Worth a Look: This week's A&E events


This week, revel in the magical story of "The Snow Queen" in a performance by the Bayer Ballet Academy, join the San Francisco Choral Artists for a round-the-world musical journey and catch TheatreWorks' production of the Peter Pan prequel: "Peter and the Starcatcher."


'The Snow Queen'

Make this winter magical at the Bayer Ballet Academy's performance of "The Snow Queen," inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale. Young dancers will celebrate the traditions of Russian ballet through beautifully crafted choreography and captivating musical scores.

In this enchanting tale of a young girl's journey to save her sworn brother, ballerinas twirl through a world of ice and snow. The story follows the brave Gerda as she dodges robbers and trolls on her quest through a magical river, a dangerous forest and a magnificent princess' palace to free her friend Kai from the heartless snow queen.

The cast of 9 to 16-year-old dancers will perform roles as crows, flowers, fireflies, a prince and a princess. Cast members are deeply committed students of ballet, and each has been picked to play a role that fits his or her personality. Award-winning ballet dancer Alina Taratorin plays Gerda, successfully capturing the integrity and sincerity of the character and bringing technical prowess to her role.

Catch Bayer Ballet's "The Snow Queen" Saturday, Dec. 20, at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2:30 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (500 Castro St.). Tickets range from $30-$40. Go to [mvcpa.com mvcpa.com or call 650-903-6000.


Postcards from Abroad

Join the San Francisco Choral Artists for a tour around the globe this holiday season. Hop from Peru to Brazil, Kenya to South Korea without leaving your seat. The performance celebrates Christmas traditions from all corners of the world and invites audience members along for the ride.

The program starts and ends in America, creating a full circle around-the-world experience. For the first half of the evening, artistic director Magen Solomon has included Healey Willan's "The Three Kings," "Lent" by Fred Cummins and the well-known "Ave Maris Stella" by contemporary Norwegian composer Trond Kverno.

The second half of the performance explores lesser-known works including "Natufurahi Siku Ya Leo," a traditional Kenyan folk song from the Taita people. The singers move on to celebratory hymns from Asia, percussion and song from New Zealand and finally back to the Bay Area with Roger Nixon's "Carol."

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20 at Palo Alto's Saint Mark's Episcopal Church (600 Colorado Ave). Tickets are $30 at the door, with discounts available for advance purchase, seniors, and students. Go to sfca.org or call 415-494-8149.


'Peter and the Starcatcher'

Take a trip to Neverland in TheatreWorks performance of "Peter and the Starcatcher," the enchanted, sea-faring prequel to Peter Pan. Silicon Valley's nationally acclaimed theater presents the heartwarming tale with a cast including three Bay Area locals: Darren Bridgett, Ron Campbell and Michael Gene Sullivan.

The Tony Award-winning play by Rick Elice stirs the imagination in this ageless tale of a boy who never grew up and the girl he always loved. A band of unforgettable young characters take on pirates, mermaids and the villainous captain of Neverland, outsmarting their aged enemies with childlike imagination.

Tim Homsley makes his debut appearance with TheatreWorks as Peter, the star adventurer of the whimsical tale. TheatreWorks' founder and artistic director Robert Kelley serves as director, after leading more than 170 TheaterWorks productions.

Performances run through Jan. 3 at Palo Alto's Lucie Stern Theater (1305 Middlefield Road). Tickets range from $19-$74. Go to theatreworks.org or call 650-463-1960.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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