The Pasadena area has numerous unique holiday traditions, ranging from visiting the lights along Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena to enjoying the Pasadena Symphony’s annual Holiday Candlelight Concert at All Saints Church. The Alex Theatre in Glendale hosts perhaps the most colorful event of all when it brings the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to its hallowed stage for an annual Holiday Spectacular concert.    

This year’s show is themed “Modern Families” and features a mix of traditional holiday tunes with modern jingles as well as a stage full of “Malibu monks,” sexy elves, falling snow, sparkles and even a Santa or two. The mix this year is particularly timely, according to GMCLA Artistic Director Joe Nadeau.

“This year’s show is about Modern Families, and we’re asking, ‘What does it mean to be family?’” says Nadeau. “We believe what makes a family is love — a group of loving people.”

This year, the chorus is sharing that message in an extra-special way by teaming up with three charitable organizations that help provide foster homes and adoption for the gay community. A portion of proceeds will go to Extraordinary Families, Family Equality Council and Raise a Child, each of which will also have information tables at the Alex in addition to each presenting a family at the show’s conclusion.

“We have a wonderful performance planned, as always, with Act 1 taking a look at a traditional Currier & Ives, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ kind of Christmas,” says Nadeau. “It’s packed with traditional carols, and featuring a string quartet with the 250 guys singing on stage.

“The second act will explode with color and excitement as we bring you a California Christmas,” Nadeau continues. “It’s more modern, and we’ll be actually singing a song called ‘California Christmas’ from  the TV show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.’”

One of the more touching moments of the performance should be the chorus’ tribute to the late pop icon George Michael, who died unexpectedly on Christmas Day last year. The group will sing his holiday classic “Last Christmas,” before returning to the upbeat number “Text Me Merry Christmas” and a song from the musical “Elf,” called “A Christmas Song.”

“Throughout, the whole show is offering songs about family,” says Nadeau. “’Your ‘Home for the Holidays’ will open the show, and another from an off-Broadway show is called ‘Our First Christmas.’ We’ll also be singing ‘Family’ from ‘Dreamgirls’ and having a very special moment with the Ann Hampton Callaway song ‘God Bless My Family.’

“A lot of people like to kick off their holiday season with us at the Alex and there’s no Christmas season without it,” adds Nadeau. “Come be part of our extended family.” 

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will perform “Holiday Spectacular – Modern Families” at 8 p.m. tonight, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Tickets start at $25. Call (818) 243-2539 or visit alextheatre.org.