Holiday Fare Sans Zombies

Radio-style Wonderful Life at BLT

Now that we can walk around town without zombies lurching our way, beware a more benign menace: the invasion of holiday theater. It begins Friday with one of the darker seasonal traditions in a different form.

If you’re nostalgic for the Great Depression and suicidal bankers, Bellevue Little Theater offers a stage variation on Jimmy Stewart’s suffering in It’s a Wonderful Life—A Live Radio Play. Let us hope it has a happy ending and we can root for Colin Ferguson as George Bailey and Victoria Luther as his wife Mary.

Later in November we get the one you couldn’t pay me to pan, the Omaha Community Playhouse venerable version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And before the Nebraska Theatre Caravan starts touring the nation, its Carol cast members will perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson for Caravan coordinator Lara Marsh, another in the determined series of fundraisers to aid her need for a double lung transplant.

Then the antidote for anyone overdosing on holiday sweets comes to the Blue Barn with its latest adventure in irreverence, Who Killed Santa? I’d market it as your second-to-last chance to see such parodies in the Downtown Space before the 2014 move to the new slightly-bigger-yet-still-intimate Barn at 10th and Pacific.

Brigit St. Brigit celebrates the 12 days of Christmas by staging Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in the ultimate classy venue, Joslyn Castle. I’ll have a helping of all these but top them off in December with Billy McGuigan and the Beatles at the Playhouse.

Meanwhile, we’ve still got the Circle Theater doing the chilling The Bad Seed (watch for its Witch Way to the North Pole later), Andrew McGreevy’s Bright Ideas at the Pizza Shoppe, and boom at the Playhouse. That cast still has me pondering that play.

And if anyone is wondering why it’s Ben Beck as the doomsday kid  instead of Bill Grennan, who was originally cast, Ben stepped in seamlessly when Bill took an acting job in Florida. He plays the same character in Wit that Beck once played at the Blue Barn.

The Playhouse drew a nice turnout for the usual one-night stand of the 21 & Over Series for a different sort of end-of-the-world story, A Bright New Boise. Novice director Beth Thompson got appealing performances from a strong cast, none stronger than Noah Diaz or funnier than Daena Schweiger.

It also left me pondering. Do those who literally believe in the Rapture really stand in parking lots pleading, “Now. Now. Now.” If so, do they fear bumping against the roof if they're taken up while indoors?

 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

 

posted at 04:27 pm
on Sunday, October 28th, 2012

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