Holiday Spotlight

At Rhode Island playhouses, it’s all about the Christmastime classics

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Planning to see a play this December? Bring tissues. By the time Ebenezer Scrooge learns the error of his ways – and runs excitedly through the streets, making amends with every Londoner he ever snubbed – the tears will roll. When George seizes his second chance, divinely reminded that he’s actually lived a wonderful life, most of us will be bawling. Even the Sugarplum Fairies can moisten eyes with their balletic beauty.

The holiday season is a busy time for Rhode Island theater companies, and you have your pick of spirit-lifting classics. Whether you prefer Tiny Tim or the Mouse King, there are plenty of versions to catch. If you decide to support local companies, you have plenty of opportunities to mouth the words, “God bless us, every one!”
Here are some highlights from the classic canon.

The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is among the most anticipated events of the holiday season, and Festival Ballet Providence presents the most impressive production in the state. Sashay around the world with young Clara and her magical nutcracker prince. December 13-15. 

For a radical new vision of the ballet, The Vets brings you breakdance extravaganza The Hip Hop Nutcracker, choreographed by rising New York star Jennifer Weber. As the New Year approaches, see the dances cleverly remixed – while still set to the original musical suite. December 28. 

In the story, The Nutcracker is set in the lavish home of the Stahlbaum home. The acclaimed dance group Island Moving Company cleverly sets its own production in Newport’s Rosecliff mansion. November 27-December 6. 

Since 2003, Heritage Ballet has trained pupils of all ages in the art of dance in the heart of Lincoln. As the holiday season kicks off, Heritage performs its own version of The Nutcracker (November 30-December 1) at Stadium Theatre

Michael Bolger’s version of the famous ballet modernizes the original Tchaikovsky with contemporary dances and modified script in this production at Roger Williams University. December 14. 

A Christmas Carol

For 42 years running, Trinity Repertory Company has staged the Charles Dickens classic – but each production is unique. You can expect top-notch performances, inventive special effects, and original music by Richard Cumming. Make sure to nab tickets, as this Christmas Carol almost always sells out. Continues through December 29. 

The innovative and inclusive Artists’ Exchange presents its own community production of A Christmas Carol in Rolfe Square. December 12-22. 

The Contemporary Theater Company in South Kingstown is presenting its own version of A Christmas Carol (December 5 - 22), but you may also enjoy the Christmas Cocktail Cabaret, a variety show, holiday party, and theatre fundraiser at The Towers. December 19.

Come to the Granite Theatre for its annual revival of the Victorian heart-warmer. November 29-December 22.

Catch an impressive annual production presented by the Stadium Theatre Conservatory. December 13-22. 

Other Holiday Classics

One of the great tear-jerkers of cinema’s Golden Age, It’s a Wonderful Life shows how George Barnes, the luckless banker, enriched his town in countless ways. Catch this live “radio play,” performed in a vintage style at the Gamm Theatre. December 5-22.

Is this charming visitor actually Kris Kringle, or just a bearded carpetbagger with mental health issues? Find out, when Rhode Island Stage Ensemble (RISE) presents its adaptation of the Valentine Davies’ story Miracle on 34th Street. Dates TBA.