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Entertainment & Arts

The week ahead in SoCal theater, Dec. 23-30: ‘South Pacific,’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and more

South Pacific Rubicon Theatre
Madison Claire Parks, center, and the cast of the classic musical “South Pacific,” now playing at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura.
(Jeanne Tanner)
Listings Coordinator

THEATER

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.).

Openings

The Dina Martina Christmas Show The drag artist celebrates the season. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Wed.-Fri., 7 and 9 p.m. $25. (800) 838-3006.

The Tony Martini Variety Hour Monthly music-and-comedy show. Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge, 1123 Vine St., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m. $20. (323) 866-9994.

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Smokey Robinson The Motown legend performs. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos. Sat., 8 p.m. $100-$150. (562) 916-8500.

John Legend: A Legendary Christmas The R&B star performs selections from his new holiday album. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $85 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Kids for Kids Benefit Concert! The Circle of Life Variety show/fundraiser. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Sat., 7 p.m. $10-$55. (805) 667-2900

Critics’ Choices

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. (David C. Nichols) A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $25 and up; student rush, $20. (626) 356-3100

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The Legend of Georgia McBride To misquote Shakespeare: Some are born in drag, some achieve drag, and some have drag thrust upon ’em. Casey, the protagonist of this irresistible 2015 play by Matthew Lopez, now at the New Vic in Santa Barbara, belongs to the third category. A struggling Elvis impersonator, he finds himself one day in one of those situations where you have to choose between getting kicked out of your apartment — with your pregnant wife — and starring in a drag show. What would you do? That’s what he does. And quite fabulously. Jenny Sullivan’s heartwarming production is a box of candy for theater fans, featuring extreme costumes, delicious dance numbers, and an endearing cast, including Bill Brochtrup (of “NYPD Blue” and “Major Crimes”) in what may be the versatile actor’s first high heels. (M.G.) Ensemble Theatre Company, the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara. Ends Sun., 2 and 7 p.m. $25-$75. (805) 965-5400.

South Pacific A stellar cast and skillfully integrated video successfully scale Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic big-stage musical for a more intimate venue, with a particularly sharp focus on the show’s dramatic narrative and its enduring reflections on the moral dilemmas of racism and war. (P.B.) Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Ends Sun., 2 p.m. $25-$65. (805) 667-2900.

The Year Without a Santana Claus For almost two decades now, the Troubadour Theater Company has been delighting audiences with their sell-out mash-ups that meld Christmas classics with contemporary rock music. Their current production features Santana’s classic hits, performed by an on-stage band and a dream cast that really rock the house, and while the source material, the 1974 Rankin-Bass animated special, is just plain discursive and weird, it’s the perfect vehicle for the Troubies’ signature blend of Christmas crudity. Buoyed by company stalwarts Rick Batalla and Beth Kennedy, director Matt Walker pulls off one of the company’s best holiday offerings to date. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, all you want for Christmas should be a ticket to the Troubies. (F.K.F.) El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 and 8 p.m.; ends Dec. 30. $45-$75. (866) 811-4111.


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