If you’re hankering for heartwarming (or rib-tickling) holiday fare and want to enjoy it in a live format instead of slouching on the couch with the remote controls and clicking through offerings on cable, Netflix or Hulu, there’s a sizable slate of stage productions this month in the Biggest Little City that should please anyone from the artsy minded to the slightly cynical to the (bless them!) seasonally sappy.
An alphabetized list:
This is the seventh year that Brüka Theater’s spirited troupe of community players is staging a self-described “original parody in the spirit of the ridiculous.” “The Buttcracker” riffs off the beloved “Nutcracker” ballet libretto. But that’s not the only classic tale that gets twisted up in this year’s edition. The spelling of “Ozmosis” can clue you in. Yes: Clara and her wooden nutcracker man may be in for a lot more than a battle between gingerbread soldiers and a mice army when they wind up in that special land where Dorothy and Toto encountered characters who seemed more bizarre, yet more real, than in a dream. Performances dot the calendar through Dec. 23. Tickets: www.bruka.org.
Laughing Owl Productions Theater Company, based on Wells Avenue in central Reno, is a long ways from London’s West End, but the players bring to life the story adapted from Charles Dickens’s socially critical novel set in Victorian-era England and using the script adapted for the stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The drama concerns miserly, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge confronted by the ghosts of Jacob Marley and Christmases Past, Present and Future — as well as the plight of little Tiny Tim. Will Scrooge reform his ways and save his soul? Shows are slated through Dec. 23. Tickets: www.laughingowlproductions.com.
The band December People is performing Dec. 17 at Rockbar Theater to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. The show, starting at 7 p.m., features Robert Berry, David Lauser, David Medd, Jack Foster and David Victor. The December People perform concerts and advocate for local food pantries on annual tours during November and December. Their mission is to raise awareness for the challenges that face the homeless and unemployed. Rockbar Theater is at 211 N. Virginia St. Nonperishable food and cash donations will be accepted at the show. Tickets: www.showclix.com/event/december-people.
The musical based on the Will Farrell 2003 movie, “ELF,” was a hit on Broadway during the Christmas seasons and has enjoyed several national tours. It’s at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Dec. 16-18. “ELF” plucks several emotional cords — not only as the children’s tale of young New York waif Buddy accidentally crawling into Santa’s bag and getting a stowaway trip to the North Pole, where he doesn’t cut it as a toy-making elf (given that he is larger than the other wee creatures, as well as, you know, human). Buddy returns to Gotham in search of his birth father — and to teach New Yorkers about the true spirit of Christmas (a theme shared by an even older yule-tide tale, “Miracle on 34th Street” — which also is being performed this month in the BLC). Five performances are set from Dec. 16-18. Tickets: 866-553-6605; box office: 686-6600; www.pioneercenter.com.
Wild Horse Children’s Theater, a cast of actors ages 5 to 21, is performing this version of “ELF” in the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall in Carson City. Shows run Dec. 9-11. Tickets: www.wildhorsetheater.com.
Los Angeles-based Plan B Entertainment brings Broadway-style productions to the Eldorado Theatre with strong casts of veteran actors, and one of the principal players in this production is from Reno and has acted nearly her entire life. She is red-haired, freckle-faced Katie Mewes, age 10, in the role of skeptical Susan Walker, whose mother has told her Santa isn’t real. Is the mysterious, virtuous, white-bearded Kris Kringle merely a department-store Santa — or the genuine jolly old elf? The ending is satisfying however you interpret it, What’s more, following the curtain call, be prepared to join the cast for a medley of carols. Tickets: www.eldoradoreno.com
Members of the local A.V.A. Ballet Theatre — augmented by principal dancers from companies in larger markets — plies and pirouettes its annual performance of the classic ballet, with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra providing Tchaikovsky’s stirring score. Shows run Dec. 9-11 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: 866-553-6605; box office: 686-6600; www.pioneercenter.com.
Based on an essay by humorist David Sedaris (who fictionalized his experience as a jobless slacker grudgingly taking employment as a Macy’s department-store Santa during the holiday rush), this R-rated comedy performed by Reno Little Theater runs through Dec. 17. Don’t expect a complete savaging of department-store Santa culture, by the way. The ending is, perhaps, unexpected. Tickets: www.renolittletheater.org.