The holiday season is like pretty much anything else in this country these days: It drives half of the population crazy with joy and excitement, and drives the other half simply crazy. "How can I lose myself in a world of yuletide good feeling?" says one. "How can I lose myself in a world that shares my loathing of yuletide good feeling?" says another. Fortunately, the same answer to each of those questions is...live theatre! Here to facilitate both of those escapist fantasies is TheatreInLA's annual Holiday Show Round-Up, where the full list of all holiday-themed theatrical offerings playing in Greater Los Angeles and Orange County can be found. Below, I have highlighted a few of the shows coming up, organized by section based on one's Holiday Outlook. Therefore, if you fall into the first half of the population described above, please read Section 1 of this article. If you fall into the second half, please read Section 2. Of course, feel free to read the entire article, but don't hold us accountable if you end up at a play that doesn't share your values. You have been warned, and we have lawyers.
SECTION 1: If the holidays are your favorite time of year!
I'm too young to have any idea who the Osmonds are/were or what they do, but two of them are coming to L.A. this year to help you ring in the season. Donnie and Marie: Christmas In Los Angeles is billed as being "in the holiday tradition of the Osmond Family Christmas television specials" and will be at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood starting December 4.
The Geffen Playhouse is presenting Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies's world premiere of Coney Island Christmas. It is the story of Shirley Abramowitz, a young girl in Brooklyn who causes no small uproar in her Jewish family when they learn she is playing Jesus in her school Christmas pageant. As told in flashback by the aged Shirley to her great-granddaughter, it is "a holiday show for people of all ages and all faiths."
Pantomime, or Panto, is a type of theatre with roots in Medieval England that incorporates song and dance, slapstick, stock characters, and occasional audience participation into its Christmastime tales. This year, two local productions are being performed in this historical style. First up is The Snow Queen at Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, it follows Widow Twanky and her companions as they face (wait for it) ...the evil Snow Queen. A Snow White Christmas starts December 12 at the Pasadena Playhouse, presented by Lythgoe Family Productions, and is billed as being an updated, Christmas version of the timeless fairytale. Both are suitable for all ages.
SECTION 2: If the holidays are your least favorite time of year!
Those theatregoers who revel in their "humbugs" around this time of year are no doubt familiar with this first show. The Santaland Diaries is author and humorist David Sedaris's deathless battle cry against the season, recounting as it does his humiliating stint as a Christmas Elf named Crumpet in a Macy's Santaland exhibit. Produced by The Blank Theatre at Stella Adler Theatre.
If you love Dickens but simply can't drag yourself to another Christmas Carol, then A Christmas Twist might be just what you're looking for. At the Victory Center Theatre in Burbank, A Christmas Twist is "an irreverent mash-up of the beloved Charles Dickens tales A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist."
And lastly, but absolutely not leastly, we have Rudolph The Red-Nosed ReinDOORS. Presented by Troubadour Theatre Company at the Falcon Theatre, this is...well, the name pretty much says it. It's "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" as re-interpreted by "The Doors." "It's Strange Days in the North Pole when a reindeer named Rudolph is born..." You get the idea.
There are many more holiday shows than these to be found all over Southern California, for all audiences. Please bear in mind, though, that not every show is for all audiences. Be an informed consumer and investigate beforehand the material and appropriate age levels of the show you want to see.
For a complete list of the holiday shows in Chicago go to our Holiday Plays In LA page.