‘Tis the season for holiday-themed shows to take center stage at many North Bay theatres. Family-friendly musicals continue to be the go-to choices of a lot of companies, but there are a few offering a break to those who’ve grown weary of the Christmas music thrust upon them since late September.
Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley made quite a splash with its rolling premiere at the Marin Theatre Company in 2016. Their “continuation” of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice makes its way north to the Condiotti Experimental Theatre at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center (spreckelsonline.com).
Musical children are featured in the 6th Street Playhouse (6thstreetplayhouse.com) production of Oliver! and the SRJC/SSU (theatrearts.santarosa.edu) collaboration of The Sound of Music.
Left Edge Theatre (leftedgetheatre.com) brings back Bohemian contributor David Templeton’s Polar Bears for a limited run. It’s an autobiographical one-man show about a father’s attempt to keep his child’s belief in Santa Claus alive way past the norm.
Sonoma Arts Live (sonomaartslive.org) promises not to shoot your eye out if you attend one of their performances of A Christmas Story: The Musical. For traditionalists, they will also be presenting a staged reading of The Gift of the Magi.
Main Stage West (mainstagewest.com) invites you to a very strange Christmas Eve poker game with The Seafarer. Don’t play if you can’t pay (but Thursdays are pay-what-you-can.)
For nostalgia fans, the live radio play format presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life reappears in the North Bay, this time courtesy of the Pegasus Theater Company (pegasustheater.com) in Guerneville.
A popular fairy tale gets a holiday mashup in Cinderella’s Christmas at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center (cloverdaleperformingarts.com). Will Santa’s sleigh become Cinderella’s coach or vice versa?
Over in Napa, Lucky Penny Productions (luckypennynapa.com) presents Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical. Meredith Willson, best known for The Music Man, took the film’s Oscar-winning screenplay and added music (including his “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”) but gave it a terrible title (Here’s Love). Hence the use now of the more recognizable name.
A Charlie Brown Christmas comes alive on-stage at Napa Valley College (performingartsnapavalley.org). They shouldn’t have to spend much on a tree.
Finally, the Transcendence Theatre Company (broadwayholidayshow.com) brings their annual Broadway Holiday Spectacular to both Napa and Sonoma Counties. The music and dance extravaganza will have four performances at Santa Rosa’s Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and three performances at Yountville’s Lincoln Theatre.
A lot of theatre companies took a financial hit during the recent fire and power shutoffs. Consider gifting them with your presence at one of their shows.
Photos by Ray Mabry
This review appeared in an edited version in the North Bay Bohemian.