For some reason, the holidays always draw me to the live theater — maybe it’s bittersweet memories of my mom dragging me to see The Nutcracker every year from the ages of 6 about 13, who knows, but I usually cram a year’s worth of culture into the month of December. Fortunately Dallas has everything a fickle theater fan could want:
A Christmas Carol
The Dallas Theater Center, for example, offers its annual production of A Christmas Carol through Dec. 24. How this company manages to keep the content so true yet so fresh after doing this adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic for five years amazes. One trick they used this time, said the director before the opening night show, was to cast all the actors in new roles. So Chamblee Ferguson, who played Bob Cratchet in Christmases past, plays Scrooge. He is effective and hilarious as the old miser. Thanks to Ferguson, tears of laughter were rolling down my cheeks during the final scene. He and his fellow actors garner giggles and gasps even during the more thoughtful scenes, but the set, the score and the cast make brilliant the eerie, somber and at times heartbreaking material. One of the most interesting casting choices is Lake Highlands resident Liz Mikel as Marley’s ghost. When I heard a woman was Marley’s ghost I thought, bah, they are going to trick up the play, but I needn’t have worried. Her costume and her presence is magnificent, frightening and fiercely poignant. This version of this old story is far from stale — trust me, it will get you in the yuletide mood. Dallas Theater Center’s Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. $15 to $70. 214.880.0202.
The Drowsy Chaperone
Another hilarious musical is on tap at Theatre Three —The Drowsy Chaperone stars White Rock area resident Rob McCollum who you might know from WFAA’s Good Morning Texas. This is fast-paced comedy about a lonely Broadway-musical fanatic who takes the audience scene-by-scene through one of his favorite soundtracks (he has never actually been to see the show, McCollum’s character “Man in Chair” admits during a heartfelt final scene). “The show is an absolute love letter to musicals and expresses the way we feel about them,” McCollum told Advocate during an interview for the in-the-works January issue, “as much as we love musicals, we — us theater types especially — love to make fun of them and how silly they can be with their schmaltzy songs and such … this show allows us to comment on that, yet revel in it.” Theatre Three is located at 2800 Routh Street, #168. 214.871. 3300. The Drowsy Chaperone runs through Jan. 8. Regular show times are Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Next up: Sander Family Christmas