Believe it or not, there are plays and musicals in December that don't have a holiday theme. Not many, mind you, but a few. Here are seven of the shows you should see this month.
A Christmas Carol, through December 26
Dallas Theater Center
The holiday classic returns to the Wyly Theatre with a versatile cast that also supplies the seasonal music. What's remarkable this year is that Brierley resident company member Christie Vela is putting her spin on Scrooge's story, the first time the DTC production has been directed by a woman.
A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show, December 3-20
The premise of this one-man show makes it stand out from other holiday fare: A sound engineer at a snowed-in radio station decides to tackle all the roles (and sound effects) himself on Christmas Eve. B.J. Cleveland is that man, and his nonstop energy and commitment to characterization will make this feat all the more impressive.
The Fantasticks, December 3-27
Not only is this Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical the longest-running in New York (42 consecutive years!), it's also a Theatre Three favorite. This will be the ninth time this production has graced the in-the-round stage. The allegorical tale of two neighboring fathers who conspire to keep their son and daughter apart — so they can fall in love, naturally — also boasts a score brimming with favorites like "Try to Remember" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain."
Elf the Musical, December 8-20
Dallas Summer Musicals
Based on the film starring Will Ferrell, this modern holiday favorite has morphed into a Broadway musical. Buddy the Elf travels from the North Pole to New York City in sparkly style, finding love and family along the way.
Clarkston, December 3-January 31, 2016
Dallas Theater Center, Studio Theatre
Is there a more American setting in this day and age than a Costco? That's where this world premiere takes place, as a struggling writer and the descendent of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) stock shelves and muddle through life. Playwright Samuel D. Hunter is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, which ups DTC's national cred even more.
The Tragedy of King Richard III, December 7 and 14
Shakespeare in the Bar
These barely rehearsed, integrative productions of Shakespeare plays are incredibly fun — this we know. The latest boozy Bard show is the tragedy about England's supposedly evil, purportedly humpbacked monarch, and there are two showings: December 7 at The Wild Detectives and December 14 at Small Brewpub. Unfortunately, tickets to both shows sold out in the first five minutes, but you can enter to win a pair by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jersey Boys, December 16-27
AT&T Performing Arts Center
We just can't get enough of these crooners. Especially after the drab film adaptation by Clint Eastwood, it's exciting to be reminded of why this musical biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is so dynamic onstage.