HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Celebrate the joy of the season with a preview performance of “It's a Wonderful Life” at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Theater, 300 W. Wayne St.
The holiday classic revolves around George Bailey and the lesson he learns about the value of faith, family and friends.
Regular shows will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Dec. 7, 8, 14 and 15; and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 9 and 16.
Preview night tickets are $10 each. Admission for regular performances is general admission, $20 presale or $24 if bought at the door; age 65 and older, $18 presale or $22 at the door; and full-time students, $10 presale and at the door. To reserve a ticket with a credit card, call 422-6329 or pick up tickets at the church, 300 W. Wayne St. Box office hours are noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and one hour before each show, or order online at www.firstpres-fw.org/ the_arts/theater/tickets/.
ARTFUL GIFTS: Peruse art in a variety of mediums at The Art Farm's annual Holiday Studio Show, which opens with a reception 5-10 p.m. at the farm, 17612 N. County Line Road E. near Spencerville.
Art and artists represented include functional and decorative ceramics; handmade glass bead jewelry; metalwork; whimsical stitched canvas art in handmade recycled wood frames; oil paintings and prints; organic bath and body products; recycled wearable fiber art; hand-knitted felted wool hats; and blown glass. Art Farm owners Lisa Vetter and Paul Siefert will show their found-object functional art and Lisa's jewelry.
The show continues noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through Dec. 30.
HOLIDAY CLASSIC: The Fort Wayne Ballet presents its annual production of “The Nutcracker,” which opens with a performance at 7 p.m. accompanied by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Children's Choir.
The Phil and children's choir also will join the ballet for performances at 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Additional shows are 2:30 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Tuesday; 8 p.m. Dec. 7; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Dec. 8; and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9.
All performances take place at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.
Special shows with the Phil and children's choir are $43 and $48, adults; $38 and $43, ages 60 and older; $33 and $38, ages 11-18; and $28 and $33, ages 3-10. Regular shows Sunday-Dec. 9 are $31 and $36, adults; $25 and $31, ages 60 and older; $20 and $25, ages 11-18; and $17 and $20, ages 3-10.
Children ages 2 and younger can sit free on a paying patron's lap, but the ticket buyer must request a lap ticket.
For tickets, call 422-4226 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and noon-4 p.m. Saturdays or visit the Arts United ticket office during those hours at the Arts United Center. For information, contact the ballet at 484-9646 or www.fortwayneballet.org.
Also, young fans can eat sweets and meet performers at Sugar Plum Parties after afternoon shows; cost is $8 per person.
An opening night celebration, “The Nutcracker,” Act III, with food, music and cash bar, begins about 9 p.m. Friday in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St. Tickets are $75 per person; call 484-9646.
ROLLIN' IN: Mannheim Steamroller brings its 27th annual Christmas tour show to town for a performance at 8 p.m. at the Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd. Founded and managed by Chip Davis, Mannheim Steamroller reportedly is the biggest-selling Christmas artist of all time, it says on the group's website, http://shop.mannheimsteamroller.com.
Concert tickets are $28, $48 and $68. They are available at the Embassy box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com and 1-800-745-3000.
ROYAL TREAT: Enjoy the stunning architecture and holiday decorations during the Christmas in the Castle open house noon-5 p.m. at Brookside Mansion on the campus of the University of Saint Francis, 2701 Spring St.
Once the summer house of the wealthy Bass family, the historic home has been restored by the university. Local florists and interior designers decorated all three of its floors for the holiday season.
Christmas in the Castle continues noon-5 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 8 and 9.
Tickets are available on days of the event in the North Campus lobby (across Spring Street). Free parking also is available there, with golf cart shuttles for people with mobility needs.
Admission is $5 per person, with a $20 maximum per family. For information, call 399-8051.
SEASONAL FAVORITE: Enjoy the vocal splendor of The Living Christmas Tree at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. at North Park Community Church, 7160 Flutter Road.
A 150-voice volunteer choir, positioned around a 30-foot-tall steel Christmas tree structure, will present the spirit and message of Christmas through music and drama. Additional shows are at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at North Park Community Church.
Tickets are $10 each in advance or $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available at www.trinitycommunications.org, North Park Community Church, and Rustic Hutch stores in Pine Valley and Jefferson Pointe malls.
REJOICE IN VOICE: Join in loud and long as the Bach Collegium offers its annual “Messiah” Sing Along at 2 p.m. at Queen of Angels Catholic Church, 1500 W. State Blvd.
Noted local music director Thomas Remenschneider will lead the singers. Holiday cookies and coffee also will be served. Admission is $5 per person; call 485-2143 for tickets.
CAPED CRUSADER: The “Batman Live” live-action arena show will transform Memorial Coliseum into Gotham City for a show at 7:30 p.m. The touring production features an original story and your favorite Batman characters. For more details, see our story on Pages 6-7T.
Additional shows are at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $19.50, $39.50, $49.50 and $79.50 at the coliseum ticket office, select Walmart stores, www.ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000. Parking is $4 per vehicle main lot and $8 per vehicle preferred lot.