As we ring in the holidays here in Southern California, remember that Covid-19 protocols are still in place, so PROOF OF VACCINATION IS REQUIRED, AND FACE MASKS MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES DURING THE PERFORMANCES AT MOST THEATERS IN ORDER TO ATTEND PERFORMANCES. The information presented in this column is the latest available at the time of printing, however you should check with the theater to confirm it before making definite plans. Here are the shows that have announced opening dates or are already running this month:
“A Christmas Carol” Finally returning to our acclaimed presentation of A Christmas Carol allows families to once again take a supremely theatrical journey and celebrate the transformative power of forgiveness during the holidays. Ebenezer Scrooge’s rebirth from miserly curmudgeon to the epitome of love and generosity affirms our faith in the potent goodness of humanity during this beloved time of year. Written by Charles Dickens, adapted by Geoff Elliott, with music by Robert Oriol, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, it runs December 3 through December 23 at A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3100 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.
“And to All a Good Night: an Ever After Take 2” Holiday adventure is an interactive musical where audience members help Cookie Claus set the Fairytale world back on track! You may not know it, but Santa Claus needs the magic of the Fairytales to help him make his rounds each Christmas–and this year, we need YOUR help to save the stories! Join Cookie on a fanciful holiday adventure as she follows the real-life stories of Snowhite, Hansel and Gretel, Alice and Queens of Hearts, Puss in Boots, the Frog Prince and a host of other beloved characters. Get dressed up (or down) and get ready to step inside the theatre for an awesome in-person experience. Written by Graham Silbert, with music by Evelyn Rudie, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs December 3 through December 17 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 or visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/goodnight.
“Robin Hood & Maid Marion: A Holiday Panto” has the ultimate adventure getting a modern makeover twist in this year’s Panto! Join our heroic outlaw defending the people as he robs from the rich and gives back to the poor. It’s a show packed full of boogie, comedy, action, audience participation and set to a soundtrack of Disco hits and dance anthems from the ‘70s (the 1170’s), including such disco favorites as Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls,” The Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’”, “He’s the Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge and many more! Book your tickets now for this sheriff-busting, tights-wearing extravaganza! Written by Kris Lythgoe, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, it runs December 3 through December 29 at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Motown” Join us in the land of Smokey Miracles and Supreme Temptations, because at the North Pole there “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to keep us from bringing big laughs and live music to you. The Christmas festivities are getting turned up with the return of the award-winning Troubadour Theater Company, and an all-new production of their holiday musical parody, which brings the origin tale of Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus) into the heyday of Motown records. It’s a laugh riot as the Rankin and Bass Claymation classic gets a Motor City makeover in this concert-style, Christmas event. Written and directed by Matt Walker, it runs December 3 through December 24 at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or visit www.garrymarshalltheatre.org.
“SANTASIA – A Holiday Comedy” The critically acclaimed musical sketch comedy show features Broadway musical parodies, heartfelt sentiment and classic Rankin and Bass inspired Claymation movies. The popular and celebrated live stage show has run in Los Angeles for past 22 years. Written and directed by Brandon and Shaun Loeser, it runs December 3 through December 25 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets visit www.santasia.com.
“The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)” is festive, funny, physical, family fun in which the audience is welcomed to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church, where all faiths are welcome because we’ll believe anything. But there’s a problem: none of the acts scheduled to perform have arrived, so three members are pressed into service to perform the entire Variety Show and Christmas Pageant by themselves. This irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays offers festive, funny, physical, family fun for ages 12 and above. Written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, and directed by Alison Boole, it runs December 3 through December 19 at the Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-645-5156 or visit www.kentwoodplayers.org.
“Christmastime Origins” The four pieces being performed are radio plays and deal with the source origins of the most beloved things about Christmas. The Group Rep turns their upstairs theater venue into a radio studio (K-GRT) with actors at microphones, Foley sound and music. Written by Julio Martinez, with music by Paul Cady, and directed by Kathleen Delaney, it runs December 4 through January 2 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre – Upstairs in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Mr. Yunioshi” A comedic solo performance piece that features an Asian actor playing Mickey Rooney as he attempts to create his infamously offensive character for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Written and directed by J. Elijah Cho, it runs December 5 through December 19 at the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets visit www.mryunioshi.com.
“Tick, Tick…BOOM!” Before Rent, there was the story of a composer and the sacrifices that he made to achieve his big break in theatre. Fourteen songs, ten characters, three actors and a live band, Tick, Tick… Boom takes you on the playwright/composer’s journey that led to a Broadway blockbuster. Adult language & subject matter suitable for mature audiences. Written by Jonathan Larson, with music by Jonathan Larson, and directed by Clint Foley, it runs December 5 through February 13 at the Atlas Space at Thymele Arts in Los Angeles. For tickets visit www.Upnextprods.com.
“Good People” Margie is a woman from the working-class neighborhood of South Boston. She’s a single mom caring for a grown, severely autistic daughter. Margie has recently been fired and faces eviction. Her buddies at the local church Bingo game suggest that she look up an old fling and ask him for a job. Mike, the former beau in question, has gotten out of South Boston, become an M.D., and moved to the tony suburb of Chestnut Hill with his younger, beautiful Black wife and their daughter. When Margie arrives at his doorstep, what will he do? Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, and directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, it runs December 8 through January 9 at the Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre in Beverly Hills. For tickets call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.
“American Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker” Its timeless music by Tchaikovsky and fairytale costumes and exotic dances, is the perfect way to introduce children to dance and even inspire them to study dance and become a little Clara or Nutcracker Prince. Written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, with music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, and directed by Alexei Ratmansky, it runs December 10 through December 19 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
“Latina Christmas Special – An American Comedy of Latina Proportions” This Off-Broadway hit is a timely comedy about those of us who ride the edge between the culture of our immigrant parents and the culture of our home, America. Every ethnicity can relate to the feeling that their parents and families are a little “weird” (that’s a nice word) during the holidays when compared to the traditional American Christmases fed to us on TV. Three comedian friends: Sandra Valls (Showtime’s Latin Divas of Comedy), Maria Russell (Lt. Liz Salazar on TruTV’s Tacoma FD), and Diana Yanez (Margaret Cho’s Sensuous Woman) show us with their personal tales that every family has its own hilarious peculiarities, everyone wants to belong, and everyone, regardless of their background, has a hard time at some point in their life. Written by Maria Russell, Sandra Valls and Diana Yanez, and directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, it runs December 14 through December 15 at the A Noise Within in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-3121 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.
“The Nutcracker” This production boasts a full symphony orchestra, a flying sleigh, a real live horse, on-stage pyrotechnics, and a cast of over 200. Former Disney designers Elliot Hessayon and Scott Schaffer created the enchanting scenery, Australian artist Adrian Clark designed the detailed costumes, and renowned magician Franz Harary created the special effects. Written by E. T. A. Hoffmann, with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and directed by David Wilcox, it runs December 17 through December 19 at the Terrace Theatre, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach. For tickets visit www.LongBeachNutcracker.com.
“@Playaz” While trying to balance respectful mid-life careers with a booming online gaming presence and a whole lot of viewers looking for guidance as they re-enter the world, Alan and Charlie find that real time challenges can be (almost) as exciting as a live gaming tournament, provided you surround yourself with a good team. The play explores modern relationships and the challenges that come with living our lives online. Combining real-life drama onstage with video game play on screen, @Playaz is a modern, immersive comedy with teeth. Written by Dana Schwartz, and directed by Darin Anthony, it runs through December 6 at the Atwater Playhouse in Atwater Village. For tickets call 323-472-5646 or visit www.movingarts.org.
“Christmas Classics with Puppets” Three talented actors sing and share these classic holiday stories along with their collection of puppet friends (marionettes, hand puppets, rod puppets, and shadow puppets). The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Origin of Poinsettias, The Happy Prince, and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Complete with 6-holiday songs, this show will bring joy to your heart, lift your spirits and send you out of the theatre full of holiday cheer. Fun for the entire family! The show runs through December 12 at the Helen Borgers Theatre in Long Beach. For tickets visit www.LBShakespeare.org.
“A Journal of the Plague Year” Defoe’s non-fiction book is an account of the pandemic which attacked London in 1664, lasting a year and killing more than half of the city’s population. Although the story took place three hundred years ago, it is amazingly relevant to our present COVID-19 circumstances. It is narrated by H.F., a businessman who has chosen to remain while multiples flee the plague-ridden city. H.F. re-enacts the terror of a helpless people caught in a tragedy they could not comprehend, with the weak preying on the dying, the strong administering to the sick, the wastrels partying in the bars and pavilions, the scientists battling the quacks and doubters. Written by Daniel Defoe, and directed by Daniel E. Keough, it runs through December 19 at the Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5303690.
“Alley of Misfits” In a lonely New York alley, Ruby and Pearl wait overnight to be the first in line for a free Thanksgiving dinner. Throughout the night they navigate disagreements, a lonely Build a Bear employee, a recovering drug addict, two wasted party girls, and seemingly sentient stuffed animals who share the landscape. A visit from Ruby’s estranged son triggers the women into an elaborate weaving of a deeper friendship, which shows that, in the end, anything can be put back together again. Written by Barbera Ann Howard and Marjorie Lewit, and directed by Bree Pavey and Marc Leclerc, it runs through December 19 at the Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-452-3153 or visit www.loftensemble.org.
“The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” In December 1936, a Broadway star admired for his performances as Sherlock Holmes has cast members to his country home for a weekend when the festivities in his isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays. Written by Ken Ludwig, and directed by Larry Eisenberg, it runs through January 2 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre – Main Stage in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
Our local theme parks are now operating at full capacity, which is a welcome relief to everyone! Most require advance reservations online, as well as advance ticket, and possibly food, purchases. You will need an app in some to be able to take full advantage of all attractions and restaurants. Please check their websites for details, restrictions, and availability before planning a visit:
| Disneyland Resort|
Disney’s California Adventure
|Knott’s Berry Farm||www.knotts.com|
|SeaWorld San Diego||www.seaworld.com/san-diego|
|Six Flags Magic Mountain||www.sixflags.com/magicmountain|
|Universal Studios Hollywood||www.universalstudioshollywood.com|