National Ballet's The Nutcracker
Carols are joyous and of course we say hallelujah to the Messiahs, but it really isn't Christmas for some of us until we hear the magical strains of Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. And all the better if the tinkling notes accompany some of the best dancers in the world. As a bonus, the politically nimble Mayor John Tory makes a cannon-doll cameo in Saturday afternoon's opening performance. Dec. 13 to Jan. 3. $26 to $140. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595 or nationalballet.ca.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
'Tis the season to be merry men with Mel Brooks's well-aimed 1993 arrow at the leotard-loving wealth-distributor and the whole convention of dashing-swashbuckler films. And if the Sherwood Forest spoof wasn't enough, the stage spectacle that is The Heart of Robin Hood, a twist on the traditional tale, comes to the Royal Alexandra Theatre on Dec. 23. Dec. 13, 10 p.m. $10 to $12.50. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433 or tiff.net.
The Lost Dhow: A Discovery of the Maritime Silk Route
In 1998, an Arab ship carrying goods from China was discovered at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The sunken vessel, dating from China's Tang Dynasty, still held its cargo of spices, silver ingots, bronze mirrors and much ceramic luxuries. Dead men tell no tales, but this payload of 300 retrieved objects tells 1,200-year-old secrets. Dec. 13 to April 26. $15 to $20. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, 416-646-4677 or agakhanmuseum.org.
Holidazed & Confused
The Second City touring company is home for the holidays in a zippy yuletide sketch revue that satirizes the season. It's not all jingle bells and one-horse open sleighs, though: A workplace bit involving co-worker fantasies is outrageously surreal and a wine-cellar metaphorical romance is quite the cork-popper. Laughing all the way, indeed. To Jan. 1. $22 to $35. 51 Mercer St., 416-343-0011 or secondcity.com.
Judging by the reaction to her debut album Aquarius, this may well be the dawning of the age of Tinashe, a dancer/actress/model who compares to R&B progressives Frank Ocean and FKA Twiggs. "If you roll with me," she croons on her summer single 2on, "then you'll be winning now." Get on board – it's doubtful this beat-music adventurer will be playing a room this small again any time soon. Dec. 13, 10 p.m. $35.40. Tattoo, 567 Queen St. W., 1-855-985-5000 or ticketmaster.ca.