10 holiday theater picks, from ‘Rudolph’ to the ‘Revels’

David Coffee portrays Ebenezer Scrooge and Russell Garrett is Bob Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" at North Shore Music Theatre.
David Coffee portrays Ebenezer Scrooge and Russell Garrett is Bob Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" at North Shore Music Theatre.©Paul Lyden

THE WICKHAMS: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY A bright spot of the holidays last year was Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s production of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’’ a sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice’’ that was co-written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. Now comes their followup, “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley,’’ which unfolds downstairs at the same time as the upstairs events of “Miss Bennet.’’ In “The Wickhams,’’ servants discover that George Wickham (Ed Hoopman), the ne’er-do-well husband of Lydia (Katie Grindeland) and foe of Mr. Darcy (Lewis D. Wheeler), has stumbled into the kitchen in the middle of the night, presenting the ingredients for a scandal. Directed by Shana Gozansky. Nov. 26-Dec. 22. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, at Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET When Kris Kringle (William Gardiner) does an impressive job as a replacement Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, he is offered a job as the department store’s Santa. But after Kringle claims to be the real Santa, matters get very complicated, with the faith of a little girl named Susie (Addison McWayne) hanging in the balance. Based on the 1947 movie. Directed by Ilyse Robbins. Nov. 29-Dec. 22. Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.greaterbostonstage.org


A CHRISTMAS CAROL This is definitely Ebenezer Scrooge’s busy time of year, as theaters all over the land dust off stage adaptations of the classic Charles Dickens tale about the cranky miser who is transformed into a humanity-loving philanthropist after wee-hours visitations from three very persuasive ghosts. At North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, David Coffee will be playing Scrooge for the 26th year in NSMT’s original musical adaptation, directed by Kevin P. Hill. The production will also feature Leigh Barrett as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Peter S. Adams as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Michael Gaudio as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and Russell Garrett as Bob Cratchit. At Central Square Theater in Cambridge, Debra Wise will direct her own adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.’’ Featuring puppetry, music, and dance, this “Christmas Carol’’ stars Joshua Wolf Coleman as Scrooge, James Ricardo Milord as Marley, Alka Nayyar as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Vincent Ernest Siders as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Brooks Reeves as Bob Cratchit. Dec. 6-22 at North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org. Nov. 29-Dec. 29 at Central Square Theater, Cambridge. Coproduction by Underground Railway Theater and the Nora Theatre Company. 617-576-9278 ext. 1, www.centralsquaretheater.org

CHRISTMAS ON URANUS The holidays have inspired some of Ryan Landry’s best work over the years. For this season the inimitable auteur has concocted a musical tale in which Santa Claus is kidnapped by a bunch of aliens, prompting a rescue mission into space by the Robinson family. But their search for Saint Nick encounters major complications when a stowaway doctor causes their spaceship to crash. From then on, their challenge is to elude the clutches of the evil Emperor of Uranus as they journey from planet to planet. With a cast that includes Landry, Qya Marie, Scott Martino, Kiki Samko, Jessica Barstis, Tim Lawton, and Sarah Jones, among others. Directed by Samko. Dec. 5-22. South Boston Lithuanian Citizens’ Association, South Boston. 800-838-3006, xmasonuranus.brownpapertickets.com


RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL Not unlike Liam Neeson, Rudolph has a very particular set of skills. And even though the young reindeer’s crimson beezer brings him so much ridicule that he flees Christmastown, Rudolph (played by Sharon Pearlman) nobly agrees to put his luminous skills to use on behalf of Santa Claus (Jason Hammond) when Santa’s toy-delivery plans are stymied by a massive snowstorm. Dec. 6-8. Boch Center Shubert Theatre, Boston. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org


BLACK NATIVITY One of Boston’s most cherished and soul-stirring holiday traditions, “Black Nativity’’ is a “song-play” by the great Langston Hughes that celebrates the story of the Nativity with a blend of scripture, poetry, narration, dance, gospel music, and hymns. Now in its 49th year, this production is billed as the longest-running performance of “Black Nativity’’ in the world. Featuring Marilyn Andry, Betty Hillmon, Desiree Springer, and the Honorable Milton L. Wright. Directed by Voncille Ross. Dec. 6-22. Production by National Center of Afro-American Artists. At Robert J. Orchard Stage, Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8400, emersontheatres.org

THE SNOWFLAKE MAN Puppeteer Sarah Frechette enacts a tale of pioneering photographer Wilson “Snowflake’’ Bentley. Told via hand-crafted marionettes created by Frechette, “The Snowflake Man’’ is about a a young woman (played by Frechette) who pays a visit to Bentley at his Vermont home in the 1920s, decades after his ingenuity made him the first known person to photograph a single snow crystal — and to realize that no two snowflakes are alike. Dec. 12-15. Production by Sarah Frechette, Puppetkabob. Presented at Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline. 617-731-6400 ext. 101, www.puppetshowplace.org


THE CHRISTMAS REVELS: AN AMERICAN CELEBRATION OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE A 100-member ensemble will perform in this year’s edition, which is set in the heartland of America in the 1930s. Feeling lost, a man encounters a mysterious radio announcer who encourages him to take a road trip in search of what is missing from his life. That trip enables the man to explore — and the audience to hear — performances of cultural riches that include bluegrass, gospel songs, brass bands, and shape-note hymns. Also featured, of course, are indispensable Revels staples like a rendition of Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day,’’ the Sussex Mummers’ Carol, and the signature Revels piece, “Lord of the Dance.’’ Written and directed by Patrick Swanson. Music direction by Megan Henderson. Dec. 13-29. At Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. 617-496-2222, www.revels.org

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS Based on the 1954 film that starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, this musical is about a song-and-dance team (played by David Elder and Jeremy Benton) who put on a show in a Vermont inn and become enamored of a sister act (portrayed by Kerry Conte and Kelly Sheehan). Directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, with a cast that also includes Lorna Luft, “White Christmas’’ features some of Irving Berlin’s most famous songs, including the title tune, “Blue Skies,’’ “Happy Holiday,’’ and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.’’ Dec. 17-29. Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org

DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS WORLDS OF ENCHANTMENT Ice-skating performers depict popular animated characters from Disney and Pixar films as they embark on adventures, race each other home, and learn lessons about love and self-worth. On hand are Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff from “Frozen’’; Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang from “Toy Story’’; Ariel from “The Little Mermaid’’; and Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars.’’ Directed by Patty Vincent, with choreography by Sarah Kawahara and Cindy Stuart. Dec. 20-29. Production by Feld Entertainment. Agganis Arena at Boston University. www.disneyonice.com



Don Aucoin can be reached at donald.aucoin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAucoin.