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Bradenton Blues Festival

Bring your lawn chair and your thirst for the blues to this all-day event, set for Dec. 6 along Bradenton’s Riverwalk. The music starts around 11 a.m. and plays on past 7:30 p.m., with such stars as Marcia Ball, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Little Ed & the Blues Imperials, Samantha Fish, EG Kight and more in the line-up. bradentonbluesfestival.org

Colors of Christmas

Vocalists Peabo Bryson, Jennifer Holliday, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Dayne combine talents for this season’s Colors of Christmas show at Van Wezel, Dec. 10, guaranteeing lots of holiday tunes and harmonies in their own individual styles. 953-3368, vanwezel.org

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Meet Me in St. Louis

Have yourself a merry little Christmas with the stage version of this nostalgic, turn-of-the-century (we mean 20th) story of a family preparing to leave its beloved St. Louis home just around the time of the World’s Fair there. It was a memorable movie for Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien; local actors will fill those shoes Dec. 4-21 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center’s Stone Hall. 748-5875, manateeplayers.com

Black Nativity

It’s been a few years since Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has presented this musical adaptation of poet Langston Hughes’ retelling of the birth of Jesus, with an all-black cast blending traditional Christmas music with a gospel/blues/spiritual flavor. Now it’s back, running Dec. 3-21 at the company’s Orange Avenue theater. 366-1505, wbttsrq.org

Dancing Lessons

Playwright Mark St. Germain (shown here in a production at the Barrington Stage Company) has scored at Florida Studio Theatre with other works (Freud’s Last Session, The Best of Enemies); now the theater brings us this regional premiere of his piece about a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who’s trying to learn to dance from a Broadway dancer sidelined with injuries. At the Keating Theatre, Dec. 10 through Feb. 27. 366-9000, floridastudiotheatre.org

Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks: American Dream

Celebrate the American spirit with iconic works by composers Aaron Copland (Lincoln Portrait), Samuel Barber (Adagio for Strings), George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue) and others, as conductor-pianist Evans Haile joins the orchestra for concerts Dec. 5, 6 and 7 at Van Wezel. 953-3434, sarasotaorchestra.org

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Lights in Bloom

Selby Gardens once more blooms with a holiday light display to be remembered, with the popular children’s rainforest a highlight of the tour. There’s also food, music and kid-friendly activities. Dec. 19-23 and Dec. 26-29, 6-9 p.m. each evening. 366-5731, selby.org

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Sure, you’ve watched the tale of Ralphie and his longed-for Red Ryder BB gun before, but have you seen the Broadway musical version? It comes with a “likable, perky score,” according to The New York Times, including tunes like A Major Award, Ralphie to the Rescue, and, of course, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out. A local community theater debut, at the Players Dec. 3-14. 365-2494, theplayers.org

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This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Click here to subscribe. >>

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