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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: December 2008

May All Your Christmases Be White logo
The Company of Irving Berlin's White Christmas
(© David Allen)
Quickly becoming a holiday tradition as beloved as A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker, Irving Berlin's White Christmas has productions running all over the country including one on Broadway and one at St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Arts (December 2-January 3). Based on the 1954 film by the same name, White Christmas promises spectacular song and dance meant to evoke a bygone era on Broadway.

Looking for a non-traditional holiday show? Minneapolis is rife with them this season. Theatre Limina presents David Sedaris' alt-holiday favorite The Sanataland Diaries at the Bryant-Lake Bowl (November 30-December 18). It is presented back to back with the one-woman show Lost letters to Santa starring Janelle Ranek as a Martini swilling, chain smoking 97 year old (November 30-December 18). Brave New Workshop takes on the holidays and the federal bailout with All I want For Christmas is 700 Billion Dollars: Our 50th Noel (through January 31). The Guthrie offers two one-night events: Humorist Kevin Kling performs in his solo show, Kevin Kling: Tales From the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log (December 8) and local Honky Tonk band Trailer Trash brings their holiday concert The Trashy Little Xmas Family Show (December 14), which is, despite the title, G Rated.

Of course, the Guthrie also offers their traditional production of A Christmas Carol, now in its 34th year (through December 31). Meanwhile, Bloomington Art Center has its own production of A Christmas Carol (December 4-21) and Park Square Theatre presents Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol (through December 21). Similarly, variations on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet are performed in Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker (Orpheum Theatre, December 12-13), Ballet Minnesota's The Classic Nutcracker (The O'Shaughnessy, December 19-21), and Loyce Holden's Nutcracker Fantasy (State Theatre, December 19-24).

Minneapolis has a variety of Hanukkah-related offerings including the family adventure Anschel and the Missing Chanukah Gelt at the Sabes Jewish Community Center (December 4 - 21). Minnesota Jewish Theatre presents Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, the story of a man who defeats the goblins who have prevented the celebration of Hanukkah in the small town of Helmsbergville. This regional premiere production employs the use of puppets to tell the story.

For those looking for a swinging good time, Harry Connick Jr. & His Big Band perform a one-night-only Holiday concert at the Orpheum (December 9). Diahann Carroll performs two holiday concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, replacing the previously scheduled Eartha Kitt (Orcheatra Hall, December 12-13). Carroll has recently published a memoir entitled The Legs Are the Last to Go


Finally, blessed are those theater companies that ignore the December mandate for holiday fare. The Gremlin Theatre presents Sam Shepard's drama Fool for Love (December 5-21). Chanhassen Dinner Theatres presents the Mel Brook musical comedy The Producers, the stage version of the film about two Broadway producers who attempt to stage the worst flop in history (through January 31).


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