Curtain Call: Early Christmas theater happenings

The holiday season has begun and area theaters are adding to the festivities with special shows.

Milford Arts Center, Milford. Here’s a special treat. Producers Bert Bernardi and Jimmy Johansmeyer of Pantochino Productions Inc. will present The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. This new musical is based on the L. Frank Baum story with the same title. Don’t forget that Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz  so  you know this production is going to be highly entertaining. The musical spans the life of Santa from his unusual beginnings in a magical forest to his life’s journey of making children happy. It is bound to be spectacular because these two men are known for their creativity and artistry. This original musical production opens on Dec. 2 and plays through Dec. 18 at the Milford Arts Center. Box office: 203-882-0969.  

Phoenix Stage Company, Oakville. ’Twas the  night before the opening of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) at the Phoenix Stage Company in Oakville, when Ed Bassett, general manager and artistic director of the theater, announced such a special surprise that I actually asked Ed to repeat the news because I couldn’t believe what I heard. My ears had not deceived me. Harold and Susan Pantely will co-star in an upcoming production of Gin Game at the Phoenix Stage Company. This is definitely an early Christmas gift. The Pantelys owned and operated Clockwork Repertory Theatre before handing the stage over to the Phoenix. Both Pantelys have a ton of theater experience and dated during college. Susan directed many of the plays at Clockwork and Harold, who personally greeted his audience at every performance, is a natural showman.  This is an early Christmas gift that won’t be opened until next season, but it is definitely something to look forward to.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Every Christmas Story is quickly becoming an annual event. Having a hit history at the Phoenix, it opened again this year on Friday night, Nov. 25, and plays through Dec. 11. Directed by Tim Phillips, it features Ed Bassett, Ian Diedrich, and Rob Richavsky. There is some mild adult language in the play, but it is definitely a fun production guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Box office:860-417-2505.

Landmark Community Theatre at the Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston. Another theater getting a head start on the holiday is Landmark Community Theatre at the Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston. Here is a fun family production that children will definitely have a good time at. Harry Connick Jr., who wrote this new musical, sent a bouquet of balloons to Landmark in honor of their opening of his show. Pretty cool. The play features Eubie the Elf who sets out to reform everyone in the town of Bluesville, where everyone has been pretty naughty. The positives spotlight “overcoming adversity, friendship, the power of positivity and believing in yourself.” Box office:860-283-8558.

The cast of The Christmas Carol at Earlene’s Diner, now playing at Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury.
The cast of The Christmas Carol at Earlene’s Diner, now playing at Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury.

Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury has opened its holiday production of  The Christmas Carol at Earlene’s Diner. The show runs through Dec. 22 and features Michelle Gotay as her hilarious alter-ego Earlene Babcock. This is a brand-new show. If you’ve seen Earlene’s shows in the past, then you know this is going to be a riot. Especially because a Dickens show is about to go on but, Scrooge is nowhere to be found. Box office: 203-757-4676.