By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Ah, Christmas once again! Time to deck the halls and watch for Santa – and while you’re at it, here are some other things you can watch this month:
“Cash on Delivery” reunites the family talents of actor/director/ father Ray Cooney and his stage and screenwriter son Michael Cooney in this hilarious comical romp about a man who discovers a loophole in the welfare system much to the dismay of his neighbors! You won’t want to miss this hilarious comedy! Written by Michael Cooney, and directed by Ray Cooney, it runs December 2 through December 20 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“A Very Die Hard Christmas” High above the city of L.A., a team of terrorists has seized a building, taken hostages, and declared war. One man has managed to escape. An off-duty cop hiding somewhere inside. He’s alone, tired…and he doesn’t like Christmas. Come see a stage version of the holiday classic, complete with action, humor, Professor Snape taking people hostage, singing, dancing, the guy from ‘Family Matters,’ guns, puppets, explosions, the EPA guy from ‘Ghostbusters’ getting punched in the face, and Christmas miracles and familiar holiday friends galore. Maybe even an appearance by the legend himself, Santa Claus! Yippee Ki- Yay, Father Christmas! Written by Josh Carson, and directed by Gregory Crafts, it runs December 3 through December 19 at the Belfry Stage in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-849-4039 or visit www.theatreunleashed.org.
“Bob’s Holiday Office Party” Every year, insurance agent Bob Finhead’s whacked out friends and clients stop by his small-town Iowa office for their annual holiday bash. Among them, the town mayor, the sheriff, the twin farmers, the stoner, the town floozy and the pastor’s wife have already RSVP’d for this year’s event. But Bob has dreams of a bigger life and wants to escape their narrow-minded thinking. Will he be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional inventor and move to the big city, or will he come to realize how much he is the heart and soul of the town? Does any of this even matter once the party stars, the bickering and fighting begins, and the drinks hit the floor? Written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, and directed by Matt Roth, it runs December 3 through December 20 at the Pico Playhouse Theater in Los Angeles. For tickets call 310-204-4440 or visit www.plays411.com/bobs.
“Who Killed Santa?” In this hilarious and irreverent send-up, Santa is hosting his annual holiday party attended by the usual holiday favorites: Frosty, Tiny Tim, The Little Drummer Boy, and Rudolph, who all have a bone to pick with Santa. This is an alternative adult show featuring four possible endings, parodies of holiday songs, drag, and gratuitous violence. It’s “The Choose-Your-Own-Ending Musical Murder Mystery Holiday Whodunit… With Puppets!”. Written by Neil Haven, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, it runs December 4 through January 2 at the Theatre 68 @ NoHo Arts Center Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets visit www.plays411.com/santa.
“All About Santa” the heart-warming tale of love and jealousy, togetherness and sibling rivalry, good and evil. It’s holiday time at the North Pole and things are looking as cheerful as ever, when who should appear on the scene, but Mr. Bottom from the bottom of the world. Who is this mysterious stranger? He’s Santa’s long lost twin brother, bringing with him a host of mischievous plans to destroy the love and sharing of the season. In true melodrama style, audiences boo the villain, cheer the hero and root for the heroine as perky elves, zany inventors, toys that come alive and the zealous workings of a gorgeously detailed Christmas toyshop set add up to an afternoon of theatre magic in which audience participation and brotherly love pave the way for another joyful yuletide season! Written and directed by Chris DeCarlo & Evelyn Rudie, with music by E. Rudie and Matthew Wrather, it runs December 5 through December 20 at the Santa Monica Playhouse, The Other Space in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 2 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.
“The SantaLand Diaries” Matthew Wrather dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Written by David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello, and directed by Chris DeCarlo, it runs December 5 through December 20 at the Santa Monica Playhouse The Other Space in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.
“SANTASIA A Holiday Comedy” This Critics Pick for 15 Years is a hilarious, laugh out loud annual holiday romp and cult hit. This perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment has been compared to “The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Kids in the Hall”, “In Living Color”, “Saturday Night Live” and the likes of Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments. Written by Shaun Loeser and Brandon Loeser, it runs December 5 through December 26 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. For tickets call 818-990-2324 or visit www.santasia.com.
“Shakespeare’s Last Night Out” Michael Shaw Fisher returns, depicting William Shakespeare on the night before his death, going out for a drink (or more). Shakespeare reflects on his hardscrabble origins, his eventual success, his stormy marriage, his children, the loss of his son, his extramarital temptations, his plays, his predictions of challenges to the authorship of his works. And he sums up, as Shakespeare sings! Written by Michael Shaw Fisher, with music by Gordon Wimpress and Allison Sulock, and directed by Jeff Sumner, it runs December 6 through December 13 at the Three Clubs Lounge in Los Angeles. For tickets call 800-838- 3006 Ext. 1 or visit www.Shakespearemusical.brownpapertickets.com.
“Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas” Tinker Bell, Wendy and Peter Pan embark on a wild quest to foil the pirates’ plot to kidnap Peter for Captain Hook’s Christmas present in this flying, singing, swashbuckling adventure, which features comedy, magic, dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance,” and contemporary music from Taylor Swift to the Bee Gees. A Panto is known for its interactive style and humor that appeals to everyone from ages 2 – 102! Written by Kris Lythgoe, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, it runs December 9 through January 3 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
“Jack and Jill” Jack and Jill are two very different people. Jack’s eyes light upon Jill one day, as she reads a book of poems by Sylvia Plath. He is immediately drawn to her and begins to pursue her. He is a professional “imagist”, she’s a medical student. Both have previous romantic baggage. There’s no special reason they should fall for each other, but fall they do, as Jack and Jill follows the couple through courtship, marriage, disillusionment, and perhaps, finally, hope. Can love endure when the road is so fraught with obstacles? Jack and Jill will have to realize how vital they are to each other. Then again, true love has always been worth the effort. Written by Jane Martin, and directed by Jack Heller, it runs December 11 through February 28 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. For tickets call 323-960-1055 or visit www.Plays411.com.
“That Lovin’ Feelin’” celebrating the history and hits of the Righteous Brothers. The play delves deeply into the struggles these two young white boys had breaking into R&B, as well as illuminates the challenging and amazing relationship they had for more than forty years. Over 20 hits and of course the song that inspired the title, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin”. Written by James A. Zimmerman, and directed by Jules Aaron, it runs December 11 through January 24 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-763-5990 or visit www.thegrouprep.com.
“Defying Gravity” The forecast looks good for smiles and laughter with the breezy, dry delivery that Fritz has honed since his early days as staff comedian at the Comedy Store. Los Angeles Favorite Weatherman Fritz Coleman puts on his holiday hat to share the funniest show ever! He makes baby boomers “LOL” Laugh out Loud with this charming, warm and wild tale of how to defy the odds and gravity on getting older. What happens when parts of your body begin having their own midlife crisis? Why do all your daily conversations include a medical update? Where are we going? Who knows, but if you are old, you made it! Don’t miss Fritz’ hilarious insight into our BOOMER generation! Written by Fritz Coleman, it runs December 13 through December 27 at the El Portal Monroe Forum Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.elportaltheatre.com.
“The Annual All-New One-Time-Only New Year’s Eve Musical Revue!” Two performances only of “THE ANNUAL ALL-NEW ONE-TIME-ONLY NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVUE!” – the annual New Year’s Eve Santa Monica Playhouse celebration, ushering in 2016 with an all-new evening of audience favorite songs, dances, comedy and other delights culled from five decades of beloved critically-acclaimed Santa Monica Playhouse productions. From finger-snapping 40′s jazz to foot- stompin’ country rock, Jewish patter songs to romantic ballads, complete with complimentary buffet supper, champagne, sparkling cider, hats, noisemakers, favors, special prizes and surprises all included in the price of admission, it is arguably the best New Year’s celebration in town. The late show at 9:30 pm gives audiences the chance to celebrate the changeover to the New Year in the theatre with the members of the Santa Monica Playhouse Actors’ Repertory Theatre. The early-bird 6:00 pm celebration offers everything that the later show does and is a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the entire family, letting the kids have a real New Year’s Eve treat, and get home at a reasonable hour, or for the adults to kick off an evening of after-theatre dining and celebrating. Music by Evelyn Rudie, Matthew Wrather and Emery Bernauer, with music by Evelyn Rudie, Matthew Wrather and Emery Bernauer, it runs December 31 through December 31 at the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-394-9779 Ext. 1 or visit www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.
“Front Door Open” an agoraphobic woman comes face to face with the dependent role of her surgeon husband, who’s coping with his waning powers and fears of aging. When the woman’s psychologist daughter and granddaughter pay a visit, the family is forced to confront the ripple effects of her disability—on their personalities, careers, long-held secrets, and their sex lives. Written by Tom Baum, and directed by Asaad Kelada, it runs through December 13 at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-673-0544 or visit www.greenwaycourttheatre.org.
“TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale” tells the story of Shari and Clara, two characters from very different backgrounds who discover a shared secret from their past. Shari was born into a war-torn country, alone and fending for herself; Clara, grew up in New York with seemingly the best of everything. They know very little about each other when some painful truths come to light. An exploration of identity, cultural heritage, and the impact of prolonged war. Written by Saviana Stanescu, and directed by Gabor Tompa, it runs through December 13 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-960-4443 or visit www.toystheplay.com.
“The Latina Christmas Special” three first generation Latinas get together to dish about everything from moms to cucarachas to Farrah Fawcett in a no holds barred evening holiday soirée as they relive some of their very personal Christmas stories (and fantasies) of holidays past shared with families and loved ones. The show is a series of holiday memories told through the eyes of three comedic actresses: Diana Yanez, a Cuban American from Miami, Sandra Valls, a Mexican American from Laredo, TX and Maria Russell, the daughter of an over-dedicated Mexican mother and a compliant Lithuanian father. Written by Diana Yanez, Sandra Valls, and Maria Russell, and directed by Geoffrey Rivas, it runs through December 20 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.thelatc.org.
“Outside Mullingar” Family farms, feuds and fences have separated neighbors Rosemary and Anthony since childhood. But as the heather blooms in the Irish countryside, unexpected charms are unearthed. Pulitzer, Tony and Academy Award winning playwright John Patrick Shanley’s wry, romantic comedy reminds us that love, early or late, always arrives on time. Written by John Patrick Shanley, and directed by Randall Arney, it runs through December 20 at the Geffen Playhouse – Gil Cates Theater in Westwood. For tickets call 310-208-5454 or visit www.geffenplayhouse.com.
“A Christmas Carol” Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to- come—and, as always, Hal Landon Jr. as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Written by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jerry Patch, and directed by John- David Keller, it runs through December 27 at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. For tickets call 714-708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.