Sacramento theater companies mix traditions with surprises this holiday season

There are the theatrical gifts we’ve come to expect this time of year – productions of “A Christmas Carol,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Christmas Story” (complete with the eye-injurying Red Ryder BB gun). But area theater companies have also wrapped up some surprises for yuletide patrons, including a send-up of the holiday season featuring a dissatisfied Macy’s elf and an urban pageant about undocumented workers that counts Lucifer as a character.

Here’s a selection of holiday theater offerings around Sacramento and the Northern California region:

It’s A Wonderful Life: The Musical

What: Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of the classic film turned into a musical play. Michael Laun directs Jerry Lee as George Bailey and Jackie Vanderbeck as Mary Bailey.

Where: Main Stage, Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St., Sacramento

When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; and 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. Opens 7 p.m. Saturday. Through Dec. 22. Special performance 7 p.m Sunday, with all seats $15.

Tickets: $20-$40.

Information: (916) 443-6722;

Navidades: Christmas on K Street

What: Tomas Benitez, Manuel Pickett and Marie Acosta adapt a traditional Mexican Christmas pagent for “La Pastorela de Sacramento.” In this modern retelling, a group of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children get assitance from Michael the Archangel and are tempted by Lucifer.

Where: Sacramento Convention Center Plaza, 13th and K streets

When: 1 p.m. Dec. 15.

Tickets: Free

Information: (916) 446-5133;;

Not in the The Stars

What: A holiday play by Buck Busfield that features two couples and a long winter night. The play stars three veterans of the acting company – David Pierini, Kurt Johnson and Elisabeth Nunziato.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Through Jan. 5.

Where: B Street Theatre Mainstage, 2711 B St., Sacramento

Tickets: $23-$35, $5 student rush

Information: (916) 443-5300, or

Navidades y Tradiciones

What: Calidanza Dance Company presents a two-part holiday dance celebration featuring different traditions in Mexico, including a modernistic piece inspired by Day of the Dead as well as Afro-Jarocho, which celebrates the country’s African heritage. The second half celebrates Christmas in Mexico with La Rama, Las Posadas and a Mariachi Christmas finale.

Where: The Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 15. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12 for children 12 and under; $22 for adults.

Information: (916) 446-5133,,

SantaLand Diaries

What: Aaron Wilton stars as Crumpet, the dissatisfied Elf in Macy’s SantaLand display, in David Sedaris’ satiric sendup of all that is sacred about the holiday season.

Where: Capital Stage Theatre, 2215 J St., Sacramento

When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Previews begin 7 p.m. Wednesday; opens 8 p.m. Dec. 6. Through Dec. 29.

Tickets: $18-$38

Information: (916) 995-5464,


What: Rodger Hoopman’s long-running original musical production.

When: Dec. 6-23. Times vary.

Where: Chautauqua Playhouse, 5235 Engle Road, Carmichael.

Tickets: $10-$15

Information: (916)489-7529,

Snow White: A British Panto

What: Christine Nicholson writes and Luther Hanson directs a “panto” – a form of musical comedy with songs, slapstick and dancing – in the British holiday tradition, which also includes cross-dressing and audience participation.

Where: City Theatre at Sacramento City College, Performing Arts Center, 3835 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 14. Through Dec. 15.

Tickets: $10-$15.

Information: 916-558-2228,


A Charlie Brown Christmas

What: The Peanuts gang gets the true Christmas spirit.

Where: Free Fall Stage, 800 Reading St., Folsom

When: 7 p.m Dec. 6, 13 and 20; noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 21; 4 p.m. Dec. 8; noon Dec. 14 (special kids day).

Tickets: Call for prices.

Information: (916) 207-4420,

A Christmas Carol

What: The classic story of redemption and renewal presented as a staged radio broadcast by Anthony Palermo, who also composed the original music.

Where: Volcano Theatre Company, 16142 Main St., Volcano

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Opens tonight through Dec. 14.

Tickets: $14-$16.

Information: (209)223-9076,

A Christmas Carol

What: Ebenezer Scrooge gets an opportunity to turn his life around in the classic story. Joseph Toon directs the Broadway musical version with music by Alan Menken and book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent.

Where: Stockton Civic Theatre, 2312 Rose Marie Lane, Stockton.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; and 1 p.m. Dec. 7. Through Dec. 8.

Tickets: $15-$25

Information: (209) 473-2424,

A Christmas Story

What: The entertaining kid-friendly film has turned into a holiday tradition as a stage play. All together: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Where: Winters Theatre Company, 201 Railroad Ave., Winters

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Opens tonight; through Dec. 8.

Tickets: $6-$10

Information: (530) 795-4014,

The Elves and the Schumachers

What: A comic retelling of the Grimms fairy tale about a cobbler and his wife who benefit from the help of two elves who make shoes.

Where: Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, 241 Vernon St., Roseville

When: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays. Opens this Saturday; through Dec. 21.

Tickets: $8 online, $10 at the door; $1 off at the door with a canned food donation.

Information: (916) 772-2777,

Holiday in the Hills

What: This original holiday favorite by Mike Jimena and Connie Mockenhaupt enters its seventh season telling stories set in Folsom’s Historic District at the end of the 19th century.

When: Opens this Saturday. Runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays; 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 23. Through Dec. 23.

Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom

Tickets: $15-$23

Information: (916) 353-1001,

A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail

What: Allen Schmeltz directs the family-friendly story of Eeyore, the old gray donkey who lives in Hundred-Acre Wood.

When: Opens Dec. 14. Runs 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 4 p.m. Dec. 18-20; 1 p.m. Dec. 23-24. Through Dec. 29.

Tickets: $13-$17

Information: (916) 353-1001,

Bay Area

A Christmas Carol

What: The CSUS-trained James Carpenter returns as Ebenezer Scrooge for the seventh season with Ken Ruta as Marley’s ghost.

When: Previews begin Dec. 6. Through Dec. 28.

Where: American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco

Tickets: $20-$95.

Information: (415)749-2228;