Tidings of comfort and joy, along with a couple of seasonal satires, are filling the area’s theaters. This month, I count at least three Christmas Carols and a Nutcracker, along with original takes on evergreen Hollywood movies and more family-friendly events.

God bless us, what would the season be without A Christmas Carol? The most-read (and -adapted) of all Dickens’ works is vying for attention this month on three stages up and down the Valley, all of them original adaptations of the classic.  

Exit Seven Players in Ludlow present a musical version, with a score by Peter Hicks, through this weekend; last weekend northern Connecticut’s Suffield Players mounted a new rendering by Ryan Bird ; and in southern Vermont there’s one set in a 1930s radio studio, with six actors taking all the parts and a Foley artist providing live sound effects. That one is a fundraiser for the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry; Dec. 18, 2pm, Memorial Hall, 14 West Main St., Wilmington, VT. No reservations, admission by cash donation or non-perishable food item,

Hot on the heels of those three Christmas spirits comes the season’s other perennial, The Nutcracker. Pioneer Valley Ballet revives its annual production, with a multi-generational cast of (seems like) thousands, at the Academy of Music, Northampton, Dec. 10-12.

The holiday just past gets a, er, roasting in The Thanksgiving Play, an antic comedy by Larissa FastHorse about well-intentioned but misguided attempts at telling the “real” Thanksgiving story, at Smith College  Dec. 7-10. (Note: the performance is open only to those in the Five College testing program.)

In Hartford, TheaterWorks  reprises its now-traditional, not-PG-rated Christmas on the Rocks through Dec. 23. In this collection of “twisted holiday tales,” kids from classic movies, now adults, gather in a local bar to vent their grown-up woes. It features Ted Lange, of Love Boat fame, playing – who else? – the bartender.

Two more seasonal Hollywood favorites come to regional stages this month – an old-time radio version of It’s a Wonderful Life in Hartford and a musical adaptation of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in Pittsfield. I’ll be reviewing both of them this week.


In the Valley Advocate’s present bi-monthly publication schedule, Stagestruck will continue to be a regular feature, with additional posts online. Write me at Stagestruck@crocker.com if you’d like to receive notices when new pieces appear.

Note: The weekly Pioneer Valley Theatre News has comprehensive listings of what’s on and coming up in the Valley and beyond. You can check it out and subscribe (free) here: http://www.pioneervalleytheatre.com/

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