’t quite ready to dole out details, but you can expect an announcement from the folks at Soulpepper in the next two weeks. Here’s where you can find more information: https://www.soulpepper.ca/.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir: the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and especially their performance of Handel’s Messiah is a popular holiday show for many choral music fans. This year, the choir will be performing an online version of the Festival of Carols on Dec. 16. You can purchase tickets to the online event through the choir’s main website at https://www.tmchoir.org/.

The National Ballet of Canada: the National Ballet of Canada will not be performing the Nutcracker this year. Sadly, the ballet has cancelled the entire winter season. The ballet issued a press release last week, cancelling all forthcoming shows until further notice. The ballet does have a number of interesting digital offerings this year, however, including the upcoming Spotlight Series. Check their website for full information.

A Celtic Family Christmas: Canadian fiddling duo Natalie McMaster and Donnelly Leahy have performed their holiday show many times over the last few years. This time, they will do so virtually in an effort to encourage audiences to support their local theatres, which are struggling during the pandemic. The fiddle power couple is partnering with HomePlay for a series of shows through the holiday season. Buying tickets for the show on Dec. 3 will help support our own Harbourfront Centre.

Article exclusive to TRNTO