Center Stage with Pat Launer on KSDS JAZZ88


Okay, pretty soon, all this family togetherness is going to start getting old and frayed and irritating – like those wooly socks you got last year. So why not escape to another world? – at the theater! This is the dramatically busiest December in recent memory. There’s definitely something for everyone – comedy, music, drama, cynicism. You want it; we’ve got it.

Something for the kids? Try the abbreviated, family-friendly “Christmas Carol” at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach , or the musical version of the Dickens classic at the Welk Theatre in Escondido . Watching Scrooge transform from a curmudgeon to a humanitarian will help you remember what this season of giving is really all about. And speaking of curmudgeons, the little ones will thrill to the Green Meanie in “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” now in its 12th year at the Old Globe. There’s also a music-infused “Festival of Christmas” at Lamb’s Players Theatre, a new play this year, chock-full of carols and good cheer.

If all that sounds a little too treacly for you, try the acid-laced punch of “The SantaLand Diaries” at New Village Arts in Carlsbad . This is based on one of the most popular pieces ever aired on National Public Radio, the hilarious memories of humorist David Sedaris, recalling that   fateful, hateful Christmas when he signed on to be Crumpet, the elf, at Macy’s New York. Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, the sleigh-pullers are revolting in “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” where one of the overworked animals accuses Santa of sexual harassment. Seems the Fat Boy’s workshop is a den of corruption and perversion. Pessimists and misanthropes should find solace at Compass Theatre, on the edge of Hillcrest. And if you happen to be a Catholic school survivor, you’ll fall right back into line for “Sister’s Christmas Catechism,” making its third return to North Coast Rep, with Sister wielding a ruler and a wicked tongue, forcing you to toe the line and tell the holiday tale right. Which is to say, her way. Don’t wear provocative clothing, don’t chew gum and don’t slouch – if you know what’s good for you!

Now, if you’d like to take a sweet, nostalgic look at the season, consider the delightful reprise production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at Cygnet Theatre. Or Truman Capote’s beautifully written “Holiday Memories” at Scripps Ranch Theatre. Or Lamb’s Player’s trip back in time, to 1909, in “An American Christmas” at the Hotel del Coronado. And for a soulful telling of the Christmas story, check out Common Ground Theatre ’s “Black Nativity,” with its rap, hip hop, crunk dance, gospel and even a bit of ballet.

And don’t forget that there are other holidays this season, too. North Coast Rep commissioned a comedy, whose title poses the age-old question: “How Do You Spell Chanukkah ?”

So what are you waiting for? There are shows to see, candles to light and stockings to stuff with theater tickets.
“A Christmas Carol” – 12/9-27; North Coast Repertory Theatre, Solana Beach ;

“A Christmas Carol, The Musical” – through 1/3; Welk Resort Theatre, Escondido ;

“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – through 12/27; Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park ;

“Festival of Christmas” – through 12/27; Lamb’s Players Theatre, Coronado ;

“The SantaLand Diaries” – 12/10-23; New Village Arts , Carlsbad ;

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” – 12/4-20; Compass Theatre, Hillcrest;

“Sister’s Christmas Catechism” – 12/14/-16; North Coast Repertory Theatre, Solana Beach ;

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” – through 12/27; Cygnet Theatre, Old Town ;

“Holiday Memories” – through 12/12; Scripps Ranch Theatre;
“An American Christmas” – 12/13-27; Lamb’s Player’s Theatre at the Hotel del Coronado;

“How Do You Spell Chanukkah ?” – 12/5-7; North Coast Repertory Theatre, Solana Beach ;

“Black Nativity, The Musical” – Common Ground Theatre at the Educational Cultural Complex;