Theater Talk: Pinocchio, Scrooge, Junie B. Jones for the holidays

Dec 16, 2016

If it's on stage this week, it's a holiday show, for sure, but some are better than others.

Highly recommended for kids from 6 to 66  is Theatre of Youth's JUNIE B. JONES IN JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS about a classroom of first graders getting ready for their Christmas pageant and then their "Secret Santa" exchange. Also, with a 33 year history, the Alleyway Theatre's presentation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL is made extra special by having the cast caroling outside the theater (in the alley behind Shea's). Speaking of Shea's, A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL will delight fans of the perennial holiday TV movie. The puppets on stage at the New Phoenix Theatre for BUFFALO PINOCCHIO must be seen to be believed (there is a deer running around on stage that is so lifelike that you will gasp). And, for an entertaining and educational experience, think about heading over to Forest Lawn Cemetery for IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE, celebrating some of their "eternal residents." See more below.

Arin Lee Dandes (left) as May Murkee reads Junie B. Jones' (Renee Landrigan) private journal in Act I of JUNIE B. JONES IN JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS at the Theatre of Youth on Allen Street up through December 18.

CLOSING THIS SUNDAY

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. Through Dec 18, Sat at 10 & 2, & Sun at 2. Allendale Theatre 203 Allen St.  (884-4400). www.theatreofyouth.org

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. Through Dec 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. Through Dec 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. Through Dec 18, 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),

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

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. Through Dec 18, Thu-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2. Road Less Traveled Theater, 500 Pearl St. (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.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

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted and directed by L. Don Swartz. Through Dec 18, Thu at 7, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2. Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda (743-1614). www.starrynighttheatre.com

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE, starring Loraine O’Donnell, John Fredo, Doug Crane, Jen Stafford, Mary Craig, Timothy Finnegan, Dudney Joseph, Annette Christian, Arianne Davidow, Griffin Kramer. Through Dec 31, Sat & Sun at 2, plus Dec 17 at 11:00 a.m. Forest Lawn Chapel, 1411 Delaware Ave. (332-2233).

UPCOMING

GROUNDED, one woman play by George Brant, directed by Kristen Tripp Kelley, starring Aleks Malejs. Jan 6-22, Thu & Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668). www.kavinokytheatre.com