For many people, the holiday spirit comes alive at theater, ballet, and musical performances that celebrate the season. And residents of area communities can take in, and take part i n, a rich array of offerings:
■ On Friday, Lexington Symphony and music director Jonathan McPhee present family-friendly Holiday Pops, with a shorter show of 45 minutes (and a visit from Santa) at 4 p.m., and a 90-minute program at 8 p.m. for adults and older children. Favorite features include sing-along and popular holiday standards. Tickets for the earlier performance are $20 for adults and $8 children; the evening concert is $40 for adults, $20 for students. Available at www.lexingtonsymphony.org, by phone at 781-523-9009, in person at Crafty Yankee, 1838 Mass. Ave., Lexington (cash or check only), and at the door at Cary Hall, 1605 Mass. Ave. in Lexington.
■ Calliope Productions completes its 30th season with a production of the family Christmas musical “Scrooge,” based on the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Performance dates are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and next Sunday, as well as Dec. 7, 8, and 9 at the Calliope Productions Theatre, 150 Main St., Boylston. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday; matinee performances are at 2 p.m. on both Sundays and on Dec. 8. Tickets are $18 for regular admission, $15 for students and senior citizens, and may be reserved by calling 508-869-6887 or at www.calliopeproductions.org.
■ Newton greets the season on Dec. 6 with a sing-along featuring an hour of holiday songs led by family entertainer Stacey Peasley, followed by an outdoor tree lighting ceremony at City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave., Newton Centre. Singing begins at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but participants are asked to bring a nonperishable food item for donation to the Centre Street Food Pantry. For more information, go to www.newtoncommunitypride.org.
■ The Legacy Dance Company, a nationally recognized, pre-professional company for dancers ages 12 to 18, presents its eighth annual Holiday Dance Party Spectacular, with performances Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St. in Arlington. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and seniors. For tickets or more information, go to www.regenttheatre.com.
■ The Back Bay Ringers, one of New England’s leading hand-bell ensembles, has prepared a special holiday concert, “Let it Snow!” The program will feature traditional favorites, including “Carol of the Bells” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” as well as original compositions for hand bells, next Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Amazing Things Arts Center, 160 Hollis St., Framingham. Tickets are $15, or $12 for seniors and students. For more details, go to www.backbayringers.org. .
■ Commonwealth Ballet, under the artistic direction of Chip Morris, presents over 80 local dancers along with guest artists from American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet in a classic version of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. in the Eleanor Welch Casey Theatre at Regis College, 235 Wellesley St. in Weston. Tickets are $20-$35. To purchase or for more information, call 978-263-7794 or go to www.commonwealthballet.org.
■ Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston celebrates the holidays with its 30th annual presentation of “Christmas Time.” This singing and dancing spectacular, with beautiful costumes and scenery, features a Victorian Christmas, City Sidewalks, a hand- bell choir, the Teddy Bears’ Nutcracker, the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, and the Living Nativity. Performances are Dec. 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $34-$50 for adults; $3 discount for seniors (60+); tickets for ages 5-18 are $25. Tickets may be purchased online at www.reaglemusictheatre.com, by phone at 781-891-5600, or in person at the Robinson Theatre box office, 617 Lexington St. in Waltham.
■ Guest artists Erica Cornejo, a Boston Ballet principal dancer, and Carlos Molina, former American Ballet Theatre soloist and a Boston Ballet principal, will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in the Franklin Performing Arts Company’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” Performances are Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Thomas D. Mercer Auditorium, 224 Oak St. in Franklin. The company’s production features more than 100 dancers from 25 communities and area dance schools. The orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s classic score under the direction of Peter Cokkinias. Austro-Italian violinist Olivia de Prato, an internationally recognized soloist and chamber musician from New York City, is concert mistress. Tickets are $26 to $30, and may be purchased at the troupe’s box office, 34 Main St. in Franklin, at its website, www.fpaconline.com, or by phone at 508-528-8668. Continued...