7 Holiday Shows in Atlanta to Start Thinking About Now

We know, we know. You’re still planning on making a reservation to hit the pumpkin patch—or at least pick one up at the grocery store—and here we are, throwing the holidays on your to-do list. But hear us out. This year more than ever, a little planning will go a long way to ensure your holiday season is every bit as festive as years past. From Rudolph to Matilda, The Nutcracker to A Christmas Canteen, keep reading for shows in Atlanta to put on your calendar, now.

Photo: iStock

A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play

The sounds of the season come to life in the Alliance Theatre’s brand new, interactive experience A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play. ​Hear the bells jingle on the streets of Victorian England as you’re transported back in time with Ebenezer Scrooge, Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.​ Watch and listen to how a sound effect artist creates the jangling of Marley’s chains in real-time with the story. ​Then, load up your sleigh (or car) in front of our drive-in theatre stage and big screen for an evening of stories, singalongs, and honking horns.​

Tickets are sold per vehicle (maximum 6 passengers)—prices vary—and go on sale Oct. 21. Show runs Dec. 4-23, 2020, and the live production will be held at

Location: Summerhill, at the Corner of Georgia Ave. and Hank Aaron Dr.

Purchase Tickets: alliancetheatre.org

The Nutcracker Drive-In Movie Experience

For five nights in December, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre’s surface lot will be transformed into a pop-up drive-in movie theatre, where audiences can enjoy a filmed version of Atlanta Ballet’s newest production of The Nutcracker from the comfort of their own cars. Viewers will be able to pre-order special Nutcracker-themed concessions and gift items. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre’s roundabout will be converted into a festive marketplace, featuring tents for concessions and an on-site souvenir boutique. Masks will be required, and the area will be monitored by designated “Social Distance Ambassadors” to keep guests safe and six feet apart.

General admission tickets are $100 per car, with premium front-row parking at $150. Spaces are limited, so early purchases are encouraged.

Location: Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy.

Purchase Tickets: cobbenergycentre.com

Photo: Cottonbro via Pexels

Aurora Theatre’s Christmas Canteen Presented at The Bowl at Sugar Hill

Aurora Theatre’s annual Christmas Canteen, which showcases a medley of festive tunes and vignettes that cover all the Christmas classics, will be held outdoors this year. Grab coats, hats and hot cocoa for an outdoor Christmas Canteen at The Bowl at Sugar Hill. Expect a full cabaret, featuring songs, comic sketches and trips down memory lane. There will be limited seating with advanced ticket purchase only. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Social distancing will be enforced; masks must be worn when not eating or drinking. Food and beverage will be available for purchase before and during the performance.

Catch the Canteen from Dec. 4-6; Tickets start at $40

Location: 5039 West Broad St., Sugar Hill

Purchase Tickets: tickets.auroratheatre.com

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Aurora Theatre

Aurora Theatre mainstage presents Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—the first live performance since the temporary closure in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic. There will be limited seating to practice social distancing with a maximum of 75 seats. Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriquez will return as the first performer back on the mainstage for a solo performance of this classic tale that delivers a message of the true spirit of Christmas.

Catch the show from Dec. 16-23, Mon.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sat. & Sun. at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $50

Location: 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville

Purchase Tickets: tickets.auroratheatre.com

Photo: Clay Walker

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at Center for Puppetry Arts

Adapted and directed by Jon Ludwig; this puppet show is based on the classic television special, and has become an Atlanta holiday tradition. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer soars back into town for this faithful adaptation that speaks to the misfit in all of us.

Dates, times, and prices for 2020 have not been announced.

Location: 1404 Spring St. NW

Online: puppet.org

Mighty Mo and More at The Fox Theatre

Head to the Fox Theatre for singing and holiday cheer at this free (general admission) Chrismas Carol Sing-A-Long, led by the famous “Mighty Mo” organ. The Big Guy usually makes an appearance for family photos, so wear your holly jolly best.

Dates for 2020 have not yet been announced.

Location: 660 Peachtree St. NE

Online: foxtheatre.org

Madeline’s Christmas at Horizon

This long-running musical play adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans’ delightful book is a holiday treat for the whole family. Madeline’s Christmas runs 1 hour with no intermission—the perfect amount of time to keep the kiddos entertained.

2020 dates have not yet been released.

Location: 1083 Austin Ave.

Online: horizontheatre.com

—Shelley Massey