The New Standards
If last year's drum performance by a duck and the "fowl" jokes that followed are any indicator, fans of the Twin Cities jazz-pop trio's 15th annual holiday concerts can expect more jolly shenanigans along with the usual large cast of guest musicians this year. Co-leaders Chan Poling (of the Suburbs fame) and John Munson (Semisonic) each has rebounded from health scares in recent years, which has only made them less serious about this seriously fun tradition. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 4 p.m. matinee Sat., State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $29-$134, ticketmaster.com)
'The Snowy Day'
Ezra Jack Keats' classic tales about a child's wonder at experiencing seasonal highs and lows was adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston in 2016 from a commission by the Children's Theatre Company. The hourlong show pitched for ages 3-10 orbits a youngster named Peter as he plays in the snow, tries to find his whistling voice in the summer and celebrates a milestone birthday in the fall. Actor Mikell Sapp, who played Peter in the premiere, assists director Ansa Akyea for this Park Square Theatre production headlined by Joe Charley. (7:30 p.m. Fri., 3 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 23. Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. $16-$20. 651-291-7005, parksquaretheatre.org)
One of the Twin Cities' most reliably beautiful Christmas concerts each year comes courtesy of this excellent chamber choir. In addition to new carol arrangements from conductor Matthew Culloton, they'll premiere a piece by Timothy Takach, and perform works by Reena Esmail, B.E. Boykin, Francis Poulenc and Stephen Paulus. (3 p.m. Sun., Westwood Lutheran Church, 9001 Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 4801 France Av. S., Mpls.; 2 p.m. Dec. 11, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 1938 Stanford Av., St. Paul; $35; 651-917-1948, singersmca.org)
British Arrow Awards
The annual gift for lovers of across-the-pond commercials returns with a batch that's long on spots featuring winsome kids and messages about women's health. No spoilers on what wins the top prize, announced at the end of the collection, but it's not the best. That would be a stunning Burberry's ad that blends soaring dance, clever special effects and a barely-there pitch for the fashion house. (Showtimes vary through Dec. 31, Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $15-$20, walkerart.org)
The '00s R&B star had a super-challenging lockdown. He and his wife split up, reconciled and renewed their marriage vows three months before his new album, "Self Explanatory," dropped in July. Then his wife filed for divorce in August, alleging infidelity. However the soap opera plays out, "Self Explanatory" is easily Ne-Yo's most autobiographical album. He fesses up about his faults in the new jack swing-styled "Handle Me Gently" and unleashes his falsetto on the agonizing "Don't Love Me." And don't be surprised if the "So Sick" hitmaker throws in some holiday tunes since he just issued a deluxe version of "Another Kind of Christmas." (8 p.m. Fri., Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, $49-$119, ticketmaster.com)
Ojibwe modernist George Morrison died in 2000, but his work lives on. Spanning early abstract expressionist works to the horizons of Lake Superior, the 16 artworks at a solo exhibition aren't just a retrospective of his six-decade career, but rather a journey through it. The influence of landscape, and particularly skies, water and land, often moved Morrison. Included in the show is also a selection of his "Horizon" paintings from his life at Red Rock on the North Shore's Grand Portage reservation. (Ends Dec. 24, 2123 W. 21st St., Mpls., free, noon-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 612-377-4669, bockleygallery.com)
'The Velveteen Rabbit'
There have been a raft of music-infused adaptations over the years about Margery Williams' 1922 classic, including one headlined by Marie Osmond and one narrated by Meryl Streep. So, what's special about this one? Youth Performance Company founder "Jacie Knight commissioned it to remind people of a core question that still is relevant today," said artistic director Maya Washington. "Is someone's value based on the flashiest things they can do or acquire, or are they special because of the power within to love and be loved?" Music is by Kymani Khalil. (10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Thu. & Fri., 3 & 6 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 18. Conn Theatre, 1900 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. $8-$15. 612-623-9180 or youthperformanceco.org)
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
The quirky hippie soul-pop band behind the 2018 sleeper hit "It's Called: Freefall" has really awoken over the past year. The Nashville-based quintet has caught on the old-fashioned way, selling out two nights at Red Rocks in Colorado and landing many big festival gigs with its ultra-charming live show. It's also earning new-era fandom as a TikTok favorite with an older track, 2015's "Cocaine Jesus." See what the buzz is about along with opening duo Twen. (8 p.m. Tue., Armory, 500 S. 6th St., Mpls., all ages, $62, ticketmaster.com)
'The Mysterious Affair at Styles'
Agatha Christie is back for the holidays at Theatre in the Round. "Styles" is an adaptation of her first novel, which introduced readers to Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and to a format she returned to often: Somebody gets killed in a remote manor and everyone in the house has a motive. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., ends Dec. 18, 245 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., $25, 612-333-3010 or theatreintheround.org)
'The Snow Queen'
Ballet Co.Laboratory takes the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Snow Queen and updates it with a feminist lens. Not everyone is who they seem to be in this tale of love and inner strength. With a bit of ice skating, enchanted mirrors, entrapping flower gardens and the bond between two siblings, the ballet follows Gerda on her tremendous journey to find her kidnapped brother Kai. (7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $38, $28 youth, 612-206-3600, thecowlescenter.org)
The pandemic ended the Hall of Fame guitarist's 40-year tradition of playing a Thanksgiving-time concert in his hometown. Then last year he bounced back with a run of fascinatingly improvised shows with percussionist Dave King at the Dakota. Now, Kottke returns to the Guthrie, his familiar haunt and the perfectly intimate venue to fully appreciate his fabulous fretwork and delightfully twisted sense of humor. The concert should be a double treat with globe-trotting Twin Cities guitarist Tim Sparks opening, accompanied by bassist Gary Raynor. (7:30 p.m. Tue. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls., $45-$75, Guthrietheater.org)
St. Nicholas, who died in 343, is the subject of a world premiere by Jeremy Stanbary, who also plays the title role (son Augustine Stanbary plays Nicholas as a youth). Although his name gets bandied about a lot this time of year, how much do you know about Nicholas' life of adventure and generosity? (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. plus additional shows, ends Dec. 29, Open Window, 5300 S. Robert Trail, Inver Grove Heights, $18-$28, 612-615-1515, openwindowtheatre.org)
'Snow White and Rose Red'
Two kind sisters take in a helpless bear but somehow that leads to a "happily ever after" in an adaptation of the classic fairy tale. (1 p.m. Sun., 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Dec. 23, 27-29, Minnesota Heritage Center, 11411 Masonic Drive, Bloomington, $19, 612-440-7529, sidekicktheatre.com.)
Festival of Trees
Walk through a festive forest of ornately decorated trees while doing some good. The Mall of America hosts a forest of trees decorated by various groups to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota and bring holiday cheer. (11 a.m.-8 p.m. today-Sat.; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. $10. Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, 952-883-8810, mallofamerica.com)