Judy Gold in
25 Questions for a Jewish Mother
(© Carol Rosegg)
Judy Gold in
25 Questions for a Jewish Mother
(© Carol Rosegg)
Boston is tossing in a few savory side dishes to offset the sugarplums that prevail this time of year. Christmas contrarians include the Huntington, which opted to host Judy Gold's off-Broadway hit 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother at the Calderwood Pavilion (December 18-31). Succumbing to popular demand, the ever-outrageous Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans plan to reprise last year's smash Silent Night of the Lambs (December 6-29), in which a certain roly-poly denizen of the Arctic exhibits odd appetites.

Other alternative fare includes The Yamato Drummers of Japan shaking up the Cutler Majestic Theatre (December 1-2); Suffolk University's Office of Diversity Services observing World AIDS Day with Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, Bill Russell's rarely performed portrait gallery with a blues/jazz/rock score by Janet Hood (December 3); and the Catalyst Collaborative at MIT-- a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Underground Railway Theater -- staging a reading of David Mamet's 1985 play The Water Engine: An American Fable (December 3-4).

Out in the suburbs, Christmas celebrations take many forms. Watertown's New Rep is repeating two winners from last year: a lavish production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (December 9-23), with Actors Shakespeare Project founder Ben Evett playing Bob Cratchit and his son, Spencer, chiming in as Tim (December 9-23), and, in the Downstage space, David Sedaris' piquant Santaland Diaries, starring Guy Olivieri, who appeared in the national tour of Rent and impressed in the Jonathan Larson role in New Rep's recent revival of tick, tick...BOOM!

Waltham's Reagle Players will mount the 25th silver anniversary version of It's Christmas Time (December 7-16), with Broadway's Sarah Pfisterer soloing amid a cast of hundreds (playing, variously, wooden soldiers, Raggedy Anns and Andys, dancing bears, bell ringers, and precision dancers). Worcester's Foothills Theatre is featuring A Christmas Story (December 1-23), adapted from the film based on writings by Jean Shepherd.

In the Berkshires, Shakespeare & Company offers two readings: An Impossible Life, drawn from producer David Black's autobiographical novel, starring Peter Riegert (December 1); and another page-to-stage adaptation, Sonia Pilcer's The Holocaust Kid, with Jonathan Epstein and Elizabeth Aspenlieder (December 9). Barrington Stage Company welcomes back Gail Nelson in the Billie Holiday bio-musical Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (December 5-9), and Berkshire Theatre Festival will remount Eric Hill's take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol (December 13-30), with the director as the irascible Scrooge.