Holiday Music and More...
Rob Ruggiero, artistic director of TheaterWorks in Harford, has conceived and directed a new holiday show -- geared more for adults -- Christmas on the Rocks, Dec. 3 to 22. It's billed as "an offbeat collection of twisted holiday tales." In the press material, the play is described as on "Christmas Eve, in a rundown local bar unexpectedly, chance brings us face to face with a parade of beloved characters from favorite Christmas tales - only now they have all grown up! Tiny Tim, Charlie Brown, Cindy Lou Who and a host of other favorites pour out their Christmas woes." Playwrights Jeffery Hatcher, Jacques LaMarre, Matthew Lombardo, Theresa Rebeck and others have all written pieces of the show. For tickets call 860-527-7838 or visit www.theaterworkshartford.org.
Ireland is providing the inspiration for several holiday offerings. Ivoryton Playhouse's Executive Director Jackie Hubbard has written The Bells of Dublin which runs Dec. 12 to 22. It features two favorite performers: R. Bruce Connelly and Michael McDermott. On Christmas Eve in Dublin in Darby's pub, "a few stragglers remain sharing a glass of holiday cheer, wondering if this is the Christmas their dreams will come true." For tickets call 860-767-7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
Cherish the Ladies a well known Irish music group will present An Irish Christmas at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University on Dec. 7. For tickets call 203-371-7908 or visit www.edgertoncenter.org.
Christmas in Ireland: An Nollaig in Eirinn is at the Quick Center on the Fairfield University campus, Dec. 8. Danu, the acclaimed Irish ensemble of fiddle, flutes, button accordion, percussion and singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, is presenting the concert. For tickets call 203-254-4010 or visit www.quickcenter.com.
Among the familiar is Long Wharf's presentation of Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold, which returns to Stage II from Dec. 4 through 15. Part of the popular Late Nite Catechism series, " Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages -- whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? Employing her own scientific tools and assisted by local choirs as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any ever seen," according to the press materials. For tickets, call 203-787-4282 or www.longwharf.org
Music is always a bit part of the holidays and the New Haven Symphony is doing its part with three separate programs, each offered in a variety of locations. Two works by Benjamin Britten, St Nicolas, a cantata celebrating the life and legend of the man who inspired Santa Claus and A Ceremony of Carols will be performed in New Haven on Dec. 5, at Sacred Heart University on Dec. 6 and at the First Congregational Church in Madison on Dec. 7. The New Haven concert is at Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green; its renowned choirs, including the boys choir will join the symphony under conductor William Boughton.
The NHSO Brass Quintet will join with the Christ Church (New Haven) choir for a concert of familiar holiday music including both classical and pop. The program will be performed at Essex Meadows on Dec. 1, Nelson Hall at Elim Park on Dec. 7, Christ Church New Haven on Dec. 8 and Infinity Hall on Dec. 22.
A Mensch's Christmas is the title of the Symphony's pop concert recognizing the major contributions of Jewish composers to popular American Christmas Music. Conductor Michael Barrett will direct the orchestra and soloists on Dec. 13 at Fairfield University's Quick Center, Dec. 14 at Hamden Middle School and Dec. 15 at Shelton Intermediate School. For tickets to any of the Symphony programs, call 203-865-0831.
The Bushnell brings us Mannheim Steamroller Christmas on Dec. 1, the Hartford Symphony and Chorale's presentation of Handel's Messiah on Dec. 7, the Nutmeg Ballet's production of The Nutcracker on Dec. 7 and 8, the African Children's Choir on Dec. 15 and the Hartford Symphony Pops Concert in a Holiday Cirque Spectacular on Dec. 21. The concert includes aerialists, contortionists, jugglers and holiday music. Tickets are at 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org.
Westport Country Playhouse presents Circo Comedia, Dec. 15 which follows in the tradition of the Quebec Circus. Jean Saucier, master equilibrist, juggler, trick cyclist, acrobat, and magician, performs his feats from dizzying heights, while Patrick Cote, burlesque clown, expert roller skater, and drummer, innocently tries his best to be the (imperfect) assistant. For tickets, call 888-927-7529, or visit www.westportplayhouse.org.
Some events are designed especially for the kids. Bridgeport's Downtown Cabaret Children's Theater is presenting Annie, Jr about that famous orphan who finds a home just in time for Christmas. It runs weekends through Dec. 29. You can bring snacks and drinks or purchase them there to enjoy during the show. For tickets call 203-576-1636 or www.downtowncabaret.org. Also for children is Breakfast with Santa at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford. Your children will enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, photos, crafts, breakfast and carolers. For tickets call 860-987-5900 or visit www.bushnell.org.
With so much to choose from, take some time this holiday season to forget the stress and just enjoy outstanding theater and music.