Arts Seen – week of Dec. 11 2013

There is no shortage of opportunities to indulge in holiday-related entertainment over the next couple of weeks. From reliable classics to urban comedies Calgary stages have it all.

For starters if you are a fan of tradition you could go see Stephen Hair’s latest take on Ebenezer Scrooge in Theatre Calgary’s annual presentation of A Christmas Carol which runs until December 24. If you are among those who make the trek to this show every year — it’s been running for 27 seasons and Hair has played Scrooge for 20 of them — then you might enjoy playing “spot the difference.” But if you haven’t seen it before or you’re taking someone else for their first time then it could be the start of a new tradition.

Loose Moose also has a tradition involving the Charles Dickens tale but its version is decidedly less traditional as you might expect. The company’s annual presentation of Chrismoose Carol comes with a different twist every year — they won’t give away the secret but describe it as “heartwarming and hysterically funny.” The show runs until December 21.

If the thought of seeing anything related to A Christmas Carol one more time makes you feel like Scrooge then you can change things up but still honour tradition with a stage version of another much-watched holiday favourite: Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life . Morpheus Theatre is presenting this one until December 21 at the Pumphouse Theatre.

We’ve all been told that the best part of the holidays are for spending time with family and whether or not you agree there are plenty of productions geared to kids. Alberta Ballet ’s annual performance of The Nutcracker which will run from December 19 to 24 ups the kid appeal by throwing Sugar Plum Parties one hour before every performance featuring Klara’s Closet where boys and girls can play dressup with costumes from the story as well as arts and crafts stations and more.

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra ’s special holiday show for kids will be a treat featuring the classic film The Snowman accompanied by the orchestra. But if you don’t already have tickets to this Symphony Sundays for Kids performance you’re out of luck as the December 15 event has sold out.

Instead you can haul the kids down the hall of the Epcor Centre to the Martha Cohen Theatre where Alberta Theatre Projects presents a different family-friendly play every year to coincide with the season. This year’s show is Around the World in 80 Days based on the Jules Verne novel and runs until December 29. The slightly manic production features three actors in multiple roles and a mesmerizing set built of suitcases and steamer trunks — the result is fast-paced funny and kept the kids in the audience entertained throughout.

There are other more affordable options as well such as Storybook Theatre ’s production of Big: The Musical and Calgary Young People’s Theatre ’s Holmes and Watson by Jason Long

After a family trip to the theatre you’ll be ready to escape to an adult-oriented show (preferably with a bar). Well Lunchbox Theatre has the show — The After Party a comedy about an awkward romantic encounter following a Christmas Eve staff party runs until December 21 — but drinks aren’t included so you’re on your own.