It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Houston Symphony’s annual performance of George Frideric Handel’s most famous work, the Messiah, a transcendent English-language oratorio written in 1741, set to selections from the King James Bible, and today indelibly associated with the holiday season. This year’s concert is conducted by Christopher Warren Green and features the Houston Symphony Chorus, led by its new director, Betsy Cook Weber.
Dec 18 at 8. $29–82. Sugar Land Baptist Church, 13223 Southwest Fwy., Sugar Land.
Dec 19–21. $29–82. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St.
A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas
The Alley Theatre has been staging an adaptation of Charles Dickens's beloved novella A Christmas Carol every December since 1989. The current production, adapted and originally directed by Michael Wilson, debuted in 2005 and will be staged at UH’s Wortham Theatre because of renovations at the Alley’s downtown home. According to Alley company actor James Black, who has either acted in or directed every production since the beginning, every year the cast is "reminded that there's magic and truth, and, most importantly there's hope in the story. Life keeps it fresh." See our full story here.
Thru Dec 24. $25–80. Wortham Theatre, University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Rd. 713-220-5700. alleytheatre.org
Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Houston
For years, energy drink giant Red Bull has sponsored free local music events known as Sound Select in over a dozen cities across the country, including Austin. Finally Houston is getting in on the action with a concert at Warehouse Live featuring headliner Lee Fields, the legendary North Carolina–born bluesman, and his backing band The Expressions. Opening the show are two staples of the local music scene: The Tontons, who are just coming off a national tour, and The Suffers.
Dec 19 at 8. Free with online RSVP; $10 at door. Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel St. 713-225-5483. redbullsoundselect.com
Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend
Bayou Bend may be a house museum—i.e., uninhabited—but that doesn't mean it's immune to the Christmas spirit. Each December, the house is tricked out in lights and historically accurate Christmas decorations so that Houstonians can experience Christmas as it was celebrated a hundred years ago. This year's Yuletide includes house tours during the day, and festive food and drinks in the evening, complete with costumed reenactors. December 19 is family night, with games, seasonal music, puppets, storytelling, and a photo station. And no matter when you come, don't forget to stop by The Shop at Bayou Bend for last-minute gifts.
Home tours Tue–Sat beginning at 10am ($12.50–15). Yuletide Nights Dec 17 & 18 from 6–9pm ($22). Festive Family Friday Dec 19 from 5–7pm ($6.25–12.50). 713-639-7750. mfah.org/visit/yuletide
The man born Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier (hey, we'd go by an abbreviation too if we had a name like that) is a nonpareil in the world of music. A trained classical and jazz pianist, W.K. grew up in Michigan and joined his first band when he was 14, going on to release his debut solo rock album in 2001 and quickly becoming an indie favorite. Rock god status not being enough for him, though, he reinvented himself as a motivational speaker in 2005, giving talks about his "philosophy of partying" at such institutions as Yale, NYU, and Oxford University. He's also been known to speak at My Little Pony conventions—yes, he's a brony. Fortunately he also still tours, and will be bringing his solo act to Houston this weekend, along with special guests We Were Wolves, Catch Fever, and Carter.
Dec 20 at 7. $13–16. Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel St. 713-225-5483. warehouselive.com