Atlanta theaters extend their season’s greetings

More than a few glorified ghosts of Christmases past are reappearing on Atlanta stages this holiday season — and we’re not just referring to several iterations of the famous “A Christmas Carol,” either. That may be well and good enough for most people, but if they choose to delve a little deeper, prospective audience members might be intrigued by various alternative options, including shows about everyone from Anastasia to Joan Crawford, no less.

Delve on below, dedicated theatergoers, before making your list (and checking it twice, of course):

Credit: Greg Mooney

Credit: Greg Mooney

Same ‘Carol,’ different verses

The granddaddy of all the annual stage incarnations of the immortal Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol,” as it has been for 34 years now, is the Alliance Theatre’s spectacularly opulent rendition of it. Following in the tradition of such other perennial Ebenezer Scrooges as local luminaries Tom Key, Chris Kayser and David de Vries (each of whom previously inhabited the iconic role for multiple years), Andrew Benator returns for his second turn as the transformed miser. Plenty of festive yuletide music abounds in the process of Scrooge’s belated embrace of the holiday spirit.

Continuing through Dec. 24. $25-$93 ($17.50-$65 for children). Alliance Theatre (at the Woodruff Arts Center), 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4600,

There’s another new Scrooge on the block in the Shakespeare Tavern’s “A Christmas Carol.” This year, O’Neil Delapenha inherits the character from Tavern stalwart Drew Reeves, who had regularly played it for some 15 seasons. The show is also newly helmed by the company’s education director, Laura Cole, taking over for the recently retired Tony Brown (who adapted the script, too).

Dec. 3-23. $17-$49. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, 499 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-874-5299,

Co-founder and former artistic director Anthony Rodriguez reprises his one-man “A Christmas Carol” (also penned by Brown) for a 16th year at Aurora Theatre — replete with state-of-the-art technological enhancements, thanks to the company’s intimate new cabaret space.

Dec. 8-23. $40. Lawrenceville Arts Center, 125 N. Clayton St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222,

A triple feature of “Christmas Carols” at Onstage Atlanta includes a one-man version, as well, written and performed by Stuart Schleuse. Another variation casts six actors portraying more than 40 different parts in the story. And in the third, “A Queer Carol,” the Scrooge and Jacob Marley characters are former life partners, in addition to business associates; Tim Cratchit is living with HIV; and the Ghost of Christmas Past takes the form of none other than Marilyn Monroe.

In rotating repertory Dec. 2-21. $20-$26. Onstage Atlanta, 3041 N. Decatur Road, Scottdale. 404-897-1802,

Credit: Shoccara Marcus

Credit: Shoccara Marcus

A newer tradition

Initially staged by Dominion Entertainment in 2014, and revived by the company every season since (including via streaming during the shutdown of 2020), “Black Nativity” is Langston Hughes’ revered 1961 song play. Energized with gospel music, the show opens in a modern-day church on Christmas Day, before eventually relating an African American rendering of the biblical story about Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, and the birth of Jesus.

Dec. 1-18. $37-$75. Ferst Center for the Arts (on the Georgia Tech campus), 349 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-894-9600,

Credit: Clay Walker

Credit: Clay Walker

For the youngsters, and youngsters at heart

An annual holiday highlight based on the classic animated TV special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” returns to the Center for Puppetry Arts, where Rudolph once again faces the Abominable Snow Monster, with a little help from his friends, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius.

Continuing through Dec. 31. $26-$41. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-873-3391,

Credit: Jerry Siegel

Credit: Jerry Siegel

Synchronicity Theatre remounts its successful 2018 family production of the children’s book “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” Directed by Mira Hirsch, the story charts the adventures of a homeward bound toy rabbit, and some of the people — including a fisherman, a hobo and a little girl — who help him find his way.

Dec. 9-24. $11-$41. Synchronicity Theatre (at the Peachtree Pointe complex), 1545 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-484-8636,

After Santa Claus inexplicably missed his stop at a certain house the year before, a spunky young child joins together with an elf and a mouse to get to the bottom of it in Stage Door Theatre’s “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a family-friendly comedy by renowned farceur Ken Ludwig.

Dec. 2-18. $15-$35. Dunwoody Cultural Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. 770-396-1726,

Credit: Chris Bartelski

Credit: Chris Bartelski

Musicals (jukebox revues and otherwise)

Aurora offers its 26th perennial edition of “Christmas Canteen,” a yuletide variety show filled with lots of singing and dancing routines, in addition to a few comedy skits. Co-hosting this year’s festivities are familiar Aurora faces Galen Crawley (“Mary Poppins”) and Russell Alexander II (“Newsies”).

Continuing through Dec. 23. $30-$80. Lawrenceville Arts Center, 125 N. Clayton St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222,

Celebrated Atlanta cabaret star Libby Whittemore is back at Actor’s Express with another episode of her seasonal lounge act “Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays,” a.k.a. “A Connie Sue Day Christmas.”

Dec. 9-18. $40. Actor’s Express (at King Plow Arts Center), 887 W. Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 404-607-7469,

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

In “A Gift of Love,” acclaimed back-up vocalist and studio musician Adam L. McKnight brings his revue of R&B, gospel and pop classics, plus some holiday standards and original songs, to the Alliance’s downstairs studio space.

Dec. 7-23. $25-$60 ($10 for teens). Alliance Theatre (at the Woodruff Arts Center), 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4600,

Marietta’s Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, in collaboration with Atlanta Lyric Theatre, continues its ongoing series of in-concert presentations with “The Secret Garden,” a musical inspired by the classic book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Dec. 17-18. $25-$60. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre (at the Cobb Civic Center), 548 S. Marietta Parkway SE, Marietta. 770-528-8490,

Four “good-ole-country gals” reunite in Nashville for a Christmas show at the Hillbilly Heaven Club in ART Station’s jukebox musical “Honky Tonk Angels: Holiday Spectacular.”

Dec. 7-18. $21-$30. ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive, Stone Mountain. 770-469-1105,

Based on an animated family film — never mind the true story — this national touring company version of “Anastasia” boasts a score composed by Tony winners Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, with a script by Tony winner Terrence McNally, to boot. The Fox Theatre hosts the production, which is presented by Broadway in Atlanta.

Dec. 6-11. $31-$149. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499,

And now for something completely different

Joan Crawford lives in Out Front Theatre’s “Christmas Dearest.” With her career faltering, even as she prepares to star in an upcoming musical about the Virgin Mary, she’s visited by three ghosts who teach her the true meaning of the holiday season.

Dec. 8-18. $30. Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404-448-2755,

The popular local improv troupe Dad’s Garage invades Horizon Theatre for the co-production “Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday ‘Movie.’” Audience suggestions each night guarantee that no two performances will be the same, promising all sorts of antic shenanigans.

Continuing through Dec. 23. $25-$40. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave. (in Little Five Points), Atlanta. 404-584-7450,