Holiday theater picks
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Adapted and directed by Debra Wise, this iteration of the Charles Dickens story features puppetry, dancing, and live music, and takes place in what is described as “a city suspended between Victorian London and the vibrantly diverse London of today.’’ Featuring Ken Cheeseman as Scrooge and Johnny Lee Davenport as Marley. Nov. 24-Dec. 31. Co-production by Underground Railway Theater and Nora Theatre Company. Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278,
ext. 1, www.centralsquaretheater.org
A CHRISTMAS CAROL The premise is that Dickens, portrayed by Joel Colodner, is both reading and performing his classic tale. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, this production takes its cue from the live storytelling performances by Dickens, who visited Lowell factories in the 1840s. Featuring Christmas carols performed live by onstage musicians. Nov. 29-Dec. 24. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JESUS? From the fertile mind of Ryan Landry comes a musical murder mystery in which the baby Jesus has been stolen from a downtown crèche, the Preacher’s wife has been murdered, and then, years later, movie star Blanche Hudson opts to spend the holidays in her Vermont hometown . . . One big problem: So does her deranged sister, Baby Jane Hudson. No one under age 18 permitted. Nov. 30-Dec. 23. Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. Machine nightclub, Boston.
BLACK NATIVITY A retelling of the Christmas story based on the Gospel of St. Luke, combined with the poetry of Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity’’ is a spirit-lifting celebration of the Nativity in music, dance, verse, and scripture. Directed by Voncille Ross. Dec. 1-17. Production by National Center of Afro-American Artists. Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage, Boston. 617-824-8400, emersonparamount.org
CRYSTAL: A BREAKTHROUGH ICE EXPERIENCE The New England premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s first on-ice production. Synchronized and freestyle skating, acrobatics, and visual projections are combined with a score that consists of both original and popular music. Directed by Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevilla, with choreography by Genevieve Dorion-Coupal and skating performances designed by Kurt Browning, Benjamin Agosto, and Marilyn Langlois. Dec. 7-10. Cirque du Soleil.
DCU Center, Worcester. 800-745-3000, www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
FOX FABLES Timed to coincide with Hanukkah week, this puppet-show adaptation tells the tale of a fox who is separated from his tail and decides to see what it’s like to be other animals. But after an encounter with a lion, the fox comes to understand the value of being himself. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Dec. 14-17. Production by WonderSpark Puppets at Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline. 617-731-6400, www.puppetshowplace.org
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS A stage adaptation of the beloved TV special in which Charlie Brown and the rest of the “Peanuts’’ gang (Snoopy, Lucy, et. al.) put on a Christmas pageant. With some help from pint-sized theologian and philosopher Linus, Charlie Brown learns the true meaning of the holiday. Directed by Burgess Clark. Production by
Boston Children’s Theatre.
Larcom Theatre, Beverly, Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. Regent Theatre, Arlington, Dec. 7-24. Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, Dec. 20-22. 617-424-6634, www.bostonchildrens
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Since it debuted in 1989, more than a million people have seen this musical adaptation by former North Shore Music Theatre artistic director Jon Kimbell of the classic Charles Dickens tale. Once again David Coffee plays Ebenezer Scrooge, with Russell Garrett as Bob Cratchit, the very busy Leigh Barrett as both Mrs. Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Past, Peter S. Adams as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ryan Mardesich as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill. Dec. 8-23. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org
’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS A play by Ken Ludwig (“Lend Me a Tenor’’) about the madcap adventures of a mouse, an elf, and a little girl who is determined to find out why Santa missed her house the previous year. Featuring Paul Melendy, William Gardiner, and Elizabeth Milanovich. Dec. 9-23. Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.greaterbostonstage.org
THE CHRISTMAS REVELS: A VENETIAN CELEBRATION OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE The Renaissance is the setting for the 47th annual Revels. The Doge of Venice, portrayed by the inimitable Richard Snee, decides to take a break from his burdensome duties and head out to meet some of his subjects — an escapade that brings him in contact with actors, musicians, convicts, and English folk dancers. Directed by Patrick Swanson. Music director is Megan Henderson. Dec. 8-27. Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge. 617-496-2222, www.revels.org