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Final

Critic’s picks: Holiday theater

The National Center of Afro-American Artists’ production of “Black Nativity.”

JEFF MAYES

The National Center of Afro-American Artists’ production of “Black Nativity.”

Critic’s Picks: Theater

DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL He’s mean, he’s green, and he’s out to steal Christmas from the innocent denizens of Whoville — at least until his heart swells to the right size. Nov. 23-Dec. 9. Citi Wang
Theatre, Boston. 866-348-9738, www.citicenter.org

ARABIAN NIGHTS A remount of last year’s bewitching production, again starring Evelyn Howe as the quick-thinking storyteller and Vincent Ernest Siders as the hot-tempered king. Adapted by Dominic Cooke and directed by Daniel Gidron, with visually ravishing set and puppet design by David Fichter. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater. At Central Square Theater,
Cambridge. 866-811-4111, www.centralsquaretheater.org

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THE MAGIC SOUP AND OTHER STORIES Puppeteer Brad Shur portrays a young man who finds his suddenly enchanted kitchen teeming with characters from Yiddish folk tales he heard as a boy. More than a dozen puppet characters, including “The Ugly Truth’’ and the legendary trickster Hershel, come to life with lessons to impart. Nov. 23-Dec. 2. Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline. 617-731-6400, www.puppet
showplace.org

RUDOLPH THE RED NECKED REINDEER It just wouldn’t be the holidays without a naughty musical sendup of a beloved piece of pop culture by Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. In this new show, a parody of the TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’’ Rudolph and his pal Herbie do their darnedest to save Christmas from the Abominable Icicle Snow Monster Lady. Starring Jesse James Wood as the title character and directed by James P. Byrne. Nov. 29-
Dec. 23. Gold Dust Orphans.
At Machine, Boston. www.brownpapertickets.com

RECKLESS A dark and quirky comedy by Craig Lucas about the misadventures of a woman named Rachel, who leaves home in a hurry on Christmas Eve when she learns that a hit man, hired by her husband, is on her trail. Nov. 29-Dec. 22. Salem Theatre Company,
Salem. 978-790-8546,
www.salemtheatre.com

MUMMENSCHANZ It’s the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking Swiss troupe, which somehow manages to make ingenious and spellbinding theater out of ordinary objects: boxes, tubes, triangles, cloth, even toilet paper. Dec. 5-9.
Celebrity Series of Boston. Citi Shubert Theatre, Boston. 866-348-9738, www.celebrityseries
.org

LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE A multimedia, modern-day retelling of the classic “Beauty and the Beast’’ tale, in which Belle is a painter who falls in love with a disfigured client of her art-dealer father. Includes brief nudity. Dec. 5-9. Production by Lemieux Pilon 4D. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t get much shut-eye during the course of a ghost-ridden night, but he does get one of literature’s most famous wakeup calls. At North Shore Music Theatre, artistic director Arianna Knapp is at the helm for a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s tale, with David Coffee once more starring as Scrooge and Leigh Barrett playing the very different roles of Mrs. Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Past.
At Trinity Repertory Company, Timothy Crowe portrays Scrooge under the direction of Tyler Dobrowsky, with a set by the estimable Eugene Lee — the first time in two decades that Lee has designed a “Christmas Carol’’ at Trinity Rep.
Dec. 7-23 at North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org. Through Dec. 29 at Trinity Repertory Company, Providence. 401-351-4242, www.trinityrep.com
.

BLACK NATIVITY With its blend of music, dance, scripture, and the poetry of Langston Hughes to tell the Nativity story, this powerfully moving “gospel song play’’ has been a highlight of the holiday season in Boston for four decades. Dec. 14-22. National Center of Afro-American Artists. At Blackman Auditorium, Ell Hall, Northeastern University, Boston. 800-514-3849, www.blacknativity.org

FULLY COMMITTED Gabriel Kuttner stars in Becky Mode’s solo comedy about an aspiring actor who’d like to get home for the holidays but is snowed under at his job on the reservations desk at a tony Manhattan restaurant, struggling to cope with high-powered patrons demanding hard-to-get tables.

Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Dec. 19-30. New Repertory Theatre. At Black Box Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

DON AUCOIN

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