Theater Holiday Round-up
10 traditional and twisted Dallas-area shows to get you in the holiday spirit
Overeating, overspending — the holiday season has its traditions. Going to the theater should also be one of them, based on the variety of seasonal productions about to open in Dallas-Fort Worth.
From high-kicking Rockettes to singing puppets, wing-seeking angels to martian kidnappers, there's something for everyone.
Avenue Q, Theatre Three
Through December 9
Ok, so it’s not technically about the holidays. But the hit musical about a directionless post-grads puppet looking for his purpose — which has been extended an impressive three times — does feature a character named Christmas Eve. If you’re looking for something salty to counteract all that sugarplum sweetness, then it’s nearly impossible to do better than naughty singing puppets who gleefully teach you what the Internet is really for.
The Forgotten Carols, Artisan Center Theater
November 16-December 22
Enterprising storytellers often find success when focusing on lesser-known characters in well-known tales. In this case, an elderly man insists he’s pushing 2,000 and was around for the birth of Jesus. He’s eager to tell — and sing — his stories to a hard-hearted nurse, including one about the manger’s famously stingy innkeeper. But will a fear of love and joy keep her from believing in the spirit of Christmas? If so, Hallmark could always turn this play into a feature film starring Jennifer Love Hewitt or perhaps Tori Spelling.
Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Dallas Children’s Theater
November 16-December 22
Precocious first-grader Junie B. Jones is back for more holiday mischief and important life lessons in this returning favorite. Faced with either gifting her Secret Santa an enjoyable present or buying something for herself, Junie B. digs deep to discover the true meaning of the season. But, to be fair, you could argue that she’s just being thrifty by originally choosing to give coal from her dad’s barbecue.
A Christmas Carol, Dallas Theater Center
November 20-December 23
As we’ve mentioned before, this year’s rendition of A Christmas Carol by the DTC is a must-see. Why? It’s the last time this particular version, written by Richard Hellesen and directed by Joel Ferrell, will be performed at the Kalita Humphreys Theater. Local favorite Chamblee Ferguson stars as the time-traveling and bah-humbugging Scrooge, and he’s accompanied by an intriguing mix of Brierley Resident Acting Company Members, DFW-area stage regulars and fresh faces.
The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker!, MBS Productions
November 23-December 29
As songs like “Santa Baby” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” prove, the holiday season can actually be quite sexy. At the Stone Cottage Theatre in Addison, the Velvet Kittens are saving Christmas by performing The Nutcracker as a fundraiser after a bad casserole sickens the dainty toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes of the Beaumont Ballet. Producer Mark-Brian Sonna is also the choreographer and playwright, but don’t worry — he’s not also one of the burlesque dancers.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
November 23-December 8
What little girl (and a few little boys) didn’t want to be a Rockette upon growing up? The leggy beauties are only a part of the lavish extravaganza, however, which promises even more sparkly wonders this time around. Classics like “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity” boast new costumes and sets, but if you’re like me you’re just waiting for the camels to come onstage. Dallas should feel proud: We’re one of only four cities getting the tour this year.
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, WaterTower Theatre
November 23-December 16
Five actors embody more than 50 characters, bringing iconic Bedford Falls to life with only their voices and an array of Foley sound effects. The audience is encouraged to rely largely on its imagine to envision Mary Bailey, Clarence and all the rest while they show despondent George what life would be like if he’d never been born.
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Runway Theatre
November 30-December 16
Again, you say? Ah, but this version is by Philip Grecian instead of Joe Landry. Hard to say if that really makes a difference — we’re pretty sure there will still be angel wings and bell ringing involved — but now that the film is shown so sparingly on television, Zuzu overload isn’t so pressing a concern.
Santa Claus vs. the Martians, Level Ground Arts
So bad it’s good, so beloved they brought it back. Andi Allen’s send-up of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, one of the worst films of all time, proved a hit for Level Ground Arts in 2010, so why not revive the spacey holiday campfest? Martians kidnap the Fat Man in Red because their little green kids need toys too, but Earthling tykes Billy and Betty Foster accidentally tag along for the ride. Everyone eventually bands together to save Santa from an evil alien, because isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?
Christmas Belles, Theatre Coppell
Squabbling siblings, a disastrous church pageant and an Elvis impersonator: It’s Christmas in Fayro, Texas, y’all. As tacky and colorful as an ugly holiday sweater, this East Texas spoof centers on the Futrelle sisters — “the fertile, the flirt, and the felon” — who are determined to make this year’s “Bethelham-a-palooza” at the Tabernacle of the Lamb Church the best their hillbilly neighbors have ever seen. Holiday ham with a hefty side of Southern sass.