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Dec. 13-14: SF Ballet Nutcracker, Illuminate SF Festival of Light, SF Symphony Holiday Soul, Jenna Fischer, Josh Gondelman, Elisabeth Rosenthal, Wendy DeWitt, Colin Quinn

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San Francisco Ballet kicks off its 2017 season of “Nutcracker” at the War Memorial; it runs through Dec. 30. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 13

San Francisco Ballet: The City’s top ballet company opens its seasonal favorite, the country’s longest-running, and the region’s most lavish, production of “Nutcracker.” [7 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Illuminate SF Festival of Light: The open-top big bus tour highlights San Francisco’s public light art installations including The Bay Lights, and the new Love Over Rules. [6 p.m., start at Exploratorium Plaza, Pier 15, The Embarcadero, S.F.]

CeCe Winans, Edwin Hawkins: The gospel greats join the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the San Francisco Symphony for the second of two “Holiday Soul” concerts. [7:30 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Jenna Fischer: Best known for playing Pam Beesly on TV’s “The Office,” the author appears in conversation and signs copies of “The Actor’s Life,” her amusing guidebook and memoir. [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

Josh Gondelman: The standup comedian and writer on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” headlines a show with Kevin O’Shea and Irene Tu. [8 p.m., Doc’s Lab, 124 Columbus Ave., S.F.]

Elisabeth Rosenthal: The editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and former New York Times writer speaks about her book “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back.” [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero, S.F.]

Wendy DeWitt: The “queen of boogie woogie” appears in a free interactive presentation on boogie woogie and blues piano music. [6 to 7:30 p.m., Latino/Hispanic Room, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Maverick Holiday Market: SF Etsy Team, Animal Instincts and Store Envy host the sale featuring gift items by local artisans. [11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St., S.F.]

THURSDAY, DEC. 14

Colin Quinn: The performer known for appearances on MTV, “Saturday Night Live,” Comedy Central, HBO’s “Girls” and Broadway brings his standup act to town, presented by American Conservatory Theater. [7:30 p.m., Strand, 1127 Market St., S.F.]

American Bach Soloists: The annual “Messiah” performance features vocal soloists Suzanne Karpov, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Zachary Wilder and Hadleigh Adams, conducted by Jeffrey Thomas. [7:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.]

San Francisco Symphony and Chorus: Ragnar Bohlin directs The City’s top orchestra and chorale in performances of Handel’s “Messiah,” with vocalists Layla Claire, Tamara Mumford, Leif Aruhn-Solen and Morris Robinson. [8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

La Posarela: Bay Area Theatre Co. stages the musical comedy, a “teatronovela” of José y María (Joseph and Mary) who, after leaving their home behind to find a safe life for baby Jesus, must obey absurd immigration orders of a mad emperor. [8 p.m., Brava Theater, 2781 24th St., S.F.]

Unusual Variety Hour: The eclectic mix hosted by Dan Linley includes standup comedy by Annick Adelle, Sam DiSalvo, Keyshawn Thomas, Ray Connolly, Carole Acuna, Theo Hull, David Roth, Moses Lorenzo and Chris Naasko and music by The Damn Fanatics. [7:30 p.m., PianoFight, 144 Taylor St., S.F.]

Soulful Christmas-A Gospel Holiday Concert: Yvonne Cobbs directs the 16-member Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Gospel Choir in its fourth annual show of inspirational seasonal music — new, old, secular and sacred. [8 p.m.,, African American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., S.F.]

Garrett + Moulton Productions: The dance troupe’s 15th anniversary season features three premieres: a large-scale ball-passing work for a cast of 18; a rambunctious romp for six dancers through an animated world; and a piece with music by Mozart. [8 p.m., ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F.]

Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski: The acclaimed chefs and entrepreneurs celebrate the release of “State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook” with a presentation and snacks. [6 p.m., Green Apple Books, 1231 Ninth Ave., S.F.]

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