The Portland Symphony Orchestra unveils this year’s version of “Magic of Christmas” beginning Friday at Merrill Auditorium and continuing through Dec. 18. This year’s show will feature acrobatic feats, joyful holiday songs, Christmas carols and music from “The Nutcracker.”

Music director Robert Moody will lead the orchestra in a program of classical and popular holiday hits. This year, Moody will sing “The Rose,” a song made famous by the movie of the same name starring Bette Midler, delivered as an ode to the Christmas spirit.

Also on the bill is Cirque de la Symphonie, joining the PSO for Tchaikovksy’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” “The Rose” and “Rocket Sleigh” by composer Delvyn Case. The male a capella group the Bowdoin College Longfellows will perform the first weekend of shows, and the Maine Steiners will perform Dec. 16-18.

Tickets are available at, by phone at 842-0800 or at the Merrill box office. All seats to the Friday-night preview cost $25. Tickets to all other shows range from $25 to $55.

The American Irish Repertory Ensemble presents “A Celtic Christmas” at 2 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Blvd., Portland. The show features fiddlers, step dancers and jugglers, as well as a new piece, “The Legend of the Wren,” an original Irish Christmas tale.

Tickets cost $22, $20 for seniors and students, and $12 for children ages 11 and younger. Admission on Tuesday and Wednesday is $18. Call 799-5327 or visit

The Public Theatre in Lewiston presents its version of “A Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets cost $18 for adults and $5 for ages 18 and younger. Call 782-3200.


— Bob Keyes, Staff Writer