Thursday, November 30 2023 10:23

Holidays at the Theater

Written by Elizabeth Hughes

Catch a show at a local theater this month

There’s nothing quite like the theater. As you sink into your seat, program in hand, the feeling of anticipation grows. Then, the house lights dim, the spotlight shines, and you’re transported to another time and place — 19th-century England, the depths of the ocean or a magical world unlike our own.

As the curtain rises on this festive season, it’s the perfect time to take in a show. Our local theaters have been gearing up for the holidays and have plenty of exciting performances planned.

Join us on a tour of the region’s performing arts scene, spanning Chester and Delaware Counties as well as Wilmington. No matter your age or taste, you’re sure to find the show for you.

Chester County

We start in Chester County, where area theaters have put together a holiday season jam-packed with exciting performances. From classic musicals to big band and bluegrass concerts, there’s something for everyone.

Starting in Lionville, the Barley Sheaf Players perform The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, December 1 to 10. Based on the book by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), the play answers all your questions about Santa Claus — where he came from, how he started making toys, why he climbs down chimneys, and even how he learned to laugh “ho, ho, ho!” For tickets and times, visit BarleySheaf.org.

Over in Phoenixville, The Colonial Theatre has two special holiday shows planned. First up is Jessica Lynn’s “A Very Merry County Christmas” on Friday, December 8. This national touring show combines traditional holiday songs with dancers, choirs, special effects and more, all while raising money and collecting toys for Toys for Tots. Come back on Sunday, December 17 to see the City Rhythm Orchestra’s annual Christmas show, “Holiday Style.” You’ll hear innovative versions of holiday classics in their renowned big band style, along with featured vocalists and soloists. For tickets and times, visit TheColonialTheatre.com.

A Christmas Carol at People’s Light

In Malvern, see People’s Light’s rendition of A Christmas Carol, running through December 15. Experience Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future like never before. This fresh retelling features both original songs and traditional English carols to delight audiences of all ages. For tickets and times, visit PeoplesLight.org.

For another holiday staple, Chester Springs’ SALT Performing Arts puts on a lively version of The Sound of Music, December 1 to 17. The final collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, the beloved story of the von Trapp family features all your favorite songs, including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things” and, of course, “The Sound of Music.” For tickets and times, visit SALTPA.com.

“A Dream Is a Wish” at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center

Still looking for more holiday fun? West Chester’s Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center has events for all ages and tastes. Kiddos will love “The Holiday Cheer Show,” featuring Uptown Studio’s youth performers, December 1 at 5 p.m. The show runs for about an hour, leaving plenty of times to scout out a spot for the West Chester Christmas Parade at 7. Then, see all your favorite princesses perform holiday and Disney classics at “A Dream Is a Wish,” December 23.

For grownups, Uptown’s December musical lineup includes Accent’s “An A Cappella Holiday” on the 6th, Nefesh Mountain’s bluegrass holiday concert on the 14th and Twelve Twenty-Four: The Holiday Rock Orchestra, the nation’s longest running Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute, on the 22nd. For tickets and times, visit UptownWestChester.org.

Delaware County

Moving east, you’ll find that Delaware County is full of talented performers as well. Here’s what two Delco theaters have in store this month.

Hedgerow Theatre Company

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Media’s Hedgerow Theatre Company puts on A Christmas Carol Comedy through December 24. This fun and festive adaptation of Dickens’ story returns to Hedgerow after its U.S. premiere there last year, featuring two actors playing Scrooge and “everybody else.” As an added bonus, the December 10, 14 and 17 shows include live performances by WXPN folk duo Last Chance. For tickets and times, visit HedgerowTheatre.org.

In downtown Media, the Media Theatre has two exciting musicals to enjoy for the holidays. Part of their Broadway Series, Mary Poppins runs from December 5 to January 14, with all the music and magic of the classic Disney film. In addition, the Children’s Theatre performs Finding Nemo Jr. on Saturdays and Sundays, December 16 to January 14. This 60-minute musical adaptation of the Pixar movie features all new songs, including “Just Keep Swimming,” “Fish Are Friends, Not Food” and “Go With the Flow.” For tickets and times, visit MediaTheatre.org.

Wilmington

Consider a trip across state lines to Wilmington, where the city’s theaters have an exciting holiday season planned.

First, the Candlelight Theatre performs It’s a Wonderful Life, running through December 23. Based on the iconic Frank Capra film, this show follows George Bailey and his Guardian Angel in a heartwarming story of love and friendship. For tickets and times, visit CandlelightTheatreDelaware.org.

For a twist on an old classic, see the Delaware Theatre Company’s performance of Peter and the Starcatcher, December 6 to 24. This Tony Award-winning play is “a grownup prequel to Peter Pan,” chronicling how a nameless orphan became The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Twelve actors take on the roles of over 100 memorable characters in this sensational show. For tickets and times, visit DelawareTheatre.org.

Last but not least, there are even more holiday shows at The Grand. On December 10, see a 50-year music veteran at “An Evening with Judy Collins: Holidays and Hits.” Later this month, the First State Ballet Theatre brings The Nutcracker to Copeland Hall, December 16 to 23. Or, see the Wilmington Ballet’s version at The Grand’s sister stage, The Playhouse on Rodney Square, December 15 to 17. Also at The Playhouse, catch Perseverance Productions’ new adaptation of A Christmas Carol on December 18. For tickets and times, visit TheGrandWilmington.org.

 

This holiday season and beyond, we encourage you to support the performing arts and take in a show at a local theater. Better yet, get into the giving spirit by gifting tickets to your friends and family.

Happy holidays!

More in Lancaster County

There are even more holiday happenings in Lancaster County. Here’s what our western neighbor has in store this season. Check websites for tickets and times.

American Music Theatre
November 7–December 30: “The 2023 Christmas Show: The First Noel,” 2425 Lincoln Hwy. E., Lancaster. AMTShows.com.

Bird-in-Hand Stage
October 26–December 30: Our Christmas Dinner, 2760 Old Philadelphia Pk., Bird-in-Hand. Bird-In-Hand.com/Stage.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
November 17–December 30: A Christmas Carol: The Musical, 510 Centerville Rd., Lancaster. DutchApple.com.

The Fulton Theatre
November 17–December 30: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
November 30–December 23: “Holiday Cabaret.”
December 2–30: Peter Pan, 12 N. Prince St., Lancaster. TheFulton.org.

Sight & Sound Theatres
November 3–December 30: Miracle of Christmas, 300 Hartman Bridge Rd., Ronks. Sight-Sound.com.