Once again South County’s theatrical spotlight shines on Christmas, a holiday as deep as it is extravagant. Some theatre companies explore the seasonal subject through music or spoken word, while others opt instead for live performances. This wide range of theatrical offerings allows one to customize their festive experience: Do I want to see A Christmas Carol or a Christmas concert - or better yet, both?
Down in Wakefield, the Contemporary Theater Company continues to prove itself a vital part of Rhode Island’s growing performance community, and their December shows kick off with The Gift of the Magi, by Spencer Curry. Inspired by O. Henry’s classic tale, this performance tells the story of three different couples at varying stages of life and love. And while the acclaimed actors provide a heart-warming experience, the complimentary carols and cocoa keep audience members enjoying the festivities long after the curtain falls. $15-20. 327 Main Street, Wakefield. December 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21 at 7pm; December 22 at 2pm & 7pm. 218-0282.
For those looking for more of a holiday classic, attend the GEAR Productions and Contemporary Theater Company collaboration of The Nutcracker, showing at the South Kingstown High School. Featuring an all-abilities cast that brings out the intricacies of Clara’s story and Tchaikovsky’s music, this is one show that is sure to warm the hearts of kids and adults alike. (Plus, where else can you attend a high-quality performance at such an affordable price?) $5- 10. 215 Columbia Street, Wakefield. December 14 & 15 at 2pm. 218-0282.
Let’s keep the classic holiday train a rollin’ with Granite Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol, a story that needs no introduction. As their iconic Christmas presentation, Granite Theatre truly brings to life the tale of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and 1800s London - a Christmas trifecta appropriate for anyone looking for that deep-down festive feeling. Call for ticket prices. 1 Granite Street, Westerly. December 1, 8, 15 & 22 at 2pm; December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21 at 8pm. 596-2341.
In need of a second dose of A Christmas Carol? The Courthouse Center Stage, in West Kingston, is taking on this Dickensian tale, but they’re doing it with a unique spin: Big Nazo, the eccentric masked musical performance group, is featured for all performances. Self-described as a “renegade circus” full of “family contortionists, a rowdy rodeo horse, a giant three-eye robot percussionist” and much more, Big Nazo is guaranteed to make this a memorable show. $15-20. 3481 Kingstown Road, West Kingston. December 5-7, 12-14 & 19-21 at 8pm; December 8,15 & 22 at 2pm. 782-1018.
Enough with the theatrical performances, right? Let’s move now to the more music-centric side of South County’s Christmas shows, starting with the Chorus of Westerly’s Christmas Pops 2013. Conducted by Andrew Howell, this year’s concert is expected to last approximately 75 minutes with no intermission - an epic audible experience ideal for anyone looking to get lost in the season’s music. The show is presented with major support from The Blue Mitten Thrift Shop, Marion Palm, Dime Bank, The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Nigrelli’s Jewelry. $25-70. December 15, 4pm & 6pm. 119 High Street, Westerly. 596-8663.
But save some of that lyrical appetite for a second meal: the Coastline Show Chorus comes to Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre. As an internationally renown chorus with exciting, high-energy performances, this group puts on anything but the usual Christmas concert. (They won five successive regional championships between 2002 and 2010, and countless international championship awards, so to say they’re talented would be a major understatement.) This is definitely one show no one should miss. $25. December 7 at 2pm & 5pm. 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick. 921-1777.
For those still craving some music - and don’t mind driving some distance to get it - 3-time Grammy-award-winner Brian Setzer comes to Foxwoods this holiday season. Known as a musical innovator and a chance-taken, Setzer has been redefining Christmas music for years, having already produced three best-selling holiday albums, and now South County audiences have a chance to hear him live. $20-40. December 1 at 7pm. 39 Norwich-Westerly Road, Mashantucket, CT. 860-646-0050.
And that’s it, theatre-goers! The epitome of submerging into the season’s festive feeling lies no further than the aforementioned events. Attend one, two, three or all of them - it’s totally up to you and how much Christmas spirit you can handle.