Heroes for the holidays
The Eagle Theatre's "Christmas Spectacular," a jukebox musical, is a great excuse to listen to favorite Christmas tunes, such as "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls" and "O Holy Night," sung by stage veterans. The production is family-friendly with a story about coming together at the holidays.
Eagle Theatre, 208 Vine St., Hammonton, N.J., 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6, Dec. 7; 3 p.m., Dec. 8, $12 adults, $10 children, 609-704-5012, theeagletheatre.com.
This time of year wouldn't be complete without a viewing of the classic Frank Capra flick "It's a Wonderful Life." But after too many viewings, even the most heartwarming of holiday films can lose its luster. Actor Jerry Richardson remixes the movie by portraying all 32 Bedford Falls-based characters, including George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart on-screen) and his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers in the movie version).
People's Light & Theatre, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, through Dec. 23, $35 adults, $25 children, 610-644-3500, peopleslight.org.
Can you haunt yourself? Actor Alan Safier will answer that question during his performance of the musical "Humbug!" based on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Safier will take on every part from Ebenezer Scrooge to Tiny Tim.
Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol, 8 p.m., Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday; 3 p.m., Sunday, $30-$45, 215-785-0100, brtstage.org.
The Brandywine River Museum's annual distribution of thousands of ornaments crafted from bits of nature's bounty - the "Critter Sale" - is this weekend. Arrive early to get your mittens on the cutest teasel reindeer, cornhusk angels and twig table-toppers. (Seriously, they go fast.)
Brandywine River Museum and Conservancy, 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, free (sale only; museum admission $10 adults; $8 seniors, students and children over 6; free 5 and under), 610-388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org.
Carol in the hay
Media's Linvilla Orchards has a hayride for every occasion, and wintertime is no different. The bundled-up family affair has the whole wagon wassailing around the 300-acre farm, and includes a campfire sing-along replete with roasted marshmallows. On your way in or out, cut your own tree and stock up on tinsel.
137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, 5 and 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, Dec. 22, $5, 610-876-7116, linvilla.com.
You mean to go every year. Now that there's an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can. Fairmount's fab five mansions have halls decked and cookies waiting for open-houseguests, offering inspiration for your own yuletide decorations (since there's more time to do that, too).
Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Ormiston and Woodford mansions, various locations, Fairmount Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, $5 per adult per house (free to children 12 and under), 215-685-0274, parkcharms.com.
Temple University's Symphony Orchestra, led by Luis Biava, its Jazz Band with Terell Stafford and Paul Rardin's Combined Choirs offer a multidimensional holiday treat.
Temple Performing Arts Center, Broad Street and Polett Walk, 7 p.m. Friday, free, 215-204-8301, temple.edu/boyer.
"Jubilate," the annual concert of sacred music for chorus and orchestra, led by the Academy of Vocal Arts' David Antony Lofton, moves up to holiday time to offer a wealth of resplendent seasonal music.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 104 Louella Ave., Wayne, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut St., 7 p.m. Sunday, $45, 215-735-1685, avaopera.org.
Old school rules
Public Enemy are still confronting and fronting at this hip-hop party with Whodini, YoYo and Biz Markie as special guests. Should be a pretty intimate joint, too, given the "half house" arena setup.
Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St., 7:30 p.m. Friday, $35, $45, $55, $65, $100, 800-298-4200, liacourascenter.com.
Enjoy earthy countrified rock with quirky, heady lyrics? Join the Assembly of Dust. Front man Reid Genauer vocalizes like The Eagles' Glen Frey, though their psychedelicized spirit is more akin to The Grateful Dead, Neil Young and Little Feat.
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 8 p.m. Friday, $16-$23, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Start a fire
While long a U.S. resident, Graham Parker still waves the "British garage rock" flag with honor and his current version of The Rumour. Chew first on The Figgs.
TLA, 334 South St., 8 p.m. Friday, $28-$38, 800-745-3000, livenation.com.
The coal miner's daughter
Country legend Loretta Lynn still refuses to lie down on the job. Local fave John Francis also favors us with song.
Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Ave., Glenside, 8 p.m. Friday, $55, 215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com.
Moonage day dream
Nashville, Tenn.'s, alt-rocking Moon Taxi got a buzz going at Bonnaroo and the Firefly Music Festival with a variegated, ever tuneful approach. They headline here with support from Philly's Grand Nationals and Cold Roses.
North Star, 27th and Poplar streets, 9 p.m. Friday, $10, 215-787-0488, northstarbar.com.
Holiday spirits I
Boggity, boggity shoe down the snowy lane with "A Rockin' Holiday Celebration" from The Duprees, The Legendary Teenagers, Shirley Alston Reeves (of The Shirelles), Eddie Holman and The Rip.
Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Ave., Glenside, 8 p.m. Saturday, $42.50-$52.50, 215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com.
Holiday spirits II
Dianne Reeves warms the jazzier notes of seasonal faves with "Christmas Time Is Here." Arrive early for hot chocolate and cookies.
Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St., 8 p.m. Saturday, $40-$75, 215-898-3900, annenbergcenter.org.
Holiday spirits III
Those naughty and nice cabaret darlings Pink Martini vow to drink and be merry at their holiday-themed show featuring warbler China Forbes.
Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Ave., Glenside, 8 p.m. Sunday, $26.25, $42.50, $52.50, 215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com.
Little guitar girl
All's supposed to be equal and noncommercial in shows put on by the music co-op Bomb the Music Industry! Still, we can't help but zero in on one participant, Laura Stevenson. A punk-styled singer/guitarist/bandleader, she's managed to both embrace and reject the influences of her grandfather Harry Simeone - whose self-named choir first popularized the holiday faves "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" - and his wife (Laura's grandmother) Margaret McCravy, a one-time singer in the Benny Goodman jazz band.
First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 8 p.m. Sunday, $10, 215-821-7575, r5productions.com.
Does the SoulJazz Orchestra qualify as electronic/dance music? Afro-Caribbean? Downtempo? Acid jazz? All that and more, explaining why you can't stand still when this funky, horn-flecked, polyrhythmic band lands onstage. Zongo Junction opens.
Upstairs at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 8 p.m. Sunday, $15, 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Another seasonal anthem
Our vote for nonsectarian pop rock song of the season goes to "Winter of Yes," a cheering promise to self to get off that duff, engage with the world and think positive. The tune hails from the new CD "The Fire Plays" by Ari Hest, a charming singer/songwriter you should also vow to encounter live. Rose Cousins opens.
Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 8 p.m. Tuesday, $16, 215-928-0978, tinangel.com.
Mark this date
Seasoned talent Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club fame) headlines with able support from local notables Scott Sax and Mike "Slo Mo" Brenner.
North Star, 27th and Poplar streets, 8 p.m. Thursday, $12, 215-787-0488, northstarbar.com.
Good kind of weird
Testing the theory that Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey" could get any trippier, the band Nightlands, a project from the War on Drugs' Dave Hartley, will perform an original score to the classic sci-fi flick. Mikele Edwards will open. Weirdness will definitely abound, in a good way.
PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., 7 p.m. Tuesday, $12 in advance, $14 day of, 267-519-9651, philamoca.org.
Symphonic highlights from Wagner's four-opera "Ring" cycle are the ideal showpieces for the Philadelphia Orchestra's glowing sonorities. Donald Runnicles also leads Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, with Lars Vogt as soloist.
Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce streets, 2 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday, $20-$119, 215-893-1999, philorch.org.
Viva El Sistema
Gustavo Dudamel, hot L.A. Philharmonic maestro and graduate of El Sistema, the Venezuelan system for training young musicians, finally visits with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in works by Chavez, and Orbon plus Strauss' massive Alpine Symphony.
Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce streets, 8 p.m. Wednesday, $40-$105, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.
The legendary Juilliard String Quartet returns to perform two of the three final, transcendent Beethoven Quartets - the astonishing Op. 131 and penultimate, seething Op. 132.
Independence Seaport Museum, Columbus Boulevard and Walnut Street, 8 p.m. Friday, $24, 215-569-8080, pcmsconcerts.org.
The Amerita Chamber Players, made up of moonlighting Philadelphia Orchestra musicians with flutist David Cramer as guest artist, play from the infinite catalog of Italian baroque concertos.
Temple Zion-Beth Israel, 18th and Spruce streets, 8 p.m. Wednesday, free, 215-735-3250, aisphila.org.
Astral Artists presents upcoming flutist Angel Hsiao in works from Bach to Berio, along with flutist Ya-Ting Yu and pianist Soyeon Kim.
Trinity Center, 2212 Spruce St., 3 p.m. Sunday, $20, 215-735-6999, astralartists.org.
- Compiled by Lauren McCutcheon, Jonathan Takiff, Molly Eichel, Chuck Darrow and Tom Di Nardo.