1–Oct. 3, 2010 Freeing the Figure SAM curator Michael Darling selects work by the late local titan Jacob Lawrence to emphasize formal mastery, not just social commentary. Seattle Art Museum, seattleartmuseum.org.1–27 Black Nativity Patrinell Wright and her Total Experience Gospel Choir once again star in Langston Hughes' joyous holiday show. Intiman Theatre, intiman.org.2–27 Plaid Tidings Yes, a special holiday edition of Forever Plaid. Because Santa wants you to be humming hit jingles from the '50s and '60s. ArtsWest, artswest.org.3 Local Hero: Harry Smith's Old, Weird Record Collection KEXP's Greg Vandy gives a talk on the famous musical collector, whose trove of wax and vinyl led to the landmark 1952 collection The Anthology of American Folk. Frye Art Museum, fryemuseum.org.3–5 Seattle Symphony A very eclectic holiday program, from a Vivaldi concerto to the Halloweeny Sorcerer's Apprentice. Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org.3–27 Twelfth Night Cross dressing, mistaken identities, twins, and all manner of romantic mischief. One of the Bard's most popular and accessible comedies will make a perfect holiday matinee for the whole family. (What, you were expecting Titus Andronicus?) Seattle Shakespeare Company, seattleshakespeare.org.4 Reneé Fleming Surely today's most popular operatic soprano, her appearances here are always love-fests. Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org.5 Bacon Strip Drag queens, costumes, music, and bacon is the theme! Come in your greasiest gear. Re-bar, rebarseattle.com.5 & 12 Seattle Pro Musica Not your typical Christmas-concert fare: The program "Eastern Lights" celebrates winter from India to New Zealand. Town Hall and Bastyr University, seattlepromusica.org.10–13 The A.W.A.R.D. Show! Twelve Northwest choreographers compete for a $10,000 prize. On the Boards, ontheboards.org.12–13 Seattle Baroque Orchestra/Tudor Choir Probably the most electrifying Messiah you'll hear this year, or any year. Town Hall, tudorchoir.org.12–Jan. 3 Radio City Christmas Spectacular The Rockettes®! Plus a guest appearance by Santa. Much cheaper than a trip to New York. The Paramount Theatre, stgpresents.com.15 Beethoven Birthday Celebration Seattle Symphony members play some of his more-rarely-heard bonbons, like the String Quintet and the Septet. Benaroya Recital Hall, seattlesymphony.org.18 It's a Wonderful Life For the 64th consecutive year, Jimmy Stewart tries to kill himself after running like a madman through the snowy holiday streets of Bedford Falls. Will the love of family (and Donna Reed) be enough to save him? What do you think? Grand Illusion Cinema, grandillusioncinema.org.19–20 A Christmas Carol, The Musical Composer Alan Menken, whose Catch Me If You Can recently premiered in town, now gets an assist from Blanchet students, who perform his 1995 Broadway show. The Moore Theatre, themoore.com.19–May 31 Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway An artist and paleontologist (Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson, respectively) have co-created an exhibit at the Burke based on their 2007 book of the same name. In it, they take a road trip exploring the fossil record of the West. The exhibit will include specimens and Troll's big, colorful paintings. Burke Museum, washington.edu/burkemuseum.