‘Tis the season for favorite holiday revivals

Now in its 25th year, Aurora Theatre's annual "Christmas Canteen" (pictured from 2019) opens the company's first season in the new Lawrenceville Arts Center.
Courtesy of Chris Bartelski
caption arrowCaption
Now in its 25th year, Aurora Theatre's annual "Christmas Canteen" (pictured from 2019) opens the company's first season in the new Lawrenceville Arts Center. Courtesy of Chris Bartelski

Credit: Chris Bartelski

Credit: Chris Bartelski

Seasonal live theater is back in full force for 2021.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas theatergoing seasons of yore — as in, pre-COVID-19. After the pandemic forced the shutdown of Atlanta’s playhouses and the cancellation of their traditional (and traditionally profitable) holiday programming last year, nearly all of the most familiar local shows are back with a renewed passion.

For every five versions of “A Christmas Carol,” there are also the revivals of a “Black Nativity,” a “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and a “Christmas Canteen.” (The only major holdout is the absence of Horizon’s annual children’s show, “Madeline’s Christmas.”)

Everything old is new again. Mask mandates and vaccination requirements might be the new normal now — but, in exchange for a return to the good old days of live performances, it’s well worth it.

caption arrowCaption
This year's annual staging of "A Christmas Carol" at the Alliance Theatre, continuing through Dec. 24, features a new adaptation, new costumes and a reimagined set. Courtesy of Greg Mooney

Credit: Greg Mooney

This year's annual staging of "A Christmas Carol" at the Alliance Theatre, continuing through Dec. 24, features a new adaptation, new costumes and a reimagined set.
Courtesy of Greg Mooney
caption arrowCaption
This year's annual staging of "A Christmas Carol" at the Alliance Theatre, continuing through Dec. 24, features a new adaptation, new costumes and a reimagined set. Courtesy of Greg Mooney

Credit: Greg Mooney

Credit: Greg Mooney

“A Christmas Carol”

A perennial favorite for decades, the Alliance Theatre’s latest rendition of the Charles Dickens classic features some new elements — script, set, costumes — plus actor Andrew Benator has now been promoted from the role of Jacob Marley’s Ghost in years past to Ebenezer Scrooge himself.

Through Dec. 24. $31-$83. Alliance Theatre (at the Woodruff Arts Center), 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4600, www.alliancetheatre.org.

caption arrowCaption
Drew Reeves appears as Ebeneezer Scrooge in Atlanta Shakespeare's "A Christmas Carol." Courtesy of Jeff Watkins

Credit: Jeff Watkins

Drew Reeves appears as Ebeneezer Scrooge in Atlanta Shakespeare's "A Christmas Carol."
Courtesy of Jeff Watkins
caption arrowCaption
Drew Reeves appears as Ebeneezer Scrooge in Atlanta Shakespeare's "A Christmas Carol." Courtesy of Jeff Watkins

Credit: Jeff Watkins

Credit: Jeff Watkins

“A Christmas Carol”

Meanwhile, actor Drew Reeves is back again for yet another turn as Scrooge in the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse’s own recurring take on the famous story.

Dec. 4-23. $17-$44. 499 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-874-5299. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, www.shakespearetavern.com.

“A Christmas Carol”

At Stage Door Theatre, new artistic director Willie E. Jones III also stages his version of the redemptive tale, which the company’s website bills as a comedy.

Dec. 3-19. $15-$35. North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. 770-396-1726, www.stagedoortheatrega.org.

“Invasion: Christmas Carol”

The Dad’s Garage improvisers parody the quintessential holiday play by introducing a different character into each performance, enabling Scrooge’s past, present and future to unfold in a new way every time. Previous “invaders” include the likes of Mrs. Claus and Colonel Sanders.

Dec. 3-29. $25.50-$39.50. Dad’s Garage, 569 Ezzard St., Atlanta. 404-523-3141, www.dadsgarage.com.

“Christmas Canteen”

Aurora Theatre opens its 2021-22 season from the 500-seat Grand Stage at the new Lawrenceville Arts Center with another remounting of this traditional holiday show — a revue brimming with Christmas songs, comic sketches and trips down memory lane.

Through Dec. 23. $25-$90. Lawrenceville Arts Center, 157 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, www.auroratheatre.com.

caption arrowCaption
Dominion Entertainment's ninth annual production of "Black Nativity" (pictured from the 2016 staging) performs Dec. 2-19 at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center for the Arts. Courtesy of Tyson Horne

Credit: Tyson Horne

Dominion Entertainment's ninth annual production of "Black Nativity" (pictured from the 2016 staging) performs Dec. 2-19 at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center for the Arts. 
Courtesy of Tyson Horne
caption arrowCaption
Dominion Entertainment's ninth annual production of "Black Nativity" (pictured from the 2016 staging) performs Dec. 2-19 at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center for the Arts. Courtesy of Tyson Horne

Credit: Tyson Horne

Credit: Tyson Horne

“Black Nativity”

Dominion Entertainment’s ninth annual production of Langston Hughes’ “song play” is partly an African American telling of the biblical Nativity story (with old-fashioned spirituals) and partly set in a modern-day Black church on Christmas Day (with down-home gospel music).

Dec. 2-19. $35-$75. Ferst Center for the Performing Arts (at Georgia Tech), 349 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-892-9600, www.dominionent.org.

caption arrowCaption
"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" continues through Jan. 2 at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Courtesy of Clay Walker

Credit: Clay Walker

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" continues through Jan. 2 at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Courtesy of Clay Walker
caption arrowCaption
"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" continues through Jan. 2 at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Courtesy of Clay Walker

Credit: Clay Walker

Credit: Clay Walker

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

This annual staple at the Center for Puppetry Arts is based on the beloved animated TV special, with Rudolph and his friends, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius, braving the Abominable Snow Monster to ultimately discover that it’s okay to be just the way they are.

Through Jan. 2. $25-$35. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-873-3391, www.puppet.org.

caption arrowCaption
The national touring company production of the musical stage version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" plays Atlanta's Fox Theatre Dec. 7-12. Courtesy of Broadway in Atlanta

Credit: Andy Martin Jr

The national touring company production of the musical stage version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" plays Atlanta's Fox Theatre Dec. 7-12.
Courtesy of Broadway in Atlanta
caption arrowCaption
The national touring company production of the musical stage version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" plays Atlanta's Fox Theatre Dec. 7-12. Courtesy of Broadway in Atlanta

Credit: Andy Martin Jr

Credit: Andy Martin Jr

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical”

The whimsical world of Whoville is lavishly recreated in this musical stage adaptation of another famous animated TV special. Broadway in Atlanta brings the touring company version of the show to the fabulous Fox Theatre.

Dec. 7-12. $51.75-$121. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499. www.atlanta.broadway.com.

“The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical”

The Fox also plays host to this (one-night-only) holiday musical that transports family audiences to the North Pole for a glimpse into the magical lives of Santa’s Scout Elves.

Dec. 5. $41.70-$114.95. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499, foxtheatre.org.

“Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays”

Local cabaret star Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express for a tenth season of revues — including a new rendition of her annual yuletide show, subtitled “A Connie Sue Day Christmas.”

Dec. 10-19. $40. Actor’s Express (at King Plow Arts Center), 887 W. Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 404-607-7469, actors-express.com.

“Cinnamon Grits”

This sequel to ART Station’s 2016 hit “GRITS: Girls Raised in the South” centers on tales of seasonal soirées and family dysfunction, as four Southern belles from different generations cope with their countrified Christmas celebrations.

Dec. 9-19. $16-$35. ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive, Stone Mountain. 770-469-1105, artstation.org.

“The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Holiday Edition)”

The LGBTQ-centric Out Front Theatre celebrates Christmas in sunny Miami with this seasonal romp filled with hilarious holiday spirit, and featuring the popular TV sitcom characters of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia — three of whom are here portrayed by men in drag.

Dec. 10-19. $25. Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. NW, 404-448-2755, outfronttheatre.com.

“A Tuna Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol”

In repertory at OnStage Atlanta: Two actors play some 20 zany denizens of the fictional Tuna, Texas, in a comedy about the town’s annual holiday yard display contest; and one actor portrays every role in yet another take on Dickens’ yuletide classic.

“Tuna”: Dec. 2-19. “Carol”: Dec. 6-18. $13-$26. OnStage Atlanta, 3041 N. Decatur Road, Scottdale. 404-897-1802, www.onstageatlanta.com.