A Christmas Carol at Ahmanson Theatre (Photo Joan Marcus)


  • Photo By JOAN MARCUS

Think you’ve seen Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol presented in every style possible? Think again! Two visionary Tony Award winners — playwright Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and director Matthew Warchus (Matilda) — have created a magical new interpretation of the beloved, timeless story. Now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre through January 1, this Tony Award-winning production (five nominations, five wins!) stars three-time Emmy Award-winner Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s TaleThe West WingGet OutThe Post) as Ebenezer Scrooge; Tony and Emmy Award-nominee Kate Burton as Ghost of Christmas Past; and Grammy, SAG, Critics Choice, and Hollywood Critics Association Award-nominee Alex Newell as Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig.

This New York Times Critics’ Pick welcomes theatregoers of all ages into an immersive experience that is brimming with Christmas spirit. Of the Broadway production, The Hollywood Reporter raved, “An enchanting spectacle designed to enrapture all ages with a sense of childlike wonder and delight.”  We are talking dazzling staging, moving storytelling, and 12 cherished Christmas carols, including Joy to the World, Silent Night, and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear! Said Entertainment Weekly, “It is so infectious you’ll leave the theatre with a heart full of joy and light!” I’d say we can all use a little of thatright now! And just because I can, I’m giving a shout-out to two other cast members who happen to be friends of mine — Alex Nee and Brett Ryback!

To purchase tickets, click here.

Love Actually Live at The Wallis (Photo The Wallis)

Love Actually Live

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of The Wallis

Love Actually Live– a multimedia concert celebration of the beloved holiday film – returns to the The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills this month and it’s clearly the newest ‘feel good’ holiday tradition. 

The award-winning production brings together an all-star cast of singers and dancers as they recreate some of the most iconic scenes and musical numbers (accompanied by a 15-piece orchestra) while the iconic 2003 film plays on screens that move about throughout the stage.  The audience is swept into the actual London setting using state-of-the-art staging and video design that seamlessly intertwines video and live action.  You’ll find yourself singing along to the film’s most popular songs including “Christmas is All Around,” “All Alone on Christmas,” “The Trouble With Love Is,” and “Both Sides Now.”  RIAA Gold® recording artist Rex Smith returns for the third year in the role of Billy Mack (originally played by Bill Nighy in the movie).

Love Actually Live provides the opportunity to celebrate together, in person, with the people we love in a year when it’s needed the most,” said The Wallis’ Artistic Direct Paul Crewes.  The Los Angeles Times called it a “superbly mounted musical” and Entertainment Weekly raved, it’s “Pitch Perfect!”

It’s simply a not-to-be-missed holiday feast for the eyes and ears.  Get your tickets early – it runs through December 31.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum Holiday Family Faire December 11

Holiday Family Faire

  • By Arlene Winnick

One of my favorite seasonal happenings is the Holiday Family Faire at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga.  I usually go there to see Shakespeare and other dramas presented in their iconic outdoor amphitheater, but on December 11 all will be transformed with fun activities, singers, performers, an artisan market, storytelling…and a remarkable musical presentation of Harry Nilsson’s “The Point’ performed by his son, Kiefo.

In 1970 American songwriter and musician release Harry Nilsson released “The Point,” a top-selling album with a particular message.  In the story young Oblio is the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village where by law everyone and everything must have a point.  So relevant today, Oblio must learn how to deal with obstacles, contend with bullies and celebrate our differences. The presentation by Nilsson’s son, an accomplished musician, and narrated by actor John C. Reilly with be accompanied by 14-piece band. Trivia note: Nilsson’s infamous Gotta Get Up was recently featured on the popular TV show, “Russian Doll.”

The Holiday Family Faire features aerialist acts by cirque performer Lexi Pearl, roaming carolers, singing madrigals and winter holiday storytellers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza traditions. And, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there for photos. For gift shoppers, there is an artisan marketplace with lots of interesting and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and crafts plus a variety of festive food and drink will be available.

For details, click here.

Alley of Misfits

  • By Ken Werther
  • Photo By Matthew Wayne Roberts

This past June, when it looked like we might be on the other side of covid, Loft Ensemble in North Hollywood staged a couple of special events with live audiences. When the delta variant hit, Loft presented (with new covid protocols in place — proof of vaccination and wearing a mask while indoors) — the first production of its ninth anniversary season, the world premiere of The Calorie Counters by Molly Wagner. The play is a tumultuous, comedic journey through self-discovery and the pitfalls of equating self-worth with one’s weight and physique. Directed by Danielle Ozymandias and featuring Tor Brown, Madylin Sweeten Durrie, Carlos Gomez, Jr., Matt Lorenzo, Natasha Renae Potts, and Matthew J. Tucker, the production was very well received by the critics and public alike.

On November 13, Loft opened Alley of Misfits, a world premiere drama by company member Barbera Ann Howard and her writing partner Marjorie Lewit. It takes place in a lonely New York alley, where Ruby and Pearl wait overnight to be the first in line for a free Thanksgiving dinner. Throughout the night they navigate disagreements, a lonely Build a Bear employee, a recovering drug addict, two wasted party girls, and two seemingly sentient stuffed animals. The talented cast includes playwright Howard along with Biniyam Abreha, Ben Anderson, Bahasi Chapman, Jennifer DeRosa, Gillo Giustolisi, Judy Marcelline, Matthew Monaco, Hayley O’Toole, Austin Rapp, and Sarah Siverson. The engagement runs through December 19. Don’t miss it!

To purchase tickets, click here.