Christmas in the Community. The Austin Symphony Orchestra is once again bringing free music to Austinites this holiday season. “Christmas in the Community” is a series of concerts held throughout Austin that features different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. On Wednesday, the woodwind quintet will be at Macy’s Lakeline location from 1 to 2 p.m., the brass quintet at Pan American Recreation Center from 5 to 6 p.m. and the string quartet at George Washington Carver Museum from 7 to 8 p.m. austinsymphony.org
Ashley Benton + Christopher Lee Gilmer. For this dual-artist show at Wally Workman Gallery, Gilmer creates oil paintings that explore the psychological effects of the figure through physical mutations that distort and merge various realities. Benton's figurative ceramics also portray a dialogue of the human condition. Both artists’ work strives to give the viewer an alternative connection to the self. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 5. 1202 W. Sixth St. wallyworkmangallery.com
Theater & dance
“The Santaland Diaries” at Zach Theatre. David Sedaris’ tale of a Macy’s elf named Crumpet ponders all the trials of being the bearer of Christmas cheer for a more cynical and sarcastic take on the holidays. In "The Santaland Diaries," Crumpet hilariously notes the talent it takes to juggle tinsel, tearful tots and not-so-sober Santas during what is typically regarded as the most wonderful time of the year. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday through Dec. 30. $48. Zach Theatre, 202 South Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
“Dear Evan Hansen.” A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. In this Broadway in Austin production, Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. “Dear Evan Hansen” is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. 8 p.m. Dec. 11-14, 2 p.m. Dec. 14, and 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15. $44-$154. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. 512-471-2787, texasperformingarts.org.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar kickoff with Dale Watson, Gina Chavez, Ulla at Palmer Events Center. An Austin holiday tradition since the mid-1970s, this 12-day event is first and foremost a shopping extravaganza, with dozens of booths featuring all manner of gift items. But music has been central to the Bazaar’s identity since its initial years at the iconic Armadillo World Headquarters (that’s where the name comes from). The first night on Dec. 13 features a fittingly diverse array of local acts, with honky-tonker Dale Watson at 7 p.m., Latin rock-pop stylist Gina Chavez at 3 p.m. and the recently formed Irish-music outfit Ulla at noon. $10 (free for ages 12 and under); $50 season pass. 900 Barton Springs Road. armadillobazaar.com. — Peter Blackstock