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Playbill: Four Plays Opening in Denver on December 4-7

It's okay to be a Scrooge when it comes to theater. If you want a real, grown-up show that isn't full of fluff and wrapped up in a bow, you can find plenty of performances on local stages that will make you think -- even in December. Here are four plays opening this weekend without a single vision of sugerplums....

See also: Scrooge Loose: An Improvised Christmas Carol

Reason work | space December 4 through 21 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 2 p.m. Sundays Tickets: $13 to $25, two-for-one for veterans

Ami Dayan's Reason, an intimate, in-your-face drama that premiered in Boulder this fall and explores a PTSD Mindfulness Training program for recovering combat soldiers, comes to Denver for a December run. The script includes the intercut voices of a suspended drone pilot, a retired Marine, the wife of an infantry officer and the mother of a wounded soldier on life support; performances will be followed by an Urgent Conversations talkback series featuring panels of Colorado-based soldiers, trauma specialists, veterans, psychologists and experts in the field of Mindfulness Training.

Naughty Bits Buntport Theater 8 p.m. December 4-6 Tickets: $20

As a little gift to its constituents -- and anyone who might have missed this hit when it premiered this fall -- Buntport is bringing back Naughty Bits, an original, interwoven story about public reaction over time to a missing piece of anatomy on a notable statue. While the company makes fun of changing mores in the art world and society at large, you roll in the aisles.

Continue reading for more Playbill recommendations. Miss Saigon Vintage Theatre December 5 through February 1 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays 2:30 p.m. Sundays 7 p.m. Monday, December 15 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 11 and 31 Tickets: $26 to $31 303-856-7830

Vintage goes big for the holidays with the Broadway musical that updates Madame Butterfly and helicopters it down into the middle of the Vietnam War. This story of the doomed romance between a Vietnamese bar waitress and an American G.I. comes from the team that also brought us Les Miz.

The Familiars The Edge Theatre Company December 5 through 28 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays 6 p.m. Sunday, December 7, 14 and 28 2 and 6 p.m. December 21 $15 Industry night: 8 p.m. December 22 Tickets: $18 to $24 303-521-8041

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The holidays do sneak in with Edge's year-end comedy The Familiars, a world premiere about family traditions from local playwright Ellen K. Graham. But you'll be laughing too hard to care as the story unfolds on Christmas Eve. "The Familiars grew out a series of workshops where we discussed our personal experiences of the holidays," says Graham. "One theme that emerged was traditions: how they are created, perpetuated and sometimes enforced against the will of seemingly everyone. What would happen if those dreaded rituals suddenly disappeared?" Find out this month at Edge.

Find a stage near you: Check out Westword's online listings for more theater and dance events for this week.

To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

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