'Tis the Season for Holiday Theatre: A Guide to 'Present' Productions

News   'Tis the Season for Holiday Theatre: A Guide to 'Present' Productions If all you wanted for the holidays was a little seasonal theatre, then your wishes have been granted. All across the country, as shoppers cram in their last-minute dash for presents, theatres are preparing their stages for a different kind of gift. From the traditional classic Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and contemporary favorite David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries to the not-so-traditional Sista' Scrooge, this year's offerings span the theatrical spectrum.

If all you wanted for the holidays was a little seasonal theatre, then your wishes have been granted. All across the country, as shoppers cram in their last-minute dash for presents, theatres are preparing their stages for a different kind of gift. From the traditional classic Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and contemporary favorite David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries to the not-so-traditional Sista' Scrooge, this year's offerings span the theatrical spectrum.

For those who believe there's no place like New York City during the holidays, a host of theatre choices await. Here are just a few:

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular
This holiday tradition is perhaps the biggest of all, boasting a total of over 2 million viewers per year. The show itself debuted in 1979, but a Christmas show featuring the Rockettes ran as early as 1933. It plays through Jan. 7 at Radio City Music Hall,1260 Sixth Ave (at 50th Street). For tickets call (212) 307 7171.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues
Jeff Goode's 'tribute' to the holidays; No, the reindeer don't talk about their vaginas (a la Eve Ensler.) But, in this twisted tale of Christmas, Saint Nick isn't so saintly, his wife, not so matronly, and his reindeer are all misfits. (You may want to steer the kids clear.) Playing at Theater 22, 54 West 22nd Street (between 5th and 6th Ave.) through Dec. 22. For reservations, contact Stage Door at (212) 591-2604.

"Michael Feinstein - A Holiday Romance"
The well-known cabaret veteran will perform some of the season's favorites from the likes of composer Sammy Cahn to Broadway's own Jerry Herman. He plays at his namesake, Feinstein's at the Regency, 540 Park Ave. (at 61 St.) through Dec. 30. For tickets and information call (212) 339-4095. Kiki & Herb: Jesus Wept
Another somewhat famous, or infamous, cabaret couple play their gig at the Fez. Known as Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman in real life, the duo respectively embody the brash and boozy "66 ish" Kiki and her shy straight man accompanist Herb as they guide us, via song, through bits of Kiki's shady past. Fez is located at 380 Lafayette St. (at Great Jones). For tickets to the show through Dec. 30, call (212) 533-2680.

Christmas With the Crawfords
In keeping with the cross-dressing and holiday themes, Richard Winchester, Mark Sargent and Wayne Buidens present their take on what could have happened if actress Joan Crawford and gossip goddess Hedda Hopper met one Christmas. Tickets to the Grove Street Playhouse, at 39 Grove Street, can be purchased by calling (212) 879-5575. The show runs through Dec. 30.

Sista' Scrooge
AUDELCO Award-winning playwright Ah-Keisha McCants presents her take on the Dickens' classic in this musical parody that boasts the tagline: "If you miss this one, You must be Humbuggin'." Cantrese Alloway plays the miserly Eloisa Scrooge in this fun-for-the-whole-family festivity at the New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.) through Dec. 31. For reservations, call (212) 696-5233 ext. 7.

A Christmas Carol
The more traditional version of the Dickens' story that has been running for seven seasons stars Frank Langella this year. With music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Seussical), and choreography by Tony Award-winning Susan Stroman (Contact and the much-anticipated The Producers), the show is a hot ticket in the cold season. Playing at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 2 Penn Plaza (between 32nd and 33rd) through Dec. 31. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4111.

Even if you don't live in New York City, chances are there is a production of A Christmas Carol "at a theatre near you!" Though none of them ever explain who this Carol is, or why she's not even mentioned in the play, here are a few places where you can catch the ever-humbugging Ebenezer:

•The Goodman Theatre, 200 S. Columbus Drive, in Chicago, IL
Through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (312) 443-3800.

•Hartford Stage Company, 50 Church Street, in Hartford, CT
Through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (860) 527-5151.

•McCarter Theatre, 91 University Place, in Princeton, NJ
Through Dec. 24. For tickets, call (609) 258-2787.

•The Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Place, in Minneapolis, MN
Through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (612) 377-2224.

•A Contemporary Theatre, 700 Union Street, in Seattle, WA
Through Dec. 24. For tickets, call (206) 292-7676.

•Ford's Theatre, 511 Tenth Street N.W.,in Washington, DC
Through Dec. 31. For tickets, call (703) 218-6500.

•The Dallas Theater Center, 2401 Flora Street, in Dallas, TX
Through Dec. 24. For tickets, call (214) 522-8499.

•Actors Theatre of Louisville, 316 West Main Street, in Louisville, KY
Through Dec. 23. For tickets, call (502) 584-1205.

•Missouri Repertory Theatre, 4949 Cherry Street, in Kansas City, MO
Through Dec. 27. For tickets, call (816) 235-2700.

The Santaland Diaries
Another seasonal satire that is becoming a holiday favorite is Joe Mantello's adaptation of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries. Covering his stint as a 33-year-old elf in Macy*s Department Store's Santaland, the sardonic and sarcastic story takes us behind the scenes at one of New York's many holiday attractions. This show plays at the following theatres across the US:

•Copley Theater, 225 Clarendon Street, in Boston, MA
Through Dec. 31. For tickets, call TeleCharge at (800) 447-7400.

•Cultural Center's Studio Theater, 78 East Washington Street, in Chicago, IL
Through Dec. 31. For tickets, call (312) 492-7150.

•Horizon Theatre Company, Euclid and Austin Ave., in Atlanta, GA
Through Jan. 2. For tickets, call (404) 584-7450.

•Bug Theatre,3654 Navajo Street, in Denver, CO
Through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (303) 477-9984.

•Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Riverside Drive (at S. Lamar Boulevard), in Austin, TX
Through Jan. 7. For tickets, call (512) 476-054.

•The Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main Street, in Kansas City, MO
Through Dec. 23. For tickets, call (816) 531-7529 ext. 10.

•City Theatre, 57 South 13th St., in Pittsburgh, PA
Through Dec. 23. For tickets, call (412) 431-2489.

A Tuna Christmas This Yuletide comedy by the team of Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard takes a look at the holiday frenzy as it sweeps over the town of Tuna, Texas. Productions of this show will be staged at these theaters:

•Actors Theatre of Louisville, 316 West Main Street, in Louisville, KY
Through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (502) 584-1205.

•Playhouse on the Square, 51 S. Cooper, in Memphis, TN
Through Jan. 6. For tickets, call (901) 726-4656.

•Chamber Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee, WI
Through Dec. 31. For tickets, call (414) 291-7800.

California


On the west coast, odds are it won't be a white Christmas, but that won't stop theatres from getting into the spirit. If you didn't catch the Sacred Fools' It's a Wonderful Death, a different take on the holiday classic which asks "What if George Bailey was just a sleazy creep in the first place?", here are a few more upbeat productions offered up this holiday season:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas While Jim Carrey rakes in the millions at the movies, the Old Globe Theatre offers 10 percent of all tickets - to their production of the Dr. Seuss tale - for free to children of the San Diego community. The returning favorite runs at the Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, in San Diego, CA through Dec. 31. For tickets, call (619) 239 2255.

The Nutcracker This fanciful tale of wooden soldiers and nasty rats that come to life one night in the dreams of a little girl has been a holiday tradition at the Bay Area locale since 1944. The Tchaikovsky classic runs at the War Memorial Opera House,301 Van Ness Ave., in San Francisco, CA through Dec. 31. For tickets, call (415) 864-3330.

For Here or To Go? A musical about family, food and flirtation set amid the holidays of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Christmas. This cross cultural comedy runs at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., in Los Angeles, CA through Dec. 24. For tickets, call (213) 628-2772.

Other Regional Events

Seattle's Intiman Theatre Company presents Langston Hughes' Black Nativity. A retelling of the Christmas story with glittery costumes, boisterous dance, and many Gospel numbers. The musical runs at the Intiman, 201 Mercer St. (near Second Avenue), in Seattle, WA through Dec. 24. For tickets, call (206) 269 1900.

•In St. Petersburg, the American Stage takes on A Child's Christmas in Wales. The musical filled with singing aunts, sheepish uncles, toy trains, new bikes, whiskered saber clawed Arctic tigers and terrifying ghost stories plays at the American, 211 Third St. South, in St. Petersburg, FL through Dec. 30. For tickets, call (727) 823-7529.

Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory offers The Christmas Schooner based on a real story. The musical that centers on schooner captains who risked their lives to cross Lake Michigan every year so that Christmas trees would reach Chicago's Clark Street dock runs through Dec. 31. Bailiwick is located at 1229 West Belmont, in Chicago, IL. For tickets, call (773) 883-1090.

CityStage at Springfield gives us A Christmas Survival Guide by James Hindman & Ray Roderick. For those who find this season a time of great anxiety, this show provides some counsel. Playing at the CityStage, One Columbus Center, in Springfield, MA this musical comedy runs through Dec. 23. For tickets, call (413) 788 7033.

Well, there's your list. Check it twice, and decide for yourself, which are naughty and which are nice. Happy holidays from Playbill On-Line.

— by Ernio Hernandez