7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7; 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8; and 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Kansas City Improv
When you call yourself Jess Hilarious, you create expectations that you’re funny, and Jessica Moore of Baltimore fills the bill. Best known to TV viewers for her appearances on MTV’s “Wild ’N Out,” Hilarious also has a huge following on Instagram and began a comedy club tour earlier this year. She is slated to appear on “All Def Comedy,” a series hosted by Tony Rock that debuted on HBO on Dec. 1. 816-759-5233. Tickets are $30-$40 through improvkc.com.
Kansas City Ballet, “The Nutcracker”
Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
This will be the equivalent of a favorite sports team coming back home after a successful road trip. The Kansas City Ballet will return from seven shows over five days (Nov. 22-26) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, where the ballet premiered its new production of “The Nutcracker.” It is the 45th year the troupe has performed the holiday favorite locally. Runs through Dec. 24. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-931-8993. Tickets are $70.50-$140.50 through kcballet.org.
“A Spectacular Christmas Show”
Opens 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at MTH Theater at Crown Center
With musical numbers, dancing, fun stories and a visit from St. Nick, MTH’s annual “A Spectacular Christmas Show” is entertainment for the entire family. It will feature holiday songs from musical theater as well as innovative arrangements of holiday classics such as “The Nutcracker.” Tim Scott will direct the ensemble cast, with choreography by Kenny Personett and musical direction by Jeremy Watson. Runs through Dec. 23. 816-221-6987. Tickets are $21-$62 through mthkc.com.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”
Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre
George Bailey always makes multiple appearances during the holiday season, and this production adapted from the 1946 movie creatively reimagines Bailey’s fateful Christmas Eve as part of a live 1940s radio broadcast. Five actors, with the help of a sound-effects man, deliver the lines of all the characters we’ve come to know from the movie. Runs through Dec. 17. 816-569-3226. Tickets are $15-$49 through metkc.org.
“A Wonderful Life”
Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at B&B Live
“A Wonderful Life” will be Music Theatre Kansas City’s first production in its new home in the B&B Shawnee movie theater complex. A grand-opening celebration will include a preshow reception and red-carpet event at 6 p.m. before the opening-night performance. MTKC expanded into professional productions with shows last year, this spring and now this holiday season. Runs through Dec. 17. 913-341-8156. Tickets are $10-$25 through mtkc.org.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors”
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at St. John’s United Methodist Church
The UMKC Conservatory Opera will present a free evening of entertainment with “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which debuted in 1951 at Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television as the first-ever production of the “Hallmark Hall of Fame.” It is a retelling of the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young disabled boy named Amahl. 816-235-2900. conservatory.umkc.edu. Free.
“The Nutcracker, a Kansas Ballet”
Opens 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Lawrence Arts Center
When German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in 1816, he didn’t have Kansas in mind. After all, it was half a world away and wasn’t even a state yet. But that hasn’t kept the Lawrence Arts Center from putting a Sunflower State stamp on Hoffmann’s tale, setting it in Kansas during the Civil War, while retaining the original characters. Runs through Dec. 17. 785-843-2787. Tickets are $10-$25 through lawrenceartscenter.org.
Kansas City Symphony, Handel’s “Messiah”
7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at Helzberg Hall
With nearly 200 musicians and vocalists on the Helzberg Hall stage, Handel’s most famous work will receive inspired treatment. Charles Bruffy will direct the Kansas City Symphony Chorus along with several guest vocalists. Acclaimed British conductor Matthew Halls, who was artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival until three months ago, will be guest conductor. Kauffman Center. 816-471-0400. Tickets are $25-$70 through kcsymphony.org.
Danú and the Kansas City Chorale
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Carlsen Center Yardley Hall
For those who want a taste of Christmas in Ireland, the Irish ensemble Danú will present “A Christmas Gathering.” Generations of Irish folks have gathered for events featuring local choirs to celebrate Christmas and Wren’s Day (Dec. 26). In honor of this tradition offering music and stories, the Kansas City Chorale will join Danú onstage for a few songs. 913-469-4445. Tickets are $28-$38 through jccc.edu/theseries.
“My Favorite Murder” Live
8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
Less than two years after the inception of “My Favorite Murder,” the true-crime comedy podcast has become so popular that hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have taken the show on the road. Kilgariff, a stand-up comedian and television writer, and Hardstark, a writer and host for the Cooking Channel, will tell their favorite tales of murder and hear crime stories from fans. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $35-$45 through midlandkc.com.
Chiefs vs. Oakland
Noon Sunday, Dec. 10, at Arrowhead
Now that their midseason collapse has killed the Chiefs’ hopes of earning home-field advantage in the playoffs and a favorable path to the Super Bowl, they can focus on trying to repeat as AFC West Division champs. The formula is simple: If they win their three remaining games against division rivals, starting with the Raiders, they will clinch the West title and a playoff spot. 816-920-9300. Tickets are $70-$400 through chiefs.com.
“Ruth Fredman Cernea Great Latke Hamantash Debate”
3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at Lewis and Shirley White Theatre
Nobody will take the competition too seriously at this Jewish comedy event modeled on the latke-hamantash debates that have raged at the University of Chicago since 1946. Three debaters per side will argue the merits of each holiday food favorite, and the audience will be able to question the debaters and vote on the winners before a panel of distinguished rabbis settles the issue. Jewish Community Campus. 913-642-6460. Tickets are $10 through greatdebatekc.org.
Also this week
Classical music and dance
Kansas City Chorale, Wintersong, Dec. 7, Rozzelle Court. kcchorale.org
Fountain City Brass Band, “’Tis the Season,” Dec. 9, Bell Cultural Events Center. bellcenter.mnu.edu
Kansas City Chorale, A Family Christmas, Dec. 9, St. Michael the Archangel. kcchorale.org
6x10 Ten Minute Play Festival, Dec. 8-10, Barn Players. thebarnplayers.org
“The Happy Elf,” Theatre in the Park, Dec. 8-24, Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center. theatreinthepark.org
Steve Brown, Dec. 10, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Music (rock, pop, jazz)
Lúnasa with Ashley Davis, Dec. 3, Drexel Hall. irishcenterkc.org
The Night the Buzz Stole Xmas featuring Phoenix, Y God Y and more, Dec. 3, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. midlandkc.com
Periphery, Dec. 3, The Truman. thetrumankc.com
Roberto Tapia, Dec. 3, Blvd Nights. ticketmaster.com
Ubuntu Conscious Music Festival, Dec. 3-4, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Kodak Black, Dec. 4, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. midlandkc.com
Voces8, Dec. 4, Gano Chapel. eventbrite.com/event/36611999476
The Wood Brothers, Dec. 4, The Truman. thetrumankc.com
K-LOVE Christmas, Dec. 5, Connection Point Church. klove.com/events/christmas-tour
Thrice and Circa Survive, Dec. 5, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Ekali with Medasin and Judge, Dec. 6, RecordBar. therecordbar.com
Home Free, Dec. 6, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Walker McGuire, Dec. 6, Folly. follytheater.org
Decades Rewind, Dec. 7, Lied Center. lied.ku.edu
Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, Dec. 8, Sprint Center. sprintcenter.com
Jewel, Dec. 8, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Lindsey Stirling, Dec. 8, Lied Center. lied.ku.edu
Strong Like Bull, Dec. 8, VooDoo. voodookc.com
21 Savage, Dec. 9, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
KPR Big Band Christmas, Dec. 9, Liberty Hall. libertyhall.net
Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Dec. 9, Folly. follytheater.org
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” Dec. 9, Sprint Center. sprintcenter.com
The Hip Hop Nutcracker with Kurtis Blow, Dec. 10, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. midlandkc.com
Evanescence, Dec. 11, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com
Sabrina Carpenter with Prettymuch and Above Waves, Dec. 11, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. midlandkc.com
Alter Bridge, Dec. 12, VooDoo. voodookc.com
Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, “A Kansas City Christmas,” Dec. 13, Helzberg Hall. kcjazzorchestra.net
“Eugene Richards: The Run-on of Time,” Dec. 9-April 15, Nelson-Atkins Museum. nelson-atkins.org
Winter Holiday Show, Dec. 10, Line Creek. kcparks.org
A Christmas Celebration, Dec. 9, Missouri Town 1855. makeyourdayhere.com
Kansas City Mavericks vs. Allen, Dec. 10-11. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. kcmavericks.com