Plays, concerts to enliven holiday season

November 25, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Thanksgiving ushers in a cornucopia of traditional holiday offerings that include two musical versions of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and an assortment of children's shows, Christmas pops concerts, choruses singing holiday music, and performances of Handel's "Messiah."

There's also Ballet Theatre of Annapolis wonderful production of "The Nutcracker" and Pasadena Theatre Company's "It's a Wonderful Life."

Theatergoers who take in the holiday cheer will be glowing with holiday spirit by Dec. 24 -- if they have purchased tickets in time.

An Annapolis tradition, Colonial Players' "A Christmas Carol" is so popular that its two-weekend run -- Dec. 2-5 and Dec. 9-12 -- is sold out. However, the group notes that some people who have purchased tickets might not show and suggests that those who want to see the performance arrive early to purchase stand-by tickets. Information: 410-268-7373.

The show features music by former Annapolitan Dick Gessner. This year's version will showcase David Harper as Scrooge, Martin Thompson as Tiny Tim, Mark Hildebrand as Bob Cratchit, John Donnelly as Marley, Andrew Merkel as Fred, and Kathleen Scott as Belle.

The folks at Chesapeake Music Hall dinner theater will present their musical version of "A Christmas Carol," with music by Doug Yetter.

There will be five shows a week from Nov. 27 through Dec. 26, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Evening performances will be offered Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and matinees Sundays and Wednesdays.

The cast features Tom Quimby as Scrooge, David B. Reynolds as the ghost of Jacob Marley and Christmas Present, Alan Hoffman as Fred, Robin Chapin as Bob Cratchit, and Shannon Benil as Mrs. Cratchit. Information and reservations: 410-626-7515.

At Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will stage its Christmas concert of waltzes and pops standards, such as "Sleigh Ride" and "White Christmas," at 7 p.m. Dec. 17, with John Nardolillo conducting. Tickets range from $22 to $30. Information: 410-263-0907.

The Arundel Vocal Arts Society will present a concert of eclectic holiday music, including Dvorak's "Mass in D" and Fred Waring's " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas," at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Annapolis. Information and reservations: 410-268-3131.

North County High School will be the venue for a Dec. 12 performance for those who subscribe to the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum concert series.

The Annapolis Chorale is preparing several holiday programs.

"A Celebration of Christmas" is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 10 with the full chorus, orchestra and soloists in a joyful holiday tribute. "Christmas for Kids," with singing of carols and a visit from Santa, will be presented at 8 p.m. Dec. 11. Both will be at Maryland Hall.

Another Chorale Christmas tradition is "Messiah," with performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 and 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church. Tickets for chorale performances are $20. Information and reservations: 410- 263-1906.

The Naval Academy will present "Messiah" Dec. 11 and 12. The performance is sold out.

Children's holiday shows include the Talent Machine's production of "Santa's Frosty Follies" Dec. 16-21 at St. John's College. A 65-member singing and dancing cast ranging in age from 5 to 17 will offer old favorites such as "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and new numbers designed by Bobbi Smith for this year's show. Information and reservations: 410-956- 0512.

Children's Theatre of Annapolis will present "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," with a large cast of children in song and dance, Dec. 11-19 at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for the Performing Arts.

Performances are at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12, 7 p.m. Dec. 17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 18, and 2 p.m. Dec. 19. Tickets are $8 general admission, $7 for seniors or groups of 20 or more. Information and reservations: 410-757-2281.

A free "Chesapeake Christmas" concert will be presented Dec. 20 at Maryland Hall by the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra, the fifth year it is being staged as a benefit for the community. There is no admission fee, but each concertgoer is asked to bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to a local charity.

The performers are young, but the program is geared toward all ages and will feature all CYSO ensembles and the new flute choir. There also will be a reading of "The Night Before Christmas," and an appearance by Santa.

Information: 410-263-2664.

For the third consecutive year, Pasadena Theatre Company will present its delightful version of the Jimmy Stewart movie classic "It's a Wonderful Life," from Dec. 2-12 at AACC's Humanities Recital Hall. Keith Porter will pay George Bailey, Stephanie Nevin will play Mary, Keith Thompson will play Uncle Billy, and Marty Hayes will play Clarence, the angel trying to earn his wings. Information and reservations: 410-969-1801.

Ballet Theatre of Annapolis will present its "Nutcracker," with internationally acclaimed soloists Zhirui Zou and Dmitry Tuboltsev as Clara and her Prince.

Performances will be at Maryland Hall at 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. Dec. 12, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 18, and 3 p.m. Dec. 19. Reserved seats are $12 for children and $22 for adults. Information and reservations: 410-263-2909, or online at

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