The Fam Five: Central Ohio Offers Holiday-Themed Arts & Entertainment Options in December

Check out recommended family-friendly productions from CATCO, Columbus Children’s Theatre, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, three takes on ‘The Nutcracker’ and more.

Jim Fischer
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” comes to the Palace Theatre on Dec. 4.

Celebrate this holiday season with your family by enjoying live performing arts and entertainment. Here are just a few ideas to put on your wish list. Find more seasonal offerings, including light displays and other events, in our holiday roundup.

As always, check with each organization and/or venue for COVID-19 policies and procedures.

Without further ado, here’s our December web-exclusive installment of “The Fam Five.”

“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins”

Hanukkah is in jeopardy, and folk hero Hershel might be the only one who can save it from mischievous goblins. Whether you’ve read the namesake children’s book or not, you’ll enjoy the stage adaptation of Eric Kimmel’s “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins,” presented by CATCO now through Dec. 12 at the Riffe Center Theatre Complex’s Studio Two. Actors, live music and puppetry tell the tale of courage, strength and creativity in the production, recommended for ages 6 and older. Tickets start at $15.

Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Studio Two, 77 S. High St. (Downtown), Columbus, 614-469-0939,

CATCO presents “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” through Dec. 12.

Three Takes on “The Nutcracker”

’Tis the season for nutcrackers, and rarely has the tradition been so anticipated or appreciated.

BalletMet, the city’s signature professional dance company, will present its beloved and magical staging of “The Nutcracker”—featuring the choreography of past executive director Gerard Charles to the Tchaikovsky score—Dec. 10-26 at the Ohio Theatre. This production captures all the beauty of classical ballet while infusing cheeky flair and masterful storytelling. Go to for ticket information.

Also back is the New Albany Children’s Ballet Theatre presentation of the piece, which combines professional staging with the charm of a community production. Visit for details on this show, set for Dec. 3-12 at the McCoy Center for the Arts.

For an alternative experience, check out “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” playing the Palace Theatre on Dec. 4. This modern setting features Tchaikovsky’s music, augmented with an onstage DJ, an electric violinist and a short set by rap pioneer Kurtis Blow. Tickets start at $30.50 at

“A Christmas Story”

A flagpole, a leg lamp and a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. Find them all, and Ralphie, in this year’s holiday offering from Columbus Children’s Theatre, “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

Follow Ralphie’s escapades as he tries to ensure that Santa brings his most-coveted Christmas present. This stage version includes songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo behind, “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Greatest Showman,” among others.

The show runs Thursdays through Sundays Dec. 10-23 (plus Dec. 21-23). Tickets start at $16.50.

Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St. (King-Lincoln District), Columbus, 614-224-6672,

Columbus Children’s Theatre will stage “A Christmas Story: The Musical” Dec. 10-23.

“A Magical Cirque Christmas”

This artistic production combines beloved holiday music and the acrobatic talents of cirque performers in a way that is indeed magical—as in, hosted by magician Lucy Darling.

Darling performs and emcees the almost-nonstop evening of music and feats of skill, agility and strength that draw “wows” from the audience. (No word on whether any of the acrobats will be demonstrating the magic of how Santa Claus gets down and up the chimney.) The show comes to the Palace Theatre on Dec. 10. Tickets start at $40.75.

Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. (Downtown), Columbus, 614-469-0939,

Holiday Pops and the Return of TSO

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s “Holiday Pops” concerts return this season, complemented by other local performers plus appearances by Santa Claus himself. The shows, Dec. 3-5 at the Ohio Theatre, feature the orchestra and the CSO chorus as well as the Columbus Children’s Choir and dancers and musicians from Thiossane West African Dance Institute. Tickets start at $20.50.

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

If a different kind of orchestra—OK, rock opera—is more your style, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings a reimagined presentation of its “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” to two shows Dec. 26 at Nationwide Arena.

Pyrotechnics, lasers, midair musicians and electric guitars, keyboards and violins unite for this unique performance of TSO’s original holiday songs and arrangements of traditional favorites. Standard tickets start at $46.50; promotions are offered for single seats.

Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd. (Arena District), Columbus, 614-246-2000,