Play by Play: December 12, 2009

Plays from A to Z
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 9, 2009

OPENING

A CHRISTMAS CELTIC SOJOURN WITH BRIAN O'DONOVAN | The host of WGBH's Celtic radio favorite is back with this popular holiday show, which this year features Karine Polwart (formerly of the Battlefield Band), Christy O'Leary (formerly of Boys of the Lough), fiddlers Liz Carroll and John Doyle, and the Harney Academy of Irish Dance. Paula Plum (formerly of Reckless — Maureen Keiller is replacing her for the last week of that show) is the artistic director, Solas founding member Seamus Egan is the musical director, and Kieran Jordan is the dance director. | Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont St, Boston |www.maj.org| December 13-20 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm [December 13] or 1 + 5 pm [December 20] Sun | $25-$75

THE CHRISTMAS REVELS | Revels' annual celebration of the shortest day this year draws on "the rich and abundant folk traditions of North America," with musical contributions "from Appalachia, from the African-American South, from the pastoral Shaker communities, and from our own New England." The performers will include traditional singer and clogger Suzannah Park, David Coffin (celebrating his 30 years on the Revels stage), gospel singer Janice Allen, Native American flute player Leon Joseph Littlebird, actress Bobbie Steinbach, the Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble, the Smoky Mountain Dancers, the Pinewoods Morris Men, the Roaring Gap Chorus, and the Rocky River Children. | Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge | 617.496.2222 | December 11-27 | Curtain 7:30 pm Mon [December 21] | 3 + 7:30 pm Wed [December 23] | 7:30 pm Thurs [December 17] + Fri [no Christmas Day] | 3 + 7:30 pm Sat | 1 + 5:30 pm [no evening December 27] Sun | $25-$52; $15-$42 children under 12

THE SANTALAND DIARIES | New Repertory Theatre reprises its Downstage @ New Rep dose of anti-holiday cheer: Joe Mantello's stage adaptation of David Sedaris's delightfully sour account of his servitude as Crumpet the Elf, a toiler at Macy's Santaland. Gary Littman makes his Crumpet debut; Christopher Webb directs. | Arsenal Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 | December 16–January 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Wed [7 pm after Christmas] | 3 + 7 pm [December 31] or 4 pm [December 24] or 7:30 pm [December 19] Thurs | 3 + 7 pm [January 1] or 8:30 pm [December 18] Fri | 4:30 [no January 2] + 8:30 pm Sat | 3 + 7 pm [no evening January 3] Sun | $30

THE SLUTCRACKER | Vanessa White, former ballerina and current head of the Babes in Boinkland burlesque troupe, is back with her take on the holiday classic, which she debuted at the Somerville Theatre last year. Clara, White explains, "is now a young woman; Fritz is her boyfriend, not her brother, and they're a young, pretty vanilla couple. They hold a Christmas party." Fritz is in fact planning to ask Clara to marry him, but then Councilor Drosselmeyer arrives — recast as an aunt in her 80s — and takes from her handbag not a nutcracker but a giant pink vibrator that, later, will become the Slutcracker Prince. And Fritz's rival. White, whose stage name is Sugar Dish, plays the Sugar Dish Fairy. | Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville |www.theslutcracker.com| December 10-20 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | 2 + 8 pm Sun | 18+ | $20 advance; $25 doors

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