Whether you've been anticipating it or dreading it, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is finally here. As it coincides with the weekend before Thanksgiving, you'll find an odd juxtaposition of memorials for the slain president and events designed to get you in the mood for the holidays.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, November 21
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been a holiday classic since the moment it was published in 1957. Its various adaptations, via TV cartoon in 1966 and film in 2000, have only burnished its legend, as has this musical, which has been performed since 1994. The national tour comes to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth through Sunday.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents President John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has been planning for this weekend for a long time, commissioning a special piece from composer Conrad Tao, entitled "The World is Very Different Now," to honor JFK's memory. The concert, with four performances through Sunday at Meyerson Symphony Center, will also feature works by Sibelius, Beethoven and Milhaud and put a spotlight on violinist Joshua Bell.
Friday, November 22
Texas Theatre presents JFK 50th Anniversary Memorial Program
The Texas Theatre will forever be known as the place where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured following JFK's assassination, and its current owners won't shy away from that fact with this event. Among other things, they'll show a partial screening of War is Hell, the movie Oswald snuck into, put on theatrical re-creations of interviews done with theater employees by the Warren Commission and end the day with a 35mm screening of Oliver Stone's JFK.
2013 Gift of Lights & Snow at Texas Motor Speedway
One of the best things about the holiday season is the light displays that pop up all over the place. But one of the most fun options available is the Gift of Lights & Snow at Texas Motor Speedway, where visitors can drive through and around more than 600 displays featuring over two million LED lights. And this year they'll also feature a Snow Town with an outdoor tubing hill, snowball gallery and play area created from more than 100 tons of real snow. Experience the fun through January 5.
Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center has been putting on most of their productions at Wyly Theatre since the venue opened in 2009, but they had kept their annual production of A Christmas Carol at their old home, Kalita Humphreys Theater, until this year. They promise a unique experience, putting the audience right in the middle of the action thanks to the flexible seating in the Wyly. The musical will play through December 24.
Saturday, November 23
The Trains at NorthPark 2013
Speaking of holiday traditions, The Trains at NorthPark has delighted children and adults alike for 15 years at NorthPark Center with its intricate display of buildings, monuments and landscapes from Dallas and around the country for model trains to travel through. They'll have the usual scenes of Downtown Dallas, the White House, Golden Gate Bridge and others, and possibly a few surprises. You can catch the trains through January 5.
Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles
The 2013-2014 season for Dallas Summer Musicals doesn't actually begin until next month's White Christmas, so you can consider this four-performance production of Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles as a bonus. The show, playing Saturday and Sunday at Music Hall at Fair Park, is a jukebox musical that takes the audience through many of the Fab Four's hits.
Nasher Sculpture Center presents Soundings: JFK Memorial Concert
The Dallas Arts District will be full of music honoring the memory of JFK, as Nasher Sculpture Center will put on a special concert by the Brentano String Quartet at Dallas City Performance Hall. The quartet will be playing a specially-commissioned piece entitled "One Red Rose" by composer Steven Mackey, along with other works by Olivier Messiaen and John Cage.
Rhett Miller in concert with Salim Nourallah and The O's
Rhett Miller, lead singer of the Old 97's, has been headlining the annual Cystic Fibrosis Concert Series at the Granada Theater for seven years. The concert, which raises money and awareness for the fight against the debilitating disease, will also feature performances by locals Salim Nourallah and The O's.
Sunday, November 24
Heffron Drive in concert with Eric Dash and Ariana & The Rose
Sunday is already packed, with all but two of the previous nine events taking place that day as well. But fans of the Nickelodeon show Big Time Rush and its namesake band will want to make their way down to The Kessler, as BTR member Kendall Schmidt brings his side project duo, Heffron Drive with guitarist Dustin Belt, to town. They'll be joined by opening acts Eric Dash and Ariana & The Rose.