The greater Sacramento area is a great place for theater goers, with no less than 20 plays running at any given moment. While many theaters close their doors for the next couple of weeks to celebrate Christmas and New Years, there are several presenting family-friendly holiday productions right up to and beyond Christmas Eve.
For first-timers, stepping away from the TV and out of your comfort zone to see a play, concert or other live event can be intimidating. Chances are if you’ve never been to a play before, you probably have at least one friend who’d be happy go come with. If you have a family, bring the kids — they’ll love it, even if you have to drag them kicking and screaming to get them there. You’ll almost definitely be hooked.
The following theaters and other venues are keeping their door open to celebrate the holidays doing what they do best.
Sutter Street Theatre
717 Sutter St., Folsom
(916) 353-1001; sutterstreettheatre.com
Folsom’s premier dramatic venue has always emphasized quality over quantity. But this season the intimate theatre-in-the-round has plenty of entertainment to go around, having brought three separate holiday productions to the stage.
“Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings”
In 1990, playwright Stuart Ross reintroduced the world to the sounds of men’s close-harmony pop music, popularized in the 1950s by groups like The Four Tops and The Four Freshmen, with his slightly campy supernatural play “Forever Plaid.” The play told the story of four young men killed in a bus accident on their way to a gig. They’re offered a second chance a stardom in the afterlife.
Recently Ross revisited the theme again to create a Christmas version of the play. “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” brings the group back to perform a holiday show at the beckoning of the immortal Rosemary Clooney.
Sutter Street’s version of the play originated at Roseville’s Civic Theatre West, which closed unexpectedly last month. Sutter Street opened its doors to the stranded cast and crew of the play and like the characters in “Forever Plaid,” they found themselves with a second chance at success.
“Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” ends its regular run Dec. 19, but a special encore weekend presentation will be held Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. See the website or call for details.
“Holiday in the HIlls”
Sutter Street managing director Mike Jimena’s original production has become a holiday standard in Folsom, featuring an entire cast of characters who actually lived in Folsom during the play’s setting in the late 1880s. Next week will include daily performances through Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
Tickets for “Holiday in the Hills” are $23 for general admission, $21 for seniors and SARTA members, $18 for students and $15 for children 12 and younger.
“The Quiltmaker’s Gift”
Now showing as part of Sutter Street’s Young People’s Series, “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” is a charming musical that’s both kid-friendly and funny enough for adults to tag along. It’s not a Christmas story, but rather a tale of selflessness and compassion in keeping with the spirit of the season. The show runs through Dec. 29.
5235 Engle Road, Suite 110, Carmichael
The musical adaptation of Dickens’ classic will run daily through Dec.23 at 7 p.m. This year marks the 31st that playwright Rodger Hoopman will perform the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, having debuted at the Golden Bear Playhouse at Cal Expo in 1978.
The production includes an original score of 12 songs by Hoopman and local composer Rob Knable. Tickets are $8-16 and available online at cplayhouse.org.
Odds and Ends
Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento
Not feeling totally traditional this year? Catch an evening of intimate, original music at the beatnik-vibed Sacramento café and juice bar. Performers include Kevin and Allyson Seconds, Kepi Ghoulie, David Houston and Anton Barbeau. Call (916) 441-3931 for more information or visit lunascafe.com.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze is an original new musical extravaganza filled with spectacle, imagination and whimsical dreams. Ornaments come to life as costumed characters perform astonishing, acrobatic feats that celebrate the holiday season and showcase talent and skill on every imaginable level. An international cast of acrobats, aerialists, singers, dancers and musicians fill this Cirque Dream on stage. The show runs from Dec. 29 through Jan. 2. Call (916) 808-5181 for more ticketing information.