The same live theaters that entertain Myrtle Beach visitors year-round also do their part to spread some holiday cheer by presenting their own special Christmas shows. The holiday performances are among the most popular of the year for local theaters, who go the extra mile to make Christmas extra special for audiences with awe-inspiring showcases that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Whether you prefer a more wholesome, country Christmas like Alabama Theatre’s “The South’s Grandest Christmas” or the retro-cool of the Legends In Concert’s “Christmas with the Rat Pack,” you will leave the theater a lot merrier than when you arrived. Here’s a list of the top five Christmas shows on the Grand Strand with a brief preview:
* Alabama Theatre: Celebrate the season with a traditional holiday showcase that has also become a holiday tradition. “The South's Grandest Christmas Show” brings an award-winning show and cast to the stage to perform classic Christmas songs, amazing dance routines, side-tickling comedy and the Southern art of storytelling. The Barefoot Landing venue, named for country music super group Alabama, seats 2,000 so there’s not a bad seat in the house, and the sound, lighting and stage are first rate. Stick around after the show to meet the cast, including (spoiler alert) a visitor who arrive by sleigh at the end of the performance. Show times and dates are 7:30 p.m. nightly Dec. 15-23 with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 9, 13, 16 and 20. The theatre is closed for Christmas Eve and Day but the show returns Dec. 26-31, with 7:30 p.m. performances every night except for closing night, New Year’s Eve, which starts at 9:15 p.m.
* Carolina Opry: This annual showcase is as close at Myrtle Beach gets to off-Broadway entertainment. A talented cast performs a traditional, family friendly holiday show at the Carolina Opry’s annual Christmas performance. The show injects a heavy dose of holiday cheer into the audience with touring singers, dancers, acrobats, comedians and more, and tells a familiar Christmas tale with a musical twist. Hear the Christmas classics like you’ve never heard them before and don’t be surprised if the forecast calls for snow at the end of the show. The Christmas Special takes the stage for 1 p.m. matinees and 7 p.m. nightly shows except for Christmas Eve and Day. The show runs through Jan. 3.
* Legends In Concert: Celebrate the holidays with a throwback to the golden age of television, when names like Frank, Dean and Sammy needed no further introduction. Located at the Broadway at the Beach complex, Legends in Concert brings those big names to life on stage with uncanny tribute artists, toe-tapping music and side-splitting comedy. “Christmas with the Rat Pack with Special Guest Marilyn Monroe” takes the audience back in time to the performers America’s greatest generation grew up watching. The Rat Pack created cool, and the cast does a remarkable rendition of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and other cutting up and crooning a few tunes. The Rat Pack and friends perform at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8-13, 15-20 and 26 through Jan. 3.
* Palace Theatre: This 1920s-style theater looks even more lovely when it’s all decked for Christmas, and the annual holiday showcase provides the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season. The Palace Theatre’s award-winning and long-running show “Jersey Nights,” highlighting the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, alter the music and script to deliver an amazing Christmas performance. Hear Christmas classics played in the doo-wop harmonies of the Philadelphia style in “Jersey Nights Christmas Special.” After the show, get your picture taken with the cast and snap a few photos of the lobby. This show’s nightly performances run through Dec. 20.
* Pirates Adventure: This pirate-themed dinner and show gets a Christmas makeover for the holidays. Based on Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic, the captain of the ship that serves as the main stage is visited by three ghosts who teach him the true meaning of Christmas. Guests are treated to a four-course feast and live interaction with the actors as they perform song and dance numbers as well as heart-stopping acrobatic moves. The show runs through Jan. 3.