DECEMBER
It wouldn't be the holiday season in Cincinnati without Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Playhouse in the Park's Carol is a unique take on Charles Dickens' familiar holiday chestnut: The script for this version is adapted directly from the original 1843 novel, so it may be the most painstakingly true adaptation of the author's work you will ever see. There's no Hollywood middle-man to spoil the original vision. A ghost story with heart for all the humbugs among us, the lavish production includes extravagant scenery, hundreds of costume changes, and special effects: rolling fog, scenery that rises and falls on elevators, ghostly apparitions, the works. Bruce Cromer (pictured on the Cincy Business cover this month) stars in the title role of Scrooge. The Playhouse in the Park, Mt. Adams. 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, Dec. 2 through Dec. 30. $41.50 to $54.50 for adults, $15 to $20 for children 5 to 12 (children under 5 not admitted). 513/421-3888 or www.cincyplay.com.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor Paavo Jarvi perform. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati. 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3. $18.50 to $77. 513/381-3300 or www.cincinnatisymphony.org.

The Cincinnati May Festival Chorus presents "Carolfest," a holiday singalong. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. $10, children $5. 513/381-3300 or www.mayfestival.com.

The Showboat Majestic presents its annual Yuletide frenzy, Frostbite Follies, a romp of comedy, song and improv all designed to send up Queen City traditions. Showboat Majestic, moored downtown on the Public Landing. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2 to Dec. 10. $14 and $15. 513/241-6550 or www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.

This Wonderful Life is a one-man adaptation of the Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life. The plight of George Bailey is seen in a fresh light and through different eyes. Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park Circle, Mt. Adams. 8 p.m. Fridays, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 8 p.m. Thursdays, through Dec. 23. $39 to $55. 513/421-3888 or www.cincyplay.com.

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest is staged. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., downtown. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Dec. 7 through Dec. 31.
$20, $18 seniors, $16 students. 513/381-2273 or www.cincyshakes.com.

The Ensemble troupe stages the world premiere musical Ugly Duck. Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, through Dec. 31. $32 adults, $29 full-time students (with I.D.) and seniors (65 plus), and $16 for children 12 and under. 513/421-3555 or www.cincyetc.com.

The town's other A Christmas Carol returns (this one's a musical version). Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Western Hills. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 7 through Dec. 23. $21, $19 seniors and students, $10 children 12 and under. 513/241-6550 or www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati presents The Adventures of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, featuring songs from the Rankin/Bass television classic. Taft Theatre, Fifth and Sycamore Sts., downtown. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 9 and 10. $7 to $18. 513/569-8080 or www.thechildrenstheatre.com.

The Cincinnati Pops presents "Happy Holidays from the Pops." Erich Kunzel conducts. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 9 and 10. $22 to $61. 513/381-3300 or www.cincinnatipops.org.

Graphic Content: Contemporary and Modern / Art and Design presents new installations paired with works from the mid-20th century. Artists include William A. Leonard, Noel Martin, Charley Harper and Edie Harper. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., downtown. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, closed Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, Dec. 9 through Feb. 11, 2008. $7.50 adults, $6.50 seniors, $5.50 students, $4.50 children 3-13. Free Monday nights after 5 p.m. 513/345-8400 or www.ContemporaryArtsCenter.org.

Jim Brickman plays town. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 605 Walnut St., downtown. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. $38.50 to $60. 513/621-2787.

The annual Holiday Fest features carriage and pony rides, outdoor ice skating, the Cool Runnings Toboggan Slide, and more. The Beach Waterpark, 2590 Waterpark Dr., Mason. 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, 3 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Jan. 1. $12, children 3-9 and military $8. 513/398-SWIM or www.HolidayFestAtTheBeach.com.

The Cincinnati Zo'™s Festival of Lights features 2.5 million Christmas lights as well as carolers and light sculptures. The largest holiday light show held at any zoo in the nation, this annual celebration showcases a Holiday Village with cookie kitchen and craft-making, a synthetic ice rink, a trip aboard Santa's sleigh, and nightly shows featuring children's performers. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 5 to 9 p.m. daily, through Jan. 1. $12.95 adults, $10.95 senior citizens and $7.95 children ages 2 to 12. 513/475-6124 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.

Holiday Junction chugs back into town inside the city's historic Art Deco rail station. A massive light show greets visitors as a train motif is projected on the front of the building. Inside, see more than 10,000 square feet of model train sets, plus there's a holiday train ride just for kids. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays), through Jan. 1. $7.25, seniors $6.25, children ages 3-12 $5.25. 513/287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.com.

Check out the Sharon Woods outdoor Christmas light display, Holiday in Lights. You don't even have to bundle your little elves up "” you can view the more than 500,000 lights strung along a mile's worth of park from the comfort of your car. A special FM channel plays holiday music as you view illuminated, moving characters that range from Santa to Godzilla, Toy Soldiers to the inhabitants of Holiday Castle. Sharon Woods Park, 11450 Lebanon Pike, Sharonville. 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 to 10 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, through Jan. 1. $10 per car. 513/769-0393 or www.holidayinlights.com.

Holiday Lights on the Hill features more than one million lights illuminating this sculpture park. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Rd (Ohio 128), just outside the Hamilton city limits. 6 to 10 p.m. nightly, through early January. $12 per carload, $14 on weekends. 513/868-8336 or www.pyramidhill.org.

Always a local favorite, the Duke Energy Train Show is a mammoth toy train layout and light display found in the lobby of the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Building. Kids will love the scale replicas of circus trains and festive, snow-covered towns. Best yet, it's free. They even hand out cookies. CG&E/Duke Energy Building, 139 E. Fourth St., downtown. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, through Dec. 31. Free. 513/287-1500.

National City Bank presents "An Antique Christmas." Visit the Tafts' home for the holidays when the halls and galleries of the museum will be adorned with antique Christmas decorations and festive greenery, and the dining room table will be set for a holiday party with china, crystal and silver. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., downtown. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, through Jan. 7. $7, $5 for seniors and students, free to those 18 and under. 513/241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.

The Krohn Conservatory and National City Bank present "A Holiday Collage,"  a poinsettia display which includes a nativity scene and live animals, twinkling lights, a frozen pond and train display of Cincinnati landmarks. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr., Mt. Adams. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m daily (extended to 8 p.m. beginning Dec. 8), through Jan. 1. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Free. 513/421-5707.

They call it the Miracle on Fourth Street. The Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival is celebrating 67 years of Medieval pageantry and the Nativity story. Thia hour-long procession involves choral singers, elaborate costumes, grand and bejeweled props, and juggling jesters who hop from pew to pew over the heads of amazed audience members. Some 200 cast members return each year and perform with the benefit of only a single rehearsal (hence the "miracle" reference to the Fourth Street event). Christ Church Cathedral, 4th and Sycamore Sts., downtown. 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30 and 31. Free tickets are available by calling ahead, then seating is first come, first served (traditionally, the pageant has never turned anyone away, even if there is standing room only). 513/621-2627.

JANUARY
Luminist Horizons examines the American landscape during the turmoil of the Civil War, and includes works by Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Gifford. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., downtown. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 26 through April 29. $7, $5 for seniors and students, free to those 18 and under. 513/241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.

FEBRUARY
Andrew Wyeth Watercolors and Drawings is a selection from the Marunuma Collection in Japan. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mt. Adams. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (the museum is closed Mondays and open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays), Feb. 3 through May 6, 2007. $10, $8 seniors and students, $6 children 6-17. 513/721-5204 or www.cincinnatiARTmuseum.org.

National City Bank presents An Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art. Visit the Tafts' home for the holidays when the halls and galleries of the museum will be adorned with antique Christmas decorations and festive greenery, and the dining room table will be set for a holiday party with china, crystal and silver. Featured are Belsnickles (papier-mache Santas), Kugels (blown-glass ornaments with decorative metal tops), Dresdens (embossed paper ornaments), paper dolls and many other rare ornaments on loan from private collections. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., downtown. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, through Jan. 7. $7, $5 for seniors and students, free to those 18 and under. 513/241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.

Breaking Through: The Reintegration of Pro Football is an exhibit exploring how coach Paul Brown instigated a revolution in the sport. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Freedom Way, 2nd Street at the foot of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, downtown. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Monday), through Dec. 31. $12 adults, $10 seniors (age 60 plus), $8 children ages 6-12 (free on the first Tuesday of each month, between 2 and 5 p.m.). 513/333-7500 or www.freedomcenter.org.

Waking Dreams is a display of pre-Raphaelite art with the theme of romantic artists who rebelled against Victorian society. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mt. Adams. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (the museum is closed Mondays and open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays), through Jan. 7, 2007. $8, $6 seniors and students, $4 children 6-17. (513) 721-5204 or www.cincinnatiARTmuseum.org.

The exhibit Michael Scott: Farny Fables mixes pop culture with imagery from the Old West. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., downtown. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, through Dec. 31. $7, $5 for seniors and students, free to those 18 and under. 513/241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.

The exhibit Natural Moderns celebrates artist Georgia '™Keeffe and her contemporaries, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and John Marin. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mt. Adams. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (the museum is closed Mondays and open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays), through Jan. 14, 2007. Free. 513/721-5204 or www.cincinnatiARTmuseum.org.

Titanic returns to Cincinnati Museum Center with all-new displays, including 320 new pieces of memorabilia and a number of recreated rooms (a first-class hallway, ship's boiler room, and more). Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays), through May 6, 2007. $16.75 adults, $10.75 children. 513/287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.com.

The Tristate Warbird Museum features a P-51 Mustang, an AT-6D Texas trainer, a TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber, a twin-engine B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Corsair fighter and more. Also on display: An English barracks like something out of "12 O'Clock High." Tristate Warbird Museum, Clermont County Airport, 4021 Borman Dr., Batavia. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. $8, $5 students and veterans, free for veterans in uniform. 513/735-4500.

"Shark Central" showcases an interactive exhibit that includes (gulp) a shark-petting tank. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. $17.95 adults, $10.95 children ages 3 to 12. 859/261-7444 or www.newportaquarium.com.

The Rosemary Clooney House Museum, the home of the late singer and entertainer, features the largest display of costumes and memorabilia from the film White Christmas. Rosemary Clooney House Museum, 106 E. Riverside Dr., Augusta. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, weekday tours by arrangement. $5. 606/756-2603.