December 20, 2012
Welcome to the 2012 OC Weekly holiday theater preview, the timing of which is weird on two fronts: Most of these shows wrap up this weekend, which doesn't give interested parties a whole lot of time to catch them—and the world ends tomorrow, giving you even less time.
But we are nothing if not intrepid stewards of your theater-going enjoyment. Making this year's preview even more special: We have a special guest in the house, the illustrious Reverend Slappy White, who, for something like the 15th time or so, will lead his cavalcade of comic all-stars in A Dolt's Only Xma$ Pageant, this Sunday at STAGEStheatre.
The good reverend only stops one time each year in OC (something about parole restrictions), so it's quite a treat to have him lend his inimitable insight to the plays on our list. Everything in quotes is from him.
THE ANTIC AND OTHER HOLIDAY TREATS. Don't know much about this except it is a variety show, with an original play as the centerpiece. Apparently there are also other treats. "The last time I offered a treat to someone, I caught five-to-10 in Angola. The prison. Not the country." Stage Door Repertory, 1045 N. Armando St., Anaheim, (714) 630-7378; www.stagedoorrep.com. Through Sunday.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL. For the 33rd straight year, Hal Landon Jr. plays everyone's favorite curmudgeon. "It's damn near impossible to not like this show. The production is lavish, Landon is a certifiable Southern California theater treasure, and Jerry Patch's adaptation makes this timeless tale of giving a shit about your fellow passengers on this train into oblivion as applicable today as it was in Dickens' day. And I should know. I'm that old. And I've ridden many a train." South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555; www.scr.org. Through Monday.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This Long Beach Playhouse show has drawn some rave reviews on a Facebook page called OC Theatre Reviews, but other than that, there's nothing noteworthy to report. "It's hard to mess up any production of such a familiar and enduring story. Well, there was the time we tried it in a small theater in a Scientology building in Hollywood. Two dogs fucking onstage is never a good idea. . . ." Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org. Through Saturday.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL RADIO HOUR. As the name implies, this is a highly abridged production of the story, complete with old-time radio-folio sound effects. "We used to do these kinds of things in the orphanage. But we had to stop when we realized we were in an orphanage. And it was Christmas." La Habra Depot Theatre, 311 S. Euclid St., La Habra, (562) 905-9625; www.thelhdt.com. Through Sunday.
A CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS. Again, we don't know much about this except that it's a family-oriented cabaret type of thing. "Ah, cabaret. The libations. The ladies. The Nazis." Gallery Theater, 3152 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim (714) 630-9870; www.thegallerytheater.com. Through Sunday.
THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES. The Chance is building its own tradition with this very funny, darkly hued, Jeff Goode play about Santa's relations with his four-legged helpers. "The idea of Santa as some kind of sexual predator is anathema to most people. How can you corrupt such an adored icon? How can anyone justify this? Better yet, where's my ticket?" Chance Theater, 5021 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 777-3033; www.chancetheater.com. Through Saturday.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE RADIO PLAY. This is another radio-themed production of a holiday classic. "Yes, you know how it ends, and yes, it's an old-timey kind of deal in which actors perform in front microphones as though it's an actual radio production. But I'll be damned if I didn't choke up at one point when I saw it last week. Guess I should have cut that Old Grand-Dad with something." STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www. stagesoc.org. Through Dec. 30.
A TUNA CHRISTMAS. This is one of four plays set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas. Like the others, two actors play multiple characters and it is satire as well as homage to small town life. "Sounds kinda fishy to me." Cabrillo Playhouse, 202 Avenida Cabrillo, San Juan Capistrano; www.cabrilloplayhouse.org. Through Sunday.
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. Good luck getting a ticket for this on the final weekend of this Maverick Theater institution. It has been sold out for weeks, but you can still call to get on the waiting list. "From what I understand, the cast of this show is quite proud it doesn't need to rehearse it and it's become as much improv as it is about the actual story. Which is fine in my book, considering the story is so laughably bad." Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; www.mavericktheater. com. Through Sunday.
A DOLT'S ONLY XMA$ PAGEANT. We saved this for last for good reason. It's vile, sacrilegious, underrehearsed and offensive to everyone, and boobs will probably be flashed. "Don't see it unless you want to mock everything to do with Christmas and maybe get a chubby." STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www.stagesoc.org. Sun., 7 p.m.
This article appeared in print as "White's Christmas: Presenting the OC Weekly's annual holiday-theater preview, featuring the Reverend Slappy White."