25 reasons to go to San Diego theaters this holiday season


San Diego-area theaters may be serving up Scrooge x 2 this season, as both Old Town’s Cygnet and Escondido’s Welk host old Eb and his infernal humbugs. But in other ways this seems a notably untraditional holiday on area stages, with less yuletide-y shows such as “The Secret Garden” and “Into the Woods” hitting local stages.

Meanwhile, one long-running production with “tradition” in its name is sitting this one out: Christian Community Theatre’s sprawling “Traditions of Christmas,” taking a hiatus for lack of a large enough venue.

With that in mind, here’s our (traditional) look at what’s now running or headed our way for the holidays:

“The Season of Love”

This world-premiere piece by the San Diego-based playwright James Caputo tells four very different stories of love at the holidays. Through Dec. 10. Scripps Ranch Theatre, 9783 Avenue of Nations, San Diego. (858) 578-7728,

“The Secret Garden”

Rosina Reynolds directs a large-scale staging of the musical favorite about an orphan who brings new life — and a bit of magic — to a dreary English estate. Through Dec. 24. New Village Arts Theatre, 2787 State St., Carlsbad. (760) 433-3245,

“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

The Mean, Green One returns to the Old Globe for a landmark 20th year with this splashy, family-minded musical take on the Dr. Seuss tale. Through Dec. 24. Old Globe Theatre’s Shiley Stage Balboa Park. (619) 234-5623,

“Elf Jr. The Musical”

The movie-based show about a regular guy raised as a North Pole elf gets the youth-theater treatment. Through Dec. 17. OB Playhouse, 4944 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. (619) 795-9305,

“Making God Laugh”

Sean Grennan’s gentle comedy follows the events and surprises in an American family’s lives over a 30-year span of holidays. Through Dec. 17. PowPAC, 13250 Poway Road, Poway. (858) 679-8085,

“A Christmas Carol”

The Welk goes the musical route with this adaptation, which boasts a score by the Broadway and Hollywood heavyweights Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens. Through Dec. 31. Welk Resort Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido. (888) 802-7469,


A mysterious — and witty — visitor changes the lives of a Pittsburgh family with a developmentally disabled son in Tom Dudzick’s holiday-minded comedy. Through Dec. 17. Patio Playhouse, 116 S. Kalmia St., Escondido. (760) 746-6669,

“Sister Robert Anne’s Cabaret Class”

Playwright Dan Goggins of “Nunsense” fame repurposes a key character from that comedy for her own song-filled show. Through Dec. 9. OnStage Playhouse, 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. (619) 422-7787,

“Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play”

San Diego Musical Theatre brings back its well-received musical adaptation of the Christmas fable about a girl who insists a department-store Santa is the real deal. Nov. 24 to Dec. 24. San Diego Musical Theatre at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. (858) 560-5740,

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”

The darkly funny — and definitely adult — yuletide comedy explores the shadier side of Santa’s sleigh team. Nov. 25 to Dec. 17. OB Playhouse, 4944 Newport Ave., San Diego. (619) 795-9305,

“A Christmas Carol”

That old cheapskate Ebenezer Scrooge has been buffing up his “Bah, humbug!” for a full year; now he returns in Cygnet’s richly Victorian, music-filled revival. Nov. 29 to Dec. 24. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town. (619) 337-1525,

“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”

Playgoers get to make like a broadcast audience in this radio-style adaptation of the holiday favorite about hard-luck George Bailey and his trusty angel, Clarence. Dec. 1-3 and 8-10. Westminster Theatre, 3598 Talbot St., Point Loma. (619) 224-6263,

“Festival of Christmas”

The longtime Lamb’s holiday tradition gets a brand-new script from resident playwright Kerry Meads: “A Fargo Christmas,” which promises plenty of music. Dec. 1-30. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. (619) 437-6000 or

“Into the Woods”

The young, ambitious company revives the Stephen Sondheim-composed riff on fairy tales — born at the Old Globe 31 years ago. Dec. 1-17. Sapphire Theatre Co. at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 10th Ave., downtown. (619) 384-4781,

“A Christmas Cabaret”

Lamplighters lights up the holidays with a lineup of local talent performing favorite songs of the season. Dec. 1-17. Lamplighters Community Theatre, 5915 Severin Drive, La Mesa. (619) 303-5092,

“Black Nativity: A Soulful Celebration”

Common Ground brings back its musical adaptation of the Langston Hughes play, with plenty of dance, gospel and storytelling. Dec. 2-18. Common Ground Theatre at the Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean View Blvd., Mountain View. (619) 272-3209,

“La Pastorela de los Alacranes”

After a year off, Teatro Mascara Magica’s funny and topical twist on the biblical story of Michael and the archangels returns; look for satirical takes on Trump, the DACA drama and more. Dec. 7-17. Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown. (619) 544-1000,

“Dickens Unscripted”

The “Christmas Carol” author gets the improv treatment in this freewheeling, full-length show from L.A.’s Impro Theatre. Dec. 8-10. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055,

“An American Christmas: A 1917 Feast & Celebration!”

The holidays will be grand at the Grant again as Lamb’s rolls out its sumptuous feast-and-theater ode to Christmas in San Diego a century ago. Dec. 14-24. Lamb’s Players Theatre at the U.S. Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, downtown. (619) 437-6000,

“La Posada Magica”

A young girl and her neighborhood pals encounter memorable characters in this music-filled seasonal show for the whole family. Dec. 15-17. Hispanic Arts Theatre at the Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado. (619) 335-7566,

“From Berlin to Brooks: Celebrating Broadway! (Holiday Edition)”

The musical ode to some of America’s favorite Jewish songwriters — including “White Christmas” composer Irving Berlin — takes the NCRT stage for a short run. Dec. 16-17. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055,

“Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin”

The playwright-actor-musician Felder, a master at illuminating the lives of top composers, returns to town with this moving musical tour through Berlin’s life and work. Dec. 20 to Jan. 7. San Diego Rep’s Lyceum Stage, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown. (619) 544-1000 or

“Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of The Magi’s Gold”

Billed as “CSI Bethlehem,” the comedy has the inquisitive sister probing the case of a famous biblical treasure. Dec. 20-24. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. (858) 481-1055,

“Peter Pan and Tinker Bell — A Pirates Christmas”

The Lythgoe Family Panto (styled after a British theater tradition) returns to town with a new show whose stars include Ashley Argota (of ABC Family’s “The Fosters”), Riley Costello (NBC’s “Hairspray Live!”), Clarice Ordaz (FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance”) and Audrey Whitby (Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans”). Dec. 21-31. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Avenue, downtown. (619) 570-1100,

“Kwanzaa Time”

Jennie Hamilton directs young student actors in this play exploring the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday celebration. Dec. 29-31. Community Actors Theatre, 2957 54th St., Oak Park. (619) 581-2634,

Twitter: @jimhebert