From the story of Santa Claus, to a performance by a former Miss America, to an evening with a visitor from another planet, there's lots of holiday entertainment filling area stages in the coming month.
Just about every local theater company has a holiday offering during December, and many are pulling out all the stops to entertain crowds as Christmas approaches.
"There's still a busy season going on in Cape May, with people coming to see all the lights and beautifully decorated houses, so it's possible for us to still put on a show," said Gayle Stahlhuth, artistic director of the East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May. "We have our show, Cape May Stage has their show and the (Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities) has the trolley tours. It's all part of the general mix of things to do in Cape May."
This year, East Lynne is staging the theatrical version of L. Frank Baum's "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus." The story, by the author best-known for "The Wizard of Oz," explains everything about Santa - from his childhood in the forest of Burzee to how he manages to deliver all his presents in one night.
East Lynne stages the show at
8:30 p.m. with Cape May tourists in mind. "This way people can take the MAC candlelight house tours and then come over and see a show," Stahlhuth said. To encourage families to attend, children younger than 12 get in for free.
Cape May Stage is marking the holiday season by staging the world premiere of a new version of "The Little Prince," by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
"This is, perhaps, one of the most exciting things we are doing," said Roy Steinberg, artistic director for Cape May Stage.
The production was conceived and directed by Scott Hitz and features life-sized puppets designed by Michael Schupbach, an Emmy-award winning designer who has worked on Broadway's "Avenue Q" and television's "Sesame Street" and "Bear in the Big Blue House."
On Long Beach Island, the Surflight Theatre also is counting on some star power to fill the seats for it's December show. The Surflight's "Holiday Spectacular" features a performance by Miss America 1981 Susan Powell. The show, loosely built around the story of a child who gets lost while Christmas shopping, celebrates Christmas traditions from around the world and through time.
In Ocean City, the Ocean City Theater Company also is bringing in some outside talent to spice up its holiday revue show, "A Christmas Wonderland 2010." The company went to New York earlier in the fall to hold auditions, hiring a total of eight actors to stage the show.
"This is our own little version of the Radio City Christmas show," said Artistic Director Michael Hartman. "We needed people who were triple threats - who could sing, dance and act. We found eight people who will come down and call Ocean City their home for the holidays."
This is the third year the company is staging a holiday event. Last year's show, however, was all but snowed out by a December storm. This year, Hartman is hoping for better luck.
"We are still recovering from (last year's snowed-out shows). So, even though we sing on stage about snow, we are hoping this year for no snow outside," he said.
Contact Steven V. Cronin:
Holiday shows on area stages
Cape May Stage
The Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Bank and Lafayette streets, Cape May
"The Little Prince," Nov. 26 to Dec. 30, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, $35, seniors $30, students $12.50.
The Surflight Theatre
Beach and Engleside avenues, Beach Haven
"The Surflight Holiday Spectacular," 2 p.m. Dec. 4,5,7,8,9,11,12,15,16,19 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3,4,10,11,17,18, Adults $30, children $20.
East Lynne Theater Company
The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St.
"The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus," 8:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 10, 11, Adults $23, students $13, children free
Ocean City Theatre Company
Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk 609-525-9248
"A Christmas Wonderland 2010," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18, 2 p.m. Dec. 19., $12, children $10
The Stockton Performing Arts Center
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway Township
"A Christmas Carol" by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, 7 p.m., Dec. 2,$40, $25, seniors $20, $35, children $10.
"Christmas in Ireland!" featuring Dan�, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, $40, $25, seniors $20, $35, children $10.
"Twas the Night Before Christmas," featuring The South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, all tickets $10.
"The Nutcracker," The Atlantic City Ballet, 7 p.m. Dec. 10, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 11, $20, $35, seniors $15, $30, children $10.
The Landis Theater
830 East Landis Ave., Vineland. 856-691-1121 or www.landistheater.com
"Scrooge," 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11; 3 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12. Tickets $25 and $20.
"Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16. Tickets $45, $35 and $25.