Local stages alive with holiday classics

Local stages alive with holiday classics

Local stages alive with holiday classics
It’s pandemonium at Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre as they present “A Christmas Story” through Dec.17. Back row from left, David Ghilardi as the Old Man and Gretchen Lee Salter as Mother. Front row from left, Jeffrey Chen-Lichman as Randy and Jaxon Hunt as Ralphie. (Photo by Jorge Hernandez-Lopez)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Dec. 5, 2023) — Everyone’s favorite Christmas movie comes to Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre with the stage version of Philip Grecian’s “A Christmas Story,” running through Dec. 17.

Based on the ultra-popular 1983 film, the play takes place in 1940s Indiana, where 9-year-old Ralphie Parker schemes his way to the gift of his dreams – a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot Air Rifle.

But Christmas at the Parkers is about much more than a gun. It’s full of such obstacles as an infamous leg lamp, an outrageous set of pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, a triple-dare to lick a freezing flagpole, a constantly malfunctioning furnace and rampaging dogs that ruin Christmas dinner – forcing the Parkers to the local Chinese restaurant for their repast.

In other words, the Parkers’ Christmas will make the stresses you might be worried about for your holiday celebration pale in comparison.

Heather Cousins directs, with David Ghilardi as the Old Man and Gretchen Lee Salter as Mother. The youth performers are double cast, with Jaxon Hunt and Samuel Norder alternating as Ralphie and Jeffrey Chen-Lichman and Sofia Garcia alternating as Ralphie’s sibling Randy.

The theater is at 3535 School St., Lafayette. For tickets, call 925-283-1557 or go to www.townhalltheatre.com.

Scrooge is back

Center Repertory’s production of “A Christmas Carol” fills the Lesher Center with lots of music and special effects through Dec. 21. (Photo by Kevin Berne)

Keep that holiday feeling going with Center Repertory’s “A Christmas Carol,” running through Dec. 21 at the Lesher Center. This has become a holiday tradition for many families, with lots of special effects, wonderful music, dance and, of course, the well-known story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim.

Michael Ray Wisely returns as Scrooge, with Michael Patrick Wiles as Bob Cratchit and Anderson Moore as Tiny Tim.

The Lesher Center is at 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek For tickets, call 925-943-7469 or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Theater for the younger crowd

Pittsburg Theatre Company will present Disney’s popular “Frozen Jr” Dec. 8-9 at the California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg.

It features all the memorable tunes from the animated film, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. Latonya Watts directs and choreographs, with Sue Stuart as musical director.

The company also presents “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” Dec. 9-10 at the California Theatre, with additional performances Dec. 15-16 at the Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez.

Go to www.pittsburgcommunitytheatre.org for details on both shows.

For the younger theater lovers in your family, try Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble’s “Elf Jr.” Presented by Ghostlight’s youth program and featuring talented youngsters in grades 2-8, the musical takes place 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at Freedom High School, 1050 Neroly Road, Oakley.

The heartwarming story follows Buddy, a young orphan who accidentally ends up in Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. Raised as an elf, the human boy’s size and poor toy-making abilities force the North Pole inhabitants to admit Buddy isn’t really an elf. Lots of adventure ensues as Buddy travels to New York City to find his birth family.

For tickets, go to www.ghostlightte.org.

Slightly different fairytale

Onstage Theatre and Star Quest present a slightly different fairytale with “Happily Never After” at 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Campbell Theater.

Full of upbeat songs, the musical follows Cinderella and her fairytale friends as they try to find a happier place to live. The show features a cast of 5- to 18-year-olds.

Audience members under 12 will receive a gift from Santa, with youngsters dressed in any costume eligible to win a special prize.

Also at the Campbell, the Lowell Ensemble returns at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17 to present its annual holiday concert. Consisting of musicians from the SF Opera and Ballet orchestras, the group will play an assortment of classical, holiday, pop and folk favorites.

Go to www.campbelltheater.com for more information.

Send comments to sallyhogarty@gmail.com

Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to sallyhogarty@gmail.com