CHRISTMAS BELLES | "It's Christmas time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters are not exactly in a festive mood. A cranky Frankie is weeks overdue with her second set of twins. Twink, recently jilted and bitter about it, is in jail for inadvertently burning down half the town. And hot-flash-suffering Honey Raye is desperately trying to keep the Tabernacle of the Lamb's Christmas program from spiraling into chaos." That's the set-up for this holiday heartwarmer penned by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten and presented jointly by Company One and Phoenix Theatre Artists. Phoenix Theatre's Greg Maraio directs. | Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Comm Ave, Boston | 866.811.4111 | Through December 19 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25; $20 students, seniors

A CHRISTMAS CAROL | Stoneham Theatre re-enters the Charles-Dickens-holiday-classic lists with this version adapted and directed by Diego Arciniegas, with Nigel Gore as Scrooge, Gabriel Kuttner as Bob Cratchit, Michael Sticca as Tiny Tim, Leigh Barrett as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Gerard Slattery as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Suzanne Nitter as Mrs. Cratchit. | Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main St, Stoneham | 781.279.2200 | Through December 27 | Curtain 7 pm Wed-Fri | 3 + 7 pm Sat | noon + 5 pm Sun | $44-$48; $40-$42 seniors; $20 students

A CHRISTMAS CAROL | Trinity Repertory Company's annual rendition of Dickens's holiday classic is down to one cast this year, with Timothy Crowe as Scrooge, Mauro Hantman as Bob Cratchit, Barbara Meek as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Fred Sullivan Jr. as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Joe Wilson Jr. as Marley, Rachael Warren as Fan, David Rudi Utter as young Scrooge, and Monica Willey as Belle. Birgitta Victorson directs. | Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, Rhode Island | 401.351.4242 | Through December 27 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Fri [Christmas Eve @ noon + 5 pm; no Christmas Day] | 2 + 7:30 pm Sat | noon + 5 pm Sun | $40-$65; children ages 2-14 $10

A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL CELEBRATION | For her new play — which debuted last season at Long Wharf Theatre and is now receiving a second production by the Huntington Theatre Company — Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel headed into the library to mix, match, and set to period music snippets of history involving persons of every hue and religion, icons and unknowns, Unionists and Confederates, all swirling around the vortex of Christmas Eve 1864, when the Lincolns were passing their last Yule in the White House, the Civil War was winding down, and the plot against the president was cranking up. The resultant melody-enriched pageant — meant to promote community and to wish us all "gladness of heart" and impending peace — may represent a noble aim (not to mention a seasonal alternative to A Christmas Carol). But it makes for paint-by-numbers theater. Fortunately, emotional heart is supplied by almost continuous music that ranges from traditional carols to Civil War–era ballads to African-American spirituals. Jacqui Parker brings a stoic humanity to grieving White House seamstress Elizabeth Keckley and a haunting power to "There is a Balm in Gilead"; Karen MacDonald is a lively, anxious Mrs. Lincoln, and Ken Cheeseman, though a lightweight Lincoln, makes a lovably reluctant horse, switching between stovepipe and bushy tail so fast, you half expect him to gallop away on himself. | Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston | Through December 13 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $30-$82.50

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