29 Things to Do in Metro Detroit This December

From a performance of ”The Nutcracker” by the Mosco Ballet to violinist Damien Escobar’s show at Royal Oak Music Theatre, there’s tons to do this month
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Damien Escobar
Damien Escobar photograph courtesy of AEG Presents

Ring in the holiday in metro Detroit with festive performances by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  the Bonstelle Theatre, and Moscow Ballet. Plus, violinist Damien Escobar, the All Star Comedy Festival, and comedian Debra DiGiovanni come to town.


A Christmas Carol

Based on the tale by Charles Dickens, this Christmas classic returns to Wayne State University’s campus for a fourth year. Dec. 4-15. $29+. Bonstelle Theatre, 3424 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2962; theatreanddanceatwayne.com

Manchester Orchestra

Joined by fellow indie rockers Foxing and Oso Oso, the band’s 2019 tour celebrates 10 years of their second album, Mean Everything to Nothing. Dec. 5. $26+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

Jeff Leeson

Featured on Sirius/XM radio, MTV, and The Bob and Tom Show, Leeson has been refining his unique improvisational style since he was 14 years old. Dec. 5-7. $10+. Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser photograph courtesy of Jimmy Fontaine

Straight No Chaser

Formed as a collegiate all-male a cappella group in 1996, Straight No Chaser members found internet fame in 2008, when a video of their version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” went viral, eventually leading to a record deal. The now professional a cappella group is touring in support of their latest album, One Shot, which features SNC’s renditions of hits such as Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.” Dec. 26. $36.50+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3200; 313presents.com

The 11th Annual Community Group Art Exhibition

In operation for more than 20 years, the Detroit Institute of Art’s Community Group program helps participants create meaningful works of art. Visitors can browse various pieces by the artists during this exhibition. Dec. 6-Jan. 5. No cost with museum admission. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

All Star Comedy Festival

This comedy lineup includes Lavell Crawford, featured on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and Earthquake, who has made appearances on HBO and Comedy Central. Dec. 7. $59+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3200; 313presents.com

Warren Miller’s Timeless

Named after American ski and snowboarding filmmaker and founder of Warren Miller Entertainment, the company’s 70th feature film pays tribute to the feeling of sliding down a snowy mountainside. Dec. 7. $20+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

O.A.R

Known for the 2008 hit “Shattered,” O.A.R. is joined by pop-rockers American Authors. Dec. 8. $40+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

Damien Escobar

The violinist, who graduated from the Julliard School of Music and performed at Obama’s inauguration, performs solo, bringing a mix of hip-hop, jazz, and classical. $45+. Dec. 10. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

Jackie Fabulous

The speaker, comedian, and America’s Got Talent veteran offers more than just a laugh with her relatable, uplifting material. Dec. 12-14. $20. Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

Cirque Dreams Holidaz
Cirque Dreams Holidaze photograph courtesy of Ian Ibbetson

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Somewhere between a Broadway musical and a circus, this festive show features holiday song numbers and spectacular feats, all performed by penguins, gingerbread men, reindeer, and even Santa Claus. Dec. 13-15. $34+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3333; 313presents.com

Mitchell Tenpenny Anything She Says Tour

The country musician is best known for his debut single, “Drunk Me,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. Dec. 14. $25+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

Too Hot to Handel

The Rackham Symphony Choir’s annual rendition of “Handel’s Messiah” fuses gospel, classical, and jazz music. Dec. 14. $37+. Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-237-7464; michiganopera.org

Bruegel’s “The Wedding Dance” Revealed

To honor the 450th anniversary of the artist’s death, this exhibition explores the history of one of the DIA’s most iconic pieces, Pieter Bruegel’s The Wedding Dance. Dec. 14-Aug. 30. No cost with museum admission. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

George Winston

The R&B and folk pianist has sold more than 15 million albums over 40 years. He will perform old favorites as well as his newer compositions. Dec. 15. $45+. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1818; theark.org

Will Downing and Friends

Downing is an R&B and soul singer-songwriter formerly of the group Unlimited Touch, and has been recording music since 1988. Dec. 15. $37+. Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-309-4614; 313presents.com

Hanson
Hanson photograph courtesy of AEG Presents

Hanson

Best-known for their single “MMMBop,” the ’90s boy band is embarking upon The Wintry Mix Tour, which will offer audiences a sneak peek of songs from their upcoming 2020 album, as well as holiday songs and old favorites. Dec. 17. $40+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com

Home Alone in Concert

The classic holiday film will play on the big screen, accompanied by a performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Dec. 18. $48+. Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111; dso.org

Michael W. Smith

The multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian music singer will be joined by a full symphony orchestra and special guest Marc Martel. This show will feature a selection of numbers from his vast collection of holiday albums. Dec. 18. $20+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-7000; 313presents.com

Home for the Holidays

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will perform classic holiday carols, and according to the elves, Santa may make an appearance as well. Dec. 20-22. $24+. Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111; dso.org

Bettye LaVette

Known for her album, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise, the soul singer weaves elements of blues, rock and roll, funk, gospel, and country into her renditions. Dec. 21. $30. Aretha’s Jazz Cafe At Music Hall, 350 Madison St., Detroit; 313-887-8501; jazzcafedetroit.com

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Grammy Award-winning neoclassical new-age group Mannheim Steamroller has sold more than 40 million albums and has been touring for 35 years. Dec. 21. $30+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit; 313-471-7000; 313presents.com

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker photograph courtesy of 313 Presents 3

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker 

The Moscow Ballet has toured North America during the holiday season since 1993 with over 100 Russian-trained classical dancers. Dec. 22. $29+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3200; 313presents.com

Zach Martina

The comedian’s big energy and dark jokes have appeared at Rock on the Range and the Best of the Midwest at Gilda’s Laughfest. Dec. 26-28. $10+. Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

British Arrows 2019

The British Arrow Awards celebrate England’s most creative television advertisements. This year’s winners have been assembled in a feature-length film — British Arrows 2019 — that offers playfulness, surprise, and hilarity. Dec. 26-30. $8+. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

Chulas Fronteras

Translated as Beautiful Borders, the film is an ode to the music and culture of the Texas-Mexico border. It has also been selected by the Library of Congress as a national treasure. Dec. 26-30. $8+. Detroit Film Theatre, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org

The Roots

Recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest live bands around (not to mention their three Grammy Awards), the acclaimed hip-hop group’s holiday tour is not to be missed. Dec. 27. $59+. The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; thefillmoredetroit.com

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Trans-Siberian Orchestra photograph courtesy of Mark Weiss

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories

The multi-platinum progressive rock group is known for their non-traditional take on Christmas songs that has been known to turn even the Scrooges of the Yuletide music world into avid converts. After 20 years and more than 1,200 shows, the group is amping up stage effects for their Christmas Eve and Other Stories tour, creating a true sensory experience as they perform songs from their album of the same name. Dec. 28. $50+. Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-3333; 313presents.com

Debra DiGiovanni

Named Canada’s favorite female comedian for three consecutive years, the Ontario native is playful but honest in her delivery. She appeared on the fifth season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Dec. 31. $28+. Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

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