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Holiday show central in downtown Tacoma

Broadway Center has five great shows in December

The Seattle Men’s Chorus goes all out to put audiences in a merry mood at Home for the Holidays. Photo courtesy of the Broadway Center

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In December, virtually all entertainment revolves around the winter holidays.

Sure, life as usual goes on, but you'd never know it by listening to the radio, where carols and the unfortunate "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" take over many stations.

Or by watching TV, where special holiday episodes give way to holiday specials and yet another airing of It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story.

At theaters, the story is the same, and it usually has something to do with reindeer or camels or snow. The Broadway Center's four theaters are stuffed like a holiday turkey with festive events aimed to please all but the Grinchiest of your friends and family.

"December is always our busiest month," said Mariesa Bus, a spokeswoman for the center.

Here's our guide to the holiday treats at the center this month:

Merry men

The Seattle Men's Chorus, the Nation's largest gay chorus, is known for its irreverent attitude as much as its beautiful singing, and its annual holiday concerts in particular feature lots of laughs along with Christmas classics.

This year's concert, Home for the Holidays, will be Dennis Coleman's last holiday concert. After 34 years directing the group, he's stepping down as artistic director at the end of the season.

Go see it with: Your niece who's devoted to singing in her high school choir; your friend who loves listening to the Savage Love podcast; or anyone who is too hip for traditional carols.

Seattle Men's Chorus presents Home for the Holidays, 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, Pantages Theater, $19-$69

Seasonal smorgasbord

The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra's Sounds of the Season, with vocals by Ross Hauck and the Tacoma Youth Chorus, features both classical and contemporary music, ranging from "Carol of the Bells," based on a traditional Ukrainian folk chant, to tunes from the popular 1990 film Home Alone. The performance ends with a sing-along.

Go see it with: Your aunt who loves classical music; your friend who has a grand piano; or anyone who loves to sing in the shower.

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra presents Sounds of the Season, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, Pantages Theater, $19-$79

Ballet "Nuts"

The Tacoma City Ballet version of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet is known for its vintage sets and glittery costumes - and for the addition of a prologue that tells parts of the story usually left to the imagination. And this year, the ballet will be accompanied for the first time by the Tacoma City Ballet Orchestra.

Go see it with: Your daughter who takes ballet (or loves to dress in a tutu) and anyone who can't get enough of holiday traditions.

Tacoma City Ballet presents The Nutcracker & The Tale of the Hard Nut, 3 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20, Pantages Theater, $15-$100

Olden days

Ye Olde Merry Holiday (TV) Spectacular, an original Broadway Center production, aims to take audiences back to the days of Christmas specials with Bing Crosby and Perry Como. The new show blends song, dance and comedy.

Go see it with: Those who appreciate local theater and anyone who remembers the Crosby and Como specials.

Ye Olde Merry Holiday (TV) Spectacular, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 and 3 p.m. Dec. 20, $19-$49, Theatre on the Square

Reveling in the holidays

The Christmas Revels celebrates the holidays - and traditions from different cultures - with theater, song, dance and audience participation. This year, the show has a Nordic theme, with traditional instruments, folk costumes and even trolls.

"Music is the heart of it," Puget Sound Revels Executive Director Mary Lynn told the Volcano in 2011. "It is short on plot, long on theme. It's just an unusual thing."

See it with: Your friend who loves Renaissance fairs and your sister-in-law who celebrates the Solstice.

The Christmas Revels, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19; 1 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22; and 2 p.m. Dec. 23, Rialto Theater Broadway Center, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5894,

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