No, you’re not flying to New York to take in the Rockefeller Center tree and see How the Grinch Stole Christmas (or anything else) on Broadway. You don’t have a half dozen choices of local Nutcracker performances, as was the case in 2019, But many local theaters and performing groups have stepped up this year with virtual holiday offerings. Most are streamed rather than live, but hey, this is a year of lowered expectations.
Here’s a collection for your consideration (with a couple of far-flung ones thrown in).
A Star-Studded Folksbiene! Chanukah Spectacular
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, New York
Streaming ends 4:00 pm December 12
Carol Burnett, Mayim Bialik, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal and Barry Manilow perform. View and donate here.
A Christmas Carol Starring Jefferson Mays
On the Stage (fundraiser)
Streams now through January 3
Jefferson Mays plays more than 50 roles in a Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Directed by Michael Arden. Streaming company On the Stage will donate proceeds to support nonprofit theaters affected by the pandemic, including The Geffen Playhouse and Pasadena’s Boston Court. See a trailer here.
Tickets are $50, available here.
A Christmas Carol in Harlem
The Classical Theatre of Harlem (New York)
Streams now through January 3
Set in present-day Harlem, this soulful Christmas Carol features Scrooge as an uptown New York real estate vulture. Streaming here for free, but don’t be a Scrooge: scroll down and hit the Donate button.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
The Lookingglass Ensemble Theatre, Chicago
Streams now through December 27
A family show based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up. Timed tickets are $25 and are available here.
Holiday Traditions and Trappings
Group Rep, Burbank
Streams Beginning December 12, 8:00 pm through Jan. 1
Eight new short plays designed to help you get through the holidays. Tickets here. Admission $10, good for the entire run.
Neo Ensemble Theatre, Los Angeles
LIVE on Sunday, December 13, 4:00 pm
It’s Christmas and Hanukkah all in one! It’s Holiday Sweets, a staged reading of four short plays by Mark Harvey Levine. Click the Zoom link to attend. The show is free, but donations are happily accepted here.
A Co-Op Christmas
Actor’s Co-Op, Los Angeles
LIVE on December 18th & 19th at 5:00 pm
Two different evenings of Christmas magic: Evening 1 (Dec. 18) features The Night Before Christmas: An African Christmas Story by Peter E. Adotey Addo and Tilly’s Christmas by Louisa May Alcott. Evening 2 (Dec. 19) features The Gift Behind the Gift by Gregg Easterbrook and The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Tickets are free, so go to one or both (but remember that this is the season of giving). Tickets for this YouTube livestream are here.
Theatricum Carol Sing-Along
Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga
December 24, 4:00 pm
A Zoom caroling sing-along and a rare holiday interview with theater founder Will Geer. Tickets are free and are available here.
A Virtual Celebration of the Holiday Season
The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival
Wednesday, December 30, 6:00 pm
Come for emcee Florence LaRue, an original member of the 5th Dimension, and musical performances by legendary R&B vocalist Freda Payne and others. Stay for the holiday sing-along, a toast to the imminent (finally!) new year and even a raffle for prizes. Register here. The suggested donation of $5.00 via PayPal, to [email protected].
And if you just want to get out of the house and see some lights, check out your options here.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!
About Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Neo Ensemble Theatre in Hollywood.
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