A Very Merry ‘Screen to Stage’ Christmas

Film-inspired Christmas shows seem to be a particularly strong theme this season. We invited theatres to tell us about their unique stagings of the on-screen favorites. 

Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page, under the Christmas filter here.

 

Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts: Miracle on 34th Street

A Christmas movie setup for our times
On now through 12/18. In Marysville.

How does your show interact with the film version? 

This is an original adaptation, written and directed by Scott Randall. The play is about a group of community theatre friends who, during the lockdown in Dec 2020, get together on a Zoom call. Jessie is a single mom raising her 7-year-old daughter, Kara. Jessie’s dad has been hospitalized with COVID, and Jessie hopes that getting her theatre friends together on a Zoom call to do sort of a radio play reading of Miracle on 34th Street might cheer Kara up.

Photo by Courtney Calkins.

The action takes place in the six homes of the characters, both live on stage and simultaneously on their Zoom call. The actors are reading a script based on the original film, while adding in their own bits and stories.

While the play takes many different emotional turns, overall the mood is one of magic and hope. We felt it was important to create a show that celebrates community and togetherness, since that’s what we were all lacking so much that year. Using the community theatre troupe as a building block helped us tell that story of a modern extended family.

If your show were a stocking stuffer, what would it be and why?

A kaleidoscope. We wanted to capture the variety of ages and lifestyles that populate a typical community theatre troupe. That’s reflected in subtle ways throughout the show from how the characters talk, obvious age differences, and more subtle clues in set dressing and props.

What might surprise people about the show?

The biggest surprise is the staging. We’ve built six unique sets on one stage, to represent each character’s home. Since these characters are all quarantined, their homes are a huge representation into their lives. We then suspended an 8×8 screen above the stage. Each character is logged into an actual Zoom call on stage, which is simultaneously being projected onto the screen. Audiences have the option of shifting their gaze from the live show to the Zoom call and back again.

The other big surprise is the use of magic in the story. Everything feels very grounded because of the use of the COVID lockdown as the setting, but there are moments of magic sprinkled throughout the show to help us believe in Santa Claus. These magic moments seem more poignant than usual in contrast to the bleak backdrop.

Who will love it?

Hopefully everyone will love this show. It will hit the nostalgia button for adults and seniors, but be filled with enough jokes, music and surprises to keep kids entertained. The show is very kid-friendly, which was a priority when writing it: to create a show that would absolutely be something the whole family could enjoy together.

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Show info and tickets here

 

 

Seattle Public Theater: Christmastown – A Holiday Noir  

An original tale steeped in classic noir, in its final run
Opens tonight, closing 12/24. In Seattle (Green Lake).

In this film noir-inspired holiday thriller, hard-boiled detective Nick Holiday investigates some un-holiday-like shenanigans taking place in Christmastown that send him searching for the truth about Big Red. Along for the ride are a glamorous elf, a used-Christmas-tree salesman, a muckraking reporter, and a quick-thinking cab driver.

What might surprise people about the show?  

The twists and turns! It’s a festively comedic mystery that combines classic film-noir with twists to classic Christmas traditions we all know and love.

Why did you select it for the season? 

This is Christmastown’s ninth and final year at Seattle Public Theater. It is a holiday tradition and a favorite.

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Financial accessibility: pay-what-you-choose tickets available for all. Show info and tickets here

 

 

Twelfth Night Productions: Miracle on 34th Street – A Live Radio Play 

A old-time re-creation of the classic film
Opens 12/9, closing 12/18. In West Seattle.

What might surprise people about your take on Miracle on 34th Street

I think people might be surprised at how charming this show is. The costumes, performances and music are so much fun and engaging.

This show is a cozy, vintage holiday performance with authentic costumes, old timey music, Wurlitzer organ and foley artists/sound effects.

Why did you select this show for your season?

Our holiday radio show at Kenyon Hall is a tradition dating back more than 10 years. We love performing this vintage play in West Seattle’s historic vaudeville venue and love to see audience members return year after year.

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Show info and tickets here

 

 

The 14/48 Projects: Theater Anonymous – It’s a Wonderful Life 

Where no one knows the cast — not even the cast
Performs 12/10 only. At Cornish Playhouse (Seattle Center – Mercer side).

Theater Anonymous will reveal its mystery cast on December 10.

If your show were a stocking stuffer, what would it be and why?

We’re more of an advent calendar. Every step of the way, you are opening a new box and being surprised since all the casting is anonymous! Who will play George? Mary? Potter? Is it the person sitting next to you? There are 31 surprises, at least.

How does your show interact with the original material?

A Theater Anonymous version of It’s A Wonderful Life is always rethinking and reworking the casting to make the characters more representative of the world around us than the original work did.

Our script is adapted from the movie, but is reworked for the stage. We have kept the inherent themes of hope, community, and endurance while making it feel more connected to our current lives and simultaneously celebrating our local theatre community.

Who will love it?

Anyone who loves an enduring, timeless story, made for today.

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Performance is ASL-interpreted. Financial accessibility: to access a discount code, view the Theater Anonymous announcement (12/1) on Deaf Spotlight’s Facebook page, here. Show info and tickets here

 

 

Seattle Symphony: The Nightmare Before Christmas 

Beloved animation and top-notch performance in one 
This weekend only. At Benaroya Hall (Downtown Seattle).

The Disney classic Halloween-Christmas film plays in its entirety, while the Seattle Symphony plays the full score live. Photo by Chase D. Anderson.

Tim Burton’s Halloween-Christmas Disney classic plays in its entirety on a big screen. The twist? The whole thing is live-scored by the Seattle Symphony, led by master conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter. Subtitles mean you’ll catch all the lyrics you’ve stumbled over, too.

Editor’s commentary: I caught opening night (12/1) of this three-show run. The Symphony turns this beloved film into a grand event. Putting the brilliant score at the forefront brings out the mystery, wonder, and elation as Jack and Halloween Town discover the unfamiliar joys of Christmas; Sally’s mournful quest for life outside her tower cell; and, of course, the sinister leer of the Oogie Boogie Man. (By the way, that part where Jack tries to teach the tune of “Jingle Bells”? Listening to a great orchestra play badly on purpose is awesome.) Recommended!

Oh, and the small-plate and dessert buffet at the hall’s tucked-away restaurant, Muse, is relaxed, reasonably priced ($30), fast, and delicious. Perfect for an all-star grazer, and among the best pre-show/theatre dining experiences I’ve had.  

Show info and tickets here

 

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Jewel Box Theatre: Miss Bennet – Christmas at Pemberley    

Closing this weekend. In Poulsbo.

A sequel to the Jane Austen novel (and film) Pride and Prejudice takes viewers to Christmas at the famous estate.

Show info and tickets here

 

Edmonds Driftwood Theatre: Elf – The Musical  

Through 12/18. In Edmonds.

A family-friendly musical tells the story of Buddy the Elf finding his way in two worlds.

Show info and tickets here

 

ManeStage Theatre: Elf – The Musical  

Opens tonight, closing 12/18. In Puyallup.

A family-friendly musical tells the story of Buddy the Elf finding his way in two worlds.

Show info and tickets here

 

The Habit & Seattle Public Theater: A Very Die Hard Christmas   

Through 12/20. In Seattle (Green Lake).

This annual fan-favorite parody affirms Die Hard‘s place in the Christmas canon.

Show info and tickets here

 

Tacoma Little Theatre: A Christmas Story   

Opening tonight, closing 12/24. In Tacoma.

All Ralphie wants for Christmas is an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. What could go wrong? This staged version brings the classic Christmas film, childhood travails, and comical characters to life.

ASL-interpreted performance on 12/18. Financial accessibility: pay-what-you-choose tickets available (by phone or in-person) for 12/22 performance; see info here. Show info and tickets here

 

Taproot Theatre: The Wickhams – Christmas at Pemberley    

Through 12/30. In Seattle (Greenwood).

A sequel to the Jane Austen novel (and film) Pride and Prejudice takes viewers to Christmas at the famous estate.

Show info and tickets here

 

Unexpected Productions: Fa la la la la, ha ha ha ha – A Holiday Musical Extravaganza

Opening 12/3, closing 12/17. In Seattle (Pike Place).

This improv show creates a made-for-TV Christmas musical out of audience suggestions and a classic sing-along.

Show info and tickets here

 

Strawberry Theatre Workshop: A Charlie Brown Christmas     

Performs 12/11 only. At Cornish Playhouse (Seattle Center).

The “Juicy” Gonzales Trio plays the iconic score from the Peanuts classic Christmas special. A shorter one-act afternoon performance is followed by a longer-running evening of music and festivities.

Show info and tickets here

 

Seattle Theatre Group: Christmas With Creed Bratton     

Performs 12/18 only. At the Neptune Theatre (Seattle – U-District).

Of The Office fame, Bratton brings a live Christmas performance of music and comedy.

Show info and tickets here

 

Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

 


For shows by date, see the Performance Calendar. (View the Christmas shows here.)

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.