In addition to the usual perennial holiday fare, December shows repurpose classic tales for all ages. BY EMMA HALPERN
For both mainstream theatres and theatres for young audiences (TYA), the December holidays are a time to engage with classic stories, holiday-themed or otherwise. “Grown-up” theatre offerings this season include Shakespeare in Love and Lauren Gunderson’s Pride and Prejudice sequel Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and theatres for young audiences are offering a range of takes on well-known titles as well. From faithful revivals to fresh adaptations to the retelling of local histories, TYA companies are programming shows that resonate both with the adults who know the material well and the kids who’ll be encountering it for the first time.
“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis.”
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical
Jahnna Beecham and Malcom Hillgartner’s adaptation of Barbara Robinson children’s book has the trouble-making Herdman kids singing and dancing as they take over the town Christmas pageant. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in N.C. and the the Rose Theater in Omaha, Neb., are mounting productions that run through Dec. 23, each with a cast that includes both young theatre students and professional adult actors. Orlando Repertory Theatre is producing the show through Dec. 30.
The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party
Kids and their families are invited to attend a fancy tea party with Peter Rabbit and his friends, complete with cookies and hot chocolate for everyone, in this interactive trunk and puppet show from Chicago Children’s Theatre, running Dec. 2-17. Will Bishop directs, with puppet and scenic design by Grace Needlman.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Snoopy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang discover the true meaning of Christmas in Eric Schaeffer’s adaptation of the beloved television special. A TYA holiday favorite, the show has productions this season at Boston Children’s Theatre through Dec. 10, Main Street Theater in Houston through Dec. 21, Dallas Children’s Theater through Dec. 23, and the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Mo. and First Stage Milwaukee through Dec. 31.