At Christmastime, Triangle theater-goers can rekindle their Christmas spirit by attending a number of home-grown holiday extravaganzas, such as A Christmas Carol (Theatre in the Park, Dec. 10-18); Cinderella (Raleigh Little Theatre, Dec. 6-15) and A Little Christmas Spirit (Triangle Church, Dec. 11-15). The shows still running include:
A Christmas Carol (Theatre in the Park, Dec. 10-18 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, NC) is TIP executive and artistic director Ira David Wood III's marvelous madcap musical based on English novelist Charles Dickens' 1843 ghost story. Selected last year as one of Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events for December, A Christmas Carol is back for its 28th consecutive year, bigger and better than ever, with refurbished sets and props by Steve Larson. For many Triangle families, Christmas just isn't Christmas without a trip to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium to see David Wood play that malicious old skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge. For more information, see http://theatreinthepark.com/acc/ACCplay.htm. For tickets, call 919/834-4000 or 919/831-6058.
Cotton Patch Gospel (Temple Theatre, Dec. 13-22 at 120 Carthage St., Sanford, NC) is Tom Key and Russell Treyz's delightful Off-Broadway musical, which rewrites the Gospels of Matthew and John in the folksy "cotton-patch"-gospel style created in the 1940s by theologian Dr. Clarence Jordan to make the Bible more relevant to his down-home contemporaries. Thus, the birth of Christ takes place in Gainesville, Georgia, and Jesus grows up in Valdosta and eventually settles in Atlanta, where he clashes with a Georgia governor named Herod. Cotton Patch Gospel features a top-tapping bluegrass score by the late Harry Chapin, the singer/songwriter of "Taxi" and "The Cat's in the Cradle." Sanford native Franklin Golden will narrate the story and personally portray more than two dozen characters. Four North Carolina musicians — John Boulding (banjo and dobro), Charles Pettee (mandolin and guitar), Jonathan Byrd (guitar and bass) and Adael Shinn (bass) — will provide animated acoustic bluegrass accompaniment. For more information, see http://www.wave-net.net/templetheatre/Productions/Current_Production/current_production.html. For tickets, call 919/774-4155 or 919/774-4512.
A Christmas Memory (Theatre in the Park, Dec. 20-22) is a brilliant change-of-pace performance by David Wood, whose outrageous antics as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol have children of all ages rolling in the aisles at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium each December. For the past 24 years, Wood has doffed his gay apparel as Charles Dickens misanthropic miser and slipped into the skin of legendary American novelist and world-class gossip Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) to perform this poignant dramatization of key episodes from Capote's lonely childhood living among distant, elderly cousins in a small rural Alabama town. David Wood's heartwarming stage adaptation of A Christmas Memory vividly recalls the comic misadventures of eight-year-old Truman Capote and his 60ish simple-minded female cousin, Miss Sook Faulk, as they annually gathered ingredients for her famous fruitcakes. Don't miss this wonderful one-man show, which runs about one hour. Hot cider, fruitcake, and Christmas cookies will be served before each performance. For more information, see http://theatreinthepark.com/independents/xmasmemory.htm [inactive 3/04]. For tickets, call 919/831-6058.