Holiday theater productions capture the season
A range of emotions accompanies the holiday season.
There's giggly silliness at the joy of it all, plus the excitement of dazzling displays of color and light. We celebrate with old friends and welcome some new. There might be a shouty “discussion” with the family at some point, interspersed with lots of singing. A bit of sadness and regret can be part of the rollercoaster ride of sentiment. But we all wish for those warm feelings that come from happy endings.
This season's lineup of Christmas theater covers a lot of the same territory — and presents those holiday tales with plenty of laughter.
‘A Musical Christmas Carol'
The granddaddy of local Christmas shows is this Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera classic. This season, “A Musical Christmas Carol” celebrates its 25th anniversary. They are pulling out the big guns with new set elements and special effects. Patrick Page, CLO alum and Broadway veteran, takes on the lead role, but most of the cast is filled with many familiar faces. The show runs Dec. 9-23 at the Byham Theater, Downtown. Tickets are $32.75-$60.75, half price for children. Details: 412-456-6666 or pittsburghCLO.org‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical'
There's that one family down the block in every neighborhood. In this story, it's the Herdmans. The six siblings shoplift, smoke and generally make life miserable for others. But when they hear there are free snacks at church, they sign up for the Christmas pageant. Somehow their portrayal of Mary, Joseph and the Angel of the Lord twists the tale in other hilarious directions. The Point Park Conservatory Theatre Company production runs Dec. 9-18 at Pittsburgh Playhouse, Oakland. Tickets are $24, $10 for students and seniors. Details: 412-392-8000 or pittsburghplayhouse.com‘A Christmas Carol'
We all know the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge. In this comic adaptation, poor Scrooge experiences his long night of ghostly visitations year after year. But this time, by golly, he is ready for them with a surprise of his own! The show runs through Dec. 18 at Little Lake Theatre Company, Canonsburg. Tickets are $14-$20, $12 for children. Details: 724-745-6300 or littlelake.org‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze'
The astounding Cirque reputation continues with an impressive spectacle, which includes over 300 stunning costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries. Expect gravity-defying feats, brilliant acrobatic choreography set to original music and familiar seasonal tunes. Cirque will perform three shows Dec. 29-30 at the Benedum Center. Tickets are $40.25-$60.25. Details: 412-456-6666 or www.TrustArts.org‘A Tuna Christmas'
Theater returns to frivolity with Greensburg Civic Theatre's sequel “Greater Tuna.” A small town Texas radio station gives news updates on the local holiday festivities: “A Christmas Carol” is threatened by unpaid electric bills, there's a UFO sighting and we hear from a vegetarian coyote. Best yet, the mad-cap riot is performed by two actors playing 20 characters. The comedy runs Dec. 9-11. Tickets are $17, $15 in advance. Details: 724-836-8000 or gctheatre.org‘The Lion in Winter'
This dysfunctional family will have you appreciating even the most irritating of your relatives. King Henry II, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons all come together at Christmas-time in 1183. Let the joyous backstabbing begin! Pict Classical Theatre presents the acerbic wit that accompanies this royal family's power struggle for the throne. The play runs through Dec. 17 at Union Project in Highland Park. Tickets are $15-$50. Details: 412-561-6000 or picttheatre.org‘Gift of the Ice Queen'
A more magical and benevolent royal presence comes from Gemini Children's Theater's holiday musical. The Queen of the Ice Fairies is living happily on top of the snowy mountain — until her people are threatened by a villager. A lesson will be learned by all in this interactive show, which runs through Dec. 18 at Father Ryan Arts Center, McKees Rocks. Tickets are $10. Details: 412-243-6464 or geminitheater.org‘Santa Claus The Musical
Stage Right presents this show filled with favorite holiday tunes. The show runs Dec. 16-18 at the Lamp Theatre in Irwin. Tickets are $15, $12 for students. Details: 724-832-7464 or lamptheatre.org‘A Christmas Carol the Musical'
The Geyer Performing Arts center in Scottdale will present this musical adaptation of the classic Dickens' tale, “A Christmas Carol,” from Dec. 15-18. Tickets are $15 for each show. Details: geyerpac.com
Sally Quinn is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.