The pandemic isn’t keeping the Valley’s performing arts and theater organizations from celebrating the holidays this year. Local companies and troupes are staging a wide variety of productions, ranging from traditional and family-friendly fare to adults-only material, over the next few weeks.
Each will be staged with COVID-19 in mind, though. Some shows will be virtual experiences you can view online, while in-person performances will require audiences to wear masks or follow certain guidelines.
Here’s a look at what will holiday productions be playing on metro Phoenix stages through the end of December.
Winter WonderettesThursday, December 10, to Sunday, December 20
Zao Theatre, 550 South Ironwood Drive, Apache Junction, 480-924-5122
This fancifully retro singing and dancing revue is set during the Harper’s Hardware Christmas Party in 1968 and stars the colorful members of The Winter Wonderettes (Missy, Suzy, Betty Jean, and Cindy Lou). They’ll perform dozens of well-known holiday songs throughout the upbeat show, including “Santa Baby,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “Winter Wonderland,” laying on the wholesome charm and schmaltz. Limited audience seating will be available, with face coverings required for each performance (and the theater staff providing free masks for those without one). Performances take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for children 6 to 12.
A Christmas Story: The PlayThrough December 20
Desert Stages Theatre, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480-483-1664
A Christmas Story is such a quintessential part of this time of year that you’re guaranteed to have seen the film version at least a few times by now (or at least committed its best lines to memory). All of your favorite moments from the classic tale of Ralphie Parker and his quest for a genuine Red Ryder BB gun will be included in Desert Stages Theatre’s staging of A Christmas Story: The Play, which runs through December 20. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25. The theater will have reduced capacity, frequent sanitizing of common touch-points, and mandatory mask usage during performances.
Who's Holiday!Through December 20
Stage Left Productions, 11340 West Bell Road, #105, Surprise, 623-285-6321
What would happen if Cindy Lou Who grew up to be an aging, jaded, pot-smoking burnout who lived in a trailer park? Such is the scenario explored in Who's Holiday!, an R-rated skewering of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This one-woman show, which stars actress Kelly Hajek as the titular character, is a raunchy riff on the beloved tale that’s told in Seussian rhyme and packs plenty of profane jokes into its 55-minute-long runtime. It stages at 7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $25, but you'd better move fast since there's reduced seating capacity because of the pandemic.
Unwrapped: A Christmas RevueThrough Wednesday, December 23
Phoenix Theatre Company, 1825 North Central Avenue, 602-254-2151
The PTC’s outdoor stage, which was built with social distancing in mind, hosts this holiday-themed musical revue with a rock ‘n’ roll flair and plenty of revelry. The 75-minute-long show features seasonal tunes by Pentatonix, NSYNC, Hanson, and others, which will be performed by such artists as Sam Primack, Alyssa Chiarello, and Alexandra Ncube. Showtime is at 7 p.m. each night (except December 14) with a matinee at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $59 per person. Face masks are required and temperature checks will be performed on staff and crew prior to their shifts each day.
A Christmas CarolThrough Wednesday, December 23
Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, 602-254-7399
Through Saturday, December 26
Hale Centre Theatre, 50 West Page Avenue, Gilbert, 480-497-1181
Fans of A Christmas Carol will have multiple chances to see the Dickensian holiday classic unfold this year as it’s being presented by two Valley theater companies, each with differing takes and setups. Childsplay Theatre’s version at the Herberger will be a one-woman show starring renowned local actress Katie McFadzen on the venue’s new outdoor stage. Showtime is at 7 p.m. on various dates through December 23. Admission is $35.50 per person.
Meanwhile, the Hale Centre Theatre’s production will feature two different casts, traditional costumes, and even special effects. Performances take place daily (except on Christmas) through December 26 at varying showtimes. Tickets are $40 to $44. A full schedule and more details can be found here.
A Bloody Mary ChristmasThrough December 25
The folks at Space 55 will be staging their annual performance of A Bloody Mary Christmas (which is self-described as “a holiday musical for people who hate the holidays and musicals”) as a streaming virtual event this year. The production is a comedy-filled romp featuring a trio of Sun City retirees named Blanche, Bertha, and Mabel who are spending Christmas Eve fighting eviction from their condo by their insidious HOA. Naughty humor abounds throughout the show, which is aimed at an adult audience. It will stream for free via Space 55’s YouTube channel on December 11, 18, and 19 (although donations are appreciated) or is available on-demand for $8.
The NutcrackerSaturday, December 12 and Saturday, December 19
Catching one of Ballet Arizona’s annual performances of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov's world-famous ballet set to the music of Tchaikovsky has been a staple of the holidays in the Valley for decades. This year, the company will present a virtual version of the experience when it broadcasts an abridged version over the internet at 3 p.m. on December 12 and 19. It’s $20 to view the performance, which can be streamed on-demand for up to 24 hours after the broadcast. Ballet Arizona is also offering a special “Genuwine” package for an additional $28, which can be picked up curbside from their offices and includes a bottle of Botijo Rojo wine, caramel fudge brownies, and mixed nuts. More details can be found here.
The Dinosaur Christmas RevueSaturday, December 12 to Thursday, December 24
Great Arizona Puppet Theatre, 302 West Latham Street, 602-262-2050
You won’t have to leave the safety of your vehicle to partake in the whimsy and gentle humor of GAPT’s dinosaur-themed holiday revue. The daytime show, which will include carols, comedy, and dancing, will be presented in a drive-in format outside the theater. Performances take place at 10 a.m. on December 12, 19, and 24 with an afternoon show at 2 p.m. on December 13. It’s $40 per car to attend and tickets are available here.
Wanted: Santa ClausFriday, December 18 to Sunday, December 20
Spotlight Youth Theatre, 10620 North 43rd Avenue, Glendale, 602-843-8318
A cadre of greedy department store owners frame Kris Kringle for crimes he didn’t commit (including purse-snatching and tire theft) in this family-oriented play being staged by Glendale’s Spotlight Youth Theatre. Performances will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 18, and Saturday, December 19; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 20. It’s $15 to view per device or $28 or two devices.
Black NativityWednesday, December 23 to Saturday, December 26
Black Theatre Troupe
The Black Theatre Troupe is planning to continue its annual tradition of presenting Langston Hughes' Black Nativity this year, albeit as a virtual event. During Christmas weekend, the troupe will stream an encore performance of its 2019 production of the musical, which was penned by the late poet/playwright and reimagines the Nativity story with an all-black cast. The stream will be free to view (although donations are encouraged) and includes a special introduction and messages from the cast. It will run from 10 a.m. on December 23 through 10 p.m. on December 26. More information is available here.
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