The interminable shopping, planning and socializing that hit your schedule with gale force after Thanksgiving can overwhelm the hardiest of constitutions.
Entertainment has long been there to take the edge off, which is why it's more prominent than ever during the holidays. Nothing says "treat yourself and the family" quite like a holiday stage production, and Utah has them all, from Salt Lake City to Cedar City, from adaptations to original productions and plenty in between.
Nov. 26-Dec. 22: "A Christmas Carol at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre • The three ghosts of Christmas and Ebenezer Scrooge come to Centerville. Monday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. matinees Dec. 15 and 22. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets $20 for adults, $19 for students and seniors; $18 for adults, $17 for students and seniors Tuesday and Wednesday. Call 801-298-1302 or visit www.centerpointtheatre.org for more information.
Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1: "Merry Christmas, George Bailey" • A stage adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life" by The Babcock Performing Readers Professional Company, featuring Bob Bedore, Julie Blatter, Richard Scharine, Neal Barth and Tom Drury. All performances 7 p.m. at Babcock Theatre below the Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City. Tickets $10 for adults, $7 for students, plus handling charge. Call 801-581-7100 or visit www.kingtix.com for more information.
Nov. 30-Dec. 22: "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" at Heritage Theatre • Dickens' famous tale as Broadway musical, with music by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, lyrics and book by Lynn Ahrens with book assistance by Mike Ockrent; with Dee Pace as Ebenezer Scrooge and Karlie Clark, Craig Whitaker and Jacob Thompson as the three ghosts of Christmas. Monday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 8 and 15 at Heritage Theatre, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry. Tickets $9 adults, $8 children and seniors. Call 435-723-8392 for more information.
Nov. 30-Dec. 22: "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Center Theater Orem • Dickens' beloved story about the reformation and redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge at Hale Center Theater, 225 W. 400 North, Orem. Monday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 3 and 8 p.m.; Monday-Friday, Dec. 10-21, 5 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 15 and 22, 11:30 p.m.; Dec. 20 and 21, 2 p.m. Tickets $12 and up for children, $20 and below for adults. Call 801-226-8600 or visit www.haletheater.org for more information.
Nov. 30-Dec. 22: "The First Christmas" • Scera Center for the Arts and Liken the Scriptures team up for their second Bible-based stage drama after "Jonah and the Great Fish" in this world stage musical premiere with Julia Sanchez as Mary, Mark Gordon as Joseph and Beckham Robertson as Baby Jesus. Scera Center, 745 S. State, Orem; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12 adults $10 for children. Call 801-225-ARTS or visit www.scera.org for more information.
Dec. 6-8, 10, 13-15 and 17: "A Christmas Carol on the Air" • Peter Sham and Brad Carroll, the team who brought you "Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical," transform Dickens' tale into a broadcast radio drama with Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams as Scrooge, at Randall L. Jones Theatre, Southern Utah University in Cedar City. All shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $5-$10. Call 435-586-7872 or visit www.suu.edu/arts.
Dec. 7: "Bring Your Gifts" • A Christmas devotional through dance and music, benefiting the YWCA Salt Lake City women's shelter. 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Murray City Theater, 4961 S. State St., Murray. $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger in advance at 24tix.com. $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and younger at the door. Visit www.bringyourgifts.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dec. 8-22: "A Christmas Carol" at Hale Centre Theatre West Valley City • The Hale Centre tradition continues, with Richard Wilkins in his 29th performance as Scrooge, at 3333 Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City. Monday-Friday, 5 and 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m., 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Tickets $18-$30. Call 801-984-9000 or visit www.halecentretheatre.org for more information.
Dec. 18: "Radio Hour Episode 7: Sherlock Holmes at the Blue Carbuncle" • A world premiere by Matthew Ivan Bennett adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Performances at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Tickets $20 or $10 for students. Call 801-355-2787 or visit www.planbtheatre.org or arttix.org for more information.
Dec. 28 and 29: "Pupcracker: A Canine Version of 'The Nutcracker' " • Sister Dottie S. Dixon hosts the dogs of Intermountain Therapy Animals as they take on their own production of this holiday favorite, at Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre, 138 W. Broadway. Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets $16.50 for adults, $8.50 for children at www.arttix.org or 801-355-ARTS. Call 801-272-3439 for more information.
Ebenezer hits some high notes
There's a first time for everything, including Pioneer Theater Company's first-ever production of "A Christmas Carol," musical or no.
Karen Azenberg, the company's artistic director, has no clue why Utah's regional theater company of note waited so long to break the ice on a holiday favorite most everyone knows and loves. "Perhaps there was so much competition from other theater companies in the Salt Lake Valley," she muses.
"A Christmas Carol: The Musical"features music by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, lyrics and book by Lynn Ahrens with book assistance by Mike Ockrent, not to mention a cast of more than 30. That's almost the size of "Les Misérables," but without the passionate history lesson. This time, Christmas takes center stage with all the song, dance and spirit of life rediscovered that Dickens' story can fit onto one single stage. (See the story on D1.)
What • Pioneer Theatre Company's "A Christmas Carol: The Musical"
When • Nov. 30-Dec. 15. Monday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.
Where • Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $38-$59. Call 801-581-6961 or visit www.pioneertheatre.org for more information.