Tinsel time: Some unmissable events of the holiday entertainment season

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Here are some upcoming seasonal events to make you happy and bright.

‘A delicious roast’

In Larissa FastHorse’s contemporary show “The Thanksgiving Play”, an elementary school teacher and a small team of non-Native American people try to make a culturally sensitive holiday production. As described in a New York Times review of a 2018 off-Broadway show: “The familiar, whitewashed story of Pilgrims and Native Americans eating together gets a delicious roast from expert pranksters.” Artists involved include Justin Peck, Robert Lee, Evan Kelly and Cheryl Skafte.

“The Thanksgiving Game” opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at The Underground, 506 W. Michigan St., Duluth.

Slow walks

Santa Claus.  Clint Austin / Dossier 2015 / Duluth News Tribune

Santa Claus. Clint Austin / Dossier 2015 / Duluth News Tribune


The Christmas town of the North Parade, traditionally the line in the snow that separates Duluth’s holiday season from peak holiday season, returns with its slow stroll. The KBJR-TV event, with its collection of marching bands and dancers, quirky floats, relatively little candy, and a Santa cameo, takes place on November 19.

Slow and well-lit walks

After hosting a drive-through event last year, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights will once again be an in-person event. Advantages: You can linger longer on the panoramas. Downside: You’ll miss that moment when Santa is literally walking up to your car window.

Lasting over a month, the showcase features illuminated displays that pay homage to Duluth’s landmarks and well-known figures. There are also bonfires, snacks and more. Bentleyville opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 20 at Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth.

The snow will come out … tomorrow

Cadence Graber will exchange with Sofia Salmela as the main character of "Annie." Contribution / Duluth Playhouse

Cadence Graber will exchange with Sofia Salmela as the main character of “Annie”. Contribution / Duluth Playhouse

The Duluth Playhouse’s family pick for the season is the story of an upbeat young orphan, the flammable Miss Hannigan, and possibly a new life with Daddy Warbucks. The Tony Award-winning musical features songs like “Hard Knock Life”, “Tomorrow” and more.

“Annie” opens at 7:30 p.m. on November 20 and performs through mid-December at the NorShor Theater, Duluth.

Rolled steam

The touring Mannheim Steamroller (they’ve been doing it for 35 years), known for his epic new-age ballad-style genre of repertoire, returns with his “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis”.

The concert is at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 at Symphony Hall, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

You’ve heard of Black Friday …

But what about black eyed snakes on Friday? This annual post-Thanksgiving show has a few things in common with consumer vacations: a body crush; distorted voice; sites you won’t want to see; an atmosphere really in the moment. However, you probably won’t confuse Brad Nelson’s drumming with the sound of your own heart at the mall, which is a point in favor of the November 26, 8 p.m. show at Cedar Lounge in Superior.

Old-fashioned holiday tunes

Davina and the Wanderers.  Contribution photo

Davina and the Wanderers. Contribution photo

Davina and the Vagabonds, known for an old-fashioned jazz-blues sound reminiscent of pointy shoes and sexy lamps, puts on a seasonal show, “A Vagabond Holiday”, with songs from Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday and more.

The Twin Cities Group plays at 7:30 p.m. on December 2 at the West Theater, 319 N. Central Ave., Duluth.

Bad Bad Hats (Santa Claus)

Bad hats.  Contribution / Zoe-Prinds Flash

Bad hats. Contribution / Zoe-Prinds Flash

It’s not specifically seasonal, but traditional headwear or holiday creatures like Santa and his elves could technically be considered bad bad hats.

Bad Bad Hats, with their seemingly laid-back 1990s vibe, returns to Duluth in early December, then.

The Minneapolis pop trio of Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Con Davidson’s “Walkman” album was released in mid-September. Bad hats plays at 7 p.m. on December 3 at the Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 W. Fourth St.

No more bell

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s final performance for the 2021 season is its “Holiday Spectacular,” which features holiday tunes alongside the local handbell ensemble, touring internationally, Strikepoint. There will be a song.

DSSO the concert is at 7 p.m. on December 4 at Symphony Hall, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Clara meets the lumberjack

The Minnesota Ballet, which featured its seasonal TV show last year to defend against the spread of COVID-19, returns with “Nutcracker Suite: A Duluth Tale.” This version, choreographed by Karl von Rabenau, features specific Minnesota notes, like a lumberjack.

Ballet opens December 10 at Symphony Hall.

Hello, 2022

The third “New Years by the Lake” is apparently this year’s large-scale New Years Eve event in Duluth. It starts with a five-course meal at the Greysolon Ballroom with a Maxi Childes Trio soundtrack.

Comedian Jack Willhite will be performing at NorShor and there will also be music from Big Wave Dave and the Ripples, Laura Velvet and DJ Cory Bonneville. There will be balloon drops, a toast and gifts at midnight. The event is December 31st.

Christa Lawler is a specialist journalist for the News Tribune. Contact her at [email protected]


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