Fam Five: Zoom: Family Film Festival

Jim Fischer

Let me tell you, the Wexner Center for the Arts had me at "Saturday morning Cereal and Pajama Party," but it turns out they actually show films at the annual Zoom: Family Film Festival, too. Cool, awesome, kids' and family films, from Marx Brothers classics to contemporary foreign films to animated and live-action favorites such as Escape to Witch Mountain (the 1975 version). Hands-on activities inspired by the Wex's current Black Mountain College exhibition and the aforementioned Cereal and Pajama party help round out the four-day (Dec. 1-4) event. A variety of ticket packages are available.

Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St. (Ohio State University campus), 614-292-0330, wexarts.org

You've read in this space many times about the high-quality children's theater we're fortunate to have here in central Ohio. If you haven't checked out either of these companies (or even if you have), make sure to get out this holiday season. Columbus Children's Theatre will present the uproarious The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, in which a couple struggles to put on the annual church Christmas play with the, um, rambunctious Herdman kids. It runs Nov. 25 to Dec. 18. And CATCO is Kids offers up A Seussified Christmas Carol, a reinvention of the classic Dickens tale in the style of Dr. Seuss, Dec. 2-11.

Columbus Children's Theatre (Park Street Theatre), 512 Park St. (Arena District), Columbus 43215, 614-224-6672, columbuschildrenstheatre.org

Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave. (Discovery District), Columbus 43215, 614-461-1382, catcoistheatre.org

Is there a more magical holiday performing arts tradition than The Nutcracker? BalletMet Columbus' annual presentation of this classic Tchaikovsky ballet will be held Dec. 9-24 in the Ohio Theatre.

Additionally, community productions, some featuring entire young casts, include: Central Ohio Youth Ballet, Nov. 25-27, Midland Theatre, midlandtheatre.org; and New Albany Children's Ballet Theatre, Dec. 9-11, Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, newalbanyballet.com.

For a change of pace, Columbus Dance Theatre (columbusdancetheatre.com) presents its annual Matchgirl Dec. 9-10 in the Lincoln Theatre.

Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. (Downtown), Columbus 43215, 614-469-0939, balletmet.org

You want a different kind of Scrooge, an interactive one on the streets of one of central Ohio's awesome communities, a guided journey that will find you meeting the classic A Christmas Carol characters, ghosts included, and that benefits a local charitable organization? The good folks of Westerville's Uptown Scrooge thought you did, and are making it happen Saturday and Sunday afternoons through Dec. 18. The show is suitable for ages 5 and up.

Tour check-in is 23 E. College Ave., Westerville 43081, goodmedicineproductions.org

Our very own holiday tradition is to always, as long as the Columbus Symphony Orchestra refers to its December concerts as Holiday Pops, make some sort of joke equating the title to that bearded, red-suited fellow who makes an appearance at the concerts each year. Santa is just one in a cast of more than 300 musicians, singers, dancers and characters to fill the Ohio Theatre stage Dec. 2-4.

And for an alternate take on music for the holidays, our own Columbus Jazz Orchestra swings through a set in its annual Home for the Holidays concerts Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in the Southern Theatre, joined this year by vocalist Carly Thomas Smith.

Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., Columbus 43215, 614-228-8600, columbussymphony.com

Southern Theatre, 21 E. State St., Columbus 43215, 614-294-5200, jazzartsgroup.org

The Fam Five is arts and entertainment coverage from Jim Fischer at Columbus Alive!