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Doug Carter, Hale Centre Theatre
Richard Wilkins, front, stars as Scrooge and Tom Stam as the Ghost of Christmas Present in Hale Centre Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol." Both actors are back for the 23rd season.

St. Nick, two more Scrooges and two more George Baileys join the ranks of Utah Christmas productions this week.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is having its 23rd annual production at Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, Monday through Dec. 22.

Directed by John Sweeney, this production uses a script that was refined in 2006 by combining the best of more than 40 years of various Hale Centre Theatre and Glendale Centre Theatre scripts, along with Charles Dickens' original text. (The Glendale theater in California was founded more than 50 years ago by Ruth and Nathan Hale.)

Dickens scholar and purist Richard Wilkins, who has directed and starred in several versions of the show, will take on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge for his 23rd straight year. He will be double-cast with David Weekes. Tom Stam, as the Ghost of Christmas Present, is also returning for his 23rd year. Also in the cast are Brad Charon and Gary Ceran sharing the role of Bob Cratchit, E.J. Meyere and Ashley Petersen as Christmas Past, and Eric Armstrong and Josh Richardson as Jacob Marley.

Performances are Mondays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. (a half-hour later than usual to accommodate additional matinees and early-evening performances). There will be 5:30 p.m. performances daily from Dec. 7-22, with Saturday matinees at 12:30 and 3 p.m., as well as 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21. Tickets range from $22-$27 for adults and $15-$20 for children (984-9000 or www.halecentretheatre.org).

MERRY CHRISTMAS, GEORGE BAILEY, adapted, produced and directed by Shirlee H. Shields for the Babcock Performing Readers, is staged as a radio broadcast version of the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life."

This also marks the Babcock Performing Readers' annual return to its namesake venue, the Babcock Theatre, located on the lower level of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre.

"Bailey" will be performed Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., featuring a large cast of mostly professional radio, television, film and stage performers, including Ken Sansom, Richard Scharine, E. Craig Costin, Gary Pimentel, Brad Nygren, Gordon Jones, Boyer Jarvis, Tom Drury, Julie Blatter, Tim Lineback, Dan Christensen, Gloria Murdock, Jan Frederickson, Joyce Skidmore, Mark Merkley, Janelle Jacobs and others.

Unlike other productions, "Merry Christmas, George Bailey" will have an admission charge: $9 for adults and $5 for students (581-7100 or www.kingtix.com). Free parking is available in the lot directly south of the Pioneer Memorial Theatre building, but Pioneer Theatre Company's holiday production of "The Foreigner" will limit parking. (Patrons are encouraged to take TRAX, which has a stop within walking distance of the venue.)

A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE MUSICAL, is being staged Saturday through Dec. 22 at Art City Playhouse, 254 S. Main, Springville.

The cast includes Daniel Tomlinson as George Bailey, Miranda Jayne Arnold as Mary Hatch Bailey, Rob Sawyer as Uncle Billy, Daniel Mason as Clarence Longbottom, the angel, and Morgan Clark as Sam Wainwright.

Performances will be Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., with one additional evening performance on Dec. 12. Matinees will be 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 22.

Evening prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students, children and senior citizens, with a Monday night family pass for $45 (per immediate family only). Family home evening group rates are also available.

Matinee prices are $9 for adults, $7 for others and $35 per family (373-4485 or www.artcityplayhouse.com).

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, Alan Ayckbourn's farcical documentary of three married couples following their changing fortunes on three successive Christmas Eves, is being performed by Utah State Theatre Monday-Saturday in the Caine Lyric Theatre, 28 W. Center, Logan.

Ayckbourn's comedy is being produced under the auspices of USU's advanced directing class. Each of the six student directors will direct a different scene in the play. According to Theatre Department head Colin Johnson, each act is self-contained. Two directors were assigned to each act. To give more of the school's students a chance to perform, two separate acting companies were formed — to perform on alternating evenings.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6-$10 (435-797-1500).

A CHRISTMAS CAROL ON THE AIR, featuring Fred C. Adams as Ebenezer Scrooge, is the Utah Shakespearean Festival's annual radio-style version of the Dickens classic.

Other players include Michael Don Bahr as Bob Cratchit, Noah Strassman as Tiny Tim and Charles Metten, Megan Walker, George Walker and others in multiple roles.

The show was riginally conceived and adapted by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll, with book and lyrics by Sham and music by Carroll, both of whom also perform in the production.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 10, 13-15 and 17-22 in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. There are also 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays. Tickets are $14, $16 and $18 (800-752-9849 or www.bard.org).

BABES IN TOYLAND, Victor Herbert's 1903 operetta about two young orphans and their adventures with several Mother Goose characters, will play Friday through Dec. 22 in the Heritage Theatre, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry.

Directed by Scott Nelson and Bryce Day, performances will be Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 22. Tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for children and senior citizens, with a $35 family night special on Monday nights (435-723-8302 or www.HeritageTheatreUtah.com).

HERE'S LOVE, the Broadway musical version of "Miracle on 34th Street," will be presented Friday through Dec. 22 in the Old Barn Community Theatre, 3605 W. Bigler Road, Collinston.

Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 22.


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