Where to see holiday lights in San Antonio plus river parade, Christmas music, markets, Nutcracker – San Antonio Express-News

The most important thing to know about the Divas of Eastwood’s first Christmas show is this: Get your tickets now.

“Whenever we do a show, our hope and our prayer is to sell it out,”  Cassandra L. Small said. “This one might be heading in that direction.”

The show, “Making a Joyful Noise: A Musical Holiday Journey,” is just one of many holiday-themed entertainment options slated for the weeks ahead. Others include two productions of “A Christmas Carol,” “Baby Shark Live! The Christmas Show,” several “The Nutcrackers” and a galaxy of holiday lights.

On ExpressNews.com: Travis Park ice rink returns for the holidays

They Divas have developed a devoted following for their original revues, which focus on the musical history of the East Side. This is their first holiday show. 

  The Divas of Eastwood -- Briana Epps, from left, Danielle King, Lainey Starr, Jessica “Jess Mahogany” Mitchell, Cassandra L. Small, Ellen Washington and Evonne Nathaniel -- are presenting their first holiday show. 

The Divas of Eastwood — Briana Epps, from left, Danielle King, Lainey Starr, Jessica “Jess Mahogany” Mitchell, Cassandra L. Small, Ellen Washington and Evonne Nathaniel — are presenting their first holiday show.
 

Kayla McKenzie

The hardest part of pulling “Making a Joyful Noise” together was probably deciding which songs to sing. They started with a list that ran for several pages, Danielle King said.

“We had to start cutting,” she said. “The list just kept going on and on, and so we were like, we can’t hold these people hostage.”

The Divas look forward to any opportunity to sing together, Small said.  

“We don’t take it where we are just doing shows,” she said. “We are ministering to people. Our prayer before we go onstage, we thank God for the people he sends us. And we know that God sends us people who are in need of what we can offer. They need 90 minutes away from whatever the thoughts or pressures or sadness or traumas they’re experiencing.”

“Making a Joyful Noise: A Musical Holiday Journey” takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Jo Long Theatre of the Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry. Tickets cost $35 at ticketmaster.com and the Carver box office. For more information, go to thecarver.org.

Here’s a look at many more ways to celebrate the holidays in San Antonio: 

Lights

Alamo Lights: The crew at the historic site has strung lights and created installations across the grounds for those who would like to take an after-hours tour. There will be live performances, and holiday food and drink Friday, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. 6-8 p.m. most nights Friday-Jan. 2, the Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza. $3-$5, thealamo.org.

Two girls run past neon flowers at Lightscape, a holiday light installation at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Lightscape is open through January 8, and features many new exhibits.

Two girls run past neon flowers at Lightscape, a holiday light installation at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Lightscape is open through January 8, and features many new exhibits.

Jessica Phelps

Lightscape: This is the second year the international light installation has alighted at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. A few favorites from last year are back, including the Winter Cathedral and the field of twinkling bluebonnets. But 80 percent of the displays are brand new, including a forest of otherworldly, oversize flowers and glowing pink blossoms woven into the trees around the lake. Reservations are strongly encouraged, because many nights are expected to sell out. 5:30-9:30 p.m. most nights through Jan. 8, San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston. (Not open Nov. 28-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13 and 25, and Jan. 2-5). $16-$28, sabot.org.

On ExpressNews.com: Take a look at this year’s edition of ‘Lightscape’ at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

Zoo Lights: The San Antonio Zoo’s annual after-dark celebration includes illuminated trails, camel rides, live music, sleigh rides through a light tunnel, caroling and a lakeside light show. Santa will be on hand for youngsters who’d like to chat with the big man. Through Jan. 1, San Antonio Zoo, 3903 N. St. Mary’s. $18.57-$23.50, sazoo.org.

Morgan’s Wonderland: The theme park will glow with all sorts of lights and will feature a nightly Christmas tree lighting. The holiday programming includes carolers and holiday shows, and hot cocoa and warm cookies. 4-9 p.m. on select nights through Dec. 23, Morgan’s Wonderland, 5223 David Edwards. $13-$19; free for those with special needs, morganswonderland.com.

Museum Reach River of Lights: The San Antonio River Authority will once again kick off the season with an evening of live music, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating, reindeer and the first look at the lights along the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River.  Bring an unwrapped toy for the Fill the Canoe Toy Drive. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 3, San Antonio River Lock & Dam, 510 Brooklyn Ave. Free, sariverauthority.org. 

The ice skating rink has returned to Travis Park.  

The ice skating rink has returned to Travis Park.

Ronald Cortes

Attractions 

Rotary Ice Rink: The popular ice skating rink has returned for the holidays. In addition to skating, there will be live ice sculpting on Mondays, movies on Tuesdays, live jazz Wednesdays, faux snow flurries on Thursdays, food trucks on Fridays and story time with Santa on Saturdays. On Sundays, professionals will take over the rink, showing off their skills. Through Jan. 16, Travis Park, 301 E. Travis. $14, which includes skate rental; $7 on Tuesdays, rotaryicerink.com.

Ford Holiday River Parade: The theme for this year’s 28 illuminated floats is Tastes & Traditions Around the World. The grand marshal will be the Grinch himself, dropping in ahead of the opening of the touring production of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Majestic Theatre. 6-9 p.m. Friday, River Walk. Seating is at the Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita, and along the River Walk. $18-$28, thesanantonioriverwalk.com. 

“Holiday Dreams”: The holiday cirque show includes holograms, lasers and acrobats. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, H-E-B Performance Hall, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle. $35 to $110, tobincenter.org.

"Christmas at the Caverns," which includes all sorts of lights displays as well as s'mores around campfires and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, gets underway Dec. 3 at  Natural Bridge Caverns.

“Christmas at the Caverns,” which includes all sorts of lights displays as well as s’mores around campfires and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, gets underway Dec. 3 at  Natural Bridge Caverns.

Sam Owens/San Antonio Express-News

 Christmas at the Caverns: Natural Bridge Caverns’ ninth annual holiday celebration includes walking tours of the Trail of Lights, caroling and an ice rink. New additions this year include a hot chocolate station and Mrs. Claus’ story time. Opens Dec. 3. 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11 and 16-23, Natural Bridge Caverns, 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road. $16.99-$21.99, naturalbridgecaverns.com.

“Magical Cirque Christmas”: A variety of cirque artists perform to a live holiday soundtrack. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 27, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston. $39-$69, majesticempire.com.

Music

“Baby Shark Live! The Christmas Show”:  The family show follows Baby Shark and friends on a musical trek to the jungle and under the sea. The music includes holiday favorites, as well as “Monkey Banana Bus,” “The Wheels on the Bus” and, of course, “Baby Shark.” 2 p.m. Sunday, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston. $29-$49, majesticempire.com.

Handel’s “Messiah”: The San Antonio Mastersingers are teaming up with the San Antonio Philharmonic to perform the masterwork. Yoojin Muhn, who is in her first season as the vocal ensemble’s director, conducts. 3 p.m. Dec. 4, University United Methodist Church, 5084 De Zavala Road. $15-$60, samastersingers.org.

Dean Z’s Rockin’ Christmas: This rock ‘n’ roll holiday show includes songs made famous by the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and the Ronettes. 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, 226 N. St. Mary’s. $45.50-$85, majesticempire.com.

Holiday Saxophones: The lineup for the 39th annual concert includes George Prado and the Regency Jazz band, Joe Posada, Al Gomez, Frank Rodarte and Aaron Prado. 7 p.m. Dec. 11, Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe. $25-$35, guadalupeculturalarts.org.

“The Music of a Charlie Brown Christmas”: Doc Watkins and his band will once again play their popular holiday show, which includes tunes from the “Peanuts” TV special, as well as new arrangements of seasonal big band faves.  7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle. $34.50-$85, tobincenter.org.

Chris Isaak: Isaak is touring behind his second holiday album, “Everybody Knows it’s Christmas,” which includes such classics as “Winter Wonderland” and “O Holy Night,” as well as “Wrapping Presents for Myself” and “Dogs Love Christmas Too.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston. $45-$75, majesticempire.com.

Hand-crafted items will be sold during Mercado de Paz/Peace Market at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center.

Hand-crafted items will be sold during Mercado de Paz/Peace Market at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center.

Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

Markets

Mercado de Paz/Peace Market: The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center’s 33rd annual holiday market returns to full force for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Around 70 vendors will sell handcrafted wares; international artists will get a Mini Mercado of their own. There also will be live music from Volcan, Alyson Alonzo, Azul and Mariachi Esperanza. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Mini Mercado noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Esperanza Peace and  Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave. Free, esperanzacenter.org.

Holiday Art Market: The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts’ annual outdoor market includes handcrafted items by area creators, including food, accessories and home décor. The day also includes live holiday music and treats. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Will Naylor Smith River Walk Plaza, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle. Free, tobincenter.org.

Pearl Holiday Night Markets: Pearl’s weekly markets will spotlight more than 40 local vendors and feature live music. 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 21, Pearl, 303 Pearl Parkway. Free, atpearl.com.

Witte Museum Holiday Market: More than 35 area merchants will sell their wares during the market. A handful of local authors also will be on hand to sign their books, and the Agarita chamber ensemble will perform at 3 p.m. Noon-5 p.m. Dec. 4, Mays Family Center, Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway. Free, wittemuseum.org.

Theater

“Velveteen Rabbit”: Magik Theatre is staging this adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic children’s story about the relationship between a child and a stuffed toy bunny that longs to be a real rabbit. Performance times vary. Through Dec. 24, Magik Theatre, 420 S. Alamo. $18.50-$22.50; free for children under 2, magiktheatre.org.

The Woodlawn Theatre's staging of the holiday classic "White Christmas" stars, from left, Laurel Neuhaus, Ivan Ortega, Kate Ragan Davis and John Berring.

The Woodlawn Theatre’s staging of the holiday classic “White Christmas” stars, from left, Laurel Neuhaus, Ivan Ortega, Kate Ragan Davis and John Berring.

Woodlawn Theatre

“White Christmas”: The musical is adapted from the classic 1954 movie about a couple of Army veterans and song-and-dance men who team up with singing sisters for romance and to put on a big holiday show. Opens Friday. 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23, with additional shows at 7 p.m. Dec. 21-22, Woodlawn Theatre, 1920 Fredericksburg Road. $18-$32, woodlawntheatre.org.

“A Christmas Carol”: The Public Theater of San Antonio is reviving the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale of redemption, with Vincent Hardy as Scrooge. Opens Friday. 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18, with an additional show at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, The Public Theater of San Antonio, 800 W. Ashby. $19-$49, thepublicsa.org.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”: The theatrical adaptation of the 1966 television special about how a grump’s mean-spirited attempt to destroy to happiness of others gets derailed includes the classic songs “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Opens Nov. 29. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 1; 8 p.m. Dec. 2; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 3 and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 4, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St. $45-$120, majesticempire.com.

“A Christmas Carol”: Classic Theatre is presenting a solo version of Charles Dickens’ tale of redemption. In Greg Bodine’s adaptation, Dickens is in the midst of a tour of the United States in which he had planned to read from the story. When his luggage goes missing, he instead delivers the story from memory. The author will be played by  Kurt Wilkinson and Ray Seams on alternate evenings. Opens Dec. 1. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Dec. 18, Maverick Carter House, 119 Taylor St. $24-$39, classictheatre.org.

“We Need a Little Christmas”: The Harlequin’s annual holiday musical revue spotlights more than 30 much-loved classic songs. Opens Dec. 2. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18, Fort Sam Houston Theatre, 2472 Stanley Road, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Civilians need to make reservations by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before the performance they want to attend to gain access to the post. $10-$22, 210-222-9694.

“Christmas in Black”: The new performing arts company Art Noir Productions makes its debut with this holiday-centered celebration of Black arts and culture, including poetry, ballet and music. 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Ella Austin Community Center, 1023 N. Pine. $15, eventbrite.com.

“Christmas with C.S. Lewis”:  The play explores the writer’s faith and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkein. Opens Dec. 8. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9 and 10-11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle. $32.50-$65, tobincenter.org.

“Stocking Stuffers: Five Short Xmas Plays”: The Overtime Theater’s contribution to the holidays features works by playwrights who have presented work at the theater this year: Felix Racelis, Joe Green, Michael Song and Thomas J. Misuraca. The works touch on such matters as a 4-year-old’s evidence as to whether Santa exists and what might have happened to the Grinch. Opens Dec. 9. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through Dec. 31, with matinees at 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18, Overtime Theater, 5409 Bandera Road, No. 205. No show Dec. 24. $12-$18, theovertimetheater.org.

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center's holiday programming includes "La Pastorela Folklorica."

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s holiday programming includes “La Pastorela Folklorica.”

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

“La Pastorela Folklorica”: The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s bilingual rendering of the traditional play, which recounts the shepherds’ journey to find the Christ child, includes folklorico and flamenco elements. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16-17, Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe. $12, guadalupeculturalarts.org.

“Bah Humbug!”: Damian Gillen wraps up his statewide tour of his solo take on “A Christmas Carol” with a two-night stand on the River Walk. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-17, Arneson River Theatre, 418 Villita. $10 in advance at bahhumbug.info and $15 at the door. 

Dance

“The Nutcracker”: Ballet San Antonio’s annual production of the holiday classic features choreography created for the company by Haley and Easton Smith, a live orchestra and community heroes appearing as Mother Ginger. Opens Dec. 2. 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 11, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle. $25.20-$132, balletsanantonio.org.

The Children's Ballet of San Antonio is staging its annual holiday production "The Children's Nutcracker."

The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio is staging its annual holiday production “The Children’s Nutcracker.”

Children’s Ballet of San Antonio

“The Children’s Nutcracker”: The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio presents its annual staging of the ballet, a 90-minute rendering aimed at youngsters and starring young dancers. A holiday market opens an hour before each performance and includes photo ops with Santa and cast members, along with cocoa and other holiday treats. Opens Dec. 9. 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 2, and 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Lila Cockrell Theatre, 200 E. Market St. $45-$55, childrensballetofsanantonio.org.

“The Nutcracker”: The Alamo City Dance Company presents its take on “The Nutcracker,” danced to the live accompaniment of Alamo City Symphony Viva. It will be performed at two venues. Its production at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is a co-production with The Harlequin. And its sensory-friendly staging is a collaboration with Eva’s Heroes. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Fort Sam Houston Theatre, 2472 Stanley Road, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Civilians need to make their reservations by 5 p.m. Dec. 6 to gain access to the post. $10-$22, 210-222-9694. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17-18 (sensory-friendly show 7 p.m. Dec. 16), McAllister Auditorium, San Antonio College, 1300 San Pedro Ave. $20, alamocityperformingartsassociation.com.

“Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet”: The touring production features dancers from around the world. A central idea of the production is international understanding, which is underscored when Clara and her Nutcracker Prince visit the Land of Peace and Harmony rather than the traditional Land of Sweets. Noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 29, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston. $34-$104, majesticempire.com.

dlmartin@express-news.net | Twitter: @DeborahMartinEN

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