The curtain rises on holiday entertainment with a Christmassy Elvis tribute, a Love Train musical revue, Mickey Mouse and friends, and a trip along the yellow brick road.
As the holidays approach, special shows with seasonal songs and dancing, lavish theatre productions and children’s events highlight the entertainment calendar.
Rock ‘n’ roll holidays
Blue Christmas recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957 became a rock holiday classic that is amazing recreated by tribute artist Stephen Kabakos.
This Elvis look-alike, who sounds and moves like “the King of Rock and Roll,” performs his holiday show on Dec. 17 at Stage West Theatre Restaurant in Mississauga.
The show, which includes the lavish buffet in the Vegas-style showroom, has Kabakos and his TVB (The Very Best) Ensemble performing Christmas favourites and other songs from the Elvis repertoire.
He recreates an authentic Elvis experience “note for note, song for song and word for word,” said publicist Laurie Wallace-Lynch.
Kabakos will be back on Jan. 28 with his Aloha to Hawaii tribute and on Feb. 25 for the Elvis 68 Comeback Special.
There are many more Elvis sightings with the Cavalcade of Champions on Jan. 7 hosted by Nevin Grant, CKOC radio legend and music historian.
It features Anthony Von, Gino Monopoli and Anthony Carbone and seven other tribute artists.
There’s also the Elvis Experience on April 15 with Tim “E”, last year’s Toronto Elvis Festival grand champion, with the fest being held from May 17 to 19 next year, and Echoes of Collingwood on June 17.
For family fun, Jingle and Jangle, a musical about Santa’s elves, opens Dec. 8 with the last show on Jan. 4 including a lunch buffet.
Stage West is now featuring Love Train, Motown Musical Revue, through Feb. 10 “a journey through the music of soul and rhythm and blues.” www.stagewest.com; 1-800-263-0684
Four favourite stories ensure family fun as Disney On Ice returns to Toronto with the Worlds of Fantasy for 17 performances from Dec. 21 to 30 at the Rogers Centre.
“From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust,” memorable Disney moments come to life “with dazzling skating, special effects and beloved characters,” said publicist Beth Merrick.
The show features high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney Pixar's Cars race across the ice.
Dive into the Little Mermaid's undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within.
Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home.
Disney On Ice’s 100 Years of Magic comes to London’s Budweiser Gardens from Jan. 24 to 27. www.disneyonice.com; 1-855-985-5000
The stage show Phineas and Ferb Live comes to Ontario with shows this month and next in London (Jan. 6), Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Oshawa, Ottawa, Toronto (Jan. 11-13) and Windsor. www.disneylive.ca
Clicking those heels
Take a journey to a magical land with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new adaptation of the Wizard of Oz opening Dec. 20 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria St.) in Toronto.
“Developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay, this new production contains all the beloved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, all the favourite characters and iconic moments,” said publicist Sue Toth.
There are also a “few surprises” including new songs by Tim Rice and Webber, she added.
The story features the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto as they journey through Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires.
They must watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys.
An all-Canadian cast features Danielle Wade of LaSalle, a University of Windsor student, starring as Dorothy. Tickets are from $35 to $130. www.mirvish.com; 1-800-461-3333
Last call for War Horse that ends its run on Jan. 6 at the Mirvish Princess of Wales Theatre.
Ringing in the New Year
Electro-pop trio Dragonette, Vancouver rock group Hedley and Nelly Furtado will help crowds usher in the New Year in Niagara Falls.
The free New Year’s Eve party starts at 7:30 p.m. in Queen Victoria Park overlooking the Falls and includes “spectacular fireworks” at 8:45 p.m. and midnight.
They will be the biggest yet with the fireworks launched from the Skylon Tower, in the Niagara Gorge and, for the first time, directly above the Falls. www.niagaraparks.com/nye