Arts Beat Holiday Season Preview, Part 1

Jared Bradshaw sings Bing Crosby. (AISLINN RAIN/SUBMITTED)

By Mark G. Auerbach

A Bing Crosby Christmas. Jared Bradshaw, from Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” showcases the music of the Andrews Sisters in this Goodspeed holiday show, Dec. 9-12. Unforgettable hits include “Jingle Bells,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Mele Kalikimaka” and “White Christmas.” For details: www.goodspeed.org.

Randy Harrison and Ted Lange in Christmas on the Rocks at TheaterWorks

Christmas on the Rocks, TheaterWorks’ twisted holiday tradition, returns to Hartford, with in-person performances Dec. 2-23. Created and directed by Rob Ruggiero, it’s Christmas Eve in a small-town bar, and the children of Christmas stories past are all grown up, totally dysfunctional, and utterly charming. Jennifer Cody makes her TheaterWorks debut in this production, joined by “Christmas on the Rocks” veterans Randy Harrison (“Queer as Folk”) and Ted Lange (“The Love Boat”). For details: www.twhartford.org.

Holiday Cirque Spectacular

Holiday Cirque Spectacular, Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday pops, combines traditional holiday pops favorites with the astonishing pyrotechnics of the Cirque de la Symphonie with two performances, Dec. 11, at The Bushnell. Maestra Carolyn Kuan conducts. For details: www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Home for the Holidays, The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday tradition, returns to West Springfield, with performances Dec. 9-22. Reminiscent of the TV variety shows during the golden age of television, when guests dropped by the studios of Perry Como or Andy Williams, this musical showcases some of the region’s finest actors and singers, amongst them Myka Plunkett, Brad Shepard and Lori Efford. For details: majestictheater.com.

Gregg Edelman

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical gets a festive production at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre, Dec. 2-23, courtesy of Berkshire Theatre Group. Based on the Paramount Pictures film, with script by David Ives and Paul Blake, “White Christmas” features a bevy of Irving Berlin tunes, among them “I Love a Piano,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies” and the title song. Gregg Edelman directs; Ross Patterson is music director; and Gerry McIntyre is choreographer. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted from the movie classic by Joe Landry, and directed by Rachel Alderman and Melia Bensussen, plays Hartford Stage this holiday season, Nov. 26 through Dec. 26. Based on the story “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern, and film by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Jo Swerling, Landry’s adaptation is set during the golden age of radio. Michael Preston, Hartford Stage’s resident “Scrooge” from “A Christmas Carol,” heads the cast. For details: www.hartfordstage.org.

Heidi Kettenring

Merry Christmas Darling: Heidi Kettenring Sings Karen Carpenter. Direct from “Wicked,” Kettenring channels Karen Carpenter’s greatest hits in a trip down memory lane, Dec. 16-19 at Goodspeed. Presented in association with Artists Lounge Live. For details: www.goodspeed.org.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” plays West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, Dec. 1-19. Sasha Bratt directs the production by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org.


Of note

The Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra have pledged $10,000 to support MOSSO, the Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, so they can continue to produce and perform concerts, since their last concert under the auspices of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra was in March 2020. MOSSO has raised $53,000 to fund upcoming chamber music performances in Longmeadow, and they plan to produce chamber music series in Longmeadow and Westfield next year. For details: springfieldsymphonymusicians.com.

Giving Tuesday is Tuesday, Nov. 30. A day to show your community spirit and support the nonprofit organizations near and dear to your heart. Make your contributions online at your favorite organizations’ websites.


Mark G. Auerbach studied theater at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He has worked for arts organizations nationwide, and reported on the arts for print and broadcast. Mark produces and hosts “ArtsBeat,” “Athenaeum Spotlight” and “On The Mark” for WCPC, Channel 15, and WSKB-FM 89.5. He’s a regular contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio and a member of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association.

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