The holiday season will soon be upon us and Sonoma County Theatre companies will be providing plenty of opportunities to escape the bumper-to-bumper traffic, full parking lots, and crowded stores that are all too common at this time of year. Some will be presenting traditional Christmas programs while others will be giving audiences some theatrical refuge from this often-overwhelming season.
Perhaps the most traditional will be 6th Street Playhouse’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a stage musical based on the popular 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. It’s the story of a couple of song-and-dance men who come to the rescue of their old Army commander who’s now the proprietor of a failing Vermont lodge. Looks like they’re gonna put on a show to save the lodge, and do it while singing a bunch of classic Irving Berlin songs like “Happy Holidays”, “Blue Skies” and, of course, the title tune. The show opens on the GK Hardt stage December 1st and runs through December 23rd.
In their smaller Studio Theatre, 6th Street will be presenting the somewhat less traditional Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, playwright Christopher Durang’s manic mash-up of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, It’s a Wonderful Life and some other stories. It’s a very funny show and runs from December 8th to December 23rd.
Out in Sonoma, the folks at Sonoma Arts Live will be presenting Inspecting Carol, a comedy about a flailing theatre company trying to get through a disastrous production of A Christmas Carol with the hopes of receiving a financial grant dangling over their heads like mistletoe. The Carl Jordan-directed show opens on November 29th and runs through December 10th.
For a wine country take on a couple of holiday classics, you might check out the Raven Players’ A Vintage Christmas. It’s a world premiere production written by Tony Sciullo that’s described as a cross between A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life set in wine country. It’s a Raven on the Road production that plays at the Trione Vineyards and Winery in Geyserville from December 1st through December 10th.
Travel a little further north and you’ll find The Nutcracker Musical being presented by the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center. It is not the ballet based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (though there should be about one hundred productions of that produced in the next two months.) It’s a musical play based on the original E. T. A. Hoffman story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and has a two-weekend run starting on December 1st.
For those seeking a respite from holiday-themed shows, you have a few choices. Santa Rosa’s Left Edge Theatre opens Bakersfield Mist on November 17th. It’s a comedy based on the true story of a Southern California trailer park resident who’s convinced the five-dollar painting she bought at a thrift store is a Jackson Pollack original worth millions. Sebastopol’s Main Stage West is presenting the two-person musical Daddy Long Legs. A turn of the century story most famously turned into a Fred Astaire/Leslie Caron film, it’s a May-December romance set to music. The Spreckels Theatre Company in Rohnert Park is reprising its production of Little Women: the Musical, albeit with a new director and an almost entirely new cast. It opens in Rohnert Park on November 24th. Monte Rio’s Curtain Call Theatre presents Rapture, Blister, Burn, a drama that presents a generational debate over the question “Can today’s woman really have it all?”
Finally, for those looking to ring-a-ding-ding in the New Year with the Chairman of the Board, Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater is presenting My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. It opens December 15th and runs through mid-January.
Sonoma County Theatres are serving up a nice variety of shows for the holiday season. Consider checking one out or make a present of live theatre to a friend or family member. Season tickets to one of your local theatres would make a great gift.