It turns out that magic and the supernatural, not to mention dark themes, often the basis for children's stories, inform a number of holiday offerings on our stages.
Take, for example, THE CHIMES: A Goblin Story, which is a play that John Hurley crafted from the second of Dickens' Christmas Stories for Road Less Traveled Productions. And like Dicken's first in the genre, THE CHIMES features supernatural creatures, ghosts if you will, who point out the errors of our human folly. BUFFALO PINOCCHIO by Richard Lambert tells the hopeful story of the wooden puppet who wanted to be a real boy. In an effort to deal with the current political climate, Lambert wanted a play with a magical, happy ending. Meanwhile, Tchaikovsky's THE NUTCRACKER (with all of those battling mice running around) depicts a variety of magical transformations, some dark, at UB's Center for the Arts, on Saturday at 1 and 7 and Sunday at 1. Also, Buffalo Opera Unlimited's production of Humperdinck's HANSEL AND GRETEL (with children about to be eaten) is up at Rockwell Hall, tonight at 8 and Sunday at 2:30.
THE CHIMES: A Goblin Story world-premiere adaptation written and directed by John Hurley, starring Andrea Andolina, Gerry Maher, Lisa Vitrano, Nick Lama, Steve Brachmann. Dec 2-18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org
THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, holiday play by Barbara Robinson, presented by Lancaster Regional Players, directed by Caroline Parzy-Sanders. Dec 2-11, Fri at 7:30, Sat & Sun at 2:30. Williamsville Meeting House, 5658 Main St. (435-4919). www.lancasterregionalplayers.org
JUNIE B. JONES IN JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS, play by Allison Gregory based on Barbara Park’s series, presented by Theatre of Youth, directed by Meg Quinn, starring
Renee Landrigan, Arin Lee Dandes, Dan Torres, Danica Riddick, Kevin Craig, Dan Urtz, Larry Smith. Dec 3-18, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Dec 17 at 10:00 a.m. Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St. (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, play by James Rodgers, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by SamiGranieri, starring Ricco Slaiman, Sam Fadel, George White, Tom Slaiman, Mary Anne Slaiman, Mike Lombardo, James Murphy, Sam Granieri, Carl Bishara, Robin Bishara. Dec 2-11, Fri & Sat at 7:30. Sun at 2:30. Woodbox Theatre, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Rd. (297-5910).
THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, musical by Finn, Sheinkin, & Feldman, presented by Niagara University Theatre, directed by Steven Braddock. Dec 1-11, Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Leary Theatre in Clet Hall, NU campus (286-8685).
HANSEL AND GRETEL, opera by Engelbert Humperdinck presented by Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Dec 2 at 8 & Dec 4 at 2:30. Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005). www.buffalooperaunlimited.org
THE NUTCRACKER, ballet by Tchaikovsky presented by the American Academy of Ballet at UB’s Center for the Arts, December 3 at 1 and 7, and December 4 at 1. www.ubcfa.org
THE BETSY CARMICHAEL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, world premiere original comedy conceived & written by Mary Kate O’Connell & Joey Bucheker, directed by O’Connell, starring Betsy Carmichael, Jerry Mosey, Adam M. Wall, Corey Bieber, Sean Murphy. Through Dec 18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. The Park School, 4625 Harlem Road, Snyder (848-0800). www.oconnellandcompany.com
BUFFALO PINOCCHIO, new adaptation of the classic story written and directed by Richrd Lambert, starring Todd Fuller, David Adamczyk, Betsy Bittar, Frank LaVoie, Joni Russ, Mary Moebius, Mark Bogumil, Suzanne Fitzery, Kathleen Ashwill, Leonard Ziolkowski. Through Dec 17, Thu-Sat at 8. New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334). www.newphoenixtheatre.org
A MIDSUMMER’S DYKE’S DREAM, comedy by Shawn P. Northrip presented by Buffalo United Artists and Brazen-Faced Varlets, directed by Lara D. Haberberger, starring Heather Fangsrud, Jennifer Gembka, Stefanie Warnick, Haberberger. Through Dec 10, Fri & Sat at 8. Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. (886-9239). www.buffalobua.org/www.varlets.org
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies presented by Theatre in the Mist, directed by Emily Pici, starring Ron Ashker, Anne Kurtis, John Jacoby, Rhett Durgan. Through Dec 3, Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Stella Niagara Education Park, 4421 Lower River Road, Lewiston. (1-877-856-0694) www.theatreinthemist.org
NUNCRACKERS: THE NUNSENSE CHRISTMAS MUSICAL, musical by Dan Goggin presented by Rocking Horse Productions, directed by Leigha Eichhorn, starring Christina Doyle, Gail Graesser, Liz Staley, Artie Vanderpool, Alexandria Watts. Through Dec 11, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:30. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776). www.lancopera.org
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, drama by Dale Wasserman, adapted from the book by Ken Kesey, presented by Subversive Theatre, directed by Michael Lodick, starring Thomas LaChiusa, Victor Morales, Diane DiBernardo-Blenk. Through Dec 3, Thu-Sat at 8. Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor (408-0499). www.subversivetheatre.org
TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL, by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman, directed by Doug Weyand, starring Louis Colaiacovo, Debbie Pappas. Through Dec 4, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted and directed by Neal Radice, starring David C. Mitchell, Stephanie Bax, Michelle Holden, Noah Doktor, Shawn Calmes, Allison Barsi, Roger VanDette, David G. Poole, Jerry Hudson, Joyce Stilson, James Cichocki. Dec 8-18, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 5 & 8, Sun at 2. Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600). www.alleyway.com
CHRISTMAS IS COMIN’ UPTOWN, musical by Sherman, Rose & Udell, presented by Paul Robeson Theatre, directed by Reginald Kelly. Dec 8-18, Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2. Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, 710 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).
A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s & Albert Nocciolino. Dec 13-18, Tue-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 & 8, Sun at 2 & 7. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).
ONCE, touring production of the Broadway musical presented by Shea’s & Albert Nocciolino. Dec 10 at 8. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (1-800-745-3000).