Whether they’re poking fun at consumerism or reminiscing about holidays gone by, Christmas-themed plays are a mainstay in Wichita. Some scripts are written or adapted here; others are nationally known.
Whether it’s Dickens’ Scrooge learning compassion or Santa being a bit tipsy, play-goers are sure to feel the magic of the season when they attend a local holiday play.
At some, they can even get dinner.
This holiday season has included a long list of local productions, including classic favorites: “White Christmas” at Crown Uptown Theater and “A Christmas Carol” at The Forum Theatre. The Wichita Community Theatre is showing the new national comedy staple “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” And Mosley Street, Cabaret Old Town and Prairie Pines dinner theaters are offering fun-filled cabaret-style Christmas plays – featuring skits, songs and lots of frolicking.
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Most have been running for weeks already. Some finish their runs this weekend. Others will keep showing through the end of the year.
Prairie Pines, the Christmas tree farm in Maize, has showcased a holiday-themed dinner theatre for almost 10 years. This year, the theater is putting on “The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Re-Told, Part Deux.”
“The show is a lighthearted comical look at the holidays,” said Kip Scott, the owner and producer of the 200-seat theater, which this year is featuring a new bar. “Most of it is poking fun at the craziness of the holidays.”
Across town, Crown Uptown’s “White Christmas” was such a success last year, the venue’s managers decided to reprise the holiday classic.
“We thought we would make it a tradition,” said Raymond Gans, the theater’s executive producer and theater manager. “It’s such a great story.”
Other local productions that have been getting audiences in the holiday mood include Cabaret Old Town’s “Crazy Christmas” and Mosley Street Melodrama’s “Shakespeare’s MacBethlehem Christmas or Wherefore Art Thou Saint Nick?” The Mosley Street performance is followed by the “Colors of Christmas” Musical Comedy Revue.
The Wichita Community Theatre is presenting the comedy “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some),” in which three actors plan to put on “A Christmas Carol,” but one actor refuses to perform.
There’s also “A Christmas Carol: A Spirited New Musical,” which is showing at the Forum Theatre. The musical, which was penned by local composer/lyricist Paul Jackson with book by local, published writer Conrad Jestmore, was put on as a “world premiere” by the Forum last year with the goal of offering it to other theaters to produce. On Sunday, said director Kathryn Page Hauptman, a representative from play licensing company Samuel French Inc. will be attending the show to consider adding it to its catalog.
Following are the shows that holiday-minded theater-goers can still attend this season:
“ Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some),” Wichita Community Theater, 258 N. Fountain. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $14, $12 seniors, military, students, 316-686-1282 or www.wichitacommunitytheatre.com.
“White Christmas,” Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, 3207 E. Douglas. Tickets are still available for the 2 p.m. Sunday show only. They’re $35 and don’t include a meal. For tickets and information, call 316-612-7696 or visit www.crownuptown.com.
“Shakespeare’s MacBethlehem Christmas or Wherefore Art Thou Saint Nick?” followed by “Colors of Christmas” musical comedy revue, Mosley Street Melodrama, 234 N. Mosley: Tickets are available starting Wednesday through Dec. 30. Wednesday through Dec. 29, doors open at 6 p.m., dinner is at 6:15 p.m. and the show is at 7:50 p.m. On Dec. 30, doors open at 5 p.m., dinner is at 5:15 p.m. and the show is at 6:50 p.m. Tickets are $27 for the show plus dinner and $17 for the show only. For tickets and information, call 316-263-0222 or visit www.mosleystreet.com.
“A Christmas Carol,” The Forum Theatre, 147 S. Hillside: Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $23 for Sunday and $25 for Friday and Saturday. For tickets and information, visit www.forumwichita.com/tickets or call 316-618-0444.
“Crazy Christmas,” Cabaret Old Town, 412 1/2 E. Douglas, 316-265-4400: Tickets to the shows are sold out, but those who want to go should call closer to show time to see if any have been released. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 for Fridays and Saturdays and $23 for Sundays.
“The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Re-Told, Part Deux,” Prairie Pines Dinner Theatre, 4055 N. Tyler Road: Tickets are available for the Friday through Sunday shows. Dinner is 6-7:30 p.m., the show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $31.95. For information and reservations, call 316-303-2037 or visit prairiepines.com.