Top Picks: The Royal Opera House's 'Nutcracker' at your movie theater, Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon's Beatles book 'All the Songs,' and more

'Once' troubadour Glen Hansard's new album 'Drive All Night' recalls Springsteen and Van Morrison, PBS's 'How Sherlock Changed the World' examines the influence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on police work, and more top picks.

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    The Nutcracker
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    How Sherlock Changed the World
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    The Sound of Music
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The hills are alive, again!

Get ready for a modern twist on a storied classic. One of our new favorite things is the soundtrack of The Sound of Music, from NBC’s live broadcast of the musical earlier this month. Six-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood is Maria, five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is Mother Abbess, and “True Blood” star Stephen Moyer is Capt. Georg von Trapp. The song “I Have Confidence” from the movie is gone, but “Can Love Survive” from the stage play is here, as well as “No Way to Stop It.” It’s on Sony Masterworks and available on iTunes.

London’s Sugar Plum Fairy

Recommended: Culture and Science

This season watch Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker, broadcast live Dec. 17 from the Royal Opera House in London at your local movie theater. It is presented by NCM Fathom Events and Arts Alliance Media; tickets are available at participating theaters and www.FathomEvents.com.

The making of a play

What happens between the draft of a play and the final performance in the theater? Playwright: From Page to Stage follows two playwrights, Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney, through the writing, development, staging, rehearsal, and public performance of their plays – over three years. From the time their work receives funding until the final curtain, see the process unfold. It premières on PBS’s “Independent Lens” Dec. 16. Check local listings.

Sherlock’s genius

Attention “CSI” lovers: Solving crimes by using fingerprints, footprints, and ballistics can be traced back to the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Turns out Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced his master detective to the world just as Jack the Ripper was stalking the streets of London and the police were exposing their profound incompetence – such as failing to close off crime scenes. Watch PBS’s How Sherlock Changed the World Dec. 17 to find out more about the crime profiler who scientist Dr. Henry Lee calls “the grandfather of forensic science.”

Soulful mates

Six years ago, Irish troubadour Glen Hansard and his partner Marketa Irglova charmed us with their indie film “Once.” Hansard has since gone solo, with help from his friends. On Drive All Night, a four-song digital EP, he channels more than a little Bruce Springsteen and throws in a dollop of idol Van Morrison, and it’s a good fit. He sounds energized and soulful, with deft accompaniment by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Jake Clemons, nephew of Springsteen’s late sax man, Clarence Clemons. The result is intimate and stadium-worthy, all at once.

Beatles song decoder

However many Beatles books there are, there’s always room for one more. So clear some space, because All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release is a big one! French writers (and superfans) Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon have compiled the stories of 213 Beatles songs – what inspired them, who wrote which parts, the instruments played, and how the recording sessions went down. It’s a highly entertaining read, and the 600 photos are a visual treat to boot.

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