Hear those sleigh bells jingling? You certainly will over the next six weeks, and we’re highlighting a pair of very different holiday treats in the latest edition of Countrywide Guide. Also on our list of top regional productions are two classic musical revivals and a top-drawer mounting of one of A.R. Gurney’s most celebrated plays. Pass the eggnog!
Oliver!, Glorious Oliver!
Almost 30 years have passed since Oliver! graced a Broadway stage, but fans can head to Paper Mill Playhouse to see Broadway vets David Garrison, Betsy Morgan, and Jose Llana lead a cast of 49 in this most tuneful of musicals as Fagin, Nancy and Bill Sikes. More than 200 boys auditioned to play the show's 16 orphans, and Tyler Moran won the coveted title role. Consider yourself alerted to this golden opportunity to see Dickens' Oliver Twist come to life from November 21 through December 29.
You’ve Got This Show to Keep You Warm
White Christmas is spreading holiday cheer through the south and midwest with five tour stops on tap before the end of the year. Broadway vets James Clow, Trista Moldovan, David Elder and Meredith Patterson lead the cast in this lavish show, featuring Tony-nominated choreography and sparkling Irving Berlin hits. See it in Fayetteville (November 19-24), Milwaukee (November 26-December 1), Baltimore (December 3-8), Des Moines (December 10-15) and Dallas (December 17-29).
Something Peculiar in DC (Besides Congress)
Bruce Dow, a powerful King Herod in the 2012 Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, now dons a toga to play Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Shakespeare Theatre Company. An expert comic cast including Edward Watts, Danny Rutigliano and Lora Lee Gayer take the stage in this bawdy romp, with a score by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Head to ancient Greece from November 21 to January 5.
Welcome to Santaland
The Santaland Diaries, David Sedaris’ hilarious takedown of the holiday season, has been a hit at Horizon Theatre Company for 15 years. Once again, Harold M. Leaver will play Crumpet, a middle-aged Macy’s elf who offers an irreverent backstage pass to Santaland, in a production running November 22 to December 31. The Santaland Diaries is also on tap at Portland Stage (December 3-22), Cleveland Public Theatre (December 5-22), Houston’s Alley Theatre (November 29-December 31) and Kansas City Rep (November 29-Decenber 22).
A.R. Gurney, Shaken, Not Stirred
Cheers! The Cocktail Hour, A.R. Gurney’s 1988 comedy of WASP manners, is headed to the Huntington Theatre with a stiff-upper-lipped cast of four New York stage vets: Maureen Anderman, Richard Poe, James Waterston and Pamela J. Gray. Tony-nominated director Maria Aitken (The 39 Steps) helms this tale of what happens when an adult son returns home to tell his parents he has written a play about them. Savor this very funny show, straight with a twist, through December 15.