By Steve ZALL and Sid FISH
Christmas is almost upon us once again – houses are decorated with lights, snow is falling from the clouds – oh wait a minute, this is California! Let’s just enjoy these holiday season productions instead:
“Into the Woods”: A modern twist on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Beloved storybook characters, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of beanstalk fame) and the Baker and his Wife take on startling complexity as they discover wishes come with a price. Witches, wolves, giants and mysterious strangers force the heroes to face the music and look past “Happily Ever After.” Written by Stephen Sondheim, with music by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Amanda Dehnert, it runs through Dec. 21 at the Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
For tickets, call (310) 746-4000 or visit www.thewallis.org.
“A Christmas Carol”: Set in a poor section of London, England during the Industrial Revolution (1800s), “A Christmas Carol” presents the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy miser who is given a second chance at becoming a loving, generous person. Original music beautifully accompanies this uplifting retelling, which truly captures the true spirit and magic of the holiday season. “Bah, Humbug!” Ebenezer sings, dooming himself to visits from three Christmas spirits. With the first spirit, he sees his sister Fanny as they sing “One Last Christmas.” Next, Scrooge is taken to the home of his employee, Beth Cratchit, where Tiny Tim sings “God Bless Us, Everyone.” Finally, Scrooge watches as the entire town celebrates with “He’s Dead and Buried!” Ebenezer’s revelation that “Life Was Meant to Live” brings a heart-warming conclusion to Dickens’ beloved tale. Written by Charles Dickens, it runs Dec. 4 through Dec. 21 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets, call (323) 960-7612 or visit
“KAWL Presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage”: The show takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece, “It’s a Wonderful Life” in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen… Written by Jim Martyka and directed by Erin Scott, it runs Dec. 4 through Dec. 21 at the Belfry Stage in North Hollywood. For tickets, call (818) 849-4039 or visit
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical”: Audiences will find their hearts growing a few sizes along with the Grinch’s when they experience the magic of the beloved tale on stage, which features the hit songs “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas” (written by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss), from the original animated television special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the lovable Whos. Written by Dr. Seuss, with music by Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason, and directed by Matt August, it runs Dec. 10 through Dec. 14 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. For tickets, call (714) 556-2787 or visit www.SCFTA.org.
Steve Zall and Sid Fish of
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