Preview: Marin Holiday Theatre

If you’re trying to avoid attending the umpteenth production of The Nutcracker in your lifetime, Marin theatre companies are providing several other entertainment options for this holiday season.

Last year, the Marin Theatre Company (marintheatre.org) was one of the participants in the rolling world premiere of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. The continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was a smashing success, so it’s no surprise that Gunderson and Melcon have returned to the material and created a companion piece entitled The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley. While Miss Bennet dealt with the folks celebrating Christmas ‘upstairs’ at the manor, The Wickhams is more of a ‘downstairs’ piece focusing on the estate’s staff as they deal with an unwelcome visitor and a potential holiday disaster. Megan Sandberg-Zakian directs the show which will no doubt be colorfully costumed and impressively designed.

The College of Marin Performing Arts Department (pa.marin.edu) will be presenting the musical comedy Nuncrackers in their Kentfield campus’s studio theater. Yes, it’s a Nunsense Christmas musical. Creator Dan Goggins’s Little Sisters of Hoboken return to stage a Christmas special in their new basement cable access TV studio to raise funds for the Mount Saint Helens School. The nuns will be singing songs like “The Twelve Days Prior to Christmas” and “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House”, dancing in their habits, and handing out fruit cake.  I think Sister Amnesia makes a return appearance, but I can’t remember.

Actors Basement is staging PacSun contributor David Templeton’s one-man holiday show Polar Bears at The Belrose (thebelrose.com) in San Rafael.  It’s the autobiographical tale of a father’s attempt to keep his children’s belief in Santa Claus alive way past the point most others do. Templeton has performed the piece in Sonoma County several times in the past few years. For this Marin production of his “heartwarming holiday tragedy”, Templeton moves into the director’s chair and turns over the performance duties to actor Chris Schloemp.

The Ross Valley Players (rossvalleyplayers.com) are giving audiences the chance to completely forget about the holiday season with their production of The Odd Couple. The Neil Simon classic comedy about a mismatched pair of middle-aged roommates that’s been a proven laugh-getter since it’s 1965 Broadway premiere. 

For those willing to travel and in the mood for a big holiday musical extravaganza, the Transcendence Theatre Company (transcendencetheatre.org) will be presenting their Broadway Holiday Spectacular with three performances up at Santa Rosa’s Luther Burbank Center and two performances out at the Lincoln Theatre in Yountville. 

There’s nary a Sugar Plum Fairy in sight on these North Bay stages.

Check the NBSS Calendar page for links to specific show information.

Photos by Robin Jackson

This preview originally appeared in an edited version in the Pacific Sun.

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