By Lynn Venhaus
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, let your hearts be light. The most wonderful time of the year is here, and that means family, food, fun, fellowship and fa la la la la.
Actors are working to entertain us this weekend, and some productions will continue after Christmas Day through the new year.
So, go see a play — and here’s to a cool yule! God Bless Us, Everyone!
The Fabulous Fox
Dec. 26 – Jan. 6
www.metrotix.com or www.fabulousfox.com
What It’s About: Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical ANASTASIA is on a journey to St. Louis at last!
From the Tony Award®-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.
ANASTASIA features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) with direction by Tony Award® winner Darko Tresnjak.
“Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas”
The Playhouse @ Westport
Nov. 8 – Jan. 6
635 Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights
MetroTix: www.metrotix.com or 314-534-1111
What It’s About: An all-new holiday show is set in 1959, on the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. During holiday preparations, the down-to-earth ladies are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Content to do things the way they have always been done, yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program.
As the children rehearse in the sanctuary, several of the ladies are in the kitchen finishing up the treat bags filled with apples, peanuts and ribbon candy while the others put the final touches on the nativity pieces. As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them.
Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day!
Directors: Lee Anne Mathews and Emily Clinger, with music direction by Joseph Dreyer
Cast: Rosemary Watts, Lee Anne Mathews,
Of Note: Performances are Sundays and Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 2 p.m., Saturdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additionally, tickets will be available at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza box office one hour prior to show time. Groups of 10 or more can call 314-616-4455 for special rates.
All five installments of the musical comedy “Church Basement Ladies” are inspired by the books of author/humorists Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the bestseller “Growing Up Lutheran.”
“A Christmas Story”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Nov. 28 – Dec. 23
Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center
What It’s About: “You’ll shoot your eye out”! An adaptation of the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story” is about Ralphie Parker’s quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Filled with small-town family vignettes and colorful characters,
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Charlie Matthis, as nine-year-old Ralphie, and Ted Deasy, as the grown-up Ralph who narrates the play.
Brad Fraizer is The Old Man, Laurel Casillo is Mother, Spencer Slavik is younger brother Randy, Jo Twiss is Miss Shields. Tanner Gilbertson, Gigi Koster, Ana McAlister, Rhadi Smith and Dan J. Wolfe are featured child performers.
Of Note: The show had an acclaimed run at The Rep in 2009.
Tesseract Theatre Company
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.
3224 Locust in mid-town
What It’s About: In this new play by Caitlin McCommis, Wilda has modeled her life after that of her grandmother: to be fearless and adventure down the same dirt roads. When she’s diagnosed with a debilitating illness, the vision of her future gets ripped away as she’s welcomed to a club that she never asked to be a part of. But when another club member goes through a crisis, Wilda is forced to look her worst nightmare in the eye.
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Next Generation Theatre Company
Dec. 21 – 23
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Florissant Civic Center Theatre
Parker and Waterford in Florissant
What It’s About: Based on the classic Frank Capra film, George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. After a huge loss, George is forced to face his own humanity and what things would have been like if he had never been born.
“The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”
Stray Dog Theatre
Dec 6 – 22
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Special performance Wednesday, Dec. 19
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Ave.
What It’s About: This outlandish comedy by Paul Rudnick is about the first men on earth, Adam and Steve, and their lesbian friends Jane and Mabel, who decide to start civilization, despite the challenges. The stage manager, who might be God, leads them through the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, a visit with a Pharaoh and the Messiah’s birth.
Director: Justin Been
Starring: Patrice Foster, Luke Steingruby, Jennelle Gilreath, Stephen Henley, Maria Bartolotta, Angela Bubash, Jeremy Goldmeier, Dawn Schmid.
Of Note: For mature audiences
The Marcelle Theatre
Dec. 7 – 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
What It’s About: In 1950s America, four people can’t reveal that they are actually two same-sex relationships masquerading as the typical “All-American” couple because gays have been added to the Red Scare. Will their cover be blown as two are U.S. State Department employees.
Director: Sarah Lynne Holt
Starring: Mark Kelley, Zak Farmer, Deborah Dennert, Colleen Backer, Sarah Gene Dowling, Tyson Cole, Erin Struckhoff.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical”
The Fabulous Fox
Feb. 22 – 23
Saturday at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 and 5 p.m.
What It’s About: The original TV classic comes to life! Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the animated television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage. Script adaptation by Robert Penola. Arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain
“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure”
Metro Theatre Company
Dec. 2 – Dec. 30
The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square in Grand Center
What It’s About: Part rock concert, part theater, all of your favorite characters as Metro Theater Company presents this new, wild and wondrous take on Lewis Carroll’s beloved, poetic tale of self-actualization. A cast of actors/musicians plays an eclectic mix of everything from soul and rock to punk to ska as Alice chases through Wonderland in search of her own inner musical voice. A fun, hip, and refreshing fusion of music, theatre and poetry, it is the search for one’s authentic self, asking how can you march to the beat of your own drummer when you’re still writing the song? It places Alice in a strange, new world, where she conquers her fears and uses her musical skills to defeat the Jabberwock.