December 2019

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Lewis Playhouse

Too Marvelous For Words: A Celebration of Nat King Cole starring Keith David as Nat “King” Cole (Saturday, December 21st) plus other holiday shows are happening at Lewis Family Playhouse in Rancho Cucamonga

Lewis Playhouse

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of Lewis Playhouse

There’s a new destination for the best in holiday concerts this year – the Lewis Family Playhouse at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga. First up, the Inland Pacific Ballet performs The Nutcracker, a holiday family tradition featuring beautiful set, dazzling costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. Stay after the performance and meet the dancers. Take a hysterical trip down memory lane with a Retro Holiday Jubilee led by your irreverent guide Charles Phoenix. As you watch a show featuring vintage Kodachrome slides celebrating the holidays in the 50s and 60s, Phoenix provides hysterical commentary and insight on past traditions.  .

Smooth Jazz fans are in for a treat when celebrated acoustic guitarist Peter White leads a group of talented musicians in a concert bringing a 21st century jazz flair to the most popular holiday favorites. In honor of Nat King Cole’s 100th birthday, Keith David takes the stage in Too Marvelous for Words, a musical tribute to the Man with the Velvet Voice.  Presented as a vintage-style holiday radio show, noted film and TV actor David performs Cole’s top hits. Classical fusion trio, TAKE 3 and Yanni vocalist, Lauren Jelencovich, share an afternoon of holiday favorites. These accomplished artists interact with the audience as they share their fascinating musical journey from Julliard and Imagine Dragons to Broadway and Rock and Roll.

For more details, click here.

A Snow White…

A Snow White Christmas at Pasadena Civic Center December 13-22nd (Starring Michelle Williams)

A Snow White…

  • By Ken Werther

Lythgoe Family Pantos have become a Southern California holiday tradition right up there with productions of A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, The Santaland Diaries, and the L.A. Zoo Lights! Just what, you may ask, is a Panto? It’s a British tradition of winter musical comedy theatre that starts with familiar fairy tales and children’s stories and injects a bit of British Music Hall (Vaudeville) style, contemporary references, and audience participation, to create a raucous, silly entertainment that’s child pleasing yet entertains the grownups too.Since the 2011 Southern California premieres of A Snow White Christmas and Cinderella Christmas at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, audiences have enjoyed Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, Aladdin and His Winter Wish, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell—A Pirate’s Christmas, Beauty and the Beast—A Christmas Rose, and more.  

This year, A Snow White Christmas returns and will be presented at The Pasadena Civic Auditorium. An updated version of the classic fairytale, Princess Snow White joins forces with the Seven Dwarfs to defeat her wicked Aunt, the Queen. The cast will feature Olivia Sanabia (Snow White), Michelle Williams (Wicked Queen), Michael Campion (Prince Harry), Garrett Clayton (The Huntsman), Jared Gertner (Muddles), and a full ensemble of singers and dancers. So head on out to Pasadena! Having seen and loved every Lythgoe Family Panto, I can promise that you will leave the theatre smiling, no matter how old you are!

For tickets and showtimes, click here.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol at The Wallis December 4-8

A Christmas Carol

  • By AC Remler

Since its first publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has transcended generations, capturing the yuletide zeitgeist with its themes of compassion, generosity and redemption. Dickens’ characters are as timeless as the tale itself and, this year the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts presents them all in a one-man tour de force starring David Mynne. In a metamorphic performance, Mynne ushers us through Christmas Past, Present and Future on a cold bleak Christmas Eve in Victorian London, transforming one by one into the entire Dickens cast. From miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to rickets-riven Tiny Tim Cratchit, audiences embark on one actor’s odyssey, and reportedly leave remembering a cast of dozens. According to Mynne’s website, this adaptation is “… Dickens’ original words with added silliness. Silliness? Bah! BAH!” And The Wallis advises to come prepared for “EXTRA humbug for adults (and BRAVE children ages 8+).”

Mynne, a founding member of Kneehigh, a Cornwall-based theatre company, has spent much of his later career as a storyteller for Dickens’ vibrant characters which he draws out with stark simplicity on a one-man stage with minimal props. This inventive take on a holiday mainstay will appeal to both theatre traditionalists and experimentalists alike. Directed by Simon Harvey, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol runs from Dec. 4-Dec. 8, 2019 at The Wallis’ Lovelace Studio Theater.

For details and tickets, click here.

The Magic of…

The Magic of Christmas at La Mirada Theatre December 6-15th

The Magic of…

  • By AC Remler

Adding a little more wonder to the most wonderful time of the year, The Young Americans performance group presents The Magic of Christmas, a holiday musical extravaganza Dec. 6-15 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts where it’s been a mainstay for the past five years. One of Southern California’s most celebrated productions of the season, the live mega show boasts more than 6,000 costumes, 45-foot-high LED walls and 30 scene changes transforming the theater into a winter wonderland.

For nearly two decades, the Young Americans troupe has presented a Christmas show, which eventually grew into The Magic of Christmas with 200 young performers from its international touring companies. This year’s talent brings new magic to the production, including a medley of Motown songs reworked with holiday lyrics. Other numbers are based on Broadway musicals, traditional carols and favorite holiday stories such as The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Elf: The Musical in addition to excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

Established in 1962, the organization is a formidable force in live theatre and music education with more than 400 shows and 12 international music outreach tours. There’s also a fully accredited college in Corona where it’s based. With its impressive young talent and high-tech razzmatazz, this festive production will jumpstart your holiday cheer. Note: Dec. 7 is alumni night where past performers members join the cast on stage for a stirring finale.

For details and tickets, click here.

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