Holiday Mirth Takes Center Stage

Elf the Musical comes to Mesa Arts Center Dec. 2-3. - Photo Credit - Joan Marcus

This holiday season, catch a stage show and broaden your definition of “Yuletide cheer.”

By Richard Schultz – Aug. 28, 2014

The Game’s Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays
Nov. 20-Dec. 28
Live Theatre Workshop, Tucson

Ken Ludwig’s hilarious play brings murder, mystery, mayhem and madcap adventure to the stage. It’s December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his opulent home for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. It’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

Miracle on 34th Street
Nov. 27-Dec. 23
The Palms Theatre, Mesa

Based upon the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home who gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, who plots to have Kris shanghaied to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing where one little girl’s belief in Santa is at stake. A happy ending ensues leaving audiences with the notion that the spirit of Santa is no myth.

Also presenting:
Dec. 5-21 at Theatrikos Theatre Company, Flagstaff

A Christmas Carol
Nov. 29-Dec. 20
Southwest Shakespeare Company, Phoenix

This timeless classic utilizes traditional music, songs, dancing and special effects to tell this moving tale when Scrooge is once again visited by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Based on a 1843 novella by Charles Dickens, Scrooge is the embodiment of winter, and, just as winter is followed by spring and the renewal of life, so too is Scrooge’s cold, pinched heart restored to the innocent goodwill he had known in his childhood and youth.

Also presenting:
A Christmas Carol, The Musical: Dec. 2-21 at Fountain Hills Theatre
A Christmas Carol: Dec. 4-24 at Hale Center Theatre

Elf the Musical comes to Mesa Arts Center Dec. 2-3. - Photo Credit - Joan Marcus

Elf the Musical comes to Mesa Arts Center Dec. 2-3. – Photo Credit – Joan Marcus

Elf the Musical
Dec. 2-3
Mesa Arts Center

Elf is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help New York remember the true spirit of Christmas.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift
Dec. 6-21
Theater Works, Peoria

Based on the best-selling book, this musical play celebrates the value of generosity and the spirit of community. This heartwarming tale centers on a generous quiltmaker who makes quilts for the needy and a greedy king who believes that possessions will bring him great happiness. The king is determined to own one of her prized quilts and will go to great lengths to get one. In doing so, he learns valuable lessons about giving.

Sister’s Christmas Catechism:
The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold
Dec. 16-21
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

In an unusually jolly mood, Sister, the tart-tongued, ruler-wielding nun played by Patti Hannon, teaches her students the story of the Nativity and asks for their help to solve the greatest Christmas caper ever: Who swiped the gold that those three wise men gave to Baby Jesus? Using the latest forensic technology and her uncanny ability to detect guilt, Sister creates an unforgettable living Nativity with her students to expose the culprit.-E


Richard Schultz is a playwright, actor, director and freelance writer based in Phoenix.