Get in the holiday spirit with a live performance of a classic play, musical or parody. Here are a few live stage presentations throughout the Portland area for the holiday season.
The Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens at Portland Center Stage
Any time Second City takes on a stodgy old classic like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you know good times are in store. Portland Center Stage presents the Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens Dec. 11 through 31 at the U.S. Bank Main Stage. Expect the unexpected and prepare to participate in the haunting action. A bevy of local celebrities make appearances, and all of your venerable holiday standards are bound to be skewered with the irreverent comedy of the famous parody troupe. Showtimes are evenings Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m., matinees Saturday through Sunday at 2:00 p.m., Thursdays at noon and a special showing Dec. 24 at 2:00 p.m. Running time is about an hour and 50 minutes with one intermission. Tickets are $25 with student ID. See www.pcs.org for more details.
The Santaland Diaries at Portland Center Stage
The holiday season is no place for the cynic, yet David Sedaris’ whimsical portrayal of a curmudgeonly elf is outlandish and hilarious. If you struggle to smile through the plasticity of holiday cheer, relax and commiserate with Crumpet the Elf. The production features local favorite Darius Pierce in the lead role and promises a perennial favorite for your holiday humbug collection. Seriously, anyone familiar with Sedaris’ work will not be disappointed with The Santaland Diaries. The play runs Dec. 4 through 27 in the Ellyn Bye Studio. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m., matinees Saturday through Sunday at 2:00 p.m., Thursdays at noon and a special showing Dec. 24 at 2:00 p.m. Running time is about 75 minutes, sans intermission. Tickets are $25 with student ID. See www.pcs.org for more details.
A Christmas Carol at the Portland Playhouse
It’s a classic for a reason: Scrooge and the ghosts that school him in humanism are a timeless treat for viewing. The ghosts, the chains, the Dickens vocabulary—all are positively smashing! You’ve heard Ebenezer’s schtick before, but Drew Harper’s performance is a notable among notables, and the score that accompanies this production is spectacular. The Charles Dickens standard is directed by Cristi Miles and features adaptations of script and score by Rick Lombardo with Anna Lackaff arranging for the musical ensemble. This award-winning production is endorsed by the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. The show runs Dec. 2 through 24 with daily matinees at 2:00 p.m. and evening shows at 7:00 p.m. See portlandplayhouse.org for more details.
Shrek the Musical at Northwest Children’s Theater
Too old for a show at the children’s theater? No, not when it’s Shrek the Musical. Not a holiday play? Shrek, like Shakespeare, is a play for all time, and what better time than during the holiday season? Ogres are like onions—they have layers. And the layers of this production will keep you in stitches while your favorite characters—Shrek, Fiona, Donkey—are brought to life before your eyes. The show is billed for audiences aged six and up, but you know that the best of the humor is lost on those little ones! Gather your friends, because this one offers the perfect opportunity for holiday bonding. The musical runs from Dec. 5 through Jan. 3, with showtimes at noon and 4:30 p.m. Tickets range from $17 to $23. See nwcts.org for more details.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Keller Auditorium
What holiday stage menu would be complete without The Nutcracker? Oregon Ballet Theater’s performance of the quintessential holiday epic begins Dec. 12 and promises all of the grandeur this standard deserves. All of the familiar tones and harmonies, all of the enchanted icons that perpetuate your holiday imagery—all of them are in this play. The magical settings of this beloved musical set the tone for the season, so partake in the tradition; you know you love it. Performances run Dec. 12 through 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets vary by seating, from $25 to $150. Running time is two hours. See www.obt.org for more details.