THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 24-30: The Nutcracker Plays the New York City Ballet; Kennedy Center Honors Airs on CBS

Inside Track   THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 24-30: The Nutcracker Plays the New York City Ballet; Kennedy Center Honors Airs on CBS's weekly planner reminds you that GrooveLily and the Grumpy Guy avoid New Year's&hellip festivities; the Kennedy Center Honors, honoring Barbara Cook, airs on CBS… and Kwanzaa celebrations are held at the world-famous Apollo. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday this WEEK AHEAD!
Michael Micalizzi and Allison Buck
Michael Micalizzi and Allison Buck Photo by Joan Marcus


Saturday, December 24
GO→ The New York String Orchestra, led by conductor Jaime Laredo, continues its 40-year tradition of ringing in the holidays with the music of Bach and Mozart in its annual Christmas Eve concert. (7 PM, Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, 154 W. 57th St. at 7th Ave., $9.50-$52. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, December 25
WATCH→ Off-Off Broadway's 74-seat Flea Theater gets a much bigger audience thanks to New York's Channel 13. Looking at Christmas, Steven Banks' romantic comedy about a writer and an actress who meet cute in front of the holiday window at Bloomingdale's, receives a special encore holiday broadcast on PBS's local station. (11 PM, Thirteen WNET. Info.)

Monday, December 26
GO→ Tony-winning librettist Rachel Sheinkin (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and members of the indie pop-rock trio GrooveLily ring in the New Year with Striking 12. The musical comedy tells the story of a curmudgeon known only as "'Grumpy Guy" who decides celebrating New Year's Eve is for suckers — until he meets the girl of his dreams. (Through Dec. 31, Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St., btwn. 5th and 6th Aves., $35 with beverage min. Info/tickets.)

Barbara Cook and Neil Diamond
photo by John Paul Filo/CBS ©2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Tuesday, December 27
WATCH→ The inimitable Barbara Cook was among this year's recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors — along with Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma and Sonny Rollins. A gaggle of Broadway stars came out to heap praise upon her during the Center's annual gala earlier this month. Included in that bunch were Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Glenn Close, Sutton Foster, Laura Osnes, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. As per usual, the public gets to witness the festivities when the Honors air on CBS. (9 PM ET/8PM CT, CBS. Info.) Wednesday, December 28
GO→ Nothing says "'Christmas in New York" quite like catching a performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at New York City Ballet. Complete with toy soldiers, snow princess ballerinas, the dreaded Mouse King and Tschaikovsky's classic score, this Christmas tale is an annual affair that one must see at least once in a lifetime (that is, if you can score the hard-to-get tickets!). (Through Dec. 31, David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue & 63rd Street. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, December 29
GO (FREE)→ A free double feature of "Love and Basketball," starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, and Spike Lee's "Crooklyn" will play as part of BAM's Free Movies for Winter Break. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis with free popcorn and soda. (11 AM, Brooklyn Academy of Music's Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn. Info.)

Friday, December 30
LAST CHANCE→ Cathy Rigby will never grow up — thanks to Peter Pan, the role that earned her a Tony Award nomination and employment for over twenty years! Rigby has been flying high in the tour of the revival of Peter Pan, the 1954 Broadway musical based on the classic J.M. Barrie story about the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. The show is currently parked at New York City’s Theatre at MSG and will travel on to stops in California, Texas and Missouri in the New Year. (Theatre at Madison Square Garden, 7th Ave. and 32nd St. Info/tickets.)

GO→ The dance troupe Abdel Salaam Forces of Nature celebrates Kwanzaa at New York's famed Apollo Theater. WBLS's Imhotep Gary Byrd hosts Regeneration Night, an evening of dance and music celebrating the week-long midwinter holiday of Kwanzaa. (7:30 PM, Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St., btwn. 7th Ave & Frederick Douglass Blvd., $16, group rates available. Info/tickets.)

Blake Ross is the editor of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillBlake.

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