Sugarplum roles

A holiday theater preview

Wicked stepsisters rock: Vincent Zamora, Jay Rogers and Michael R.J. Campbell go camping in Sacramento Theatre Company’s holiday production of <i>Cinderella</i>.

Wicked stepsisters rock: Vincent Zamora, Jay Rogers and Michael R.J. Campbell go camping in Sacramento Theatre Company’s holiday production of Cinderella.

The holidays are here, and area theaters are offering seasonal shows—some thematically linked to Christmas and others festive comedies intended to complement this time of year.

The Sacramento Theatre Company is staging Cinderella for the third year in a row. Strong advance sales—some matinees are sold out—indicate audiences are still eager to see Kate Hawley’s adaptation of the fairy tale, with songs by Sacramento’s Gregg Coffin. Originally created for the Shakespeare Santa Cruz festival, Cinderella interprets the story in the British pantomime style, with men playing women, animals that dance and lots of call-and-response involving the audience. Some new Equity actors are playing leads in this year’s version, and the cast also includes local kids. Peggy Shannon directs. Shows are at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with matinees at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $21 through $36. The play is at the Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H Street, through January 5. Call 446-6722 for more information.

River Stage has revived the Doris Baizley adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which proved popular last year. The show is done in the Italian tradition of commedia dell’arte, with jugglers, clowns, dancers and bell ringers, all under the direction of Frank Condon. Loren Taylor returns as Scrooge (actually, the crabby manager of a touring theater company who’s thrown into the role of Scrooge when another actor quits). The show is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (except on Thanksgiving, when there is no performance), 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The cost is between $7 and $12, and the show is at River Stage on the Cosumnes River College campus, 8401 Center Parkway, through December 15. Call 691-7364 for details.

The B Street Theatre is staging a new holiday original written by Sacramento’s Buck Busfield. Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a farce involving a novice burglar and a heartbroken woman. The cast includes B Street regulars Elisabeth Nunziato, Jason Kuykendall and Greg Alexander, with Busfield directing. It plays at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Additional 2 p.m. matinees are on Wednesdays, December 11 and 18 and January 5; and Tuesdays, December 24 and 31. There also will be 7 p.m. performances on Sundays, December 29 and January 5 (final performance). No performances are scheduled for Christmas or New Year’s Day. Tickets are $16.50 through $20.50, and the show is at the B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street. Call 443-5300 for information.

The Delta King Theatre commissioned an original script by Sacramento playwright Richard Broadhurst, whose play Benched was a strong seller for the Sacramento Theatre Company last December. This time, Broadhurst extended the classic Dickens tale in a play titled A Christmas Carol Continued (The New Humbug), which introduces Scrooge III and Scrooge V, both of whom “failed to learn the lesson of their famous predecessor.” Adrienne Sher directs an ensemble of veteran locals in the play, which opens Saturday, November 30. It has 7:30 p.m. performances Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances Sunday, plus a final 7:30 p.m. performance Monday, December 23. Tickets are $16 to $18 for the show only or $36 to $40 for dinner and the show. The theater is below deck on the Delta King riverboat, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento. Call 995-5464 for information.

Synergy Stage is presenting what’s billed as a “twisted” holiday show, Christmas on Mars. Described as an absurdist comedy, it features a quartet of oddball characters looking for love, appreciation and a good apartment in New York City. David Harris directs a cast including Peter Mohrmann (fresh from the popular Woman in Black) and Christine Nicholson. The play opens November 29 at California Stage, 1721 25th Street, and has performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $10 through $15, and the play runs through December 22. For details, call 451-5822.

In Nevada City, Foothill Theatre’s holiday production is A Christmas Story (adapted from Jean Sheperd’s short-story collection In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash). The story involves little Ralphie Parker, whose Christmas wish is an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200-shot, range-model air rifle with a compass and a thing that tells time built right into the stock! Set in Indiana circa 1938, this comedy is designed to be “sweet but not saccharine, nostalgic but not melancholy.” The cast features professional and community actors, with veteran director Diane Fetterly at the helm. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Additional special performances are at 7 p.m. Mondays, December 23 and 30 and at 2 p.m. Tuesdays, December 24 and 31 (the last of which is the final performance). The cost is between $17 and $21, with discounts for seniors and children. The show is at the Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City. Call (530) 265-8587 for information.

Don’t forget Sacramento Ballet’s evergreen production of The Nutcracker at the Community Center Theatre, 1301 L Street, with 15 performances between December 5 and 22. Tickets are $9 through $55. For information, call 264-5181. Also, the Broadway Series brings the touring show Blast to the Community Center Theatre for eight performances between December 27 and January 4. Blast won the 2001 Tony for best special theatrical event and features 54 brass, percussion and visual performers in a mix of energetic music and athletic movement. Tickets are $15 through $60. For information, call 557-1999 or 264-5181.