If the displays in Costco are any indication, the holiday season apparently began in mid-September. How odd, then, that theater companies seem to wait until mid-November to unveil their holiday-themed productions.
By Harry Duke
This season, North Bay audiences in search of holiday entertainment will have a variety of shows to choose from, from the traditional to the modern, from classics to film adaptations, and lots and lots of musicals.
What would Christmas be without a production of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol? Well, the Santa Rosa Junior College theater arts department ain’t gonna let that happen. James Newman directs a Broadway musical adaptation of the tale of Scrooge and his encounters with apparitions with songs by Howard Menken (The Little Mermaid) and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime). The show began last week and runs through Dec. 3 in the JC’s Burbank Auditorium. (theatrearts.santarosa.edu)
Speaking of Broadway musicals, Transcendence Theatre company presents its annual Broadway Holiday spectacular. The revue-style offering of seasonal songs and good tidings runs Dec. 1–10 at the Hanna Center in Sonoma. (bestnightever.org)
Sonoma Arts Live brings the Little Sisters of Hoboken back to the Rotary Stage with Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical. Looks like the Sisters are having problems taping a Christmas special for their local cable access channel. The show runs at the Sonoma Community Center from Dec. 1-17. (sonomartslive.org)
For folks who like their musicals movie-based, Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse is presenting Elf, the Musical. The Will Ferrell film, about a boy raised by Santa at the North Pole and going through some growing pains, gets the musical treatment. Buddy the Elf will run amok in the GK Hardt Theatre from Nov. 24 through Dec. 17. (6thstreetplayhouse.com)
Marin County’s theater tree has but one box beneath it this year. The Ross Valley Players will be presenting It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Set in a snowbound radio station in the 1940s, the Frank Capra holiday perennial is presented as, you guessed it, a live radio play with added songs. It’s all done in 90 intermission-less minutes at the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross through Dec. 17. (rossvalleyplayers.com)
A play that has become a holiday season favorite for some theater companies across the country is Jim Geoghan’s bittersweet comedy, Light Sensitive. Set during the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, it’s a three-character piece set in a rundown apartment in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Monte Rio’s Curtain Call Theatre’s production runs at the Russian River Hall through Dec. 2. (www.russianriverhall.com)
Ho ho ho!