Taking the Stage

Filled with flickering candles and beautifully wrapped surprises, the winter holidays are all about sparkly magic, family and tradition. The same goes for the festive productions that take over theater stages this time of year, reacquainting us with the songs, plots and characters that we’ve known forever.

This year, though, the classics are joined by new holiday productions and much-anticipated premieres of new live performances that, while not holiday themed, are no less magical. Here are some of our favorites.


A Legendary Christmas Tour Featuring John Legend

On the heels of the release of his first-ever holiday album—a festive mix of classic and new holiday songs—award-winning singer and pianist John Legend kicked off a seasonal, 25-show tour on Nov. 15. VIP experiences include prime seating, opportunities to meet with Legend as well as exclusive gifts. For tickets to shows in

Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Salt Lake City, contact the Montage concierge team in Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, California or Deer Valley, Utah, respectively.

Where to see him:

Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Dec. 16; Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Dec. 23;

Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, Dec. 29

A Flurry of Nutcrackers
Waltz of the Snow Flowers in Moscow Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (Courtesy of Moscow Ballet)

After composing “The Nutcracker” score in 1892, Peter Tchaikovsky wrote that he felt it was “infinitely poorer” than that of “The Sleeping Beauty,” which he had finished two years prior. Critics agreed, panning the ballet after its St. Petersburg premier. But the spectacular snow scene at the end of Act 1 worked its magic (it was the only part of the ballet to receive positive reviews), and despite the disappointing debut, “The Nutcracker” continued to be performed. It reached Europe in 1934 and the United States a decade later, where George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet transformed the work into an enduring classic.

Where to see it:

Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, Dec. 14-23, by American Ballet Theatre; Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California, Dec. 8-24 by Festival Ballet Theatre; The Wiltern in Los Angeles, Dec. 14 and 15 by Moscow Ballet; Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in Northridge, California, Dec. 19

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour
Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Farewell Tour (Photo by David LaChapelle)

Whether you rocked out to “Rocket Man” in the 1970s or didn’t discover the wildly bespectacled crooner until you felt the love in the 1990s with “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” you owe it to yourself to see Elton John live, particularly since these Farewell Yellow Brick Road performances will be his final tour.

Where to see him:

Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 22, 23, 25 and 30; The Forum in Inglewood, California, Feb. 1-2; Vivint Smart Phone Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 4; Honda Center, Anaheim, California, Sept. 10-11

“Intimate Illusions” with Ivan Amodei

Set to a haunting score featuring the music of Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart, illusionist Ivan Amodei’s lush show, Intimate Illusions, breaks the mold for live magic shows, offering guests surprising insights while captivating   them with sleight of hand. Amodei is    one of  just a handful of illusionists to fool the famous magician-comedian duo, Penn & Teller, on their television program, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.”

Where to see him:

Ongoing at the  Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel    in Los Angeles

“Love, Actually Live”
“Love, Actually Live” (Photo by Rob Latour)

Part rom-com, part tear-jerker and part holiday classic, the world premiere of “Love, Actually Live” is a giant multi-media concert spinning together the stories of eight couples with hit pop and Christmas songs like “All I Want for Christmas is  You” performed live with an all-star cast and 15-[piece orchestra. Like the 2003 movie, and most family holiday gatherings, it will have you laughing, crying and hugging your loved ones.

Where to see it:

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California, Dec. 4-31

Salt Lake City | The Tabernacle Choir

Emmy and Tony award-winning performer Kristin Chenoweth joins world-famous musical group, The Tabernacle Choir, in Salt Lake City for an evening of singing carols and other songs of the season at Temple Square Conference Center from Dec. 13-15.

New York City | “Pretty Woman: The Musical”
Pretty Woman, The Musical (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Since its August 2018 opening, this classic story of mismatched love has continued to delight audiences. Performances of this Broadway show are ongoing at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City.

By Katie McElveen

Feature Image: “The Nutcracker” as performed by the American Ballet Theatre (Photo by Doug Gifford)