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THE HOLIDAYS ON STAGE: The art of theatre comes alive with the celebration of the season

Ahead of the season of singing carols and tuning into holiday classics on the TV, take a little time for live entertainment in the form of many theatrical productions, hosted by national touring ballet companies and local community theatre houses alike. Here are a few to enjoy in the coming weeks…

snow globing the holidays: David Sedaris’ ‘The Santaland Diaries’ will continue to bring the most sardonic holiday tradition to Wilmington. Photo courtesy Panache Theatrical Productions

With the fast-approaching days of candy canes and hot chocolate, stockings and tinsel, elves and reindeers, holiday classics in all forms begin to hit local stages for a bevy of entertainment. Ahead of the season of singing carols and tuning into holiday classics on the TV, take a little time for live entertainment in the form of many theatrical productions, hosted by national touring ballet companies and local community theatre houses alike. Here are a few to enjoy in the coming weeks…

snow globing the holidays: David Sedaris’ ‘The Santaland Diaries’ will continue to bring the most sardonic holiday tradition to Wilmington. Photo courtesy Panache Theatrical Productions

SNOW GLOBING HOLIDAYS: David Sedaris’ ‘The Santaland Diaries’ will continue to bring the most sardonic holiday tradition to Wilmington. Photo courtesy Panache Theatrical Productions

JACOB MARLEY’S
CHRISTMAS CAROL
Nov. 29-Dec. 16, Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m., 3 p.m.
Cape Fear Playhouse • 316 Castle St.
$18-25• www.bigdawgproductions.org
Bah, humbug! We all know the tale of Scrooge, but what about Marley’s side of the story? With a fun twist and new perspective on the beloved holiday classic, Marley has been condemned to a hellish eternity upon his death. Desperate to free himself from his own chains, he sets out on a mission to redeem Scrooge. In a hilarious and moving retelling of the traditional narrative, “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” is redemption story sure to warm everyone’s heart this Christmas.

THE NUTCRACKER
Multiple versions of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet will come to life this season through magic and motion.

The traditional story follows a young Clara who goes to a fairytale land to fight giant mice, meet a Sugar Plum Fairy, and dance with the Nutcracker Prince.

Thalian Hall will stage the show on November 30 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on December 1 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $20 to $50 and can be bought at www.thalianhall.org.

On December 1 and 2, the Wilson Center will host three performances of “A Carolina Nutcracker,” which transforms Tchaicovsky’s tale into Civil War NC 1865 at Wilmington’s Bellamy Mansion. Drosselmeyer, the Mouse King, and Sugar-Plum Fairy all appear as the City Ballet and professional guest artists from the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh perform to a live 50-piece orchestra and with a treble chorus.

Tickets are $15 to $35 and can be purchased at capefearstage.com.

The Great Russian Nutcracker Ballet will perform at Kenan Auditorium on November 21 at 7 p.m. Presented from the Moscow Ballet as part of the Dove of Peace Tour, it will travel through 100 cities throughout the holiday season with an early stop at UNCW’s campus.
Tickets are $28 to $175 and can be purchased at uncw.edu/arts.

SANTALAND DIARIES
Dec. 6-16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.
Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre
310 Chestnut St.
$22-$25 • www.thalianhall.org
Panache Theatrical Productions continues the snarkiest holiday tradition to hit the stage annually: David Sedaris’ famed essay, “The Santaland Diaries” comes to life with Crumpet the elf reliving his treacherous days working in Santaland at Macy’s during the holiday season. Kevin Wilson will play Crumpet and will be backed by his “Not Ready for Christmas” Carolers, Amy Carter, Jacy Coffman and Kaleb Bradley.

It’s the best holiday production for those who want to gripe about finding the perfect gift rather than create the perfect bow for a gift—or for those who have hard-scorned feelings of the most capitalistic holiday that brings screaming children to an old man’s lap. The hour-long show brings laughter and insight through Sedaris’ sardonic wit and rapid-fire banter.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dec. 7-16, Fri.-Sun.,
7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.
Thalian Hall’s Main Stage
310 Chestnut St.
$32 • www.thalianhall.org
Thalian Association will bring to life the tale of the famed Charles Dickens’ classic just in time for the merry ho-ho-ho and the fiddle hum-hum-hum.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man, whose penchant for holiday humdrums turns around once he is visited by three ghosts: The Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Future. His selfish ways diminish as he sees the meaning of life through different eyes.

The Thalian production is a musical, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Lynn Ahrens, Mike Ockren.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
Wilson Center
703 N. Third St.
$8-$10 • www.cfcc.edu/capefearstage/charlie-brown-christmas
The classic Charles Shulz cartoon comes to life at CFCC’s Wilson Center with live actors and jazz musicians playing the original Vince Guaraldi score.

The story follows Charlie Brown and his Peanuts gang as Charlie tries to cut through the capitalism of the gift-giving season to get to the true meaning of Christmas.

The show is fast-paced and only 28 minutes. Kids 13 and under are admitted free; otherwise admission is $8-$10. Nonperishable items to donate to Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard are welcome.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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