Theater Critic Picks
It wouldn't be December in Dallas-Fort Worth without a new version of A Christmas Carol, a black-and-white Harry Hunsacker mystery, and a few holiday concerts. Even with the pandemic still raging, you can get all this and more — just mostly on your TV screen.
Here are 10 local shows to watch this month:
The Naughty List
Stage West and Moonrise Initiative, through December 22
This limited engagement, outdoor live performance on the Texas Wesleyan Campus Mall is a reimagined coming-of-age story featuring favorite holiday icons. Co-created by Garret Storms and Danielle Georgiou, with direction by Storms and choreography by Georgiou, the show follows a young Kris Kringle as he prepares the annual Nice list, while Krampus assembles the Naughty list. As they celebrate the arrival of the holiday season, a certain name mysteriously appears on a certain list which puts all of Christmas at stake. Marked seating sections are spaced well apart, and streaming is also available for $30 per household.
Jingle All The Way: A Holiday Family Concert
Casa Mañana, December 12-23
Listen to holiday hits sung by your favorite holiday characters, all while crafting an ornament to take home for the tree (materials included with your ticket). Tables — available for two, three, and four — must be purchased in their entirety.
Helen Holy’s Holiday Streaming Spectacular
Uptown Players, streaming on-demand through December 20
Get ready for this special holiday edition of Sister Helen Holy's 701 club, starring Paul J. Williams as his most popular "altar" ego, Sister Helen Holy of the First Southern Fried Self-Satisfied "Babatist" Church. A mix of holiday music, news, scripture interpretation, and special guest performances and interviews, this special holiday quarantine cabaret edition is sure to brighten this holiday season. Tickets are $20-$30 and can be purchased here or by calling 214-219-2718.
In the Bleak Midwinter: A Christmas Carol for Our Time
Dallas Theater Center, streaming through January 2, 2021
Artistic director Kevin Moriarty once again reimagines Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol — this time as a world-premiere film. A solitary man lies in a contemporary hospital bed, alone on Christmas Eve. As his life flashes before his eyes, he confronts the joys and sorrows of his past, present, and future. As the timelines overlap, he re-experiences the exhilaration of falling in love, the bond of friendship, the pain of losing his sister, and the fear of what lies ahead in the afterlife. When the spirit of his best friend appears before him, Scrooge must make a choice between a renewed life or permanent damnation. Tickets can be purchased here.
Ella's Swinging Christmas: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
WaterTower Theatre, streaming on-demand through January 3, 2021
Feleceia Wilson (formerly Feleceia Benton) introduces the digital WTT audience to a uniquely reimagined experience of jazz vocalist and scat virtuoso Ella Fitzgerald's incredible Swinging Christmas album. Backed by musicians Kwinton Gray, KJ Gray, and Jackie Whitmill, Wilson takes the audience through 18 holiday tracks — Fitzgerald's only complete album of Christmas tunes on Verve Records. Tickets can be purchased here.
A Broadway Christmas Cabaret
MainStage Irving-Las Colinas, live-streaming December 10
Irving's own Amy Stevenson and Craig Boleman are back (virtually) to perform classic holiday songs with a couple of hilarious and touching surprises along the way. The dynamic duo will set out to save the end of 2020 with songs from Elf, Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, and so many more. All-star DFW theater artists such as Ian Ferguson, Aubrey Ferguson, Brandon Wilhelm, Kristal Seid, Kim Swarner, Nicole Neely, Clayton Cunningham, and a few more surprise guests will be tuning in to perform from afar. Coinciding with the live concert is an online auction featuring various gift baskets filled with luxurious holiday necessities and must-have gifts. Tickets are $15 (single) and $25 (group/family) and can be purchased here.
#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence
Kitchen Dog Theater, live-streaming December 14
KDT, in collaboration with SMU/Division of Theatre, is participating in the nationwide reading of the seven winning plays of this national short play competition for middle and high school students. On the eight-year remembrance of the shootings at Sandy Hook, the winning titles will be virtually performed live via Zoom by current SMU Theater undergrads at Kitchen Dog, as well as at 49 other theaters and schools across the country and abroad. $10 tickets can be purchased here, and 50 percent of ticket sales will go directly to the North Texas Branch of Moms Demand Action.
Lightwire Theater's A Very Electric Christmas
AT&T Performing Arts Center, December 18
This eye-popping adventure follows a young bird named Max and his family as they begin their journey south for the winter. When Max gets blown off course and ends up at the North Pole, he meets dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms, and performing poinsettias that light up the stage.
'Twas the Night at Theatre Three
Theatre Three, streaming December 21-24
Conceived by Jeffrey Schmidt and Christie Vela and directed by Schmidt, this evening is full of festive illustrations, heartwarming musical performances by Cherish Robinson and Sammy Rat Rios, and a reading of a holiday classic by Emily Gray. Tickets are $15 for a single viewer and $25 for a group, and can be purchased here.
A Trifle Dead! The Movie
Pegasus Theatre, live-streaming beginning December 31
There will obviously not be a live production of a Living Black and White show this January — instead, Pegasus is producing its first online show, A Trifle Dead! by Kurt Kleinmann. Long-time patrons will remember this as the first show Kleinmann wrote in the popular long-running series, featuring the inept but endearing detective Harry Hunsacker and friends Nigel Grouse and Lt. Foster. Patrons have ranked it among the shows they most wanted to see again, and now this is the audience's chance. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased here.