It is not easy to take a classic Christmas story, one that has shown up in print, on stage, in film, and on television countless times, and make it fresh. Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” because he felt England was beginning to forget the spirit of the holiday and letting its celebrations wane. He wanted to remind his readers of the true meaning of peace and joy and goodwill toward men.
The Eldorado has a musical version of the story on its stage in Reno – “Ebenezer: A Musical Christmas Carol” – with an original score by William and Rosemary Novellino-Mearns. It’s been floating around for about 20 years here and there, surfacing now with a fairly direct retelling of the tale, from Marley’s ghost through those spirits of Christmases past, present, and yet to come, to Bob Cratchit getting at long last his new coal scuttle. It will be new to a very few.
A small ensemble manages to play all the parts with theatrical singing of the serviceable if not particularly memorable songs. A parlor game called “Yes and No” provides particular fun. (Through Sunday, Dec. 27; Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. with matinees on select Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.; $26.95-$41.95; eldoradoreno.com)
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To mark the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth, his son, Frank Sinatra Jr., will present his “Centennial Celebration” on Friday, Dec. 11, at Cache Creek. (Ol’ Blue Eyes was born on Dec. 12, 1915.) The younger Sinatra has found the right niche for his voice and for his father’s classic arrangements. (8 p.m.; $65-$79; cachecreek.com)
“Our show is not a passive sit-back-and-watch experience,” says Jim Belushi in the promo for Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy. “Most of the fun we have on stage comes from our inclusion of the audience. We get suggestions from them to begin each scene we perform, and in certain instances, bring them on-stage with us to add to our performance. It is less a show and more a party.” The ensemble includes Megan Grano, Larry Joe Campbell, Joshua Funk and Brad Morris, and some of those comic actors will be on hand at the MontBleu on Saturday, Dec. 12. (8 p.m.; $35-$45; Ticketmaster)