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9 holiday-themed shows to open this week

Nine productions with holiday themes are opening this week in the region.

"HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS," an all new Christmas variety revue, opens Friday in Desert Star Dinner Theater, 4861 S. State, Murray, where it continues through Jan. 1 (alternating with performances of another revue, "The Rat Pack Remembered").

The show is written and compiled by Mary Parker Williams, and directed by Scott Holman. The cast includes Spencer Ashby, Justin Berry, Kirstin Kennison-Nagel, Jennifer Nix-Royall, Ally Sweeney, Richy T. Steadman, David Walker and Mary Parker Williams.

Desert Star's Cabaret Theater, located in the same building, is noted for its post-show "olio" revues and owner Mike Todd says this new revue is like several olios packed into one. Musical direction is by Ben Mayfield.

Dates and performance times vary, with several additional shows scheduled closer to Christmas to accommodate work and family parties or other large groups. Admission ranges from $26.99-$29.99, including a buffet meal. Seating for meal service (lunch and dinner) is about one hour prior to curtain time (266-2600). For specific show times, visit the www.desertstar.biz Web site.

"THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS," a theatrical version of Michael McLean's popular concert piece — adapted for the stage by his son, Scott — is returning for a second run, this time as part of Provo Theatre Company's 20th anniversary season. Directed by Bradley Moss, it plays Friday through Dec. 23 in PTC, 105 E. 100 North, Provo.

David Tinney, the company's artistic director, is returning to play the central role of John, with Thomas Every as James, newcomer Korianne Johnson as Constance and Lara Johnson as Lillian. Tinney plans to keep "The Forgotten Carols" as part of the theater's holiday lineup in future seasons as well.

For the holiday season, the production will play most weeknights and weekends, Mondays-Saturdays, at 7:30 p.m. (No performances on Dec. 2-3). Tickets range from $12.50-$15 (379-0600 or www.provotheatrecompany.com).

"THE OTHER WISE MAN is a "play with music," based on Henry VanDyke's classic tale of Artaban, a fourth wise man who searched his entire life for the other three biblical magi and the infant King.

It plays Friday through Dec. 23 in Rodgers Memorial Theatre, 292 E. Pages Lane, Centerville. The cast, directed by Jansen and Joy Davis, includes Nathan Riddle and Treion Muller alternating in the role of Artaban.

Performances are Mondays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $8-$12 (298-1302).

"IT'S A WONDROUS LIFE," Eric Jensen's new parody of "It's a Wonderful Life," opens Friday and plays through Dec. 30 at the Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main. Jensen, who also directed, will play Uncle Billy, with Clarence Strohn as George Bailey, Shauna Brand as Mary and Calypso Grey as Zuzu.

Performances are Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with some added shows on Thursday and one matinee during the run. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for students, senior citizens and military and $6 for children. Call the box office for details on show times and dates (355-4628).

"CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART OF A CHILD" is back for the second time in the Draper Historic Theatre, 12366 S. 900 East, Draper, where it will play Saturday through Dec. 19.

Written and directed by Kevin McClellan and Rhonda Neiswender, with original music, lyrics and vocal direction by Carrie Maxwell Wrigley, the production includes segments based on six popular Christmas stories.

The cast includes A.J. Longhurst and Lauren Tuft as Jim and Della in "The Gift of the Magi," 7-year-old Ian Buckley as "The Littlest Angel," Makyla Goudie as "The Little Match Girl," Michelle Lee as Clara in "The Nutcracker" and Quinton Cook as "The Little Drummer Boy." The sixth vignette is an original story about Santa Claus' workshop being invaded by a monster.

Performances are Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with one Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10.

"SCROOGE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL," utilizing a script adapted by Beverly Olsen and Jacci Florence, will have its traditional run Friday through Dec. 23 in the Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden.

Directed by Jacci Florence, who also plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, the cast includes her husband, Kim, as Scrooge; Donald L. Wilhelm as Christmas Present and Blaine Smith as Christmas Future.

Performances will be Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through Dec. 17, then nightly Dec. 19-23. Tickets are $9-$11 for adults and $6-$8 for children, with discounts for students and senior citizens (393-0070).

"HERE'S LOVE," the Broadway musical version of "Miracle on 34th Street," will play Saturday through Dec. 19 in the Alpine Playhouse, 81 S. 100 West, Alpine.

Laurie Olson is directing a cast of more than 30 players, including Art Fenstermaker as Kris Kringle, Lisa Prina as Doris Walker, Lark Barney and Jessica Sundwall double-cast as Susan Walker, Mark Haddock as Mr. Macy and Jackson Westenskow as Fred Gailey.

Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees, Dec. 3, 10 and 17, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for students and children (800-838-3006 or www.alpineplayhouse.com).

"A CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR" is the theme for the Bumbleberry Theatre's all new holiday revue, playing Saturday through Dec. 17 in Springdale.

Directed by Rhett Thomas, who also produced "Twist the Night Away" and "Lost on Route 66," the show will feature music, comedy and dancing. The cast includes Elijah and Shaun McCausland, Kristi Nelson, Cole Sherratt and Thomas.

Performances are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children, 6-14. Those under 5 are admitted free of charge (435-772-3611).

"THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER," staged by the West Jordan Theater Arts Council, will play from Saturday through Dec. 10 in the Sugar Factory Playhouse, 8200 S. 2200 West.

Directed by Pat Oliver, the cast includes Michelle Groves as Mrs. Bradley, Rachel Elmer as Beth, Sherrie Watson as Alice — and Jay Shepherd, Lanie Smith, John Merrell, Dallyn Zaugg, Sam Cushing and Kit Johnson as the rambunctious Herdman family.

Performances are Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $3 each, available at the door or in advance from Macey's, 3200 W. 7800 South.


E-mail: ivan@desnews.com