All the world's a holiday stage

  • by Richard Dodds
  • Tuesday December 6, 2016
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Randy Harrison (center) is guest starring with the<br>Skivvies in <i>Holiday Roadkill</i> at ACT's<br>Strand Theatre later this month. Photo: Courtesy the Skivvies
Randy Harrison (center) is guest starring with the
Skivvies in Holiday Roadkill at ACT's
Strand Theatre later this month. Photo: Courtesy the Skivvies

Without our holiday traditions, we'd be as shaky as a little drummer boy on the roof. We have those seasonal theatrical traditions, and some new entries that may cause that kid to wobble a bit. Perhaps a show that mashes up "We Got the Beat" and "Little Drummer Boy" by a cast that could be costumed by Fruit of the Loom. Or a fantasy in which Queen Elizabeth I pops into the future on a Christmas Eve to see how Ole London Towne is faring 400 years after her reign. Here is a sampling from the dizzying ways the region stuffs our stockings.

 

Underwear unleashed

The Skivvies are an in-crowd New York favorite, performing their scantily attired comedy-pop cabaret shows in all the smart places. The creation of musician-performers Lauren Molina and Nick Cearly, who favor underused instruments and unexpected song lists, the Skivvies are headed to San Francisco with their show Holiday Roadkill. They'll be at ACT's Strand Theater on Dec. 22-23 with Randy Harrison (TV's Queer as Folk, the tour of Cabaret ) as guest star. Call (415) 749-2228 or go to act-sf.org.

 

Paradise found

Clive Barker is a man of many talents. He's directed a series of horror films starting with Hellraiser, produced Gods and Monsters, written scores of novels and short stories, and has had art in galleries around the world. What he's least known for are his plays, originally seen by tiny fringe audiences, and only now are they becoming available as producible texts. Exit Theatre is presenting the American premiere of Paradise Street, running through Dec. 17, and this is the holiday show about the time-traveling Virgin Queen. It's actually about much more than that, but we'll let Exit Theatre do the heavy lifting with its try at a synopsis: "Paradise Street is a lot like A Midsummer Night's Dream crossed with A Christmas Carol crossed with a Blackadder episode crossed with Look Back in Anger ." Tickets at theexit.org.

 

The snow must go on

And now for something completely traditional. The stage musical based on the movie White Christmas is returning to SF, this time to the Golden Gate Theatre on Dec. 14-24 after past runs at the Curran and the Orpheum. Adapted from the 1954 movie, with additional Irving Berlin songs added, it's the tale of a couple of soldiers-turned-showmen who enlist fellow vets to help their former commanding officer rescue his snow-deprived Vermont inn by putting on a show. And then it snows " on stage and, in a Christmas miracle, on the audience as well. Tickets at (888) 746-1799 or shnsf.com.

 

Golden memories

The gift of fruitcakes may have waned, but not so the annual arrival of The Golden Girls for the Yuletide. San Francisco's drag interpretations of the 1980s sitcom began in 2006, and two new holiday-infused episodes are on stage at the Victoria Theatre through Dec. 23. Longtime cast veterans Heklina and Matthew Martin are back as Dorothy and Blanche, while D'Arcy Drollinger and Holotta Tymes as Rose and Sophia are in their second season with the show. Tickets at goldengirlssf.com.

 

The ghost of Jacob Marley (Ryan Drummond) returns to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge (Jason Graae) as 42nd Street Moon brings back the musical Scrooge in Love. Photo: David Allen

Please, sir, I want some more

No, not more gruel for Oliver Twist, but more Scrooge for 42nd Street Moon. Last year, the troupe offered the world premiere of Scrooge in Love!, and the musical sequel to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was such a success that it's back in a larger venue. Performances at Marines' Memorial Theatre continue through Dec. 24, and stage and cabaret veteran Jason Graae again stars as the mellower Scrooge whose heart still needs some warming. The music is by Larry Grossman, whose Broadway songwriting credits include Minnie's Boys, Goodtime Charley, and A Doll's Life, with lyrics by Kellen Blair and a book by Duane Poole. Tickets at (415) 255-8207 or 42ndstmoon.org.

 

Veteran comedian Elayne Boosler headlines the 24th annual holiday offering of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, which serves jokes with Chinese food. Photo: Courtesy NBC-TV

Egg rolls & mirth

The informal tradition of Jewish families eating Chinese on Christmas Day has been turned into something of a San Francisco institution as Kung Pao Kosher Comedy returns for its 24th year of serving up Jewish comedians along with Chinese victuals. Headliner Elayne Boosler has been a television and comedy club staple for more than 40 years, and she'll be joined by gay New York comic Eddie Sarfaty and standup newcomer Alex Edelman. And as always, creator, producer, and emcee Lisa Geduldig will oversee the proceedings at the New Asia Restaurant, where cocktail and dinner shows are on the menu Dec. 23-25. Tickets are at (925) 743-1282 or koshercomedy.com.

 

Back on the avenue

Not all theatrical holiday traditions have anything to do with the holidays. New Conservatory Theatre Center seems to have found its variation on annual stagings of A Christmas Carol as the puppet-friendly musical Avenue Q returns for its fourth year. The grownup variation on Sesame Street, which won the Tony Award for best musical in 2004, is this time operating with two casts performing on alternate nights through Jan. 15. Tickets at (415) 861-8972 or nctcsf.org.