Top Picks

December's best bets in the arts and entertainment.

Dancing Their Dream

Two Rockettes with local connections will perform in the group’s Christmas show at the UCF Arena.

When we think of the Rockettes, we envision a line of attractive young women in identical outfits kicking up their heels in exactly the same way at precisely the same moment.

Maybe that’s why we tend not to think of Rockettes as individuals from particular places. Like Pringles and Twinkies, they seem to have been mass-produced to rigorous specifications at some nondescript manufacturing plant.

That isn’t true, of course. And, in fact, two Rockettes in the traveling company of the group’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular have local ties.

Ashley DeZeeuw, 28, was raised in Apopka, while Lindsey D. Smith, 25, who grew up in Utah, has lived in Orlando for the past two years. Both are looking forward to performing for the “hometown crowd” when the show comes to the UCF Arena this month.

“My dad has already bought a chunk of 40 tickets.” says DeZeeuw, “so I’ll have a fan club.”

Now in her fourth season as a Rockette, DeZeeuw appeared on Star Search as a teenager and made her professional debut as a dancer in the Beauty and the Beast show at Walt Disney World. Smith, who still sometimes performs in Beauty and the Beast, is the current first runner-up for Miss Orlando. She’s making her Rockette debut this season and still sounds a bit awed by some of the reactions she’s been getting.

“I was at the post office and I was mailing something to Radio City Music Hall,” Smith recalls, barely able to contain her laughter. “I handed it to the person behind the counter, and she looked at it and she said, ‘Radio City Music Hall? That’s an interesting place.’ And my brother was with me and he said, ‘Well, she’s a Rockette.’ And the lady went, ‘Ohhh!’ and she reached out and touched my arm. And she went, ‘I just needed to touch you.’”

December 26 at 4 and 7 p.m.; December 27 at 1, 4 and 7 p.m.; December 28 at 7 p.m. $49.50-$99. UCF Arena, Bldg. 50, N. Gemini Blvd. 1-800-745-3000.

Nuts About Tchaikovsky

Fans of The Nutcracker holiday ballet have a wealth of choices this season. First up December 6 is the Russian Ballet of Orlando production at Trinity Preparatory School Auditorium; the group also offers a free performance December 19 at the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, Lake Eola. Orlando Ballet performs December 11-13 and 17-20 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Finally, the Central Florida Ballet production marches in December 19-20 at Linda Chapin Auditorium in the Orange County Convention Center.


The Polasek Zone

Through April 18 An exhibition of work by 22 illustrators, including Ed Emsh, brings the unexpected, the eerie and the uncanny to the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens. Monsters and Maidens comprises 50 original works from the pages of sci-fi and fantasy magazines and books published between 1914 and 1995, showing the illustrators’ visions of exotic adventures, fantastic fables and romantic encounters.
Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. $3-$5. 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park. 407-647-6294.


Mistletoe Mambo

December 18-19 Orlando’s own Michael Andrew and the Atomic Big Band bring their Swingin’ Christmas show to the Plaza Theatre for the fifth year running. Andrew and the band create a sound reminiscent of the 1940s and ‘50s, with obvious Rat Pack influences. Andrew performs holiday favorites and original songs, including “Mistletoe Mambo.” The evening includes additional musical entertainment in The Plaza’s Swingerhead Lounge.
Friday 2:30 and 8:30 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. $40-$55. 425 N. Bumby Ave. 407-228-1220.

Multiple Scrooges

A Christmas Carol is probably the best-known holiday play around, and fans hereabouts will have no lack of opportunities to see Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Traditional versions of Charles Dickens’ play can be found through December 20 at Theatre Downtown and on December 19 at the King Center in Melbourne. An especially family-friendly (and non-scary) adaptation, A Dickens’ Tale, is on stage December 12 at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford. Meanwhile, two productions of the zany comedy A Tuna Christmas light up the season. In this sequel to Greater Tuna, two actors play 24 residents of a small Texas town, preparing for the annual yard-decorating contest and a production of A Christmas Carol. The curtain goes up December 10-13 at Seminole State College and through December 13 at Historic State Theater in Eustis.

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