When it comes to performing arts, there are plenty of options in the Mat-Su Valley, and a host of venues that are as amazing as they are unique.

Leading the way is Valley Performing Arts, which has been bringing top-level theater to the Mat-Su Valley for 42 years. Each season, VPA puts on seven different productions that attract more than 11,000 theater-goers, and hundreds of volunteers make it happen. The organization started out from humble beginnings, opening with "Harvey" in the Colony Church building on the Alaska State Fairgrounds in 1976. The organization held productions on the fairgrounds until 1993, when VPA moved into Machetanz Theater in Wasilla, the current home. Machetanz Theater seats 170 people and is a great venue for theater in the Mat-Su. 

VPA is midway through their production schedule this season, but you don't want miss out on the holiday classic A Christmas Carol, which opens Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 17, with performances at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

The performing arts scene in the Valley was given a major upgrade a few years ago, as the Glenn Massay Theater at Mat-Su College opened. The 520-seat theater is completely state-of-the-art, and is the ideal venue for concerts, lectures, musical productions, live theater and more. The audio-visual components in the Glenn Massay Theater rival those of any theater in the country. The theater has hosted numerous performing arts events, as well as film festivals. If you haven't been to the Glenn Massay Theater yet, don't delay - you will come away impressed. The theater is hosting two performances of the Mat-Su Community Messiah on Dec. 3, and a weekend run of "The Alaskan Nutcracker" on Dec. 7-9.

Finally, up in Talkeetna, the Denali Arts Council is doing great things in bringing live theater, concerts and other performing arts to the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. The Hangar can seat 140 people and is a jewel in the upper Susitna Valley. It truly lives up to the "community" part of its name, as community events take place there throughout the year.

Denali Arts Council is hosting a CD release party with Evan Phillips on Nov. 18, and on Dec. 3 is home to the "One-Man Star Wars Trilogy," a farce in which one actor plays all the characters - right down to the voice impressions and battles - of the Star Wars Trilogy.

This winter, get and enjoy some of the best performing arts in Alaska, at some of the most unique venues in the state, right here in the Mat-Su Valley.