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Philadelphia Spotlight: December 2010

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Vanessa Sonon, David Elder, Jeffrey Coon, and Julie Reiber
in Irving Berlin's White Christmas
(© Mark Garvin)
It's a very jolly holiday time in Philadelphia as the area theaters launch an abundance of feel-good productions to keep theatergoers smiling throughout the holiday season. Even if the weather doesn't cooperate you are guaranteed snow this holiday season by attending the Walnut Street Theatre's production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas (through January 9). Based on the beloved film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, the classic Irving Berlin score features such gems as "Blue Skies" "I Love a Piano" and of course the unforgettable title tune.

The Arden Theatre Company begins their children's theater season with Charles Way's stage adaptation of Mary Norton's novel The Borrowers (December 1-January 30). The story focuses on a family that lives on tiny doll house furniture. Forced to leave their home, the family must make their way in a frightening and unfamiliar world. Although the play explores serious topics such as displacement and the definition of family, the production is aimed at children as young as five.

1812 Productions continues their annual holiday tradition with the 2010 version of the popular variety show This Is the Week That Is: The New Administration (December 2-31). A rousing mix of songs, comedy skits, and a TV news parody that is updated on a nightly basis, the show pokes fun at such heavyweight political figures as President Obama and the multi-tasking ex Alaska governor, ex vice-president candidate, Fox News personality, reality show star and potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

It's tough to be an elf; at least it is in David Sedaris' popular yuletide comedy The Santaland Diaries, which is being presented for the sixth consecutive year by Flashpoint Theatre Company (December 1-19). Based on Sedaris' own experiences, the show is about Crumpet (Derick Loafmann), an overworked and underpaid elf working alongside Santa at a large department store during the Christmas holidays.

New City Stage Company celebrates the holidays with their production of Christopher Durang's sly comedy Miss Witherspoon (December 9-January 9). The story follows a woman named Veronica as she crosses over to the afterlife. There her celestial bosses tell her she is scheduled for reincarnation, an idea Veronica (who is happy to be rid of life's disappointments) tries to decline in favor of a long nap.

Amaryllis Theatre Company offers theatergoers an alternative to Dickens' A Christmas Carol with their staging of Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol (December 7-19). The first production in the inaugural Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival, the play concerns an alcoholic undertaker whose past and present collide on a rainy Christmas Eve in Ireland's capital city.

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