Holiday on stage
Seasonal shows galore on area stages are sure to keep Christmas spirits bright
Sacramento, CA 95814
Halloween has passed with its gory mantle; Thanksgiving left us with round bellies and tryptophan slumps; Black Friday ended with only a few casualties. Now we switch our focus to the time of year that has people stringing lights across every inch of the front of their homes.
During the holidays, we gravitate toward the things that remind us of youth. Stories of ghosts haunting one particular jerk who can’t give his workers one more piece of coal or a guy who gets to meet a real angel on Christmas Eve—an angel named Clarence Oddbody.
In the greater Sacramento area, theatergoers have both classics and new works to choose from, and these are always perfect spirit lifters—as well as a good way to spend time with relatives you’d prefer not to talk to—and an excellent opportunity to introduce youngsters to the stage.
There’s a holiday-tinted production at each of Sacramento’s handful of professional theaters. B Street Theatre (2711 B Street, www.bstreettheatre.org) offers a furry retelling of O. Henry’s story of gift giving and karma with The Gift of the Magi (through December 30, $15-$22) in the Family Series. For grown-ups who want to be reminded of that white stuff people everywhere else in the country see falling from the sky (I think it’s called snow), you might check out the latest work from B Street’s own Buck Busfield, A Pail of Grace (through December 30, $23-$35), the story of a tycoon who claims to have seen God outside of a Starbucks on a cold winter night.
Sacramento Theatre Company (1419 H Street, www.sactheatre.org) hits the quarter-century mark with this year’s production of A Christmas Carol (through December 23, $15-$38), starring Matt K. Miller as the famous curmudgeon and with new orchestration by Gregg Coffin. Check it out on STC’s main stage; it won’t be back until 2017.
But wait! What about the story about the girl who eats way too much candy, then hallucinates an epic tale of dancing, magic and huge anthropomorphic mice armed with swords? The Nutcracker is showing up all over: two versions at Three Stages in Folsom Lake College (10 College Parkway in Folsom, www.threestages.net), as well as the annual production by the Sacramento Ballet at the Community Center Theater (1301 L Street, www.sacballet.org), which features more than 500 local children in dancing roles (through December 23, $18-$75). Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet (www.phcb.org) will be at Three Stages for four performances (December 21-23, $15-$26), and then the Moscow Classical Ballet will swing into Folsom for five performances (December 27-30, $29-$65).
Got kiddies? Why not take them to one of the brightly colored performances of Broadway Sacramento’s Peter Pan (December 26-30, $19-$86, www.calmt.com) at the Community Center Theater? Or if their fancy runs more toward a tale of confusing math allegories and men in drag, they might enjoy the closing weekend of City Theatre’s Alice in Wonderland: A British Panto (through December 16, $5-$15) performed in the troupe’s recently renovated Performing Arts Center at Sacramento City College (3835 Freeport Boulevard, www.citytheatre.net).
Or—for more historically accurate and educational fun—take the kids to see Holiday in the Hills (through December 23, $15-$22) at the Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom (717 Sutter Street in Folsom, www.sutterstreettheatre.com). It’s a holiday tale set in Folsom in the 19th century that’s perfect for all ages. Sutter Theatre’s Family Series is also producing Madeline’s Christmas (through December 30, $13-$17), a musical based on the classic children’s books about a French schoolgirl.
Go by yourself. Take a friend. Take the family. Make a Facebook event and get a bunch of people to say they’ll go and then act surprised when no one shows up. Do whatever—but go and see one or more of the great holiday shows that are playing in Sacramento for the remainder of the year.