Theater in L.A. this week: ‘A Christmas Carol’ and so many more holiday productions


Here is a list of theater openings, Critics’ Choices, etc., for Dec. 22-29. Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).


Ballad Staged reading of Roxie Perkins’ musical drama about a mother and daughter coping with intergenerational trauma. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 6:30 p.m. $10-$20. (626) 356-3121.

Carols of the Belles Holiday show with jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison, et al. Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 5 p.m. $20-$30. (626) 296-9843.

David Broza & Friends: From Haifa to Havana The Israeli singer-songwriter and guitarist, his band and special guests perform a Hanukkah celebration. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St. Santa Monica. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $47 and up. (310) 434-3200.


Irish Christmas in America: The Show Traditional music and step dancing. Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Sun., 7 p.m. $80 and up. (818) 955-8101.

The Sounds of the Holidays Ebony Repertory Theatre presents Terry Steele & Friends in a musical salute to Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and more. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Sun., 6 p.m. $40. (323) 964-9766.

Drumline Live Holiday Spectacular Stage spectacular inspired by the 2002 Nick Cannon movie about show-style marching bands. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m. $60-$85. (562) 916-8500.

Jackie Beat: Illuminati or Nice? The drag artist spoofs the holidays. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fri.-Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m. $27.50. (800) 838-3006.

PJ Masks Saves the Day Live! Family-friendly adventure tale based on the children’s animated series. Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Fri., 2 and 6 p.m. $35.50-$65.50. (800) 745-3000.

The Dina Martina Christmas Show The drag artist celebrates the season with song, dance and comedy. Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. 8th St., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $30-$75.


Holiday Magic With comic and magician Chipper Lowell, quick change and magic act Stoil & Ekaterina, and illusionists Kadan Bart Rockett & Brooklyn Nicole Rockett. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m. $25. (866) 811-4111.

Straight No Chaser The a capella group performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $60-$90. (562) 916-8500.

All I Want for Christmas Is Attention Drag artists BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” celebrate the season. The Montalbán Theatre, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood. Next Sun., 8 p.m. $35 and up. (323) 461-6999.

Neil Hamburger Live Comedy-variety show with Tim Heidecker, Open Mike Eagle, et al. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., L.A. Next Sun., 8:30 p.m. $8.

A Magical Cirque Christmas Acrobats, aerialists, etc. perform in this family-friendly show. Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $46-$126. (800) 745-3000.

Critics’ Choices

Bob’s Holiday Office Party This long-running yuletide parody of small-town eccentricity thrives on the qualities that have made it a staple of the L.A. theater scene for over two decades — it’s irreverent, crude and devastatingly funny. (P.B.) Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25, $35. (800) 838-3006.


A Christmas Carol Amid many worthy area stagings of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, this deftly performed, meta-theatrical edition stands out for fidelity to text, witty stagecraft and heartfelt embrace of message. There are fleeting oddities, but only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a Yuletide treat. God bless us everyone. (David C. Nichols). A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Mon., 7:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 23. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100.

Disposable Necessities Neil McGowan’s play is set in the not-so-distant future, when society’s privileged have become essentially immortal, able to download their identities into new “modules” — i.e., bodies of the recently deceased — while have-nots must content themselves with providing premium carcasses for the affluent. Director Guillermo Cienfuegos and a lively cast nail down the laughs – or, conversely, the pathos — in this richly imaginative world premiere, which challenges our expectations at every twist of its deliciously disturbing plot. Just don’t lay bets on where the story ends up. You’ll lose. (F.K.F.) Rogue Machine Theatre, Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Feb. 3. $25, $40. (855) 585-5185.

Elijah Set in a Texas TGI Friday’s during raging hurricane Elijah, Judith Leora’s play commences on a deceptively polemical note, as the pro- and anti-death penalty activists who had gathered at a nearby prison for the execution of a notorious serial slayer are forced to shelter in place for the duration. In this case, patience is a virtue. Leora’s initial didacticism deepens into a beautifully realized, classically structured drama that subtly illustrates what can occur when individuals are forced out of their ideologically ossified “tribes” to seek a common humanity. Never striking a false note, director Maria Gobetti takes us on a journey that accelerates to a shattering emotional whirlwind. Among the superlative performers, Molly Gray particularly stands out in her raw portrayal of a woman coping with a sad and shocking legacy that will forever define her. (F.K.F.) The Big Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Ends Sun., 4 p.m. $28-$40. (818) 841-5421.

Jitney Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Tony-winning revival of August Wilson’s “Jitney,” a triumphant melding of acting and drama, puts the audience in the unique position of eavesdroppers on the colloquial music of life. This early Wilson play, the first to be written in his 10-play cycle exploring the 20th century African American experience, takes place in the 1970s at a gypsy cab station threatened by Pittsburgh’s urban renewal program. Wilson takes us inside the drivers’ lives to reveal the way history has challenged and changed their destinies. What was once dismissed as a minor Wilson drama is now considered major. And it’s not because our standards have plummeted. Rather, it’s that the play, when fully realized by a company of actors working in communal concord, satisfies our growing hunger for complex and compassionate character truth. (C.M.) Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Thu., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Dec. 29. $25-$110. (213) 628-2772.