The Rogue Valley is filled with theater, and for the holidays this year, there’s a wealth of options to consider.
“Tuck Everlasting, the Musical” opens at the Collaborative Theatre Project Nov. 23 and runs through Dec. 31. The play is based on a 1975 children’s book that resonates with mystery, magic, adventure and danger.
The leads, Aubrey Campbell as Winnie Foster and Evan Sheets as Jesse Tuck, are filled with the innocence of eternal youth. “This is an epic story,” says director Lauren Blair. “You wonder if Winnie can make grown-up choices about immortality at 11 years old.”
Blair, who is known for her choreography, makes her directorial debut with “Tuck Everlasting, the Musical.”
The Hamzons, a three-woman improvisational crew, will spontaneously perform “A Holiday Classic” at the Bellview Grange in Ashland over a three-day period beginning Dec. 14. According to the playbill, the show “takes the audience on an impromptu sleigh ride of humor and hilarity as they whip up some winter magic.”
“These movies, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and ‘A Christmas Carol,’ are great stories in a time of innocence where there’s generally a hero who gets into trouble, and there’s a crisis of faith, and there’s always a happy ending where love and faith abound,” Hamazonian Cil Stengle says. “It leaves us and the audience feeling warm and fuzzy and connected with each other.”
Also in the holiday comedic vein is the Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s “Every Christmas Story Ever Told,” opening Nov. 20 and running through Dec. 31. Director Rick Robinson calls this mixed-up mash-up “a kitchen-sink comedy” with “Rankin Bass stop-motion animation.”
Two Dickens’ classics are on the boards at the Camelot and Randall theaters.
Camelot Theatre’s “Oliver!,” directed by Shawn Ramagos, is a play of light and darkness. “I’m directing it extremely dark,” says Ramagos, “and the play makes you appreciate what you have.” Ramagos’ instincts will drive that light-dark motif through the set design, costumes and projections.
“Oliver!” opens Nov. 29 and continues through Dec. 30. It will be accompanied by a 12-piece orchestra and uses the new 2009 orchestral arrangement.
“Christmas Carol, the Musical” opens on the Randall Theatre’s new Fir Street stage Dec. 14 and continues through Dec. 30. Trevor Pekas and Sage Ashley have the leads as Scrooge and Emily.
Paul Cosca, who debuts as director with this Randall show, has given major roles and importance to the three ghosts in this adaptation. David Eisenburg in his signature role as Marley, 12-year-old Kaiya Bagley as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Courtney Gage as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
“The best productions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ are truly scary,” Cosca says. “How else can Scrooge learn?”
Cosca acknowledges that by not glossing over the hardships, the difficulties, Scrooge’s messages of generosity and forgiveness are even more impactful.
“Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” plays at the Craterian this holiday season, performed by Teen Musical Theater of Oregon. With just five performances beginning Dec. 8 and continuing through Dec. 15, “Willy Wonka” promises every delight — those familiar characters, explosions of color and surprises of sound.
“Most people have probably seen the Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp version of ‘Willy Wonka,’” says director Cailey McCandless. “But to bring the story to the stage is unique.”
McCandless says that the classic production evokes wonder, whimsy and mysteriousness.
Perhaps the most iconic Rogue Valley holiday performance is the“Nutcracker,” a ballet performed to Tchaikovsky’s score that tells the story Clara’s Christmas dream and of the epic battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
“It’s a very traditional ‘Nutcracker’ production with the full party scene, the battle scene, the snow scene — the mice have new costumes and weapons, ” says Elyse Roxander of Studio Roxander. “Last year we added the grand pas de deux in Act 2 with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker, typically performed with the Cavalier.”
Grace Hill and Jake Roxander are lead performers in what is likely their final “Nutcracker” ballet in Southern Oregon. Now 16 years of age, Hill and Roxander are graduating seniors, both Youth American Grand Prix winners and extraordinarily talented and dedicated dancers. They dance 4 to 6 hours each day in training for their professional careers.
In the 18th season under the direction of instructor Elyse Roxander, of Studio Roxander, the “Nutcracker” will be performed from Dec. 14-23, at the Crater Performing Arts Center at Crater High School in Central Point. A post-show, behind-the-scenes meet-and-greet is scheduled after the Dec. 15 and 22 performances.
Medford Civic Ballet will present its two-act “Nutcracker Ballet” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at North Medford High School Auditorium, 1900 N. Keene Way Drive, Medford. A meet and greet will follow the performance, where attendees can get photos and autographs from the dancing stars in the lobby.
Reach Ashland freelance writer Maureen Flanagan Battistella at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
“Every Christmas Story Ever Told”
Oregon Cabaret Theatre
Nov. 20-Dec. 31
“Tuck Everlasting, the Musical”
Collaborative Theatre Project
Nov. 23-Dec. 30
Nov. 29-Dec. 30
“Miracle on 34th Street”
Nov. 30-Dec. 16
“Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka”
Teen Musical Theater of Oregon at the Craterian Theatre
Dec. 8, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 9 and 15 at 3 p.m.
“A Christmas Carol, the Musical”
“A Holiday Classic”
Dec. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m.
Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.
Bellview Grange, Ashland
Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 7 p.m., Crater Performing Arts Center, Central Point
Dec. 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 1 p.m.
Dec. 15 and 22, 2018 at 3 p.m.
Medford Civic Ballet
7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25
North Medford High School Auditorium, 1900 N. Keene Way Dr., Medford.
Tickets are available at the door one hour before showtime or at Medford Dance Arts Center, 9 Hawthorne St., Medford.
“A Christmas Carol”
Traveling Lantern Theatre Company
The Portland-based Traveling Lantern Theatre Company will perform Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the Ashpole Center, 17 S. Buchanan Ave., adjacent to the Eagle Point library.
Call 541-826-3313 or see jcls.org.