A scene from Snow White
(© Mark Garvin)
A scene from Snow White
(© Mark Garvin)
You won't find any dark, brooding dramas on Philadelphia's stages this month. This December the focus is on families and fun as the area's companies celebrate the holidays with a host of musicals and comedies intent on delighting children of all ages.

People's Light & Theatre Company celebrates the holiday season with Snow White: A Musical Panto (through January 3). The sixth American panto from the local company, the show's creative team is the same group responsible for PLTC's highly successful 2008 panto version of Cinderella, which captured four Barrymore Awards including those for director Pete Pryor (who returns to helm Snow White) and composer Michael Ogborn, who's score for Snow White features nine original songs.

The Arden Theatre Company kicks off their highly acclaimed children series with Douglas Irvine's new stage adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic story Peter Pan (December 2-January 24). Director David O'Connor's production employs puppets, live actors (including the fabulous Frank X as the wicked Captain Hook), and a heavy dose of stage magic to bring to life the story of three children who travel with Pan and the mischievous Tinkerbelle to the magical world of Neverland.

Crockett Johnson's children's book series is brought to life when the imaginative Enchantment Theatre Company presents their new stage adaptation, The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon (Prince Music Theater, December 2-January 3). Featuring video animation and a vibrant jazz score from composer Charles Gilbert, the production follows the exploits of Harold as he embarks on an exciting journey to the circus, Mars, and beyond, powered only by his considerable imagination.

The Lantern Theater Company, which has a history of presenting quality holiday shows for adults, kicks off December with the Philadelphia premiere of Scapin (December 3-January 3). Adapted by Mark O' Donnell and Bill Irwin from Moliere's comedy about a crafty servant, director Aaron Cromie mixes live actors and puppets in a production stuffed with all manner of theatrical tomfoolery.

1812 Productions continues their annual holiday tradition with the latest installment of the company's hit variety show This is the Week That Is: The New Administration (December 3-January 3). Blending songs, comedy skits, and an amusing parody of TV news programs, the show's script is updated on a daily basis to give audiences a fresh and funny perspective on the lighter side of American politics.

The Wilma Theater welcomes the New Year with Gina Gionfriddo's acclaimed comedy Becky Shaw (December 30-January 31). An Off-Broadway hit at New York's Second Stage, the play explores the consequences of a catastrophic blind date between two tragically-flawed but endlessly fascinating misfits.