George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
Technically, Christmas is now behind us, but as long as there’s a chill in the air and lampposts adorned with wreaths, it’s the perfect time to enjoy this beloved tale and 25-year-old local holiday tradition. Follow Marie and the Prince as they venture from the Land of Sweets to Sugarplum Fairy’s kingdom, marveling at all the dazzling sets, elaborate costumes and enchanting choreography along the way. This actually marks the 25th year that the Pennsylvania Ballet will be performing the production and, as usual, they’ll be joined by the Philadelphia Boys Choir, as well as dozens of local dance students. If you have a new, unwrapped toy lying around, be sure to bring it along to donate to the Salvation Army. -Nicole Finkbiner
2pm. $30-$125. Through Dec. 30. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. paballet.org
Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, has made a name for himself as the MC of the Roots, but his work has proven to be formidable whether performing with them or flying solo. He calmly lays down hypnotic rhymes to match the thrumming bass line, periodic shouts and ‘70s-style funk of “Black Over Easy,” and the groovy love ode “Please Don’t Go” features more of his epic raps about people trying to convince their significant others not to leave them. “Web” proves that he could probably rap in his sleep, as he lets his spellbinding, perfect freestyle form take control while he shows you what he’s made of, and on the melodic hip-hop number “Thought is Like,” when he raps about not wanting to settle for a consolation prize, it’s more than just a clever metaphor; it’s emblematic of his ambitions. Nobody does it better than Black Thought. -B.P.
9pm. $20-23. With J. Period, Reef the Lost Cauze, Mic Stew + Rowboat Casino. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St. 215.222.1234. theblockley.com
Sun., Dec. 30
When Cirque du Soleil began years ago, it was the epitome of cool. Instead of the lumbering elephants and old-school ringmaster of Barnum & Bailey Circus, Soleil was sexy, athletic and original. Now, however, there’s another Montreal-based troupe called Cirque Eloize. The next generation of circus companies makes its area debut with the all-ages production iD. Featuring several artists previously associated with Cirque du Soleil, including legendary scenic designer and illustrator Robert Massicotte and famed acrobatic designer Krzysztof Soroczynski, iD is set on the streets of a big, unnamed city. Mixing urban dance with a brash attitude and a dozen different circus arts including juggling, contortion and elegant aerial silks, the production is a fast-paced visual extravaganza with extraordinarily fearless and athletically-gifted artists performing in front of mind-blowing video projections featuring images drawn from sci-fi films, comic books and graffiti. An experience in sensory overload, the show builds to a finale on the thrilling trampowall, a device designed by Soroczynski that allows performers to execute the kind of Spider-Man-like stunts usually associated with computer-generated special effects. -J.C.R.
1pm. $25-$65. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. kimmelcenter.org
Mon., Dec. 31
Making Time New Year’s Eve 2K12(13)
Unless getting manhandled by strangers, shooting bartenders the death stare and spending an obscene amount of time in a bathroom sounds like your ideal way to ring in 2013, Making Time’s annual NYE shindig may be your best bet. Despite selling out every year, thanks to Union Transfer’s massive venue, all can easily drink and dance without hundreds of people totally cramping their style this year. Even better, for just $45, partygoers will get free drinks, plenty of of festive accessories and their choice of 12 different DJs. Spinning on the main floor throughout the night are the Making Time trio: Sammy Slice, Dave Pak and Mike Z. Head over to the neighboring room and you’ll find Rocktits joined by Holly Sue Allen. And sending pulses soaring upstairs in the “Hypercage” are Broadzilla and Tony Modica. When the clock strikes midnight, be prepared to have your sweaty body covered in confetti. -N.F.
9pm. $40-$45. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Tues., Jan. 1
What’s 2.5-miles long, 69-feet wide, 12-feet high and covered in South African ostrich feathers? The Mummers New Year’s Day Parade, synonymous with Philadelphia, is older than the city itself. The English arrived here in 1680, bringing with them the tradition of Christmas Mumming plays performed in silence by mum-mimes. By the 19th-century, the term “mummer” was applied to ham actors in plays loaded with dumb shows, noise and spectacle. The play tradition evolved into the first official parade on January 1, 1901. Today, the 113th annual parade consists of four separately judged Mummer divisions—the Comics, Wench Brigade, Fancy Division and the Fancy Brigade—followed by 23 string bands strutting north up Broad Street leaving a path of dyed feathers and glitter in their wake. -J.F.
10am. Free. Broad Street and Washington Ave. phillymummers.com
New Year’s Day Brunch
The moment you notice that champagne you set aside for New Year’s Day mimosas has somehow “disappeared” is the moment you realize brunch might be the first ingenious idea you’ve had in 2013. Although numerous businesses in the city will be closed for the holiday, Johnny Brenda’s will be open and ready to serve all those in search of a hangover cure. Pick up a spicy Bloody Mary or a refreshingly crisp craft beer, and enjoy the first day of 2013 with DJs Rennie & Mary. -Lindsay Kenney
11:30am. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide