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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the Grand Strand, especially on the stages and sets of the local theater scene. While most holiday events take place later in the season, the local theaters are among the first to begin serving up holiday cheer, with most shows debuting the first week in November, and with the last closing the curtain on the Christmas season with shows running through New Year's Eve.
That two-month window provides lots of opportunities to get in the Christmas spirit during your holiday getaway to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Perhaps no shows do that trick more than the Alabama Theatre's annual presentation of "The South's Grandest Christmas Show."
Located at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, only about 7 miles north of Long Bay Resort on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront, the Alabama Theatre offers a performance that highlights the time-honored traditions of the holiday in the Deep South, with country music and Christmas classics combined with dancing, ice skating, comedy and more.
The charming Alabama Theatre is decorated to the nines and offers a great place for families to snap some holiday photos. The small, intimate venue features excellent lighting, sound and special effects, and there really isn't a bad seat in the house. Patrons get an up-close view of the talented cast of performers, including the country-bumpkin stylings of local comedian Ricky Mokel.
But the biggest celebrity steals the show with a surprising entrance in the final scene. (Spoiler alert: The unnamed show-stopper is dressed in red and white from head to toe and pilots a reindeer-powered sleigh onto the stage.)
For more entertainment options for the holidays in Myrtle Beach, check out these hit holiday showcases:
* Legends in Concert Christmas Show: The Legends in Concert Theater at Broadway at the Beach features some of the most iconic Christmas performers of all time in the form of amazing tribute artists who have dedicated their careers to mastering the looks and sounds of stars like Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart, just to name a few. The tributes will make you feel like you have traveled back in time to see the real thing, and their performances will surely bring back some fond Christmas memories from the past. Guests will also enjoy some of the comedy routines of the Blues Brothers and Dean Martin, as well as some classic big band numbers from the house orchestra and a closing number that will put you in the holiday spirit.
* Pirates Voyage Christmas Show: The real-life pirates who patrolled the waters just off our coast probably never had a Christmas like the one portrayed on the watery stage at the Pirates Voyage theater in Myrtle Beach, but the myths and legends merge with Charles Dickens' classic novel "A Christmas Carol" to create a unique and entertaining take on the holiday. Captain Scrooge and his crew discover the magic of the season on the high seas and celebrate through song, dance and high-flying acrobatics. This dinner theater offers a holiday-themed meal, dancing mermaids, animal acts and more to entertain guests of all ages. The Dolly Parton-owned theater is only 2 miles from Long Bay Resort.
* The Christmas Show of the South: This holiday showcase has become a Christmas tradition on the Grand Strand, and this year it features an updated show and lineup to entertain sellout crowds for its 32nd annual presentation. Hosted at Calvin Gilmore's shrine The Carolina Opry, this traditional performance features a star-studded cast performing gospel, country and holiday classics. The venue is almost as spectacular as the show, with more than 25,000 lights adorning the 35 Christmas trees on display. The family-friendly performance is sure to light a little Christmas spirit in everyone in your party.
After a night out at the shows, return to Long Bay Resort and let visions of sugar plums dance in your head in your cozy bed for a relaxing holiday retreat in Myrtle Beach.