Top Theater & Performing Arts Events in Houston: December 2020

SPA presents Manual Studio's Christmas Carol | Photo courtesy of SPA Houston

Take in virtual or live performances this holiday season with our roundup of theater and performing arts productions happening online and in-person in December 2020.

Houston’s performing arts community is nothing if not resilient. So many performance companies have moved to online events, in many different ways. Some offer all shows for free, others offer ticketed events, and a few industrious companies are staging socially distanced in-person concerts.

Each venue has detailed information on their efforts to make concert-going experiences safe, so please check with the event organizer before deciding whether to attend. In some cases, venues are also hosting live-stream performances alongside in-person options so you may find a way to enjoy this month’s concerts based on what is safe for you.

Top Performing Arts Events in Houston: December 2020

We’ve broken listings into virtual and in-person shows. Several of the live, in-person events also have select live stream events.

Virtual Performances in Houston in December 2020

  • A.D. Players at the George & Yellow Tree Radio Theatre present A Cattywampus Christmas | All Month Long | Virtual – This radio play finds two lovelorn ladies swapping homes, looking for a little holiday cheer. $20.
  • Catastrophic Theatre presents Herzstück | All Month Long | Virtual | FREE – Ten years in the making from the mind of “local weirdo” Greg Dean, follow a pianist and violinist as they attempt to perform a series of duets, only to be endlessly interrupted. This film borrows the aesthetic from silent black and white film comedies and is the kind of presentation that only Catastrophic could bring.
  • Stages Theatre presents Holiday at the Hopes’ |Through Sunday, December 13 | Virtual – Stages artists Ben Hope and Katie Barton Hope off this radio-style performance of holiday songs and stories of holiday traditions. $25.
  • 3rd Annual Carols on the Green with the Houston Grand Opera: Virtual Edition | Tuesday, December 8, 2020 & After | Virtual | FREE – The new holiday tradition moves online for 2020, featuring a performance of holiday favorites by Houston Grand Opera, with special guests Cecilia Duarte and Jesus Pacheco. The program will be viewable online after it debuts. 6:30pm.
  • Houston Grand Opera presents The Making of The Snowy Day | Thursday, December 10 | Virtual | FREE – While the world premiere of this production, based on the beloved children’s book by Jack Ezra Keats, was delayed this year, HGO offers this behind-the-scenes look at how the company brought the story to life on the opera stage. 7:30pm
  • Main Street Theater presents Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley Live Read | Friday, December 11 through Sunday, December 13 | Virtual | FREE – This holiday bon bon of a show continues where Pride and Prejudice left off, following the story of middle sister Mary Bennet as the family descends upon Pemberley for Christmas. Perfect for Jane Austen fans and lovers of wit (who are often the same!) alike.
  • A.D. Players presents Merry Christmas Darling: Heidi Kettering Sings Karen Carpenter | Select Dates from Friday, December 11 through Saturday, December 19 | Virtual – From the contemporary to the classic, this concert is a selection of holiday and Carpenter favorites. Livestream options are available for select Friday and Saturday performances staged in the parking lot of The George Theater in Uptown. $35.
  • Houston Symphony presents A Very Merry Pops | Saturday, December 12 & Saturday, December 19 | Virtual – The orchestra’s annual Christmas show is reimagined for the Covid age, presenting festive selections include “Feliz Navidad,” “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and more, all perfect for singing along. In-person attendance is also offered. $20.
  • Stages Theatre presents Buttons’ Sleeping Beauty: A One-Man Outrageous Unbelievable COVID Lockdown Panto | Tuesday, December 15 to Sunday, December 27 | Virtual – Not even a pandemic could keep Stages from presenting its annual panto holiday performance. Join the irrepressible Buttons as he recounts the story of the brave Serena battling an evil fairy. Puppetry, gadgets and more bring the tale to life, and are guaranteed to generate at-home cheers, boos and plenty of laughs. $25.
  • Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Sweets Virtual Film | Tuesday, December 15 through Friday, January 8, 2021 | Virtual – The H-Town holiday tradition continues with a digital film celebrating all things Nutcracker, including an abridged version of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker from the ballet archives and fun new works set to popular Christmas carols. Premiering at 7pm on Tuesday, December 15, the program can then be purchased and viewed anytime through the end of its run. $35
  • SPA presents Houston Artist Commissioning Project: Windsync in Concert | Thursday, December 17 | Virtual | FREE – This Houston-based woodwind quintet is among the country’s most lauded. This concert sees the ensemble performing a new work by composer and dancer Akshaya Avril Tucker. The show will remain viewable on YouTube and Facebook. 7pm.
  • Houston Grand Opera presents the HGO Studio Holiday Celebration | Friday, December 18 | Virtual | FREE | HGO Studio artists perform a repertoire ranging from Handel to traditional carols and contemporary favorites in this holiday concert. 7:30pm.
  • Ars Lyrica Houston presents Comfort & Joy | Friday, December 18 | Virtual – This performance of holiday favorites along with little-heard Baroque selections showcases the vocal and instrumental artistry of one of Houston’s most-acclaimed ensembles. The show will remain available after original debut. $10. 7:30pm to 8:30pm.
  • Main Street Theater presents The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley Live Read | Friday, December 18 through Sunday, December 20 | Virtual | FREE – A companion to Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (performed the week prior), this holiday comedy takes us below stairs at Pemberley, where the servants are trying to not only manage the Christmas gathering upstairs but also the arrival of an unwelcome guest.
  • SPA presents Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol | Saturdays through Saturday, December 19 | Virtual – This adaptation of Dickens’ beloved tale finds the skeptical Aunt Trudy in her Chicago apartment, trying to reconstruct her late husband Joe’s annual Christmas puppet show via Zoom. This interactive show for a pandemic age will delight all audiences. Tickets start at $20.
  • Houston Chamber Choir presents A Time to Bring Hope | Debuts Sunday, December 20 | Virtual – The Grammy-winning vocal ensemble offers a concert of favorite carols from around the world. $9.99. Debuts at noon and viewable through the end of the choir’s 2020-21 season. | Purchase tickets here
  • 4th Wall Theatre Company presents Holiday Story Time | Thursdays through Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24 | Virtual | FREE – Every Thursday brings a new episode in this series of festive stories, each designed to channel the spirit of the season. Episodes will remain viewable for one month after they debut.
  • Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol | Through Sunday, December 27 | Virtual | FREE – The holiday favorite returns online with a moving new adaption reflecting the 2020 challenges of telling the story of miserly Scrooge, visited one fateful Christmas Eve by three ghosts imploring him to remember his humanity.

Live Performances in Houston in December 2020

Social Distancing & COVID-19

Businesses in Houston have opened under modified protocols, following guidelines administered by local health officials, the State of Texas and CDC. At this time, guidance from experts urges people to continue wearing face masks when in public spaces, practice social distancing of at least six feet, limit your touching of surfaces and frequently use hand sanitizer or soap and water to keep your hands clean.

Before heading out, take time to familiarize with your destination’s requirements or restrictions at this moment, and be sure to contact them ahead of time with any questions or concerns.

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Holly Beretto
Holly Beretto writes about food and wine, the arts and interesting people for a variety of local and regional publications. In addition to 365 Things to Do in Houston, her work has appeared in the Arizona State University Alumni Magazine, Arts + Culture Texas, Bayou City Magazine, Downtown, Galveston Monthly and Houston Woman. She is also a regular contributor to's Houston site. She earned her B.A. in mass communication with a minor in professional writing from Franklin Pierce College (now Franklin Pierce University) and her M.A. in communication studies with an emphasis in journalism from St. Louis University. She has worked in television news production, public relations and marketing in Rhode Island, Maine, New York and Texas. A native Rhode Islander, she has lived in Texas since 1997. She is the author of Christ as the Cornerstone: Fifty Years of Worship at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, published by Bright Sky Press.