Sunday, December 1, 2013



Keep your December holidays hopping with happy events by including one or more of these festive features.

For a spicy and spirited start, there's a collection of twisted Christmas tales by celebrated writers like John Cariani, Jeffrey Hatcher, Jacques Lamarre, Matthew Lombardo, Theresa Rebeck, Edwin Sanchez and Jonathan Tolins.  They are the merry bartenders who are whipping up your favorite characters from Christmas stories, but with a twist of mistletoe in your martini glass.  Conceived and directed by Rob Ruggiero, Hartford TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford is offering "Christmas on the Rocks" from December 3-22.  Call for tickets ($35-55), at 860-527-7838 or online at

For a more religious observance of the holiday, with an emphasis on humor, let Nonie Breen as the good Sister indoctrinate you to the proper Catholic
rituals of the day.  Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven will be setting up a creche and you, the audience, will be invited to give it life.  From December 4-15 on Stage II, Sister will be explaining and expounding, offering advice and wisdom, engaging you in a hilarious participatory experience meant to please.  Call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or for tickets ($39.50). "Sister's Christmas Catechism:  The Mystery of the Magi's Gold" awaits your exploration.

Bridgeport's Downtown Cabaret Theatre is presenting The Holiday Edition of "An Evening with Neil Diamond," featuring Tom Sledge as the iconic singer.  Sledge is renown as an authentic Neil Diamond impersonator and tribute artist, who looks and sounds like the genuine jewel.  Performances are Saturday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport.  For tickets ($47), call 203-576-1636 or online at

What would Christmas be without a production of that magical ballet "The Nutcracker" when the toys come to life.Thankfully the Nutmeg Ballet has it covered with four performances at Hartford's Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts: Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 at noon and 3:30 p.m. For tickets ($23 and up), call the Bushnell at 860-987-5900 or online at

For a wee bit of the Irish, look no further than "Christmas in Ireland:  An Nollaig in Eirinn" at the Quick Center on the campus of Fairfield University on Sunday, December 8 at 3 p.m.  Traditional Irish music and song will highlight a Celtic celebration by Danu, one of the leading Irish ensembles performing today.  For tickets ($35-45), call 203-254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396 or online at

The village of Ivoryton is putting up thousands of Christmas lights to illuminate the season.  Come see them when you attend a not so traditional Irish Christmas story, conceived and directed by Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  "The Bells of Dublin" will run from December 12-22 at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton.  Enjoy the music and the tall tales, with magic sprinkled liberally.  For tickets ($15 children, $20 students,
$30 adults), call 860-767-7318 or online at

For a holiday favorite, treat yourself and the family to Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury's musical version of "Miracle on 34th Street" from December 13-22.  Can a department store Santa named Kris Kringle convince a doubting little girl and her mother that Santa Claus is real and make it a Christmas miracle? Come find out for yourself.  For tickets (special family 4 packs are available), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at

Another family classic, without benefit of Christmas ornamentation, is J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" sailing into the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven from December 13-19 at 8 p.m., courtesy of the Yale School of Drama.  In this early unpublished manuscript, we meet a group of real "lost boys" who bring their unique version of Peter Pan to life.  For tickets ($10-25), call 203-432-1234 or online at  This may not be suitable for young children.

This year for the second time, the Hartford Gay Men's Chorus will celebrate the holidays with two concerts at the Unitarian Society of Hartford Church, 50 Bloomfield Avenue, Hartford.  The 8 p.m. concerts Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 will feature "Join Hands and Celebrate!," a joyful mix of choral and contemporary holiday sounds as well as a world premiere of "In the Bleak of Midwinter" by composer Eric Lurie.  For tickets ($23), call 860-527-5151 or online at

Those irreverent guys are pulling out all the stops for their gala holiday show "Red Suits and Kinky Boots" as the Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus takes to the stage for two shows, 8 p.m. Saturday, December 14 and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 15.  Their special brand of holiday humor and sensational singing will be on display at The Co-op, 177 College Street, New Haven.  For tickets ($30), call 203-777-2923 or

The New Haven Free Public Library on 133 Elm Street, in New Haven will present a free family event on Thursday, December 19 at 6 p.m. when actor Colin Lane and musician Becca Zaretzky perform a dramatic reading.  "A Child's Christmas in Wales" will reminisce about Dylan Thomas' growing up years in Wales.  Refreshments will be served. Call 203-946-8835 or for more information.

Last but certainly not least is the Hartford Stage's tenth annual production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" from now to December 28, complete with a crusty mean Scrooge, Tiny Tim and a gaggle of ghosts who fly.  Call 860-527-5151 or for tickets ($25-85).

Whatever you do or where ever you go, a present of theater is guaranteed to make your holidays merrier. Enjoy!

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