ON TOUR: Chapman.

Christmas with Chapman
Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman says that music has always played an important part of the Christmas season, hence his newest album and “The Christmas Tour” that brings him back to Alltel Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

MercyMe will open the show at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $25 and $35 (with a limited number of $75 tickets that also include the newest albums by Chapman and MercyMe) through all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 975-7575 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.


Chapman released “All I Really Want for Christmas” in late September, focusing on getting the word out that millions of orphaned children in other parts of the world are starving and need help. Chapman and his wife are among the leading advocates in the U.S. for adoption. Proceeds from the sales of Chapman’s latest album go to his adoption foundation.

Chapman’s show will include holiday classics from this album as well as his 2003 seasonal release. Chapman is also featured on the soundtrack of the new Disney release “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”


TUBACHRISTMAS, which first performed at Rockefeller Center in New York in 1974, will appear at the River Market pavilions at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in a free show.

The group, featuring solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium, was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas Day 1902. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder, who coincidentally died on Christmas Eve 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium. Members of the current lineup have added to the list of compositions that TUBACHRISTMAS will play. Call 375-2552 or visit www.tubachristmas.com.


Holiday Pagans
Be prepared for the most irreverent take on the holiday season you’re probably going to see when the Red Octopus Theater troupe presents “Pagans on Bobsleds XIV-Balls!” beginning Thursday, Dec. 8. The veteran sketch comedy team will also present the show at a new home, the Easy Street Cabaret at Seventh and Center streets in downtown Little Rock.

The cast includes Red Octopus regulars Sandy Baskin, Jason Gregory, Donavan Suitt and Jason Thompson, along with local actors and Show dates are Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 8-10, and Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 14-17. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Admission at the door is $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. The comedy is for mature audiences; it’s best to leave the kiddies at home.

Public’s Sondheim
Some of the more talented singers in Little Rock have joined forces at the Public Theatre to present “Side by Side by Sondheim,” beginning Thursday, Dec. 8 and running through Dec. 17.

Kelley Ponder, Deborah Kelly, Susan Andrews, Tom Crone and Charles Sanchez are part of the cast that offers a collection of both famous and obscure songs by the Broadway icon Stephen Sondheim (and additional music by Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers and Jule Styne) pre-1976, including “Comedy Tonight” and “Send in the Clowns.”


Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10 for students and seniors (the show has mature themes). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with the show resuming Thursday, Dec. 15. The Public is at 616 Center St. Call 374-7529 or visit www.thepublictheatre.com.

Gingerbread fun
Children of all ages will enjoy the 18th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza at the State Capitol rotunda on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 10 a.m. Teams may enter the decorating contest (entry fee is $5 for children, $10 for adults and $15 for teams) with prizes awarded. Call 372-5039 for registration information.

Admission to the Gingerbread Gala from 4-5 p.m. is free. A gingerbread house silent auction will be held, and contest winners will be announced. All proceeds from the Gingerbread Extravaganza will benefit Treatment Homes Inc.