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York's Best of December entertainment calendar
Christmas Magic opens at Rocky Ridge County Park in Springettsbury Township.
York City will celebrate Light Up Night over two days this year. The festivities begin Friday, Dec. 1, with First Friday activities including Jazz in the City at 5 p.m. at the Strand Studio; lighting up the Royal Square District at 6 p.m.; and a free screening of "A Muppet Christmas Carol" at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 50 N. George St.
Light Up York has expanded to a full day of activities starting at noon Saturday, Dec. 2. Events include a gingerbread-themed escape room at Rex/Laurel Fire Co., on the corner of Duke and Princess streets; photos with Santa at Martin Library, 3-5 p.m.; "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre; and the lighting of the York City Christmas Tree at Continental Square at 5 p.m. Information: www.downtownyorkpa.com/events.
The biggest light show in York County continues at Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights in Rocky Ridge County park. The annual extravaganza features a half-mile trail decked out with lights, animations, trains, entertainment and food, along with stops at enclosed, heated buildings. Times: 6-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, through Dec. 31, closed Dec. 24 and 25. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children 4-12, under 4 free, seniors 60+ $9. Information and weather closings: www.yorkcountypa.gov.
DreamWrights Center for Community Arts presents "It's a Wonderful Life," Dec. 1-17 at the theater, 100 Carlisle Ave. The play follows the tale from the classic movie about George Bailey, who discovers how much his life has meant as he's about to throw it all away. Showtimes: 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: $10 general admission in advance, $14 reserved, $12 at the door. Information: www.dreamwrights.org or 717-848-8623.
Check out the magic of the elaborate model train layout at the Miniature Railroad Club of York's Annual Holiday Open House, open through Jan. 14. The 2,400-square-foot layout takes freight and passenger trains over 1,200 feet of track through scenes from around Pennsylvania during the 1960s and '70s. Hours: 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Address: 391 Wheatfield St. Donations accepted. Information: 717-434-4277 or www.mrrcy.org.
The Hershey Handbell Ensemble returns to the St. John's Concert Series for a free concert, Saturday, Dec. 2. The 15 members of the group performs seasonal music on seven octaves of handbells, handchimes and assorted other instruments. Showtime: 7 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 140 N. Beaver St. Information: www.stjohnyork.com.
Hear the cutting edge in brass quintets as Canadian Brass takes the stage, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Strand Theatre in the Appell Center, 50 N. George St. The group is known for genre-bending versatility and joyous performances, and the concert features the York County Honors Choir. Tickets start at $29.25. Information: appellcenter.org.
Singer and songwriter Michael Bolton comes to the stage at the Pullo Center on the campus at Penn State York. Bolton has won Grammys and American Music Awards, had nine No. 1 singles and has worked with such diverse talent as BB King, Lady Gaga and Barbra Streisand. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. Tickets: $60. Information: pullocenter.york.psu.edu.
Pianist Jim Brickman comes to the Pullo Center Thursday, Dec. 7, for "A Joyful Christmas." The Grammy-nominated songwriter is taking his Christmas music on tour for the 21st year. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30, $45, $75 VIP. Information: pullocenter.york.psu.edu.
Orangemite Studios brings "A Winter's Tale" to two local venues Dec. 8-15. Shakespeare's romance takes audiences through tragedy and comedy while traveling through time and seasons. Showtimes: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Dover Area High School; 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 at DreamWrights Center for the Community Arts, 100 Carlisle Ave. Tickets: $10. Information: orangemite.org.
A musical "A Christmas Carol" comes to life Dec. 8-10 at the York Learning Center, 300 N. Seventh Ave., North York. The classic Dickens tale of the miser Scrooge who is visited by three spirits who change his life was adapted by director and TAFE found Diane Crews and musical director Jacquie Sutton. Showtimes: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Information: christmascarolbytafe.eventbrite.com.
Long time music educator Jaquie Sutton works with the Theatre Arts for Everyone cast of Christmas Carol.
Take a train ride into the holidays with the Christmas City Express, Dec. 8-17 on the Ma & Pa Railroad. The train takes riders through the Muddy Creek Valley while they hear the story of a girl on her way to her grandparents' house aboard a train that gets stranded in a blizzard. Times: 7 p.m. Fridays, 5 and 7 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 children, includes snowflake ornament and cookies and hot chocolate. Infomation: www.MaAndPaRailroad.com or 717-927-9565.
Watch two very different versions of a holiday classic as the Midstate Ballet of Greater York Dance performs "The Nutcracker" and "The Hip Nut," Dec. 8-10 at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, 50 N. George St. "The Hip Nut," 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, tells a modern-day story of a girl who is saved from a group of gangsters by a Nutcracker, who then stars in her dreams. "The Nutcracker," 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, is the classic ballet, with music by Tchaikovsky and the story of the Nutcracker who leads Clara through the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of Sweets. Tickets: starting at $22.25 adults, $17.75 children. Information: appellcenter.org.
Grammy Award winners Steep Canyon Rangers come to York Friday, Dec. 8, courtesy of WXPN. The celebrated bluegrass band has backed Steve Martin and played at Carnegie Hall, along with producing 10 studio albums and touring across the country. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at the Capitol Theatre, 50 N. George St. Tickets start at $30. Information: appellcenter.org.
The Unforgettable Big Band brings its Christmas Spectacular to the stage at the Belmont Theatre Dec. 8-10. The concert includes the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn arrangement of "The Nutcracker," along with other holiday classics. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday at the theater, 27 S. Belmont St. Information: www.thebelmont.org.
Country star Chase Rice headlines the Jingle Bell Jam, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at the York Expo Center's Utz Arena. Rice's hits include "Ready, Set, Roll" and "Gonna Wanna Tonight," and his newest album, "Lambs and Lions," includes seven songs he co-wrote. Tickets: $15. All concertgoers who bring a nonperishable food item for LifePath Christian Ministries will receive a coupon for Bricker's fries. Information: yorkexpo.com.
"American Idol" winner Scott McCreery brings his Hits and Holiday, Live! show to the Strand Theatre, 50 N. George St. The country musician shot to stardom at age 17, and since then he's debuted three consecutive albums at No. 1 on a Bilboard chart. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Tickets start at $36. Information: appellcenter.org.
The mellow jazz sounds of Kenny G come to the Strand Theatre, 50 N. George St., on Monday, Dec. 18. The Grammy-winning saxophonist has topped charts in a variety of genres since the early '80s, and he's sold more than 75 million recordings worldwide. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49.50. Information: appellcenter.org.
Welcome to the Kit Kat Club. The Pullo Center presents "Cabaret — The Musical," 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22 at the stage on the campus of Penn State York. The production is based on the Roundabout Theatre Co.'s Tony-winning staging, bringing Sally Bowles, the Emcee and the ensemble to life with "Willkommen," "Maybe This Time" and more showstoppers. Tickets: $35-%64. Information: pullocenter.york.psu.edu.
Ring in the New Year the traditional way, with "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. at the Capitol Theatre, 50 N. George St. The film screening includes a live shadow cast onstage and event grab bag, and the VIP package comes with a pre-show party, Champagne toast, costume contest and Virgin Ritual at 8 p.m. Tickets: general admission $25, VIP option $40. Information: appellcenter.org.
Welcome 2018 with New Year's Eve festivities through downtown York on New Year's Eve. A Kids Countdown will have family-friendly entertainment 5-8 p.m. at Central Market, and some market vendors will have food and rinks for sale. At 10 p.m,, a DJ dance party begins on Continental Square, ending with the White Rose drop at midnight and a fireworks display. Information: www.yorkcity.org.