Holdiay Plays In LA

What better way to make your cold, dreary holiday season warm and...hang on...stupid Yahoo! Weather....click...click...updating...ah, wonderful. What better way to make your warm, sunny holiday season even warmer and brighter than live theatre? Luckily, TheatreInLA is there for you again, presenting the 2011 edition of our annual Holiday Show Round-up. From large-scale productions of popular Christmas classics to quirky, off-center shows by small theatre companies, anything live and holiday-related can be found here. You will see a lot of shows on this list you recognize, and some you will not. Venture out and explore, find something new, but please be advised that some of these offerings are not appropriate for the whole family. Use the links provided in the list to learn more about each show, and when in doubt, it is always best to call the theatre's box office and ask.

Something relating to It's A Wonderful Life is always an integral part of every holiday season, and this year the Laguna Playhouse is presenting This Wonderful Life beginning November 25. Written by Steve Murray and starring James Leaming, it is a one-person adaptation of It's A Wonderful Life, with Mr. Leaming portraying over twenty different characters as he puts a new spin on a classic story. In addition, two other versions of It's A Wonderful Life, in the standard "live radio broadcast" stage format, are being produced by The Sierra Madre Playhouse and Theatre Unleashed.

Another popular solo show, though one with an entirely different worldview, is being presented by The Blank Theatre Company at the Stella Adler Theater, opening November 26. The Santaland Diaries is author David Sedaris's amusingly nasty and misanthropic account of his stint working as "Crumpet the Elf" in a Macy's Santa Claus exhibit. If traditional holiday sentiment makes you nauseous, this may be for you.

Other alternatives to the usual Christmas stories include Santa Claus Is Coming Out at Celebration Theatre, and The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. The former (a one-person show like This Wonderful Life and Santaland Diaries) is a socio-political satire about the scandal that ensues when Santa Claus is accused of promoting a "gay lifestyle" to children. The latter (in two separate productions from both The Production Company and Chance Theater) allows Santa's disillusioned reindeer to let fly (pun intended) regarding North Pole corruption and night-before-Christmas high-jinks.

Finally, it just wouldn't be the holidays without dancing sugar-plum fairies, and to sate your balletic sweet tooth, no less than three productions of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker are being offered. The Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside presents five performances only of the classic ballet beginning December 9. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center boasts "a full symphony orchestra, a flying sleigh, a real live horse, onstage pyrotechnics, and a cast of over 200" for four performances December 17 and 18. And if you feel like it's just not Tchaikovsky unless actual Russians are dancing, then the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker is making a tour stop at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts for two shows only on December 18.

The link to the full list is below, and is still being added to as more shows are announced, so check back often for the latest.

For a complete list of the holiday shows go to our Holiday Plays page.

Luke Heiden
Contributing Writer