▪ Charlotte dance troupe Caroline Calouche & Co. reimagines “The Nutcracker” with a combination of aerial acrobatics and contemporary dance in Clara’s Trip: A Cirque and Dance Nutcracker Story; it follows Clara to the hospital and into her dreams, where a cast of characters springs to magical life — and flies through the air. 7 p.m. (also 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday). Booth Playhouse. $35-$50.
▪ For a more traditional version of young Clara’s adventure, Charlotte Ballet: Nutcracker returns for more than two weeks of performances leading up to Christmas. The production features choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, music by the Charlotte Symphony, sets and costumes that debuted in 2016, and all the charm and warmth of the productions you grew up with. 7:30 p.m. (also 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with shows through Dec. 23). Belk Theater. $50-$110.
▪ Comedian and actor Sinbad has had his eyes on Charlotte — and the rest of the world — tweeting about shady N.C. politics earlier this week, leading up to his return to Comedy Zone. The star of ’90s comedies like “Good Burger” and “Jingle All the Way” premiered as a regular on Fox’s sitcom “Rel” in September. 7:30 and 10 p.m. (also 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday). $25-$40.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
▪ Carolina Voices presents the 64th Annual Singing Christmas Tree, featuring its MainStage Choir, Miller Street Dance Academy and, for the first time, an All-Star Big Band to add a touch of swing jazz to the arrangements. There will also be swing dance in the lobby and a visit from Santa, who may just cut a rug. 3 and 7:30 p.m. (also 4 p.m. Sunday). $26-$45.
▪ Just one year younger than the Singing Christmas Tree, the town of McAdenville’s holiday light display is notorious for its 500,000 lights twinkling on lake-lining spruces, towering evergreens, and more than 150 homes in the community that make up Christmas Town USA. The yearly tradition — which is both walkable and driveable — is free as always. 5:30-11 p.m. (also 5:30-9:30 nightly and till 11 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 26).
▪ Fox News anchor and best-selling author Brian Kilmeade signs copies of his latest book, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny.” Currently No. 4 on The New York Times’ paperback non-fiction list, the book focuses on Jackson’s pivotal role in The War of 1812 and his influence on generations of American politics. Copies are available for pre-order for $18.19 and will be for sale Saturday during the signing. 6:30 p.m. Books-A-Million, Concord Mills.
▪ The ever-popular Trans-Siberian Orchestra employs all the jingle bells and synthesized whistles it can fill a fleet of buses with as it brings its annual marriage of over-the-top arena rock and Christmas spirit back to the stage. With messages of Christmas’s true meaning, a mix of original and classic holiday songs and grand theatricality, it’s a sight and sound to behold. 7:30 p.m. Spectrum Center. $47.50-$56.75.
▪ If you grew up during the late ’70s and ’80s with HBO in your home, you likely remember Emmett Otter and the Fraggles. Jim Henson’s Holiday Special is a double feature of the muppeteer’s decades-old seasonal TV specials, “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” and “The Bells of Fraggle Rock” — on the big screen. 4 and 7 p.m. (also 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16). AMC Concord Mills 24 and Regal Stonecrest at Piper Glen 22. $13.40 ($10.73 for children).
▪ High-flying acrobats, graceful aerialists and daring stunt performers join a live symphony orchestra to create Cirque Musica Holiday Presents: Wonderland. Visit a world of adventure and beauty as the stage is transformed into a winter fantasy. 7:30 p.m. Ovens Auditorium. $65-$100.
▪ Grammy-nominated/Dove Award-winning pianist Jim Brickman returns for an intimate concert: Jim Brickman A Joyful Christmas. It’s his 22nd annual holiday tour, which should be naturally elevated by the church-like atmosphere inside Spirit Square’s stained-glass-lined McGlohon Theater. 7:30 p.m. $25-$87.50.