The holiday season is here at last, and with that comes the classic Christmas songs that play on the radio and in every retail store 24/7 through New Years. As nostalgic as these are, wouldn’t you rather hear exciting, new interpretations of them? The Hamptons and North Fork have a wealth of shows offering refreshing twists on holiday favorites, as well as year-round hits, this winter.
The post-Thanksgiving entertainment begins at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC). On Friday, November 23 at 8 p.m., relive the magic of Levon Helm and The Band, with The Weight. Comprising members from the original group, you’ll never hear more authentic renditions of classics like “Tears of Rage” and “Up Cripple Creek.” On Saturday, December 29, WHBPAC welcomes the Best of the Eagles, a cover band that soars above expectations, mirroring the instrumentation and vocals of each Eagles member to a tee. 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-1500, whbpac.org
With the end of The Great Gatsby’s run at Bay Street Theater, the performing arts center moves away from grand theater and toward great comedy, film and music. On Saturday, November 24 at 9:30 p.m., the November 2018 edition of All Star Comedy will tickle your funny bone with top comedians Joseph Vecsey, Adam Mamawala, Doug Smith and Emma Willman. The December edition hits on Friday, December 7, and features Joseph Vecsey, Kerry Coddett and Chuck Nice.
The Hamptons Doc Fest, previously the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, runs November 29 through December 3 and features more than 20 inspired, eye-opening documentaries. On Saturday, December 8, Alfredo Meret takes to the stage to sing a tribute to the late internationally known singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. Using even more music, interview quotes and theatrical magic than his previous sold-out tribute, Meret tells Brel’s story like never before. Bay Street hasn’t forgotten about the young ones; kids are sure to enjoy Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre on November 24, December 22 and December 29. 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-9500, baystreet.org
Guild Hall’s artXchange on Saturday, November 25 at 1 p.m. promises an enjoyable, family-oriented afternoon of creative activities, collaborative workshops, scavenger hunts, bilingual gallery tours and empanadas. From November 30 to December 2, Our Fabulous Variety Show rents out the stage for the Cirque du Fabuleux. Witness jaw-dropping song and dance numbers, snake-dancing, drag queens, improv and sketch comedy in the 21st installment of this unbelievable show. 158 Main Street, East Hampton. 631-324-0806, guildhall.org
The Gateway doesn’t limit itself to performing at The Gateway Playhouse; its acts are enjoyed throughout Patchogue and Bellport. Beginning with Mooseltoe: A New Moosical on Friday, November 23 at noon and 2:30 p.m. at Bellport Middle School (35 Kreamer Street, Bellport), this family holiday favorite features expert singing, dancing and puppeteering, as well as narration provided by Al Roker. The next show is Les Misérables: School Edition from December 1 through December 9 at The Gateway Playhouse (215 South Country Road, Bellport). The award-winning musical about the survival of the human spirit has been adapted for high school students and younger audiences, and is a perfect introduction to the Broadway hit.
Witness the tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast, performed on the Patchogue Theatre (71 East Main Street, Patchogue) stage from December 14 through December 30, followed by Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé on December 31. 631-286-1133, thegateway.org
This winter, Patchogue Theatre has its own packed schedule of exciting content, beginning with Thanksgiving weekend. You won’t want to miss Irish Christmas in America on Friday at 8 p.m., It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play on Saturday and A Charlie Brown Christmas on Sunday. Songstress Darlene Love graces the stage on Friday, December 7 to sing all the Christmas classics, then the John Denver Christmas Show and the Long Island Concert Orchestra provide even more opportunities to listen to your favorite holiday music on Saturday and Sunday. 631-207-1313, patchoguetheatre.org
Celebrate the holidays at The Stephen Talkhouse. On December 15, listen to rock, country, blues, gospel and holiday songs with Sarah Conway in her beloved Revel in Your Spirits Christmas Show. After the concert, the 4th annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party with Hello Brooklyn begins, where you can actually win a prize for that tacky thing sitting in the back of your closet. For New Years Eve, kick back to the sounds of East End legends G.E. Smith and Nancy Atlas, in back-to-back concerts. 161 Main Street, Amagansett. 631-267-3177, stephentalkhouse.com
Don’t forget to visit the Southampton Cultural Center for an exciting holiday treat, Meet Me in St. Louis, a live radio play. It runs from November 23 to December 9 and includes dinner and brunch package options. 25 Pond Lane, Southampton. 631-287-4377, scc-arts.org
There’s a bounty of entertainment to enjoy on the North Fork this winter as well, beginning with Suffolk Theater. Get up close and personal to Simon and Garfunkel’s Art Garfunkel on Friday, November 23 at 8 p.m.; bust a move to That ’70s Band on November 24; and take in the melodious harmonies of Long Island Hall of Fame group The Brooklyn Bridge on November 30.
Then in December, the Lords of 52nd Street, Billy Joel’s original band, rock the theater with holiday favorites and their top hits on December 7; the 19-piece New Millennium Big Band honors Frank Sinatra’s birthday with a night of wine and swing music on December 8. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group Ronnie Spector and the Ronnettes throw a festive Yuletide party on December 14, followed by WLNG’s Rockabilly Christmas the following night.
Finally, ring in 2019 with a double feature of fun. On December 31 at 8 p.m., party all night at the New Years Laugh, Dine and Dance, where you’ll enjoy a comedy show, champagne toast and sick beats by DJ Phil. Can’t make it at 8 p.m.? Not a problem! The After Hours Dance Party kicks off at 10 p.m. where guests will continue to groove before the grand champagne toast. 118 East Main Street, Riverhead. 631-727-4343, suffolktheater.com
For many, seeing A Christmas Carol is an annual tradition. Luckily, the Theatre Three production is a theatrical masterpiece and can be seen through December 29. Prepare to bust a gut at Friday Night Face Off on November 23 and November 30 at 10:30 p.m. In Long Island’s longest running improv comedy show, two teams of improvisers face off in an all-out, uncensored battle for laughs. Need even more humor in you life? Bob Nelson takes the spotlight on December 6, portraying many quirky, zany characters in this off-the-rails one-man show. 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com
Visit Stony Brook’s Staller Center for the Arts for enticing shows this December. The Emerson Quartet performs on December 5, wooing the audience with the heavenly sounds of a cello, a viola and two violins. On December 8, the voices of South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir soar as they celebrate the inspirational power of the country’s deeply emotional music. 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook. 631-632-2787, staller.sunysb.edu