2010 December Bay Area Theatre Guide

And just like that, we are into the holiday season and this, of course, brings us some holiday and family-friendly shows! Several Bay Area theatres have already begun their runs of their holiday shows and several are opening the first weekend of December. In any event, you have plenty of great theatre to choose from.

I started my holiday season off right, with Every Christmas Story Ever Told at San Jose Stage Company. This is a hilarious off-beat comedy show that is an updated look at every Christmas story ever told… It’s hysterical and should not be missed, especially if you are tired of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told at San Jose Stage Company – Join Stage for this fast-moving, irreverent comedy that takes holiday cheer to the extreme! Every Christmas Story Ever Told is a fond and furious look at the holiday classics and traditions we all remember. From Frosty to Rudolph and the Grinch to It’s A Wonderful Life, no pop culture holiday icon is spared in this whirlwind of holiday merriment.

Make sure you get a ticket to see this! It’s fantastic!

Be sure to enter The Broadway Critic’s ticket giveaway and win two tickets! Back by popular demand!

4 out of 5 stars

Website | Get Tickets

Shrek, The Musical – Orpheum Theatre (San Francisco) – Shrek, The Musical, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to life on stage.

In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek.

I saw this on Broadway (on kid’s night) and I can 100% say that it’s totally kid-friendly. While, adults can enjoy this musical as well, I felt it should have been performed/showcased/premiered at some type of theme park instead. I hear they’ve updated a few scenes (most notably the horrible dragon scene) and I look forward to seeing the changes.

If you are thinking about going up to San Francisco with your family this holiday season, make sure you get tickets to Shrek. Your kids will thank me! You can see this show at the Orpheum Theatre from December 1st, 2010 to January 2nd, 2011.

Website | Get Tickets

The Broadway Critic’s Theatre Review: Shrek @ Orpheum Theatre (SHNSF), 1 out of 5 stars

The Composer is Dead at Berkeley Rep – The show must go on? But the actor is mute, the director is crying, the dancer is lazy—and the composer is dead! This holiday season, Berkeley Rep presents a deliciously silly world premiere from beloved Bay Area artists. Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead features text by bestselling author Lemony Snicket and a score by (living) composer Nathaniel Stookey.

Did you check out the tracks and videos that I previously posted. If not, go here.

I’m very interested to see how this translates to the stage. It runs till January 9th, 2011.

Website | Get Tickets

The Broadway Critic’s Theatre Review: The Composer is Dead @ Berkeley Rep, 1.5 out of 5 stars

Backwards in High Heels at San Jose Rep – I’ve been looking forward to this show for awhile now. I recently interviewed the musical director, Tim Robertson and I gave away five pairs of tickets as well!

This intimate musical dances its way through Ginger’s life with unforgettable music, show-stopping dance numbers and a captivating story that chronicles her journey from hometown to Hollywood and from one love affair to another. Funny, moving and a visual feast, Backwards In High Heels is a toe-tapping, swirling, gliding account of her ambitious public and private life.

It runs until December 19th, 2010.

Website | Get Tickets

The Broadway Critic’s Review – Backwards in High Heels – The Ginger Musical @ SJ Rep, 2.5 out of 5 stars

A Christmas Memory at Theatreworks – WORLD PREMIERE – Sure to delight the entire family, Truman Capote’s enchanting masterpiece springs to life in this big-hearted musical treat. A wistful memoir of cherished youth, it chronicles the 1930s friendship of a shy boy and his eccentric aunt—misfits who launch kites, haunt speakeasies, and mail fruitcakes to everyone from Jean Harlow to President Roosevelt!

The music is by Larry Grossman (Snoopy!), lyrics by Carol Hall (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and the book by Duane Poole (Make Someone Happy). It’s a world premiere and I’ve heard it’s full of Christmas cheer. I’ll be checking this one out on opening night, December 4th, 2010. It closes on December 26th, 2010.

Website | Get Tickets

Hairspray at San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre (Marquee Production): Hairspray delighted audiences by sweeping them away to 1960’s Baltimore, where the 50’s are out — and change is in the air. Loveable plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, has a passion for dancing, and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show.” Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair?

This will be my first production at SJCMT and I’m looking forward to seeing Hairspray because the last time I saw it, I had a standing-room ticket on Broadway (and it was a long 2 1/2 hours).

With only nine performances, you will want to make sure you schedule this one in!

Website | Get Tickets

On My Radar:

  • A Christmas Carol at ACT (San Francisco) – The Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition returns to A.C.T. with a sparkling, music-infused production of A Christmas Carol. Featuring mean ol’ Scrooge, adorable Tiny Tim, those deliciously spooky Christmas ghosts, and a multigenerational cast of dozens, A Christmas Carol is a celebration of goodwill that you’ll never forget. Website
  • Coraline at SF Playhouse – Poor bored Coraline. She’s left to rattle ’round her perpetually distracted, workaholic parents’ house all by her lonesome. This is the West Coast premiere of Coraline. This doesn’t close until January 15th, 2011. WebsiteGet Tickets
  • White Christmas at West Valley Light Opera: The dazzling score features well-known standards including “Blue Skies”, “Sisters”, “I Love A Piano” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas”. An uplifting musical, enjoyable for the entire family, it arrives in time to guarantee that Saratoga will have an unusual “White Christmas” this year.  Website
  • A Tuna Christmas at Bus Barn Stage Company: It’s Christmas Eve in tiny Tuna Texas, and a gallery of 22 zany citizens lives’ intersect as they attempt to celebrate with their tradition Yuletide activities. Website

Until next month…

Did I miss anything?

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