‘Cirque Christmas’ clocks in at Little Rock, El Dorado

Elsewhere in entertainment, events and the arts this weekend:

FUN: Cirque Christmas

“A Magical Cirque Christmas,” a combination of cirque, comedy, music and magic, takes the stage for two Arkansas shows: 7:30 p.m. today at Little Rock’s Robinson Center Performance Hall, 426 W. Markham St. — tickets are $45-$67.50; call (501) 244-8800 or visit ticketmaster.com; and 7 p.m. Friday at the First Financial Music Hall, 101 E. Locust St., El Dorado. — tickets are $39-$84; call (870) 444-3007 or visit eldomad.com.

‘MAD on Ice’

El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District is turning the stage of its outdoor amphitheater into a rink and bringing back “MAD on Ice” Saturday-Jan. 2. Tickets are $14 for unlimited skating per day. Skate rentals, $3, are available in children’s size 8 to men’s size 15. Season passes, which provide unlimited skating time plus skate rental, are $85, $145 for two. A pay-as-you-go punch card offers a free 10th skate after nine paid trips to the ice. Cost to employ skating aides/”helpers” Bobby the Seal and Tommy the Reindeer is $5 for a 90-minute cycle. Helmets will be available at no additional charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each skater and spectator must fill out a waiver, available in advance online, along with skating operational hours, at eldomad.com/madonice.

  photo  Downtown North Little Rock’s Argenta Plaza is the site of the fifth Northern Lights holiday celebration Saturday. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau)
 Argenta display

Food trucks and a holiday market with local vendors will be at the center of the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of North Little Rock and Argenta Downtown Council’s fifth Northern Lights holiday celebration, 4-8:30 p.m. Saturday at Argenta Plaza, 510 Main St., North Little Rock. Chris Kennedy, owner of Black Santa ARK LLC, appears as Santa Claus; “Santa’s Workshop” will have free kids’ holiday activities from 4-7:30 p.m.; families can take photos with Santa and the 38-foot Christmas tree. A fireworks show starts at 7:30, followed by live music. Visit tinyurl.com/24rm8bjf.

Sherwood trail

Area musicians and Santa Claus will be on hand for the 5:30 p.m. lighting ceremony, and Sherwood’s 2022 Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights opens at 6 p.m. Friday. The entrance is in the Sherwood Sports Complex parking lot, just past the Henson Tennis Center driveway, at 420 Dee Jay Hudson Drive at Arkansas 107. The drive-through trail will be open, 6-9:30 p.m., through Dec. 30. Admission is free; cash donations will help provide new displays and upgrades each year. Call (501) 835-6893 or visit cityofsherwood.net.

Nighttime lights

Garvan Woodland Gardens, 550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs, will put on its night-time holiday lights show, 4-9 p.m. Saturday-Dec. 31 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days). Tickets must be bought in advance — $20, $5 for children 4-12, free for kids 3 and younger and for members. No dogs, wagons or alcohol. Visit garvangardens.org or tinyurl.com/y2suc86t.

Lighten up, El Dorado

El Dorado’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony takes place at 5:30 p.m. today on the east side of the Union County Courthouse, 101 N. Washington Ave., featuring dance and musical performances and Santa, who will serve as the honorary switch-thrower and will be available for pictures. The Salvation Army will hand out free cookies and hot chocolate. Call (870) 862-4747 or visit MainStreetElDorado.org.

THEATER: Touring ‘Anastasia’

A touring company brings the musical “Anastasia” (music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally, inspired by the animated film) to the Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30-$40, $10 for students. Call (501) 450-3265 or (866) 810-0012 or visit uca.edu/reynolds.

MUSIC: UALR ensembles

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Wind Ensemble, joined by the UALR Jazz Ensemble and Concert Choir, will perform at 6:30 p.m. today in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, Fine Arts Building, UALR, 2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock. The Wind Ensemble will perform the “English Folk Song Suite” by Ralph Vaughn Williams. The Jazz Ensemble will play “Nostalgia in Times Square” by Charles Mingus; student Christian Waldren will solo with the band in “Sway.” The Concert Choir joins the Wind Ensemble for conductor Michael Underwood’s arrangement of “Jupiter” from Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” Admission is free. Call (501) 916-3291 or email [email protected]

  photo  “Sunlight on Snake River” by Jenni Duncan is part of the Arkansas Pastel Society Juried Membership Exhibit at North Little Rock’s Argenta Library. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
 Pastel exhibit

Pastel works by more than two dozen area artists go on display as the Arkansas Pastel Society Juried Membership Exhibit, which opens with a Third Friday Art Walk reception, 5-8 p.m. Friday in the gallery at Argenta Library, 420 Main St., North Little Rock. The exhibit remains up through Dec. 9. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission to the gallery and the reception are free. Call (501) 687-1061 or visit NLRLibrary.org.

‘Therapeutic’ works

Acansa Gallery, 413A Main St., North Little Rock, showcases artists who are members of Birch Tree Communities across the state living with severe mental illness in an exhibit that goes on display with an Argenta Third Friday Art Walk reception, 5-8 p.m. Friday. The exhibit remains up through Dec. 10. All proceeds from the sale of art pieces will go directly to the artist. Birch Tree Communities uses painting, drawing, creative writing and music in the recovery process for members to build self-confidence and self-esteem and to provide an outlet for expression and communication of emotions “in a safe and powerful way,” according to a news release. Call (501) 529-7390 or (501) 315-3344 or emaill [email protected] or [email protected]

DANCE: Jonesboro ‘Nutcracker’

Jonesboro’s Foundation of Arts stages Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Forum Theater, 115 East Monroe Ave., Jonesboro. Sponsor is NEA Baptist. Tickets are $16-$20, $15-$19 for senior citizens, children, military and Arkansas State University students, faculty and staff. The Sunday matinee is “pay what you can.” Call (870) 935-2726 or visit foajonesboro.org.

ETC.: Used book sale

The Central Arkansas Library System holds its final 2022 Friends of CALS used book sale, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, in the basement of the system’s Main Library, 100 Rock St., Little Rock. Friends of CALS members can shop early. 5-7 p.m. today and also receive 50% off “gently read” books at the Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today. Purchase a Friends membership online at cals.org/about-friends, in-person during the book sale or at any CALS branch.

Most books are priced at $1 for paperbacks, $2 for hardbacks. Book totes will be available for sale. What the book sale takes in supports library programs, including the Six Bridges Book Festival, book club kits, Arkansas Sounds concerts, branch programs, Summer Reading Club and youth programs. Call (501) 918-3000 or visit cals.org.

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