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Holiday Arts: Weekend Preview

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Chelsey Wood and Stephanie Kucsera star in UIndys gender-bending version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
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  • Chelsey Wood and Stephanie Kucsera star in UIndy's gender-bending version of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."

All right, my little pretties, while you are biding your time, awaiting the arrival of Wicked (Dec. 15), there’s plenty of happenings goin’ on to keep you happy.

If it’s the holidays, then you know there’s a Nutcracker going on. Or two. Or three. Or… Gregory Hancock rolls out his always-beloved Nutcracker, with a modern take on the classic as this version of The Nutcracker finds Clara orphaned and homeless. Show runs Friday, Dec.10, 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Pike Performing Arts Center (6701 Zionsville Road). Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and available by calling 216-5450 or online at www.pikepac.org.

Then there’s Handel’s Messiah, a must touchstone for the holidays, right? This performance unites the talents of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Kirk Trevor, along with the Tabernacle and Fairview Presbyterian Church sanctuary choirs. Handel’s Messiah is one of the world’s most performed choral works, and we wager if there is life on other planets, those creatures would recognize it as well. Soloists include Emily Albrink, soprano; Lexa Ferrill, mezzo-soprano; Brian Stucki, tenor; and Kyle Ferrill, bass-baritone. The concert will be held at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (418 East 34th Street) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25/adult, $10/student; call the ICO at 940-9607 or visit www.icomusic.org.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the popular Jabberwocky series continues with their holiday installment, “Ho, Ho, Oh!” If you haven’t been to Jabberwocky, you’re missing out. Generally, they invite a few story tellers along a theme, then open up the fun to the entire room. That’s right, everybody gets their moment in the storytelling sun! So bring your Hanukkah tales, your mistletoe secrets, or even an anecdote about childhood celebrations complete with eggnog and ugly sweaters. Meets at the IndyFringe Theatre (719 E. St Clair Street) at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available online at http://indyfringe.org.

Theater performances we reviewed

Need a break from the holidays? A little Tom Stoppard will help! UIndy’s theater department is staging Stoppard’s brilliant existential play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. NUVO Critic Josefa Beyer gave the show a whopping 4.5 stars had this to say about this production: “UIndy reminds us that in Tom Stoppard’s (Shakespeare in Love) Tony-award winning play, the fuss is about language — clever, playful and frightening. Turning Shakespeare’s Hamlet inside out, Stoppard focuses on two minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and their funny, disturbing struggle to understand (ala Waiting for Godot tramps) their roles onstage and in life. Time weighs on them between their few scenes with Hamlet, but for us, it is like watching Laurel and Hardy on acid.” Directed by Brad Wright and presented at Esch Hall Studio, the version of R&G features two female actresses in the normally-male roles. Beyer calls the performances of Chelsey Wood and Stephanie Kucsera “perfect.” We’re going, dude! Through Dec. 11.; 788-3251; www.theatre.uindy.edu.

Beyer also saw Santaland Diaries, adapted by Joe Mantello from David Sedaris’ essay about working as Macy store elf. It’s one-man production, directed by Randy White, featuring a 3.5 star performance by Scot Greenwell. Beyer says it’s “easy to enjoy an hour of Greenwell’s sardonic descriptions of workers perky and grisly, parents and children who make or break Christmas posing for pictures on Santa’s lap, and the author’s personal fantasy, working in soap opera…. Greenwell — a proven local talent — has just begun to tap all he could from this one-man performance. His impersonation of Billie Holiday singing for a terrified youngster begins to fathom the possibilities. Through Dec.12; 721-9458; www.indyfringe.org.

The Phoenix’s A Very Phoenix X-Mas 5: Regifted revisits holiday scenes of old, presenting the “best of the best” shorts selected from Phoenix X-mas’ past. Each year, Phoenix reaches out to local writers to write short, hilarious plays about the holiday season, and this is their best-of-the-best showcase. Our critic, Katelyn Coyne gives the show 3 stars and says: “If you’re in the market for a variety show with humor, flare and real spirit this holiday season, A Very Phoenix X-mas 5 is a great choice. Through Dec. 19; 635-PLAY; www.phoenixtheatre.org.

Finally, A Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre Christmas opened last week and critic Rita Kohn gave the show 3.5 stars, saying it is a “show with a lot of heart, belly laughs and fine singing and dancing. Presented as a classic TV variety show with the inimitable Eddie Curry as host, it’s a race to the finish with his perfectly timed groaners. The versatile cast of 16 singers/dancers and six musicians delivers high energy, high kicks, enjoyable harmony and finely tuned character acting in 28 song and dance numbers, skits and stories.” The show runs through Dec. 23; 872-9664; www.beefandboards.com.

See you out there!

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