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2012 Philadelphia Holiday Theater Preview

Theater tickets often cost little more than going to the movies, and there's something special about the interaction between an audience and actors live on stage, especially during the holiday season. If you haven't been to the theater in a long while, the holidays are a great time to jump back in. Whether you're looking for a family friendly show or an adult holiday revue, the Philadelphia-area theater scene has it all.
A Christmas Carol
Hedgerow Theatre
64 Rose Valley Road
Media, PA 19063
(610) 565-4211

Dates: Dec. 6 to Dec. 24
Price: $25 to $32 adults/$22 to $29 seniors/$10 children younger than 18 and students

No list of holiday theater events would be complete without the venerable Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol." One of the greatest American novels and a favorite production around the holidays, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation after he's visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is one that still touches audiences today. If you've never seen "A Christmas Carol" live on stage, you must go this year.

Mrs. Bob Crachit's Wild Christmas Binge
New City Stage Company at Adrienne Theater
2030 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-7500

Dates: Nov. 29 to Dec. 23
Price: $24 to $26 adults/$22 seniors and students

Maybe you've already seen "A Christmas Carol" and you're looking for some Dickens this season that's irreverent rather than revered. If so, this is the show for you. In Christopher Durang's play, Mrs. Bob Cratchit, a minor character in "A Christmas Carol," is a far cry from the long-suffering and loving mother of sickly Tiny Tim. Instead, she's tired of her goody-goody son, not to mention the 20 other children that she locks up in a root cellar. Dicken's tale of redemption is turned on its head; lovers of dark comedy are sure to enjoy this play.

The Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Revue
Musikfest Cafe at Steel Stacks
101 Founders Way
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 332-1300

Dates: Dec. 8 to Dec. 9
Price: $35 at door/$32 advance

Keeping in the vein of irreverent holiday productions, you won' t find anything funnier than "The Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Revue." Founded in 1959, The Second City improv troupe has given rise to many of America's best comics, including Martin Short, John Candy, Joan Rivers, Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. This show brings together a seasonal blend of songs and improvisation. It's worth the short drive from Philadelphia proper.

A Velveteen Rabbit Christmas
The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts
104 E. State St.
Media, PA 19063
(610) 891-0100

Dates: Dec. 1 to Dec. 22
Price: $12 adults/$10 children

If you're looking for a more family friendly event and and one that won't break the bank, "A Velveteen Rabbit Christmas" is for you. This musical is based on the classic children's story about toys that come to life and a stuffed rabbit who longs to become real through the love of its owner. The book is considered one of the greatest children's books ever written. Seeing it play out on stage will delight young and old alike.

Christmas Wonderland 2012: A Musical Holiday Spectacular

West Chester University's Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre
817 S. High St.
West Chester, PA 19383
(610) 436-2266

Dates: Dec. 8 to Dec. 9
Price: $20 adults/$15 seniors and students

Another great pick for families, "Christmas Wonderland 2012: A Musical Holiday Spectacular" is a song and dance tribute to the holidays. The Greater Ocean City Theatre Company returns to West Chester after its sold out run in 2011 for a guaranteed good time with the whole family. The show features familiar songs, special effects and dazzling costumes to kick off the holiday season right.

Katherine Ernst is a full-time novelist and freelance writer in Montgomery County. Follow her activity on her blog at Her work can be found at
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