A true theater blockbuster, the musical Wicked was nominated for 10 Tonys (it won three), smashed box office records in cities from London to L.A., and cemented Idina Menzel’s reputation as a bona fide Broadway star. The story — a prequel to L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — describes how two very different girls — one sporting an emerald green complexion — meet in Munchkinland. One eventually becomes known as Glinda the Good Witch; the other… well, you know the rest. Millions have already seen the North American touring production of the show, which opens this month at Proctors as part of their Broadway Series. Dec. 9-Jan. 3. Call for exact schedule and ticket information. 432 State St., Schenectady. 518-346-6204
Photograph by Michael Schmelling
Talk about child prodigies: Guitarist Derek Trucks attracted the music industry’s attention when he was just nine years old; he began touring regularly with the Allman Brothers Band while still a teenager. Trucks and his eponymous band — which he formed at age 15 and whose sound blends the genres of rock, blues, jazz, and world music — is touring in support of its most recent album, Already Free (currently number nine on the Billboard blues charts). Trucks and company play the Paramount Center for the Arts on Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. $30-$45. 1008 Brown St., Peekskill. 914-739-2333
Animal lover Photographer Valerie Shaff poses with a friend. Her wildlife images are on view in Hudson
Local photographer Valerie Shaff began taking pictures at the tender age of seven. Her interest in the medium eventually became a career, with her work appearing in publications including The New Yorker and Martha Stewart Living. Shaff — who describes herself as having a “romantic vision” — also has a special affinity for photographing animals. It is these works — featuring buffalo, tigers, sea creatures, and other exotica — that are the subject of her solo show at Carrie Haddad Photographs. Thurs.-Mon. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. from Dec. 3-Jan. 10. 318 Warren St., Hudson. 518-828-7655
Albrecht Dürer — a German painter and printmaker born in Nuremberg in 1471 — is widely regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance. He is especially well-known for his prints (a relatively new art form at that time); the painterly treatment of his subjects and inclusion of classical motifs raised Dürer’s art to a level that stunned his contemporaries. Nineteen of these prints — along with 22 works by other artists of the period — are showcased in Albrecht Dürer: Impressions of the Renaissance, at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. Tues.-Sun. through Dec. 24; call for hours. 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. 845-437-5632
Photograph by Gordon Swanson/Shutterstock
What better way to celebrate the holidays than to go a-wassailing along the Shawangunk Wine Trail? Wreath Fineries at the Wineries offers merrymakers the chance to visit 11 local wineries, enjoying a festive welcome at each one. At the first winery they visit, participants receive an etched wine-tasting glass and a handmade grapevine wreath. They then proceed to the other wineries along the trail, sampling holiday foods and picking up a unique wreath ornament at each stop.
The newest addition to the trail is Palaia Vineyards in Highland Mills, which opened in 2006. Owner Jan Palaggi says visitors can sample one of their most popular wines, Joyful Pink — a sweet yet tart rosé — in the tasting room. Also look for Cabernet Franc (the parent wine of Cabernet Sauvignon, but with a fruitier taste); Traminette (a rich, crisp white); a light, lemony Chardonnay; and a dark, full-bodied Merlot. Paired with chocolate mousse, these wines offer a luscious holiday treat.
Tasters at Brimstone Hill Vineyard can look forward to savoring a dessert Riesling along with a tantalizing cream puff. Also look for the vineyard’s popular semisweet Cayuga White, and their red blend, Vin Rouge, a dry, spicy, full-fruit wine. At Applewood Winery, trail-goers can choose from among 20 different wines. In addition, Applewood offers two holiday favorites: Harvest Time, a mulled wine spiced with cinnamon and cloves and served warm; and a sparkling hard apple cider.
Make reservations early (and bring a designated driver along). You’ll all be sure to end the day full of good cheer.
Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 10 a.m-6 p.m.
$35, $55 per couple. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 845-256-8456