SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns don’t seem to feel “bah humbug” when it comes to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” — or theater in general for that matter.
Perhaps the most recognizable Christmas story other than the Nativity, “A Christmas Carol” gets not just one but at least 10 different treatments this year in the Beehive State. From musicals to operettas to parodies, Scrooge and the three ghosts of Past, Present and Future are set to fill stages in various forms, each intent on bringing a bit of the Christmas spirit.
Joining the 10 takes on Dickens’ tale are 12 other shows opening between now and Christmas — many that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit and a few others that will remind you of the importance of family.
‘How the Grouch Stole Christmas’ at Desert Star
Desert Star Playhouse welcomes back one of its crowd-favorite parodies “How the Grouch Stole Christmas” for the fourth time. Last seen on Desert Star’s stage in 2014, “How the Grouch Stole Christmas” brings a twist on Dr. Seuss’ small-hearted green curmudgeon — complete with plenty of local references and in-jokes. It opened earlier this month and runs through Jan. 5, 2019, 4861 S. State, Murray, $24.95 for adults, $14.95 for children under 11 (801-266-2600 or desertstar.biz).
‘Muffet’s Christmas Carol’ at Off Broadway Theatre
Dickens meets nursery rhyme with the Off Broadway Theatre’s “Muffet’s Christmas Carol,” combining Little Miss Muffet and Scrooge. The production features life-size puppets and a script that will “get you into the Christmas spirit while making you laugh out loud in the process,” according to OBT’s website. The comedy runs Nov. 16-Dec. 29, 272 S. Main, $16 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and military, $10 for children ages 2-12 (801-355-4628 or theobt.org).
‘Scrooge: A Christmas Carol’ at Terrace Plaza Playhouse
Terrace Plaza Playhouse in Washington Terrace, Weber County, continues its annual production of “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” starting the day after Thanksgiving. According to a previous Deseret News article, the production, which has filled the playhouse’s stage each holiday season for 27 years, is the creation of theater founder Beverly Olsen and her daughter Jacci Florence, who directs this year’s show. It runs Nov. 23-Dec. 22, dates and times vary, Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Washington Terrace, $15-$17 for adults, $14-$16 for students, seniors and military, $10 for children ages 12 and under (801-393-0070 or terraceplayhouse.com).
‘Elf: The Musical’
As Buddy the Elf says, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear,” so it’s fitting that the sugar-addicted, overly enthusiastic elf inspired a full-length musical.
Based on the 2003 movie — yep, it’s 15 years old now — “Elf” tells the story of a human raised by Santa’s elves who, as an adult, leaves the North Pole for the Big Apple to find his father. Don’t be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins: Catch it at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, Nov. 23-Dec. 22, dates and times vary, $21.50-$27 for adults, $19.50-$24.75 for seniors, students and children (801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org)
‘A Christmas Carol’ at Brigham’s Playhouse
Dickens met Disney, in a sense, with the Broadway musical version of “A Christmas Carol” — the version Brigham’s Playhouse in Washington, Washington County, will mount starting Nov. 29.
Alan Menken — the Academy Award, Grammy and Tony Award-winning composer behind Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas” — wrote the music for “A Christmas Carol,” which opened in 1994 at Madison Square Garden with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Ahrens and Mike Ockrent.
According to Playbill, this version of “A Christmas Carol” is the longest-running holiday show in Broadway history and “paved the way” for the creation of other recurring Broadway holiday shows.
See it at Brigham’s Playhouse, 25 N. 300 West Building C1, Washington, Nov. 29-Dec. 29, dates and times vary, $23 for adults, $21 for seniors, $17 for students and children (435-251-8000 or brighamsplayhouse.com).
‘A Christmas Carol’ at Alpine Community Theater
Menken fans in northern Utah, don’t you fret. Alpine Community Theater will also stage a production of the Broadway musical version of “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 26-Dec. 5, dates and times vary, Valentine Theater, 895 N. 900 East, American Fork, $13-$15 for adults, $10-$12 for children, students and seniors (alpinecommunitytheater.org).
‘A Christmas Carol’ at Hale Center Theater Orem
Hale Center Theater Orem continues its annual tradition of “A Christmas Carol” starting Nov. 24.
HCTO’s original retelling of Dickens’ tale has its roots back with “Grandma and Grandpa” Ruth and Nathan Hale, the local theater luminaries behind both HCTO and Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy.
The Hales first opened a theater in Glendale, California, in 1947 and in the early ’60s, asked an actor named Ted Lehman to adapt Dickens’ story for the Glendale theater, according to Anne Swenson, one of HCTO’s managing directors and executive producers. HCTO’s version of “A Christmas Carol” grew out of that adaptation but has been tweaked by actors and directors through the years and is now a full-fledged musical with music by Cody Hale.
This year’s “A Christmas Carol” at HCTO opens Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 22, dates and times vary, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $24-$29 for adults, $18-$23 for children ages 4-11 (801-226-8600 or haletheater.org).
‘A Christmas Carol: Youth Edition’ at HCTO
Also at HCTO,“A Christmas Carol: Youth Edition” provides Dickens’ story in an abbreviated version of the theater’s adaptation, performed entirely by young people. Using the same props and scenery as the theater’s full main stage production, HCTO’s youth edition is staged in the afternoons Nov. 28-Dec. 1, times vary, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $9 for adults, $7 for children 11 and under (801-226-8600 or haletheater.org).
‘Fairy Tale Christmas’ at Tuacahn Center for the Arts
Move over, Grinch. Christmas has a new set of villains — or a group of familiar ones new to Christmas.
The stage adaptation of M. Scott McLean and Michael McLean’s 2014 book, “Fairy Tale Christmas,” makes its way to southern Utah’s Tuacahn Center for the Arts for the second year in a row, bringing a few well-known villains to the stage as they kidnap Santa in an attempt to erase all the happily ever afters.
Catch the mischief Nov. 29-Dec. 22, Tuachan Center for the Arts’ Hafen Theater, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, Washington County, $29-$44 (435-652-3300 or tuacahn.org)
‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Grand Theatre
Audiences get two operettas for the price of one this season at Grand Theatre’s double-bill production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Starting with “Amahl” and his experience meeting the Three Wise Men on their way to visit Christ, each performance will conclude with a musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” written by Utahns Mike Leavitt and Anthony Buck, according to the theater’s website, which affirms that both will put audiences in the Christmas spirit. The operettas run Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 1, Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State, $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (801-957-3300 or grandtheatrecompany.com).
‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ at the Covey Center
“Over the river and through the wood / to Grandmother’s house we go” becomes less of a nostalgic journey and more of an expectation in playwright Joe DiPietro’s “Over the River and Through the Woods,” playing this holiday season at Provo’s Covey Center for the Arts.
A young professional toils each week in New York City but come Sundays, knows he better be at his grandparents’ house for dinner. But when he receives a job offer across the country — well outside the area of reasonable travel for the traditional weekly dinner — the grandparents take it upon themselves to give their grandson a reason to stay by playing matchmakers.
The Covey Center is slated to stage the show Dec. 6-21, dates and times vary, 425 W. Center, Provo, $16 for general, $14 for students, seniors and military (801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org).
'Pinkalicious' at Salt Lake Acting Company
Kermit the Frog thought he had it bad being green? He's got nothing on Pinkalicious!
Pinkalicious loves everything and all things pink, but when she eats too many pink cupcakes — despite her parents' warning — Pinkalicious turns pink herself.
"With dancing doctors, Broadway-style ballads and a blues-singing little brother, audiences of all ages will be tickled PINK," according to Salt Lake Acting Company, which will be staging "Pinkalicious the Musical" starting Nov. 30.
Based on the New York Times best-selling book by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, "Pinkalicious the Musical" is SLAC's 10th annual children's production and is being directed by Penelope Caywood, the artistic director of U of U Youth Theatre.
Catch Pinkalicious and her high jinks Nov. 30-Dec. 30, dates and times vary, Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, $27 for adults, $17 for children (801-363-7522 or saltlakeactingcompany.org)
‘A Christmas Carol’ at Draper Historic Theatre
Draper Historic Theatre adds another to the list of local theaters with their own unique adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” According to a news release, Randy Young wrote this version exclusively for Draper Theatre, which has staged it annually for the last eight years. This year’s production runs Nov. 30-Dec. 22, dates and times vary, Draper Historic Theatre, 12366 S. 900 East, Draper, $8-$15 (801-572-4144 or drapertheatre.org).
‘Five Carols’ at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre
The “Five Carols” may lead you to believe this play about five Christmas Carols, but this show’s title is literal: There are five women named Carol at the heart of this holiday show.
Written by former Weber State University theater director Jim Christian, “Five Carols” takes audiences back to the 1950s as five best friends — all named Carol — set out to put on a showstopper of a Christmas program. “Unfortunately, egos, miscommunication and a power outage turn their quest for perfection into a madcap misadventure that somehow manages to salvage their camaraderie and the spirit of the holidays,” according to stagerights.com.
“Five Carols” will be staged in CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s Leishman Performance Hall Nov. 30-Dec. 22, dates and times vary, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $15 (801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org).
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ at Heritage Theatre
In between “Miracle on 34th Street’s” two film versions — the black-and-white rendition in 1947 and Richard Attenborough’s take in 1994 — a Broadway musical version of the story hit the stage in 1963, written by none other than “The Music Man” composer Meredith Willson. The story of a single mother who finds herself reconsidering her choice to not teach her daughter to believe in Santa will be at Heritage Theatre, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry, Box Elder County, Nov. 30-Dec. 22, dates and times vary, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children 12 and under (435-723-8392 or heritagetheatreutah.com).
‘A Fairly Potter Christmas Carol’ at Ziegfeld Theater
Anglophiles rejoice: Ziegfeld Theater continues its tradition of melding Harry Potter with Dickens for the fourth year in a row. According to the theater’s website, this year’s production is a rewrite but remains a “heartwarming musical parody and audience favorite.”
“Spend a night with your favorite witches and wizards as they learn about the magic of Christmas,” the website states.
See Harry and his friends Nov. 30-22, Ziegfeld Theater, 3934 S. Washington Blvd., Ogden, $19 for adults, $17 for seniors, students and children (855-944-2787 or theziegfeldtheater.com).
‘Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley’ at Pioneer Theatre Company
Jane Austen fans: rejoice. The “Pride and Prejudice” story continues in playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.”
Though the dashing Mr. Darcy and clever Elizabeth Bennet — now Darcy — are certainly part of the story, this holiday-time sequel to the beloved 19th-century novel focuses more on her ever-studious sister Mary, who comes to Pemberley to visit for Christmas. “Will an unexpected visitor catch the eye of bookish Mary, and will romance follow?” Pioneer Theatre Company will answer the question posed on its website as it produces the play Nov. 30-Dec. 15, dates and times vary, Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, $39-$45 (801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org).
‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ at SCERA Center for the Arts
“Silence” isn’t part of the Herdman children’s vocabulary.
When the rough and rambunctious Herdman kids take over the annual Christmas pageant in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” things might not end up the way everyone thought. Based on the 1971 book by Barbara Robinson, the musical version of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” reminds audiences that “sometimes a little joyful noise is just what is needed to ring in the true spirit of Christmas,” according to SCERA Center for the Arts, where the musical will be staged Nov. 30-Dec. 15, dates and times vary, 745 S. State, Orem, $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students (801-225-2787 or scera.org).
‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ at Utah Children’s Theatre
Almost 70 years after its original publication, C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” continues to enchant readers and audiences young and old with its tale of four siblings who stumble into a world of never-ending winter. And this holiday season, Utah Children’s Theatre will bring the well-loved classic to the stage, reminding audiences of the “importance of family and the true meaning of love and sacrifice,” according to the theater’s website.
Although the show is not technically a “Christmas” show, according to Brooke Wilkins, who plays the White Witch, the story’s themes make it fitting for the season.
“This play is about love,” Brooke Wilkins said in a news release. “The story is told so simply. That’s why it’s so profound. It’s perfect for Christmas.”
Journey to Narnia Dec. 1-Jan. 5, dates and times vary, Utah Children’s Theatre, 3605 S. State, $16 (801-532-6000 or uctheatre.org).
‘A Christmas Carol’ at Hale Centre Theatre
Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy will mount its 34th annual production of “A Christmas Carol” this year, the second year in the theater company's new space at the Mountain America Performing Arts Center in Sandy.
HCT’s version of “A Christmas Carol” was adapted by husband-and-wife team Richard and Melany Wilkins and features music by local composer Barlow Bradford. Richard Wilkins played Ebenezer Scrooge in HCT’s very first production of “A Christmas Carol” in the ’80s in their old South Salt Lake theater and continued in the role of the legendary miser until 2012, when he passed away just before opening his 26th "A Christmas Carol." According to Sally Dietlein, HCT’s vice president and executive producer, Wilkins became a Dickens expert over time and ended up working with his wife to adapt their own version of “A Christmas Carol” — one that strives to stay as close to the original source material as possible — which is one HCT uses to this day.
The play runs Dec. 1-24, dates and times vary, Hale Centre Theatre’s Jewel Box Stage, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy, $40-$49 for adults, $20-$22 for youths ages 5-17; the run is almost entirely sold out, but several matinee performances have been added to accommodate more patrons (801-984-9000 or hct.org).
‘Little Women the Musical’ at Empress
In time for the 150th anniversary of the novel’s publication, “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott has seen a PBS miniseries adaptation and Utah-made film with a modern take on the tale in the last year and will get a feature film remake starring Emma Watson in 2019.
Magna’s Empress Theatre adds to the craze for local audiences with its production of the musical version of the adventures of the four March sisters, which runs Dec. 7-22, dates and times vary, Empress Theatre, 9104 W. 2700 South, $12 (801-347-7373 or empresstheatre.com)
‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Hale Centre Theatre
What do Perry Como and Dorothy Gale have in common? They both agree that there’s no place like home — during the holidays and in general.1 comment on this story
Dorothy — played in Hale Centre Theatre’s upcoming production by YouTube star Lexi Walker — is joined by the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion in what HCT promises to be a show full of “technical wizardry” as audiences “soar with twisting houses, flying monkeys and magical witches,” according to the theater’s website.
The well-loved musical begins its almost two-month run Dec. 10-Feb. 2, dates and times vary, on Hale Centre Theatre’s Centre Stage, 9900 S. Monroe St., $40-$44 for adults, $20 for youths (801-984-9000 or hct.org).