by Lenise Willis

Thursday, for one night only, the School of Music at UNC School of the Arts presents UNCSA Jazz Ensemble: Swing Era Extravaganza, a lively musical experience featuring School of Dance students, a brassy Big Band jazz sound and the excitement of the 1930s and ’40s. The special performance will be at the Gerald Freedman Theatre on campus at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15; $13 for students.

Also new this week is It’s A Wonderful Life at Kernersville Little Theatre, a family-friendly story about a family man and his under-achieving guardian angel retold as a live radio broadcast. Performances run Friday and Saturday, as well as Dec. 12-15.

Also on Friday through Sunday, NC Black Repertory Co. presents Black Nativity, a telling of the birth story through dramatic dance, vibrant costumes and uplifting music, at the Arts Council Theatre. Performances continue Dec. 13-15.

High Point Ballet’s family favorite, The Nutcracker, returns to Lexington once again. Performances run Dec. 13-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Edward C. Smith Civic Center.

There will be a special Land of the Sweets performance for younger children on Dec.14 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. This show features a parade of characters giving every child a chance to meet the Nutcracker cast in full costume, with photo and autograph opportunities. Make sure to come early for the festivities as doors open one hour prior to performances.

Other holiday shows coming to the Triad include Paper Lantern Theatre’s Santaland Diaries at Triad Stage, a riskier adult-only show that’ll have you and your friends laughing away about the holiday headaches.

Theatre Alliance’s production of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), which runs Dec. 13-22, is an energetic performance featuring the stories of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “A Christmas Carol” and more.

Also celebrating the winter season are A Christmas Carol and Snow Queen, both of which are also staged at Triad Stage. A Christmas Carol is Preston Lane’s twist on Charles Dickens’ classic, while Snow Queen is a Preston Lane original about an Appalachian adventure. !