Forget the stuff. Your family already has too much stuff. Your friends already have too much stuff. Heck, the planet already has too much stuff.
But if you feel the need to give something tangible for Christmas, don’t despair: a couple of tickets to a concert or play may be just the thing for a stocking stuffer or a waste-free gift.
To help in your Christmas shopping quest, we’ve compiled this list of some upcoming 2020 shows that may make perfect gifts for someone on your list, from tiny tots to grandparents and everyone in between. Check it out:
1. SNOW WHITE
The whole family will love the holiday hilarity of Snow White, “The Fairest Panto in All the Land,” this year’s offering from Ellie King and Royal Canadian Theatre Company. It’s on Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at Massey Theatre (735 Eighth Ave.). You can cheer on the good guys and boo the bad guys in this raucous musical afternoon that has some fun with fairytales in a thoroughly family-friendly fashion. Added bonus: The Friday night performance is a relaxed performance for anyone who might benefit from a more relaxed sensory experience.
Tickets are $29.99 for adults, $24.99 for seniors and those under 14. You can get family ticket discounts for groups of four or more, and all relaxed performances are two-for-one. See www.rctheatreco.com for all the details and tickets.
2. ARTS CLUB THEATRE
New West audiences get to enjoy more Arts Club on Tour productions right here at home, as the series returns to the Anvil Centre Theatre (777 Columbia St.) for two new shows. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, it’s Morris Panych’s The Shoplifters, a comedy that centres around Alma, a career shoplifter, and her anxious sidekick – who find themselves caught by an overzealous security guard and his good-natured mentor.
Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, it’s Kim’s Convenience, a comedy by Ins Choi about a Korean shopkeeper who’s grappling with a changing neighbourhood and a divide between him and his children. (You may recognize it as the CBC TV show inspired by the play.)
3. VANCOUVER CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES
For the music lover on your list, why not check out the new Vancouver Chamber Music Society series at Anvil Centre Theatre? It kicked off in the fall and returns on Saturday, Jan. 25 with a performance by Duo Solisti (Brannon Cho on cello and Yoojin Jang on violin). Then, on Saturday, Feb. 29, it’s the Viano String Quartet, top prize winner at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition – which, by the way, includes New West’s own cello star, Tate Zawadiuk. And the series ends with a bonus concert on Sunday, April 19: the complete Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano, featuring pianist David Selig and internationally acclaimed cellist Gary Hoffman. All tickets can be purchased through www.ticketsnw.ca or 604-521-5050. You can find all the details at www.vancouverchambermusic.com.
4. INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT
Here’s another option for the music lovers out there – especially those who love classical guitar. International Guitar Night makes a return to Massey Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. This year’s tour is hosted by English contemporary guitarist Mike Dawes, along with Cenk Erdogan of Turkey, known for his fretless guitar work; Olli Sikkeli of Finland, a jazz virtuoso; and Jim Kimo West, master of Hawaiian slack-key guitar. Tickets are $40 regular, $30 for seniors or students, and $20 for children under 18, available through www.ticketstonight.ca.
5. LAST MONDAYS AT THE MOVIES
Need a little something for the film lover on your list? Why not treat them to a night out at Last Mondays at the Movies, the Arts Council of New Westminster film series that runs at the Massey Theatre on the final Monday of each month. It returns for the new year on Jan. 27 with All is True, the story of the final years of Shakespeare’s life – starring Kenneth Branagh as Shakespeare and Judi Dench as his wife, Anne. Last Mondays screenings start at 7 p.m., and tickets are just $9 regular, or $8 for students and seniors. You can buy them in advance at www.ticketsnw.ca or just pay cash at the door. Keep your eye on www.acnw.ca/movies for the rest of the lineup for 2020.
6. PUSH FESTIVAL
Theatregoing folks will be excited to know that the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is returning to the Anvil Centre for 2020. The 16th annual festival runs from Jan. 21 to Feb. 9 at a variety of Vancouver locations – and the Anvil Centre is hosting three of them.
From Jan. 29 to 31 you can check out Pi Theatre’s open workshop of Shakespeare’s Em – a new adaptation of Othello based on the point of view of the character Emilia. Audience members will be invited to observe, respond and contribute – and it’s all free. See www.pitheatre.com/emilia for full details.
Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, it’s a Why Not Theatre production of What You Won’t Do for Love, a casual, conversational piece of theatre featuring David Suzuki and his life partner, Tara Cullis. This one’s available to PuSh passholders and Anvil Centre subscribers only.
Finally, from Feb. 6 to 9, you can check out 6th Man Collective’s Monday Nights, an interactive basketball/theatre experience based on the experiences of five men who got together every Monday night for a decade to play basketball. Yes, wear your running shoes, because you’re invited to join them on the court.
You can get all the PuSh Festival details and buy your tickets through www.pushfestival.ca.
7. VSO TINY TOTS
This popular concert series for tots and preschoolers returns to the Anvil Centre Theatre for 2020. The VSO’s Tiny Tots series features Let Your Music Shine! With Lisa and Linda, who lead little ones in sing-along, move-along Saturday performances that introduce them to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. On Feb. 22, it’s Let’s Have a Playdate!, featuring the music of Johannes Brahms. Then, on May 30, it’s Teddy Bears Musical Picnic, featuring the works of Claude Debussy. Concerts are at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children and $2 for babies. Buy through www.ticketsnw.ca or 604-521-5050, or find out more at www.anvilcentre.com.
8. DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
If you haven’t yet checked out the incredible productions by the New Westminster Secondary School musical theatre program, then this is your chance. The NWSS team is bringing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to the stage at the Massey Theatre Feb. 26 to 29, with five shows: Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 27 to 29 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. Enjoy this classic, happily-ever-after story for all ages, brought to life by a talented cast and crew of NWSS students – and past history shows there will be amazing sets, costumes and song-and-dance numbers to make for a sparkling night out. Ticket prices are affordable to boot ($15 and $20, plus service charges), available through www.ticketsnw.ca or 604-521-5050.
9. SCREWBALL COMEDY
Join the Royal Canadian Theatre Company at the Anvil Centre Theater for the Western Canadian premiere of Norm Foster’s Screwball Comedy, an affectionate spoof of the screwball comedies popular in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. (Think stars such as Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Rosalind Russell.) The show is onstage Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, with 3:30 p.m. matinees and 7:30 p.m. evening shows. The Friday matinee will be a relaxed performance for those with sensory sensitivities. Tickets are $29.99 regular, $24.99 seniors and children (under 14), with family packs available for $99.99. Call 604-521-5050 or buy through www.ticketsnw.ca.Find out all the details at www.rctheatreco.com.
10. CRAZY FOR YOU
This one’s another must-see for the musical theatre fans out there – the Royal City Musical Theatre’s always highly anticipated production at Massey Theatre. The Gershwin musical Crazy for You runs from Thursday, April 9 to Saturday, April 25, directed by Valerie Easton with musical direction by James Bryson. In true Royal City Musical Theatre style, expect dazzling dance numbers, outstanding singing and eye-popping sets and costumes to bring the story to life – against a backdrop of such memorable tunes as I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me, Nice Work if You can Get It and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. There are matinee and evening shows, and you should always book early to snag the seats you want – buy through www.ticketsnw.ca or call 604-521-5050. See www.royalcitymusicaltheatre.com for all the information.
11. HOT BROWN HONEY
OK, this was supposed to be a top 10 list, but we just have to throw this bonus one out there. Because Hot Brown Honey. If you haven’t yet encountered this smash-hit show, then you’ll want to check out this performance that’s equal parts performance and politics, brought to the stage by a posse of powerful, stereotype-smashing women.
“From dance to spoken word, hip hop to performance art, Hot Brown Honey will make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed and shake every part of what your mama gave you,” says a write-up about the show.
It’s onstage Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2 – but tickets go on general sale on Sunday, Dec. 1, so act quickly to ensure your spot at the show that’s taken the world by storm. (If you’re a Massey Theatre subscriber, there’s a presale already underway.) Tickets are $53 regular, or $37 for seniors and students. (Note that it’s for ages 16 and up.) Buy through www.ticketstonight.ca.