Columbia’s small theaters do great shows year-round, and many offer holiday shows where performers deck the stages with bouts of laughter, tears and cheer that allow audiences to be merry.
Columbia area community theaters offer a variety of shows from classic to zany.
On the classic end is “A Christmas Carol” at Town Theatre.
“It kicks off the holidays with a production that embodies all the feelings of Christmas – family, friends and holiday spirit,” said Shannon Scruggs, Town Theatre’s executive director. It’s a classic Christmas story but will be performed in a nontraditional way, set to music written by the same people who wrote for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
“People may say they’ve seen ‘A Christmas Carol’ but they haven’t seen this ‘Christmas Carol,’ ” Scruggs said.
While “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” ranks on the opposite end of the classic scale, it is becoming somewhat of a tradition for many Trustus fans.
“The holidays are a time when we count our blessings and endeavor to find moments where we value our friends, family, and the good in each other,” said Chad Henderson, artistic director at Trustus. “Holiday programming is a great way to gather loved ones together and celebrate the gifts of our shared relationships – and boy, do we need these moments of positivity in modern America.
“Usually the messages we receive when attending holiday shows are focused on benevolence, charity, unity and love. Even Trustus Theatre’s wildly bawdy production of ‘The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical’ posits these themes.”
Several Christmas plays will be performed at community theaters in coming weeks. Here is a sampling.
‘A Christmas Carol’
The beloved Christmas story of Ebenezer Scrooge is performed on stage at Town Theatre, with music that makes it “energizing and refreshing.” Scrooge is a prosperous curmudgeon who believes personal wealth is far more valuable than the happiness and comfort of others. He’s forced to face his selfish ways when the ghosts of Christmas reveal his Past, Present and Future. Buy tickets online at www.towntheatre.com/a-christmas-carol-the-musical.
Various dates and times from Friday, Dec. 2-Sunday, Dec. 18 at Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St. $25 for adults; $20 for seniors (ages 65 and older), college students, active duty military; $15 for youth (ages 17 and under). www.towntheatre.com
‘Heck the Dolls with Chardonnay’
“Heck the Dolls with Chardonnay” is the story of Sue, a bored and lonely resident of Aged Oaks Retirement Home. When Sue is visited by Emma, her teen-age granddaughter, Sue takes Emma and the audience on a raucous trip down memory lane as she recalls the holidays of her past. The audience quickly discovers that Sue and her old best friend Becky were the Lucy and Ethel of their days.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 at Chapin Theatre Company, Firehouse Theatre, 102 Lexington Ave, Chapin. Advance tickets $12; at the door, $15 for adults and $14 for seniors and youth. www.chapintheatre.org
‘The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical’
It’s holiday time down in Armadillo Acres (North Florida’s premier mobile-living community), and everyone’s filled with warmth and beer.This companion to the original “Great American Trailer Park Musical” is just as much of a cat-fightin’, sun-worshippin’, chair-throwin’ good time – but with tinsel and Keg Nog.
Various dates and times from Friday, Dec. 2-Saturday, Dec. 17 at Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St. $25-$35. www.trustus.org
‘A Misfit Christmas: An Original Christmas Variety Show’
Get into the holiday spirit with this original variety show.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16-Saturday, Dec. 17; 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17-Sunday, Dec. 8 at Village Square Theatre, 105 Caughman Ave., Lexington. $12 for adults, $10 for students. www.villagesquaretheatre.com
‘Santa’s Christmas Party’
Santa’s head elf, Spangler, decides to throw Santa a holiday surprise party in celebration of the season. But Santa is on vacation and is nowhere to be found. This show has dancing snowmen, figure skating, and Jack Frost’s own puppet show within-a-puppet-show.
Various times, Saturday, Dec. 17; Monday, Dec. 19; and Saturday, Dec. 24 at Columbia Marionette Theatre, 401 Laurel St. $5. www.cmtpuppet.org