'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker'
Balanchine's lush vision of the 19th-century classic consists of 130 roles, 95 of them for children. And if Oregon Ballet Theatre's sumptuous sets and costumes aren't enough, Niel DePonte's orchestra does a sublime job with Tchaikovsky's iconic score. It's wonderful holiday entertainment for revelers 6 to 60, and beyond.
- Eric Bartels
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. SUNDAY, noon Monday, Dec. 21-24, Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St., 503-222-5538, www.obt.org, $14-$130
'A Christmas Carol'
Portland Center Stage shows off its muscle with a satisfying production of Dickens' classic tale of redemption.
There are lots of neat bells and whistles in Mead Hunter's adaptation - a punk-rock Jacob Marley, a herd of elfin spirits with glowing diodes for eyes, and an operatic diva who rides in on a giant wreath - and Los Angeles import Wesley Mann is great as Scrooge.
It all makes for a big, crowd-pleasing spectacle equal to the high energy and hopeful spirits of the season.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SATURDAY and SUNDAY, Dec. 21-23, Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $28-$61.50, students $21.50, age 8 and under $16.50
'A Tuna Christmas'
Oregon Repertory Theatre makes its debut with the sequel to the hit comedy 'Greater Tuna.'
At dizzying speed, actors Jeffrey Jason Gilpin and Alan King portray all 22 residents of fictional Tuna, Texas.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 21-23, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, Dolores Winningstad Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway, 503-248-4335, www.oregonrep.org, $25-$42.50
Key Productions does a terrific job with William M. Hoffman's Tony-nominated 1985 play about the AIDS epidemic in America.
If this work is dated, then stories about suffering, selflessness and the power of a community to save itself are no longer meaningful. Great performances by Michael Teufel, David Berkson and a fine supporting cast, with sure direction by Michael Mendelson.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Dec. 21-22, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave., 503-781-3464, www.keypdx.com, $20
After its latest trip abroad, Imago Theatre's popular, long-running creature spectacular returns home for the holidays.
Calling this show puppetry is like calling Dr. Seuss a guy who wrote children's stories. It's great all-ages entertainment.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. SATURDAY, noon and 3 p.m. SUNDAY, 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, through Jan. 5 (times vary during run), Imago Theatre, 17 S.E. Eighth Ave., 503-231-9581, www.imagotheatre.com, $16-$31
'Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol'
In this Public Playhouse production, an all-woman cast offers Tom Mula's reworking of the Dickens classic, which makes Scrooge's deceased business partner the central character in the tale.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Dec. 21-22, CoHo Theater, 2257 N.W. Raleigh St., 503-922-0532, www.publicplayhouse.org, $14-$16
'The Holly Jolly Holiday Hullabaloo … Again'
Integrity Productions updates Little Red Riding Hood's adventure-filled trip to grandmother's with silliness and songs.
7 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. SATURDAY and SUNDAY, 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, through Dec. 29, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-286-3456, www.integrityproductions.org, $10, age 12 and under $5
'Roger and the Cave Monster'
The Portland Ensemble Theatre Company makes its debut with the world premiere of local playwright Craig Jessen's romantic comedy about a love match found in a cave.
Clever dialogue and mostly credible characters are stranded by sluggish story arc. Keith Mosman directs.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 21-23, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-544-6650, www.portlandetc.org, $10-$15
'Mars on Life: The Holiday Edition'
The popular Portland song stylist Susannah Mars offers her holiday extravaganza of music and good cheer.
As in the past, she plays host to a tasty menu of special guests. Entertainers Robert Hicks and Tom Grant visit this weekend.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through Dec. 30 (2 p.m. only Dec. 30), Artists Repertory Theatre Mainstage, 1516 S.W. Alder St., 503-241-1278, www.artistsrep.org, $20-$47
'Gone in 60 Sketches'
Watch an episode of 'Saturday Night Live.' Then watch this latest outpouring of irreverence from the 3rd Floor, Portland's smartest, funniest sketch comedy troupe. See which makes you laugh more.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through Dec. 29, Miracle Theatre, 525 S.E. Stark St., 503-627-9847, www.the3rdfloor.com, $10
Teams of improv comics compete in this weekly Brody Theater event, scoring points by riffing successfully on audience suggestions.
10:30 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 22, CoHo Theater, 2257 N.W. Raleigh St., 503-224-0688, www.brodytheater.com, $6-$8
John Yeon: In the Land of Influence
You might know John Yeon as the guy who designed McCall's, that boxy, teal-colored, now shuttered restaurant in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but this exhibition, reprised from the Portland Art Museum in 1977, shows there was far more to him than that.
Yeon (1910-94) was largely responsible for the evolution of the Northwest Regional Style in home building, he was an influential park designer, and his conservation efforts helped create the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.
All this, and he never formally trained as an architect.
- Joseph Gallivan
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 21, American Institute of Architects Oregon Chapter Portland Gallery, 403 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-223-8757, free
She's young, she's well-connected (Oprah-style) and she makes a mint.
Check out her popular tropical scenes including a seven-panel depiction of a rain forest: $500,000.
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, noon to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25), Lawrence Gallery, 903 N.W. Davis St., 503-228-1776, free
A House Divided
Abraham Lincoln wasn't on Facebook, but fortunately he left quite the paper trail.
Learn about America's best Republican by viewing a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, his letter declining the opportunity to become the governor of Oregon (his loss) and plenty of photos of him, young and old.
Who knew they had, like, cameras back then?
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY-SATURDAY, noon to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday (closed Dec. 25), through March 31, Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., www.ohs.org, 503-222-1741, $10