Plays for the Holidays: A round-up of the shows to see in Southern Minnesota

November 27, 2017

The holidays can be stressful.

Between planning gifts, parties, dinners and meetings with family, there is little time to truly sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. That’s why several communities are bringing holiday cheer to their residents through arts, music and theatre performances. These Southern Minnesota groups are hosting variety of performances – hopefully something for everyone. So sit back and find the event that best fits you.

“Coconuts and Mistletoe” at Paradise Center of the Arts in Faribault

Santa hats and stocking on the hammock at the tropical Caribbean beach

Santa conspires with spies to save Christmas…

This unique holiday comedy is a world premiere showing and is the much anticipated follow-up sequel to Dan Rathbun’s 2011 world premiere of Coconuts and Warheads.

“Coconuts and Warheads” focused on Nikki and Drew who run a bar on a tropical vacation island. Through the course of the play, an American ambassador and secret agents come to visit the bar. Meanwhile the bar owner is quickly running short on funds and so decides to take some drastic measures to save his establishment. This sequel allows the audience journey back to the island for more adventure and intrigue with a holiday twist of lime, tropics, spies, and more.

Performances will take place from Dec. 1 through 10, with the world premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.  Tickets range in costs with members pay $14, non-member pay $16, and students pay $10. Visit www.paradisecenterforthearts.org for more information.

“A Christmas Carol” at the Children’s Castle Theater in Farmington

Children’s Castle Theater brings the holiday classic to life during their performances of “A Christmas Carol” from Dec. 1 through Dec. 10.

Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens and adapted for the stage by Romulus Linney, the play tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an embittered, miserly old man whose name has become synonymous with greediness. But then, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge — who typically responds to the holiday with his familiar “Bah! Humbug!” — is visited by a series of ghosts, led first by the ghost of his long-since-dead partner Jacob Marley, who is followed by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

To find more details, visit www.childrenscastletheater.org.

“The Nutcracker in Concert” with Northfield Arts Guild in Northfield

Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Ballet” at Northfield Middle School and Cannon Falls High School Auditorium.

No work in classical music is so closely associated with Christmas as the Nutcracker. Because of the suite’s iconic and beloved status, the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra is reviving Tchaikovsky’s seminal work for the 2017 Christmas season.

The CVRO’s version of the Nutcracker combines a multimedia experience that both entertains and educates. While the orchestra plays through the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” and the “Pas de Deux,” a video presentation of scenes cobbled from famous Nutcracker Ballets depict young ingénue Clara and her handsome nutcracker cavorting in a wintry wonderland of sugar plum fairies and royal rats.

The first performance is at 3 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the Northfield Middle School, 2200 Division St S, and the second performance is at 3 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Cannon Falls High School, 820 Minnesota St E. To purchase tickets or find more information, visit the Northfield Arts Guild website, www.northfieldartsguild.org/eventscalendar/list.

“The 1940’s Radio Hour” at the Rochester Civic Theatre Company in Rochester

This holiday season, Rochester Civic Theatre Company presents “the 1940’s Radio Hour” from Dec. 1 through Dec. 17. The musical evokes the style of a live broadcast of “The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade” from the Hotel Astor’s Algonquin Room on Dec. 21, 1942. The spirit of that bygone era, when the world was at war, is accurately captured as the harassed producer copes with all manner of mishaps between cast and crew.

General admission began Oct. 23, and tickets costs adults $31, seniors $26 and students $21. Reservations can be made by contacting the box office at 507-282-8481 or via email to info@rochestercivictheatre.org.

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)” at Rochester Repertory Theatre in Rochester

Adults who are interested in watching anything besides ‘Christmas Classics’ may have a laugh during the Rochester Repertory Theatre’s “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)” Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors debate (then agree) to perform every Christmas story ever told — plus Christmas traditions from around the world — plus seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, AND every Christmas carol ever sung.

This madcap romp through the holiday season accomplishes the small miracle of making all Christmas myths seem both utterly ridiculous and absolutely essential, but may not be appropriate for children under 13 years old.

Shows dates are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24, 25, 30, Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 10. Purchase tickets online at www.rochesterrep.org/tickets or in person or through the box office at 507-289-1737.

The Holiday Series at the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing

The Sheldon Theatre will host six different events as part of their holiday series; hopefully an event that appeals for everyone.

First, Sheldon Theatre continues a new tradition of “The Nutcracker” with the Continental Ballet Company. With stunning costumes and Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score, this full-scale classical ballet production is a treat for all ages. The performance is 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.

On Dec. 2, the remarkably charming “America’s Got Talent” winner, Landau Murphy, performs the Great American Songbook with a voice and phrasing that has been compared to Frank Sinatra at 7:30 p.m.

The next event switches gears as swing-revival all-stars Big Bad Voodoo Daddy prove it’s still cool to swing with fresh arrangements of holiday classics and Christmas originals at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9.

Accompanied by seasonal music, master storyteller Kevin Kling’s wry tales of Midwestern holiday and family traditions take surprising turns, from laugh-out-loud bizarre to the touchingly insightful during “Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log” at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 16

Sheldon Theatre travels to Christmas, 1914, in the Wester Front. “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” relives an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas together, sharing food and drink, playing soccer, singing carols and burying each other’s dead on 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.

And finally, celebrate New Year’s Eve with Monroe Crossing as they dazzle audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals at 7 p.m. View more information or purchase tickets for the individual events on the Sheldon Theatre website, www.sheldontheatre.org/events/holiday-series.

“Miracle on 34th Street” at Expressions Community Theater in Lakeville

Expressions Community Theater brings Santa Claus to Lakeville during their rendition of “Miracle on 34th Street.” Made into popular movies in 1947 and again in 1994, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a Christmas story on par with “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in the pantheon of holiday classics.

By chance, Kris Kringle gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. At stake is one little girl’s belief in Santa concluding in a dramatic decision by the court! This is a heartwarming holiday story that we want to believe in, where love and generosity of spirit are their own rewards.

Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10, 11, 16 and 18, and 2 p.m. Nov. 12 and 19. Tickets are $13 and people can purchase tickets online, or by calling 952-985-4640. Or visit their website, www.ci.lakeville.mn.us/385/Expressions-Community-Theater.

Holiday Series at Paramount Theatre in Austin

The historic Paramount Theatre tackles a holiday series with five events centering music, theatre and of course, the holidays. The first event is” Jane Taylor’s Nutcracker” Ballet on Nov. 24 where they bring the traditional holiday ballet to the stage.

Following “The Nutcracker,” is a free community “Tuba Christmas” concert on Dec. 2. “Tuba Christmas” is celebrating their 44th anniversary of bringing fun and music to Austin, and that same day, audiences can enjoy “At Christmas,” a combination of holiday scenes and Christmas songs. The scenes are scripted and improvisational takes on the humorous and tender times of the holiday season.

On Dec. 8-10, the Matchbox Children’s Theatre presents a Fairy Tale Christmas Carol where the play is a fairy tale twist on the classic on the Dicken’s story. Finally, there will be “Christmas At Home,” a holiday concert benefiting Austin Public schools music program with student and community performances. It’s a great opportunity to support the community and share the holiday spirit.

To find more details or ticket prices, visit the Paramount Theatre website, www.austinareaarts.org/paramount-events.

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