Looking for a refresh button on the usual holiday fare? Look no further than these uptown productions putting a clever spin on three Christmas classics.
A Christmas Carol in Harlem
Aaron Davis Hall at CCNY, Nov 25-Dec 8
Based on the Charles Dickens novel, this witty retelling of the Christmas classic by the Classical Theatre of Harlem is set in present-day Harlem. Here, Ebenezer Scrooge is a real estate mogul who has gotten rich at the expense of others, but on Christmas Eve three visitors show him the value of family and community. Expect original and classic holiday music infused with the sounds of gospel, hip-hop, pop and R&B. (Above photo: Jill Jones)
A Harlemettes Holiday
Harlem School of the Arts, Dec 7-9, Dec 14-16
Leave the Rockettes to the midtown hordes and catch the Harlemettes uptown instead. Expect lots of singing and dancing at this holiday extravaganza brought to you by the Harlem School of the Arts: "When members of a Times Square tour group curiously wander off on their own, they take the A train to Harlem discovering a world that moves to the rhythm of jazz, blues and hip-hop!"
Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah
United Palace Theater, Dec 15, 3pm
You've never heard a "Hallelujah" like this one. The United Palace Theater is unveiling a new kind of Handel's Messiah in its beautiful space–one that mixes gospel, jazz and Latin rhythms. Look for solo performances from Angela Birchett ("The Color Purple") and local ensembles like the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra and the Fort Washington Community Choir.
For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.