• HOT TICKET

‘Nutcracker’ ushers in holiday shows

MAINE STATE BALLET stages a traditional version of “The Nutcracker” with two weekends of performances at Merrill Auditorium. The ballet, with a live orchestra and lush costumes, inaugurates an intense monthlong string of holiday concerts and events.

WHEN: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 4; 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 5; 7 p.m. Dec. 3

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $15 to $45

INFO: 842-0800; www.porttix.com or www.mainestateballet.org

• CHEAP THRILL

USM singers ready a cappella tunes

THE USM CHAMBER SINGERS, under the direction of Robert Russell, perform a cappella music from over time as well as seasonal favorites.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Immanuel Baptist Church, 156 High St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $9/donation

INFO: www.tinyurl.com/USMChamber