While the Arvada Center production of I'll Be Home for Christmas is a lump of coal in the holiday-show stocking (read the review of I'll Be Home here), other offerings around town look much more promising. Here are four to explore:
1. A Christmas Carol is essentially the same production that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company puts on every year, but it features one interesting change this round: Sam Gregory is playing Scrooge for the first time, after some tutelage from Philip Pleasants, who owned the role for over a decade. Gregory, a wonderfully versatile actor, was last seen as a rich guy whose civilized exterior conceals a truly horrifying racism in Curious’s White Guy on the Bus; we’re sure he’ll mellow for Scrooge’s conversion, but we’re still hoping for a bit of an edge. The show opens Friday, November 25, and runs through December 24 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex; get details at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.
2. Also at the Center is David Sedaris’s satiric tonic for the sugarplum-weary: The SantaLand Diaries, performed by the irresistibly funny Michael Bouchard. The show opens Friday, November 25, and runs through December 24 at the Jones in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; get details at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.
3. If you loved Patrick Barlow’s imaginative take on Hitchcock, The 39 Steps, when it showed locally, you’ll definitely want to see his version of A Christmas Carol at Miners Alley Playhouse. It’s clever and caustic and stars Jim Hunt and Josh Hartwell. The show opens Friday, November 25, and runs through December 23 at 1224 Washington Avenue in Golden; find out more at 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com.
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4. When the new version of the Porgy and Bess, adapted by Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks, opened in New York in 2011, it was both praised to the heavens and harshly criticized for tampering with one of America’s most beautiful and significant musical works by the Gershwins. Now — in what may be the best holiday gift of all — the Aurora Fox is giving you the opportunity to judge for yourself. The show opens Friday, November 25, and runs through January 1 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora; find out more at 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org.
And this is just the start of the holiday shows; for more information, go to the Westword calendar.