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Holiday Stages: December Theater Guide

San Diego's theater scene fully embraces the holiday spirit by offering a little something for everyone this season, even the family grinch. Here's a guide from Culture Lust, wrapped up with everything you need to know about what's on stage where, and tied with a big joyous bow.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! –– The Old Globe

Seuss lovers can watch Broadway actor Jeff Skowron steal Christmas and the show in his role as the Grinch in The Old Globe's 13th annual production of Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." This version will be slightly different than the original as it uses the restaged choreography of James Vasquez. And if people with pointy noses scare the younger viewers, don't fret. There will be 11 a.m. matinee on Saturdays and Sundays for the little ones who may not be able to stay quiet throughout the performance.

Nov. 20-Dec. 26

It's a Wonderful Life –– Cygnet Theatre Company

Instead of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV this year, fans of the Christmas classic can see the stage production put on by Cygnet Theater. Directed by Sean Murray and adapted by Joe Landry, the play takes the form a 1940's live radio broadcast. Five actors will produce the sound effects and perform all of the characters roles. The showing on December 30th, however, will combine the film and play with an appearance by Karolyn Grimes, the actress who played Zuzu in Capra's film. She will sign autographs and talk with the audience after the show.

Nov. 2-Dec. 31

Festival of Christmas –– Lamb's Players Theatre

For the last 33 years, The Lamb's Players have been churning out a new story about Christmas time. This year the setting is 1950's New York, and a young quartet is trying to make it in the new and popular world of television when a blizzard sweeps through New York. The play is written and directed by Kerry Meads. Jon Lorenz, will be directing the authentic and festive music, and Collen Kollar Smith will do choreography.

Nov 30-Dec. 30

Santa Clause is Coming Out –– Diversionary Theatre

Find out the truth about Santa Clause in Diversionary Theater's holiday performance "Santa Clause is Coming Out." This mock-u-mentary tells the story of what happens when Santa can no longer lie about his love for Mrs. Clause and is banned from delivering presents. Santa's struggle portrays the theater's mission of producing plays with LGBT themes and complex and diverse characters. The show is written and performed by Jeffery Solomon.

Dec. 4-Dec. 21.

The Santaland Diaries –– New Village Arts Theatre

Local public radio fans can once again get their David Sedaris holiday fix at New Village Arts with "The Santaland Diaries." This show, based on the Sedaris story of an out-of-work actor who takes a job as a holiday elf at Macy's, is back for its 2nd year with more laughs from the world of holiday retail. "The Santaland Diaries" has become a holiday favorite at the NVA Theater.

Dec. 2nd-Dec. 24th

A Christmas Carol: Not-so-Tiny Tim's Great Big Musical –– Vox Nova Theatre Company

Everyone enjoys a classic, but sometimes a little twist on an old story is fun too. Vox Nova Theatre Company's founder Ruff Yeager did just that in writing the book, music and lyrics for this musical. The story follows the actor who played Tiny Tim through his childhood only to find out that he grows up to be miserly himself. He owns a termite company, in modern day San Diego, and overworks his employee, Cratchit, whose new last name is Castillo. "Not-so-Tiny Tim's Great Big Musical" will be playing at 6th@Penn Theatre.

Nov. 24-Dec. 23

Series of Holiday Shows –– North Coast Reparatory Theatre

The North Coast Rep will be staging a series of holiday themed shows this year. "How Do You Spell Chanukah" will bring a little holiday diversity along with music and storytelling. "Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem!" keeps those frazzled from holiday stress sane with a mixture of music and comedy. "An Unscripted Carol" just proves Scrooge has a witty side too, and "Sister's Catechism" attempts to solve the mystery of what happened to the Magi's gold.

• How Do You Spell Chanukah –– Dec. 3-5

• Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem –– Dec. 16-19

• An Unscripted Carol –– Dec. 20-21

• Sister's Catechism –– Dec. 22-24

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is almost as synonymous with Christmas time as pine trees and candy canes. This year several groups around San Diego County will dance to Tchaikovsky, recreating the ballet that premiered in St. Petersburg over 100 years ago. Some performances will even have special activities like guest appearances and Sugar Plum Fairy luncheons.

City Ballet of San Diego - Spreckels Theatre

Dec. 10-19

California Ballet - San Diego Civic Theatre & Poway Center for the Performing Arts

Dec. 11-12 (Poway)

Dec. 18, 19, 21 (San Diego)

San Diego Ballet - Birch North Park Theatre & Mandeville Auditorium La Jolla

Dec. 4-5 (North Park)

Dec. 16-17 (La Jolla)


Everyone needs a break from Jingle Bell Rock and other contemporary Christmas ditties. This Christmas, the Hallelujah chorus will resound at this year's performances of George Frideric Handel's Oratorio "Messiah." The libretto (text used in an extended musical work) relays the story of the coming of Christ or Messiah. A few different choral groups will be putting on productions this year.

Orchestra Nova and The Bach Collegium San Diego Chorus

Dec. 10 (St James By-the-Sea Church, La Jolla)

Dec. 11 (Solana Beach Presbyterian Church)

Dec. 12 (First United Methodist Church Mission Valley)

Point Loma Nazarene University Choral Union and Orchestra

Dec. 5 (Brown Chapel)

Community Actors Theatre

Dec. 3 -19

Theater Luster's, let us know what you think of these holiday productions or any others you happen to stumble upon. And if you have a favorite holiday theater memories we'd love to hear those as well!

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