'The Nutcracker'

The Dance Academy of Severna Park and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland will perform adaptations of "The Nutcracker," the traditional holiday favorite. Based on the story "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" by E.T.A. Hoffman, the ballet tells the story of Clara Stahlbaum, who receives a nutcracker for Christmas from her godfather, a magical toy maker. In the middle of the night, Clara falls asleep with her gift near the Christmas tree and is transported into a holiday fantasy with the Nutcracker Prince, Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairies. The romantic score by Tchaikovsky is accompanied by colorful scenery, vibrant costumes and talented dancers.

* The Dance Academy of Severna Park, 7 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. The group performs the classic ballet with a Rockettes-style holiday revue. Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park. $15; members, $12; children, $8. 410-636-6597 or www.chesapeakearts.org.

* Ballet Theatre of Maryland, 8 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 7 p.m. Dec. 17, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18. The dance company will host the annual "Sugar Plum Party" at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $30-$50. 410-263-5544, 410-263-8289 or www.marylandhall.org.

'A Christmas Carol'

Charles Dickens's ghostly 19th-century Christmas tale continues to convey the spirit of Christmas each holiday season. The Pasadena Theatre Company and the Colonial Players will perform versions. "A Christmas Carol" is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy businessman who dismisses the joy of Christmas. But on one holiday eve, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts -- Christmas Past, Christmas Present and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come -- who teach him the true meaning of the holiday.

* Pasadena Theatre Company, 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. This nonmusical adaptation will include a carol singalong before the performance. Anne Arundel Community College Humanities Recital Hall, 101 College Pkwy., Arnold. $15; theater company members and children 12 and younger, $12. 410-975-0200 or www.pasadenatheatrecompany.com.

* Colonial Players, 8 p.m. next Thursday and Dec. 15; 7 and 9 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16; 2, 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17; 2 p.m. Dec. 11; 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 18. A 25th-anniversary musical adaptation. Play and lyrics written by Richard Wade with music by Dick Gessner. East Street Theater, 108 East St., Annapolis. $7. 410-268-7373 or www.cplayers.com.

Scenes from "The Nutcracker."