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Seattle Spotlight: December 2010

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A scene from Black Nativity
(© Chris Bennion)
The month of December is dominated by Christmas-themed productions. STG and Intiman coproduce Black Nativity at the Moore Theatre (December 9-26), as the first act retells the Christmas story through the words of Langston Hughes, and the second act becomes a "nondenominational church" with song, story and dance. Seattle Public Theater delivers the tenth anniversary of its The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (December 10-24) when the Herdman kids take over the church pageant and challenge everyone's traditional notions of Christmas, and also presents Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula (December 3-24), as Marley might escape his own chains by redeeming Scrooge's heart in 24 hours.

ArtsWest travels to Tuna, Texas with A Tuna Christmas (December 1-24) as actors Jay Jenkins and Buddy Mahoney take on 22 characters and 40 costume changes to portray the hysterical inhabitants of this town. Phoenix Theatre presents the exhaustively titled The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol (December 10-23), as the ladies of the Farndale Dramatic Society display their hilarious twist on the Charles Dickens classic. Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales comes to life at Stone Soup Theatre (December 3-24) recreating Thomas' childhood Christmas when everything was brighter, better and more alive.

Open Circle Theatre reprises The Judy Garland Special (through December 18) with talented Troy Mink as a degenerating Judy Garland in 1963 as producers televise this dysfunctional holiday celebration. Renton Civic Theatre harmonizes with Plaid Tidings: Forever Plaid (December 3-18) when the Four Plaids return to Earth for a Christmas special.

For those wishing for non-holiday related productions, consider Woman seeking's The Torch Bearers (Richard Hugo House, December 3-18), the 1920s backstage comedy written by Pulitzer Prize winner George Kelly. A new multimedia puppet show by Kyle Loven, Crandal's Bag, is presented at Washington Ensemble Theater (December 9-20) where Crandal collects the undesirable and makes it disappear. Bash Theatre, a newly transformed The Community Theatre, opens The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman (December 3-19). Written in 1928 after the Russian Revolution, the play is an absurdist comedy about an ordinary man trapped in joblessness and hopelessness who considers taking his own life while various people compete for the final dedication of his suicide to their individual causes. SecondStory Repertory presents Children of Eden (December 3-23) by Stephen Schwartz, a Biblically-inspired musical about the "creation" of parents and children, conflict and resolution, and centers around centuries of unresolved "family business."

A number of the holiday shows are good for the kids, but children's options also include puppetry with Thistle Theatre's The Gingerbread Boy (Various Locations, December 4-19) where every child's dream comes true as Ollie the Oven bakes, Bill the Chill makes ice cream, and Sweetie cooks chocolate confections. Then there's Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, a British panto offered by The Fremont Players (Hale's Palladium, December 4-January 2). Mayor Smallberries is looking to clear-cut the neighboring forest for condos and strip malls, but first he has to oust all the inhabitants, including Grandma and the Three Little Pigs. Red Riding Hood sets out to inform and protect her Grandma, but on the way she encounters bullies from her past.

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