ArtsBeat pick hits for December

by Mark G. Auerbach

The Novel

A Connecticut Christmas Carol, December 4-28, Goodspeed at Chester, CT

A Connecticut Christmas Carol, the family-friendly take on the Dickens classic,, returns to Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre for the holidays. Created by Goodspeed, the musical is infused with Connecticut flavor by LJ Fecho and Michael O’Flaherty, is set on the Goodspeed Opera House stage a long time ago. Robert Cuccioli, star of Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde stars. Hunter Foster directs. For details: www.goodspeed.org.

Christmas on The Rocks, December 1-23, TheaterWorks, Hartford, CT.

Hartford’s twisted holiday tradition returns, in an evening of playlets by John Cariani, Jenn Harris & Matthew Wilkas, Jeffrey Hatcher, Jacques Lamarre, Theresa Rebeck, and Edwin Sanchez Your favorite kids from Christmas stories, now all grown up and full of holiday woes, drop by a rundown local bar on Christmas Eve. Created and directed by Rob Ruggiero, the show stars Jenn Harris, Randy Harrison, and Ted Lange from The Love Boat. Fordd etails: www.twhartford.org.

Hip Hop Nutcracker, December 27, The Bushnell, Hartford, CT. 

Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a full-length production featuring a dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist. The traditional classic Tchaikovsky score beautifully complements the power moves of these 12 dancers, For details: www.biushnell.org.

Evan Tyrone Martin as Nat King Cole

An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas, December 20-22, Goodspeed East Haddam, CT

Evan Tyrone Martin, a gifted storyteller, relates Cole’s personal journey alongside a festive cocktail of signature songs and holiday favorites including “L-O-V-E,” “Mona Lisa,” “The Christmas Song,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth. For trivia fans, Cole’s family was a presence in WMass. Daughter Natalie went to Northfield Mount Hermon and UMass. For details: www.goodspeed.org.

The Santaland Diaries, December 4-21, Playhouse on Park, West Hartford, CT

David Sedaris’ zany one-man play recalls Sedaris’ experiences as an out-of-work writer working as Crumpet, an elf at Macy’s to make ends meet over the holidays. Sam Massaro   stars. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org.

The Traditional

A Christmas Carol, December 7-21 at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. also through December 28 at Hartford Stage

A Christmas Carol,  the Charles Dickens’   holiday classic show up in several area theatre. The Hartford Stage production, adapted by Michael Wilon and staged by Rachel Alderman, is bold and splash, with dazzling special effects. The Berkshire Theatre Group production is adapted by and starring Eric Hill. For details on Hartford stage: www.hartfordstage.org. For details on Berkshire Theatre Group: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Home for the Holidays

Home For The Holidays, December 11-22, Majestic Theater, West Springfield, MA

The Majestic’s Home For The Holidays is the theatre’s signature holiday show that audiences return to year after year. Join host Ray Guillemette, Jr., a band led by Mitch Chakour, and a cast of Majestic Theater stars, including Ben Ashley, Brad Shepard, and Lori Efford for tis tenth edition. takes you back in time to those great holiday specials with Perry Como and Andy Williams. For details:  https://majestictheater.com/



How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas , December 13-15. The Bushnell, Hartford, CT 

Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale  comes to life on The Bushnell  stage. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart- warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small”, decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch, bursting with holiday spirit. . For etails: www.bushnell.org.

The Nutcracker with Nutmeg Ballet, December 7-8 at The Warner in Torrington, CT. and December 14-15 The Bushnell in Hartford. or Albany Berkshire Ballet. December 7-8 at Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, and December 21 Springfield Symphony Hall. 

The Nutcracker, with its enchanting Tchaikovsky score and a charming story about a young girl, whose Nutcracker prince takes her to a magic candy land, I probably the world’s favorite holiday ballet. Two major troupes come to the area with their Nutcrackers. For details on Nutmeg Ballet. https://www.nutmegconservatory.org/nutcracker  For details on Albany Berkshire Ballet: .. https://www.albanyberkshireballet.org/

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Holiday Celebration, December 7, Symphony Hall

The annual Holiday Pops concert, featuring the Springfield Symphony Orchestra an Chorus, has been a holiday traditions since I was a kid. Conducted this year by Nick Palmer, the show features traditional holiday music, plus the exuberant Young@Heart Chorus. Also joining in the festivities are cantor Elise Barber, WWLP’s  Brian Lapis, and soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine. For details: www.springfieldsymphony.org.

Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat Radio for 89.5fm/WSKB, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio. 

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