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If you see any sort of performance between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, it will probably have a holiday bent to it. But while in years past, your options were limited to multiple reimaginings of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, this year’s offerings are more unique, ranging from a modern take on the nativity story to a Jewish musical revue to a staged version of a classic NPR essay. Better yet, you can bring the whole family to most of these shows, granting you a peaceful moment of entertainment outside the house.
The Production: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Nov. 12 to Dec. 6 at Washington Stage Guild.
Based On: The 1946 film of the same name.
What You’ll See: Stage actors pretending to be voice actors in the 1940s performing a radio version of the film, with some help from their sound effects guy.
One-Sentence Takeaway: Life has meaning, even if you need to be told so by an aging angel named Clarence.
Bring The Family? Yes. Kids love sound effects.
The Production: Holiday Memories, Nov. 25 to Dec. 20 at Theatre on the Run.
Based On: Truman Capote’s 1956 short story “A Christmas Memory.”
What You’ll See: A seven-year-old boy and his elderly best friend making dozens of holiday desserts for their not-so-nearest and dearest.
One-Sentence Takeaway: Nothing spreads goodwill like sending a fruitcake to a stranger.
Bring The Family? Why not? It’s about a young boy’s love of the holidays.
The Production: Black Nativity, Nov. 25 to Jan. 3 at Anacostia Playhouse.
Based On: The nativity story, as adapted by Langston Hughes in 1961.
What You’ll See: A frustrated young man imagining his role in the nativity story, with updated gifts.
One-Sentence Takeaway: The story of Jesus’ birth is relevant whether it takes place in Bethlehem or Harlem.
Bring The Family? Absolutely. Hughes aimed to inspire young people with this take on the classic story.
The Production: The Santaland Diaries, Dec. 2 to Dec. 24 at Logan Fringe Arts Space.
Based On: David Sedaris’ 1992 essay.
What You’ll See: An angsty, underemployed man dressed in velvet and railing against the Santa industrial complex.
One-Sentence Takeaway: Avoid department store Christmas displays at all costs.
Bring The Family? Maybe not. The elves are notoriously anti-Santa.
The Production: Stars of David: Story to Song, Dec. 22 to 27 at Theater J.
Based On: The book of the same name by Abigail Pogrebin.
What You’ll See: Local actors sharing the words and holiday memories of famous Jews, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Gloria Steinem.
One-Sentence Takeaway: Like “The Hanukkah Song” but serious.
Bring The Family? Your bubbe and zayde will appreciate it.