“A Christmas Carol” Two Ways
There are two ways to experience Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this year, and they take advantage of two very different mediums. At Ford’s Theatre, where “A Christmas Carol” has been the featured seasonal entertainment since 1979, it’s not possible for audiences to pack into the seats to watch Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and the ghosts. Still, Ford’s isn’t giving up on Dickens yet. Instead of filming the play, Ford’s has adapted the story into a one-hour radio play, with actor Craig Wallace reprising his frequent stage role as Scrooge. Elsewhere, Paul Morella really immerses himself in “A Christmas Carol” during the holiday season: Not only did he adapt and direct the one-man performance at Olney Theatre Center, he portrays dozens of characters throughout. He has brought Dickens’s tale to life at Olney since 2010, and this year, it’s available to purchase and watch “as many times as you like” at home. Ford’s Theatre: Available for streaming through Jan. 1 at fords.org. WAMU-FM (88.5) will also broadcast the play at noon on Dec. 25. Free. Olney Theatre Center: Available for streaming Dec. 15 through Jan. 3 at olneytheatre.org. $15-$20.
The Cathedral Choral Society’s “Joy of Christmas”
The Cathedral Choral Society has been hosting its “Joy of Christmas” concerts at Washington National Cathedral since 1976, and that experience shows in the program, which was recorded live at the Cathedral: There are crowd-pleasers, including “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” sung by a 20-person chorus; quartets performing the 16th century “Coventry Carol” and Holst’s 20th century arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter”; and a solo organ version of the spiritual “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” Available for streaming at cathedralchoralsociety.org. Free.
Manassas Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”
Staging “The Nutcracker” during a pandemic presents a number of challenges. For the Manassas Ballet Theatre, which is releasing a recording of its annual production, it’s a numbers game. For social distancing reasons, a maximum of 20 dancers can be onstage at George Mason’s Hylton Performing Arts Center at the same time, so artistic director Amy Wolf had to modify the staging, cutting the number of snowflakes in half. Rehearsals presented their own problems, but some of the paired dancers are husband-and-wife duos or live in the same household, which allows them to practice in close contact. Still, Wolf is excited for the company, which will release two versions with different casts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Viewers from as far as Australia and Italy have tuned in for other performances, and Wolf plans to make all of the company’s shows available online in the future. Available for streaming for 30 days starting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 at manassasballet.org. $25.
Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Show
Is your TV big enough to hold Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Show? The local dance troupe mixes stepping, a form of dance driven by stomping and clapping, with African dance, hip-hop and marching band precision. Its annual holiday performance, with propulsive rhythms and audience participation dances, is one of the most energetic and inspiring in town. Step Afrika brings the show to YouTube and Facebook Live free this year, with performances by DJ Frosty the Snowman and mascots Popper the penguin and Pinky and Polo the polar bear twins. Available for streaming through Jan. 1 at stepafrika.org. Free.
Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-a-Long From Home
While families won’t pack the Filene Center to sing merrily with local choral groups and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band this year, Wolf Trap is helping replicate the experience at home. The streaming broadcasts from Dec. 5 and 19 include prerecorded performances by the Marine Band, and singalong versions of carols and seasonal songs. Program book and song lyrics are available on the Wolf Trap website. Available for streaming at wolftrap.org. Free.