11 holiday theater shows to celebrate the season

Luke Monday, left,and Brian Mackey in Lamb's Players Theatre's "A Christmas Carol."
Luke Monday, left, and Brian Mackey in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.”
(Courtesy of Lamb’s Players)

There are musicals, plays and even a darker twist on a Christmas classic on San Diego County stages this month


There’s a stockingful of Christmas and other holiday shows being presented this month around San Diego. Here’s a roundup of shows in alphabetical order.

‘A Christmas Carol’

Sean Murray as Ebenezer Scrooge in Cygnet Theatre's 2022 production of "A Christmas Carol."
(Courtesy of Karli Cadel)

Cygnet Theatre presents its 11th annual production of Charles Dickens’ redemptive holiday tale. At the end of last year’s production, Cygnet’s longtime Scrooge actor, Tom Stephenson, retired, so Cygnet’s artistic director Sean Murray is taking over the role this year. This version was adapted for the stage and directed by Murray, with lyrics by Murray and original music by Billy Thompson. It features sing-along Christmas carols, puppetry and special effects. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 24. Cygnet’s Old Town Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town San Diego. $30 and up. (619) 337-1525.


The national touring production of "Annie," playing Dec. 28- Jan. 1 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
Ellie Pulsifer as Annie and Christopher Swan as Daddy Warbucks in the national touring production of “Annie,” playing Dec. 28 through Jan. 1 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
(Courtesy of MurphyMade)

Broadway San Diego presents the national touring production of this classic 1976 holiday musical about an irrepressible Depression-era orphan who wishes for a family for Christmas. 7 p.m. Dec. 28. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31. 1 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 1. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego. $30.50 and up.

‘Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’

The Grinch and Young Maxi in the Old Globe's "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" in 2021.
Andrew Polec as The Grinch and Tommy Martinez as Young Max in the Old Globe’s “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in 2021.
(Courtesy of Rich Soublet II)

Now in its 25th year, this storybook-come-to-life musical is based on a 1957 children’s book by the late La Jolla author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and the 1966 animated TV version of the book. Showtimes vary, but mostly Tuesdays-Fridays and multiple shows on weekend days. Through Dec. 31. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $59-$89. (619) 234-5623.

‘Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show’

The Old Globe's "Ebenezer Scrooge's BIG San Diego Christmas Show"
George Abud, left, Jacque Wilke, Orville Mendoza, Bill Buell and Cathryn Wake in The Old Globe’s “Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.”
(Jim Cox)

The Old Globe brings back its fast-paced comedic take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which was first presented at the Globe in 2019. Written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, it’s an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Victorian novella about miserly Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas morning redemption, re-set in San Diego with music, comedy and all of the time-traveling ghosts and other characters for which the story is known. 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Dec. 24. Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $34-$85. (619) 234-5623.

Festival of Christmas: ‘A Christmas Carol’

A scene from Lamb's Players Theatre's Festival of Christmas show "A Christmas Carol."
(Courtesy of Lamb’s Players Theatre)

Lamb’s Players Theatre carries on its tradition of presenting original holiday plays by associate artistic director Kerry Meads. This year’s Festival of Christmas production, first produced as a touring show in the 1980s and revised for new, larger-cast staging last year, is a 90-minute adaptation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Through Dec. 24. 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. $43-$86. (619) 437-6000.

‘The Gifts of the Magi’

Lamplighters Community Theatre presents this musical adaptation of the O. Henry holiday story about an impoverished but devoted young couple who give up their most cherished possessions to buy one another Christmas presents. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. 5915 Severin Drive, La Mesa. $22-$28. (619) 303-5092.

‘It’s a Wonderful Vida’

"It's a Wonderful Vida" at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.
Hannah Trujillo, top left, Veronica Burgess and Javier Guerrero in “It’s a Wonderful Vida” at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.
(Courtesy of Daren Scott)

OnStage Playhouse presents San Diego playwright Herbert Siguenza’s dark satirical look at Mexican Americans working hard to assimilate during the 1957 Christmas season in Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s inspired by the holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Dec. 19-21. 2 p.m. Sunday. 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. $15-$25. (619) 422-7787.

‘La Pastorela: A Shepherd’s Play’

Timothy Evans as Satan in Teatro Mascara Magica's 2019 "La Pastorela: A Shepherd's Play."
Timothy Evans as Satan in Teatro Mascara Magica’s 2019 production of “La Pastorela: A Shepherd’s Play.”
(Courtesy of Teatro Mascara Magica)

Teatro Máscara Mágica is presenting its 33rd annual production of its Mexican-themed holiday Christmas play about the shepherds on their journey to see the Christmas child, but along the way, they become tempted by Satan. This year’s production is being presented in TMM’s new home theater. 7:30 p.m. today through Sunday and Dec. 20-23. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. El Salon Cultural Center, 114 W. Hall Ave. San Ysidro. Free parking is available at 137 Cypress Drive. $10-$20. Call (619) 987-5616.

‘1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas: The Concert Version’

The cast of New Village Arts' "1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas."
(New Village Arts)

Following its 2021 world premiere at New Village Arts, San Diego playwright Dea Hurston’s contemporary holiday musical returns this year in a “concert version” adaptation due to unexpected construction delays at the soon-to-reopen Carlsbad theater. Free performances will be presented Dec. 14 through 18 at community centers and churches countywide. Ticketed performances will be presented Dec. 20 through 24 at New Village Arts. The musical is the story of widowed family matriarch Dorothy Black, hosting a Christmas Eve celebration with her extended family when some unexpected family drama erupts. Dea Hurston New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. $23-$28. (760) 433-3245.

‘Plaid Tidings’

San Diego Musical Theatre's "Plaid Tidings" cast.
(Courtesy of Mark Anthony Holmes)

San Diego Musical Theatre presents this holiday edition of the popular doo-wop musical comedy “Forever Plaid.” In this version, the long-dead 1960s-era men’s vocal quartet, the Plaids, are resurrected for one night to give the holiday concert they never got to sing in life. 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays. 4 p.m. Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 24. SDMT Stage, 4650 Mercury St., San Diego. $40 and up. (858) 560-5740.

‘Prairie Lights’

Patio Playhouse Youth Theatre presents this tender holiday musical by Susan Lieberman, David Rush and Rosalie Gerut about a pair of Jewish teen siblings riding an orphan train to their new adoptive Jewish parents in 1905 Nebraska, just before Hanukkah and Christmas. 7 p.m. today and Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. Patio Playhouse, 116 S. Kalmia St., Escondido. $13-$17. (760) 746-6669.