Holiday Theater Roundup

13 naughty and nice shows to jingle your bells this holiday season

13 naughty and nice shows to jingle your bells this holiday season

How the Grinch Saved Christmas the Musical
How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical at Performing Arts Fort Worth November 19-24. Photo courtesy of PaparazziByAppointment.com
Jeff Swearingen's Ultimate Holiday Experience
Jeff Swearingen's Ultimate Thanksgiving Experience at Fun House Theatre November 20-24. Photo courtesy of Fun House Theatre and Film
Dallas Children's Theater presents Twas the Night Before Christmas
Twas the Night Before Christmas at Dallas Children's Theater November 22-December 22. Photo by Karen Almond
Theatre Three presents Other Desert Cities
Other Desert Cities at Theatre Three November 25-December 15. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt
Elaine Liner in Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love
Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love from Elaine Liner runs December 12-15. Photo by Mark Oristano
Dallas Summer Musicals presents Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Irving Berlin's White Christmas at Dallas Summer Musicals December 17-29. Photo by Kevin White
Frosty the Snowman at Casa Manana in Fort Worth
Frosty the Snowman at Casa Manana November 29-December 22. Photo courtesy of Casa Manana
How the Grinch Saved Christmas the Musical
Jeff Swearingen's Ultimate Holiday Experience
Dallas Children's Theater presents Twas the Night Before Christmas
Theatre Three presents Other Desert Cities
Elaine Liner in Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love
Dallas Summer Musicals presents Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Frosty the Snowman at Casa Manana in Fort Worth

We get it: The Nutcracker is awesome, but perhaps you've already seen it? Don't stress, because there are other holidays stage offerings out there — lots of them — and they're not all sugar-plum sweet either.

Here are 12 shows guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit, no matter what your definition of that is.

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Performing Arts Fort Worth
November 19-24

You may have seen a green and rather shifty-looking character slithering and slinking around Dallas-Fort Worth lately, but there's no reason to hide your roast beast. The Grinch, at Bass Performance Hall for only 10 performances, is in town with a whole slew of singing Whos, turning Fort Worth into Whoville and officially marking the beginning of the holiday season.

Ultimate Thanksgiving Experience
Fun House Theatre and Film
November 20-24

There is a turkey, of course, but this holiday offering from Plano's favorite purveyor of adult-like children's theater also includes Dan Quayle, Bill O'Reilly, Lady Gaga, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Easter Bunny (head of the Illuminati, of course) and a trio of Russian immigrants. It could only come from the mind of Jeff Swearingen, and that's why we love it.

A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center
November 21-December 24

New home, new adaptation, new attitude. Dallas Theater Center is shaking up tradition this year by reimagining its holiday staple, Charles Dickens' surprisingly dark and spooky tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his time-bending trip to self-discovery. Artistic director Kevin Moriarty is behind the reboot, so expect lots of untraditional touches (we hear there will be flying) mixed in with feel-good holiday cheer.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Dallas Children's Theater
November 22-December 22

Giving us a behind-the-scenes peek at Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem, Dallas Children's Theater brings to life the sugarplums, toys and, of course, Santa Claus. Although it's rumored that Moore composed the verse while on a wintery sleigh ride (and some question his authorship entirely, because the poem was first published anonymously), in this version he's under pressure because the president is planning to read the poem at the White House.

Other Desert Cities
Theatre Three
November 25-December 15

What's a holiday season without family dysfunction? In Jon Robin Baitz's play, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, the Wyeth family is reunited right before Christmas, and daughter Brooke announces she's planning to publish her memoirs, which happen to detail a long-held and heavily guarded family secret. There's politics, a relative visiting from rehab and lots of squabbling. Feels just like home, right?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical
Majestic Theatre
November 29-December 29

Do you look forward to your yearly viewing of the stop-motion animated special about a certain left-out reindeer whose glowing nose saves Christmas? If so, this production is probably for you. In conjunction with AT&T Performing Arts Center, the newly formed Wishing Star Productions is mounting a stage adaptation of the 1964 TV special that comes complete with "incredible costumes and amazing puppetry." In case you've forgotten, this story was the original source of the Island of Misfit Toys and also features an elf who longs to be a dentist, the Abominable Snow Man and a prospector names Yukon Cornelius. Because why not?

Frosty the Snowman
Casa Manana
November 29-December 22

You might find the idea of a pile of frozen water coming to life massively creepy, but I bet your kids think it's awesome. No matter your views on frozen rights, this musical version of the famous book about a snowman who suddenly comes to life and cavorts with the town's children is probably going to be charming. And it's at Casa Manana, so you know the production values will be stunning.

Jubilation: The Christmas Musical
Jubilee Theatre
December 6-29

Jubilee Theatre's mascot, Lee Roy, comes to life in this holiday collection of jazzy, gospel-flavored tunes and tales. Tre Garrett recently scored a massive creative coup with his stirring direction of A Raisin in the Sun at Dallas Theater Center, so his guiding hand (collaborating with Geno Young) paired with the promise of all Lee Roy's "favorite friends and performers" pretty much guarantees an amazing time.

Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love
Our Productions Theatre Co.
December 12-15

Our own Elaine Liner wrote a play and took it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. People kind of went wild for it. Now she's mounting the one-woman show again in Lewisville during Dallas' time of sweater weather and encouraging knitters to bring their skeins and clack away during the show. You’d just better not be knitting anything for a significant other — that's where the curse comes from.

The Santaland Diaries
WaterTower Theatre
December 13-29

If you couldn't catch David Sedaris when he was in town earlier this month, this is the next best thing. One of his most famous essays from the collection Holidays on Ice, The Santaland Diaries details Sedaris' excruciating stint as a Macy's elf. The story is crass, vulgar and every bit as hilarious as you think it would be, and it plays out like a nutmeg-tinged fever dream. Garrett Storms will step into Crumpet the Elf's curly shoes.

A Very Nouveau Family!
Nouveau 47 Productions
December 13-29

Continuing with the notion of Anti-Claus, Nouveau 47 is offering up 10-minute plays with a holiday theme that skew on the side of the avant garde. New voices are the focus, so expect to hear some fresh stories and explore the holidays from a different perspective.

The Game's Afoot (Holmes for the Holiday)
WaterTower Theatre
December 13-January 5, 2014

Ken Ludwig, the pen behind Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy for You, dips back into the 1930s for a madcap murder mystery that can only be solved by Sherlock Holmes — or an actor who's used to playing him. The show begins with an actor getting shot onstage, but it is followed immediately by a house party. You know, typical ugly sweater shindig. But then one of the guests turns up dead, and it's up to the host to channel his Sherlock skills and catch the killer.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Dallas Summer Musicals
December 17-29

Try reading this show's title without hearing Irving Berlin's iconic tune in your head. It can't be done. Better to just give in to the music, tap your feet when the dancers start tapping theirs and say "oooh" when the snow starts falling. Because you will. Can't be helped. Surrender to the live stage version of one of your favorite holiday movies and just enjoy it. Merry Christmas. You're welcome.