By Jordan Wright (Photo/Doug Olmsted)
Every December, Alexandria and D.C.-area theaters try to outdo themselves with their limited-run holiday-themed productions. And this year is no different.
Avant Bard’s Theatre on the Edge brings us “Holiday Memories,” the tender and evocative semi-autobiographical tale drawn from two beloved short stories by Truman Capote, “A Christmas Memory” and “A Thanksgiving Visitor.” The production is indelible, charming and emotionally riveting.
Directed by Tom Prewitt and staged by Russell Vandenbroucke, the show stars Christopher Henley as Truman, Séamus Miller as Buddy (young Truman), Charlotte Akin as Miss Sook, with Liz Dutton and Devon Ross fulfilling several ancillary roles.
The play is set in Depression-era Alabama where young Truman, who is coming to terms with his homosexuality, lives with his adored aunt, Miss Sook, a forthright spinster who administers life lessons with a gentle hand. Henley provides the richly textured narration, delivering a riveting performance that is nothing short of brilliant. He is reminiscent of Sam Waterston both in spirit and in appearance.
Akin too, seizes her character with a ferocity and nuance that is beautifully developed, while Miller lends an endearing pathos to the fragile boy who struggles to find his identity. Through December 20 at Theatre on the Run at 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington. For tickets, call 703-418-4108 or visit www.wscavantbard.org.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria presents Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a lavish, family friendly Victorian paean to the age-old tale of Scrooge’s redemption. Kudos go to the adorable Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Through December 20 at 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria. For tickets call 703-683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com.
MetroStage’s own production of the holiday classic ratchets up Dickens’ tale with a distinctly hilarious, seat-of-your-pants spoof, full of singing and dancing to your favorite Broadway tunes. The inimitable Howard Breitbart serves as musical director in “A Broadway Christmas Carol.” Through December 27 at 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. For tickets call 703-548-9044 or visit www.metrostage.org.
Signature Theatre brings Christmas cheer with “Christmas with Nova Y. Payton and Friends.” The “Dreamgirls” star leads a rocking chorus, and the troupe raises the rafters with holiday tunes like “This Christmas,” “Holiday Rock,” “Santa Baby,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Through December 24 at 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. For tickets call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
The Kennedy Center has a host of holiday happenings, including the NSO Pops, conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and featuring the von Trapps, of the famed “Sound of Music” family, with Broadway’s Stephanie J. Bloch performing Christmas classics and new holiday tunes.
The Washington National Opera offers a family-friendly production of “Hansel and Gretel,” complete with a cackling witch, enchanted fairies, dancing animals and a massive gingerbread oven. For the high-brow crowd, Handel’s Messiah sing-along is on December 23. Check listings for these limited performances at www.kennedy-center.org or call 202-467-4200.
The Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic presents Two Concertos and a Celebration. Handel’s popular Messiah is performed by the NOVA Community Chorus and backed by the splendid symphony, which adds 20th- and 21st-century music to the afternoon program. Check the schedule for performance times and locations. For tickets call 703-799-8229 or visit www.wmpamusic.org.