By Mary Boyle
One of the best ways to experience the magic of the holidays is to take in one of the many wonderful live theatre opportunities in the greater Ozaukee area, and there are many! Yearly standards, such as The Nutcracker Ballet and A Christmas Carol, are wonderful traditions, of course, but there are truly shows for all ages and tastes, from an outing for the whole family to an evening out with your spouse or a friend. Here's the line-up:
Sanders Family Christmas with Acacia Theatre Co. Bluegrass fans will love this sequel to Smoke on the Mountain, which follows the Sanders family as they return to Mount Pleasant, NC for Christmas in 1941. With seasonal music, plenty of fun, a bit of drama and most of the cast from Acacia’s recent production of Smoke, bring your whole family to join the Sanders in a celebration of faith. November 17-December 2 at Concordia's Todd Wehr Auditorium in Mequon.
A Nutcracker Ballet with Lakeshore Dance This is the perfect introduction to the ballet for young children, as well as being a holiday favorite, and it's close to home! Get into the holiday spirit as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Herr Drosselmeyer take you an a magical journey one winter's night. November 30th and December 1st at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center.
McMann & Tate's Holiday Shows at the CCC McMann and Tate Productions will bring its brand of adult comedy back to the Cedarburg Cultural Center on December 1st for its annual Holiday Show. A great way to laugh through the holidays with family, friends and coworkers, CCC’s resident comedy cast is still tickling funny bones after 19 years of holiday skit shows.
John McGivern's Holiday Tales at the CPAC John McGivern serves up a steady stream of stories from his Wisconsin childhood that recall an age of innocence bounded by snow days and Thanksgiving dinners, handcrafted Christmas toys, trees purchased at the Odd-Lot-Tree-Lot, the annual WE Energies Christmas Cookie Book, New Years Eves in the finished basement and life in the McGivern Household around the Holidays. Saturday, December 15 at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center.
The Milwaukee Ballet's Nutcracker I have taken my children to see this every year since they were four years old, and it is one of our most cherished holiday traditions. Keep your eye out for the goose that lays the golden egg and, especially, the sassy clowns, whose antics change with every performance. December 8-26 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
The Rep's A Christmas Carol In 2016, The Rep completely overhauled this Milwaukee Christmas tradition, including a new set design that will knock your socks off. The show admittedly had some bugs that first season, but those were largely resolved in 2017. This season, the production is under the direction of Leda Hoffman, so the evolution will continue. Regardless, nothing quite captures the heart of Christmas as this timeless tale by Charles Dickens. November 27-December 24 at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at The Rep This relatively new production has the feel of a holiday classic, and is a perfect performance to take in for date night this Christmas season. Based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bennet is the sequel Austen, herself, may have written: sweet, romantic, and delightfully funny from start to finish. November 13-December 16 at The Rep's Quadracci Theater in Milwaukee.
Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical Part of the Broadway at the Marcus Center's 2018/19 lineup, Grinch is the perfect holiday musical for the whole family, especially with the new digitally-animated film narrated by Pharrell Williams coming out this season. In fact, stick with the theme and be sure to watch the 1966 animated version narrated by Boris Karloff and the 2000 live-action film with Jim Carrey, for good measure. While you're at it, read the book; there's a reason it's been such a popular story to remake. November 20-25 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical at First Stage Based on the 1971 book by Barbara Robinson, Greatest Christmas Pageant is the tale of the six notorious Herdman children, who only show up to church for the first time because they heard they have free snacks and somehow wind up in the Sunday School Christmas Pageant. Perhaps more meaningful than ever, this story reminds us to love all of our neighbors, and is likely to be a family favorite this season. November 23-December 26 in the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
Merry Chris-Mess with In Tandem Theatre If you're looking for some grown-up holiday laughs, look no further than Merry Chris-Mess! Silly songs, hilarious comedy sketches, and a parody of It's A Wonderful Life, all at the comfortable and casual Tenth Street Theater; you can't go wrong. November 29-January 6.
Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols at Waukesha Civic Theatre This local holiday tradition returns to the WCT stage, following a family through the holiday season. Celebrate with a cast of all ages acting, singing, and dancing through classic seasonal songs and stories. The original production was written by WCT’s own John Cramer, but the show changes each year, adding new material to keep the show fresh and new. This WCT family tradition is a must-see part of the holiday season. November 30-December 16.
Black Nativity 2018 Milwaukee’s newest holiday favorite, Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a testament to the power of gospel music, telling the story of the Nativity through a combination of African American scripture, poetry, dance, and song. December 7-16 at Milwaukee's Vogel Hall.
Holidays on Ice with Door Shakespeare Though it is a bit of a drive, for those who would enjoy another reason to head to Door County for a holiday weekend, this is it. Door Shakespeare's Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stebbins, will bring to life - with simply a chair, podium, boom box and a bottle of water - holiday stories by American humorist David Sedaris on December 8 and 9, 2018, at Vail Hall, on the grounds of Björklunden, just south of Baileys Harbor. The readings are free-of-charge, but donations are welcome. Parental discretion is advised, as the holiday offerings do contain adult content.