The Must List: Monthly Events

By Matthew Reed Baker | Boston Magazine |

For this American Repertory Theater premiere, Beverly’s Jim and Ruth Bauer blend their talents in music, fine art, and filmmaking to chronicle the struggles of four friends in World War I-era Europe. Sound like a downer? Well, the songs are soaring anthems styled for Broadway, and with backing from Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, that might be exactly where this show is headed next. $25–$65, 12/1–1/8/2011.

Yes, you probably went last year, so you know you can count on Santa and “Sleigh Ride” and local celebs reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This time around, expect a performance by gospel star Renese King and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus’s take on the Messiah. You’re going again — if only for the kids’ sing-alongs and a glass of bubbly for yourself — so you might as well get tickets now. $27–$125, 12/8–12/26.

The Barbara Krakow Gallery raises as much as $40,000 per year at this benefit. And for their good deeds, donors walk away with some good works: Just give $350 to either the Boston Pediatric AIDS Initiative or the African AIDS Initiative, and leave with an original masterpiece of your choice. 12/11–12/17.

This year’s First Night button has a fitting image by Somerville painter Scott Listfield: an astronaut from the past staring off into the future. In the present, the button is your pass to a full slate of performances (Dean & Britta, Bettye LaVette, Opera Boston) that would be hot tickets any time of year. $18, 12/31.

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