Holiday Entertainment L.A. Style

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By Ellen Dostal

I know you’re short of time this month, with all the decorating, shopping, and parties to attend so here’s a short list of holiday treats to keep you uplifted and in the spirit. Enjoy a night out with those you love and Happy Holidays to one and all!

Come From Away

Holiday Entertainment L.A. Style

Becky Gulsvig and the women of Come From Away. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The world’s a tough place right now and this Broadway musical will restore your faith in humanity in every way possible. Best of all, it doesn’t do it with glitz and tricks and over-the-top extravaganza. It does it by telling a story of simple people with good hearts whose kindness during the horrific September 11th disaster serves as an inspiration for us all. Through January 6th at the Ahmanson.

1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza

Impro Theatre improvises a complete LIVE “television show” with music in the style of Andy Williams, Perry Como, and Judy Garland in their 1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza. These artists are experts at what they do and their theatrical twist on the variety shows of yesterday is sure to bring back a whole host of holiday memories. Dec. 7 – 9th at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Toluca Lake.

Sugar Plum Fairy

Break out your ugly sweater, tutu, or Hanukah hat – it’s time for Sandra Tsing Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy! This 75 minute story of a 12 year-old girl who dreams of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker is a hilariously comic adventure for those looking for something different this holiday season. Appropriate for all ages – like a G-rated Rocky Horror Picture Show. Through Dec. 23rd at Skylight Theatre.

A Christmas Carol

Jefferson Mays’ one man version of this Charles Dickens classic is the holiday ghost story I’ve always wanted to see. Adapted by Mays, his wife Susan Lyons, and Director Michael Arden, it’s dark, scary, and sure to touch your heart as only the tale of a miser’s turnaround can be. It’s the Christmas Carol you never saw coming. Through Dec. 16th.

Love Actually Live

The Wallis sets the stage for romance with For the Record’s Love Actually Live, a multimedia-concert celebration of love. An all-star cast (including Rumer Willis and Steve Kazee) and 15-piece orchestra perform in a three-dimensional world where scenery and video screens intertwine to create a giant, immersive cinema. The artists will bring unforgettable scenes to life in a blend of film footage from Love Actually and original custom-video content to create a gorgeous cinematic spectacle. Through Dec. 31st at The Wallis.

Festival of Carols

Grant Gershon conducts the Los Angeles Master Chorale in its annual Festival of Carols on Dec. 8 & 15th. Walt Disney Concert Hall rings with the sound of holiday voices tuned to perfection in this once a year treat featuring traditional carols, holiday pop songs, and other seasonal favorites in the chorale’s stunningly beautiful arrangements.

The Nutcracker

Holiday Entertainment L.A. Style

Inland Pacific Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of IPB

It isn’t the holidays without The Nutcracker and Inland Pacific Ballet’s annual winter spectacle will feature more than 80 dancers in the story of young Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy will delight every member of the family. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. Check the schedule for specific dates and locations in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, and Claremont, through Dec. 23rd.

The Wonderful Winter of Oz

What if Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz was swept away in a freak Kansas blizzard instead of a tornado, and on Christmas Eve? You’d have the premise of the Lythgoe Family Panto The Wonderful Winter of OZ. It’s a holiday version of the story you know and love in the style of a traditional British Family Panto and it’s playing at Pasadena Civic Auditorium Dec. 15 – 30. Featuring a pop song score and starring Mackenzie Ziegler as Dorothy, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Glinda, and Kermit the Frog as OZ (that’s right!), this one’s great for all ages.

Emma: The Musical

Jane Austen’s enduring love story comes to life in this enchanting musical comedy by Paul Gordon. Emma, a well-meaning, but disaster-prone matchmaker ignores her own romantic feelings when she sets out to find a suitor for her friend Harriet. But love comes when it may and even she finds there is no way to avoid cupid’s arrow in the end. Through Dec. 23rd at Chance Theater in Anaheim.

Rita Rudner: Her Absolutely Positively Last Show of 2018

And finally, Rita Rudner is back at Laguna Playhouse for another fabulous New Year’s Eve celebration. Toast the end of 2018 and watch the ball drop on the East Coast with a complimentary champagne drink and dessert. Special musical guests 92629 (Molly Bergman and Peyton Goss) will open the show.

Bonus events:

The Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square is open through January 21st

532 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles CA 90013

Check the info line for special events and hours: 213-624-4289

Into the Arctic Kingdom

National Geographic takes you into the arctic wild with photographer Florian Schulz at the Broad Stage Dec. 13 & 14th Discover the vibrant ecosystem that exists at the edge of the world, including playful polar bears, mysterious musk ox and a herd of thousands of caribou—over the course of 34 months in the High Arctic.

Ellen Dostal is a longtime west coast editor and reviewer for, the largest theatre website in the world. A self-professed musical theatre geek, she also publishes two popular Southern California theatre blogs – Musicals in LA and Shakespeare in LA – and has covered jazz and classical events for the KJazz 88.1 FM and K-Mozart 1260 AM Arts and Music Blogs. As a founding member of New Musicals Inc’s repertory company, she has developed roles in countless new works, many of which have been produced regionally and in New York. She also continues to work as an actress, singer, and voiceover artist in Los Angeles.

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