Play by play: December 25, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 23, 2009

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS | The American Repertory Theater makes its first Loeb Drama Center appearance of the season with this holiday musical with book and lyrics by Randy Weiner and music by Obie winner Diedre Murray. Part of new ART artistic director Diane Paulus's "Shakespeare" season, it got a thumbs-up from the New York Times "This rousing musical has taken the plot from The Winter's Tale, tossed out anything resembling Shakespearean language, and achieved a hypnotic effect with musical numbers that leave the audience whooping" — so never mind that the language is the best part of any Shakespeare play and just enjoy the R&B and gospel treats, which are legion. The cast includes Gregg Baker, Mary Bond Davis, and Jeanette Bayardelle; Paulus herself directs. | Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | Through January 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Wed | 2 + 7:30 pm [New Year's Eve] Thurs | 8 pm [January 1] Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm [no evening January 3] Sun | $25-$75; $15-$65 seniors; $20 student rush

A CHRISTMAS CAROL | New Repertory Theatre serves its fifth annual production of the Rick Lombardo adaptation, with Steve Barkhimer directing this year and Paul D. Farwell back as the skinflint who sees the light. In this one, the actors accompany themselves on musical instruments, ghosts take flight, and Watertown Children's Theatre provides the young 'uns. | Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 | Through December 27 | Curtain 3 pm Thurs | 8 pm Sat | 1 + 6 pm Sun | $35-$54; $28-$47 seniors; $9-$14 children 12 and under

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 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 noon + 5 pm Thurs | 2 + 7:30 pm Sat | noon + 5 pm Sun | $40-$65; children ages 2-14 $10

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