As Central Texas weather veers back into a more moderate mode, it’s time to explore the season’s host of holiday happenings. With festivals, live theater, music and dance and more, there’s no excuse to sit at home this weekend.

That perennial Christmas favorite, “The Nutcracker” by Peter IlyitchTchaikovsky, a ballet in two acts, will be performed at Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre.

“It’s been our Christmas show for over 10 years,” said theater manager Charlotte O’Brien. “We’re very excited, and tickets are going fast.” The production is run by the Newcomb School of Ballet in Killeen and features a cast of the school’s students dancing to a recording of the musical score.

The colorful characters, lively dancing and, above all, the sublime music from the great romantic composer make “The Nutcracker” notable, even apart from its Christmas connection. Area audiences apparently agree: at press time, VLA’s Sunday’s matinee performance was sold out, and remaining seats for tonight and Saturday evening were just about gone.

‘The Odd Couple’

Temple Civic Theater’s ongoing show, Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” continues tonight through Sunday. The Mad Men-era comedy, helmed by TCT’s new artistic director John Monteverde, brings the ultimate mismatched male pair, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, to the venue’s intimate thrust stage.

‘Milk & Cookies’

For tykes, TCT offers its “Milk & Cookies with Santa” at 2 p.m. Saturday at the theater. This annual event presents readings and carols, serves milk and cookies, and has the star attraction: that big guy from the North Pole. Admission is one nonperishable food item per person, which will be donated to a local food bank.

Guitar ensemble, choir

A departure from most other performing groups, the Harker Heights High School Orchestra Guitar Ensemble has scheduled its winter concert this evening at 7:30 in the school’s auditorium. Meanwhile, at Killeen High School, the school’s choir will host its Feast Of Carols in the cafeteria, which lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday.

Salado stroll, show

And when you’re in Salado for “A Christmas Carol” at Tablerock, plan to arrive early to take in the Salado Christmas Stroll. The village is all decked out, carolers abound, a live nativity is exhibited, and the shops are poised to offer distinctive gift items.

This is the final official weekend of the stroll and you can bet that after last weekend’s subpar weather the merchants will be wheelin’ and dealin’ with can’t-pass-up prices on their wares. A walk through the village with a mug of hot chocolate, cider or coffee will instantly re-ignite your holiday spirit, and the storybook ambience trumps shopping mall and big-box store dreariness.


For something completely different, there’s the planetarium at the Mayborn Science Theater. In a dizzying array of shows, starting off today’s first of three, a live Christmas sing-along at 7 p.m. — concluding with Sunday’s 4 p.m. presentation — a total of no less than 15 separate public shows are scheduled through Sunday at the facility, located on the campus of Central Texas College.

Featuring laser light shows, eye-popping 3-D graphics and 15,000 watts of digital sound, the 60-foot dome will delight the most jaded multiplex moviegoers.

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