Half-price tickets now available for holiday shows across the city

A scene from Black Nativity at Northeastern, one of dozens of holiday-themed shows that are included in Mayor’s Holiday Special, a discounted ticket program. A scene from Black Nativity at Northeastern, one of dozens of holiday-themed shows that are included in Mayor’s Holiday Special, a discounted ticket program.

This December the Strand Theatre will be hosting two different companies performing the Nutcracker ballet as well as Hallelujah! Gospel Holiday Explosion. Bargain admission to these Nutcracker shows through mayorsholidayspecial.com represent a fraction of the more than 13,000 half-price tickets smart shoppers can snag to more than 70 of the region’s most beloved holiday performances.

Since its inception, the program has welcomed more than 90,000 people to holiday shows — enough to fill Symphony Hall 35 times – saving ticket buyers more than $5 million and reinvesting the same amount back into the arts community.

Running through Jan. 1, the ninth annual Mayor’s Holiday Special (MHS) is a one-stop entertainment website, co-created by ArtsBoston and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. The website has new offerings every day of half-price tickets on holiday and non-holiday spectacles, dining deals, and a full calendar of local festivities.

“There’s no better time than the holidays to enjoy the Boston arts scene,” said Mayor Menino in a statement issued by his office. “Whether you’re taking in the new sets and costumes at Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker at The Strand, or tapping your toe along with the Holiday Pops, you’re sure to create a holiday memory you’ll cherish forever, and support local business at the same time.”

Other seasonal shows being offered at discount include: Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the Citi Performing Arts Center, Black Nativity at Northeastern, Urban Nutcracker at Hancock Hall, and Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Hallelujah! at Jordan Hall.

Frugal Celtophiles may want to consider the 10th Anniversary Christmas Celtic Sojourn at the Majestic and an Irish-themed Christmas Revels at Sanders Theatre.

For those who prefer less distinctly Yuletide fare, ART is reviving the musical Pippin, and the Colonial is hosting the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis about a white DJ and a black songstress.

The Holiday Special site also is offering a free downloadable $10-off restaurant voucher, valid with $40 purchase, that can be used at local eateries like Dot to Dot Café, Freeport Tavern, Pho Hoa and Sea Breeze Mexican Grill.

“Attending a live performance is a fantastic way to get together with friends and family during the holidays,” noted Catherine Peterson, Executive Director of ArtsBoston. “And every dollar spent at MHS gets reinvested back into the local arts community helping sustain year-round arts programming for all to experience.”

New this year MHS is co-sponsoring the Quincy Market spectacle, Blink! featuring the music of the Holiday Pops, a 6-week state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that transforms Faneuil Hall Marketplace every evening. Blink! illuminates Boston’s skyline 12 times a night with 350,000 energy efficient LED lights. The LED lights illuminating the 85-foot Christmas tree, the largest in New England, will require only 30 percent of the electricity used in previous years.

Nightly shows begin at 4:30 p.m. and will occur on the half hour with the last show ending at 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31st. Details at faneuilhallmarketplace.com.

The half-price ticket quantities are limited, and allotments change daily, so the public is encouraged to visit early and often. Stay up-to-date on added performances and special offers with email and social media alerts on twitter.com/artsboston and facebook.com/artsboston.