No matter what time of year, the characters from Charles M. Schulz' Peanuts are always a delight. But especially at Christmastime, Charlie, Snoopy, Sally, Linus and the rest of the gang bring holiday cheer to audiences everywhere -- on screen as well as on stage.
This year from The Playhouse Tulsa, A Charlie Brown Christmas will show Dec. 9-12 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
The production will be directed by Playhouse Tulsa's artistic director Chris Crawford. He has previously directed House & Garden as well as It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Romeo and Juliet and many others.
"The last thing I directed was MacBeth, our season opener," Crawford said, "And I also played the lead. But for this show, I'll just be directing. We've got a great cast of twelve."
Blake Lewis will lead as Charlie Brown, though Crawford insists, "It's very much an ensemble show."
Crawford said they decided to present A Charlie Brown Christmas because it appeals to all ages.
"It really stands across generational lines," he said. "Kids will love it because it's colorful and cartoony. Adults will love it because they grew up with Charlie Brown, and already know and love the characters."
Because the original show is only 22 minutes long, Crawford decided to add snippets from It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown to add some length, as well as bring in a few characters.
"Peppermint Patty and Marcy aren't in A Charlie Brown Christmas, so we added some elements of another Peanuts show, and they're pretty well intertwined," he said. "We also added some interaction at the end to make it a memorable evening for both kids and adults."
It's the holiday season, and Charlie Brown's friends are all caught up in the hustle. Snoopy is determined to have the best-decorated, fanciest doghouse in town. Charlie's sister Sally is over the moon about the presents she's going to get. While Charlie Brown would love to jump in on all the excitement, he feels sad and empty inside, certain that commercialism and appearances cannot be what Christmas is truly all about.
Coaxed into organizing a school play about the nativity story, Charlie Brown hopes to find some truth in the process, but comes up short when everyone else just wants to make it a flashy show. He becomes determined to find a Christmas tree that will accurately display the true spirit of Christmas. Will his friends realize what the holidays are really all about? Will Charlie's tree get the recognition it deserves?
"We're not really trying to mirror image the cartoon, because that's impossible.
Our actors can't look like the cartoon characters." Crawford said. "But my challenge to my actors was: if these characters were real people, what would they be like? So what we have is a human version of the story."
Join the Playhouse Tulsa in exploring this festive holiday story at the Liddy Doenges Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center this weekend. Performances run Dec. 9-12 at 7:30pm with additional performances Dec. 11 and 12 at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children and seniors. To purchase tickets, go to myticketoffice.com. To purchase tickets over the phone or for more details, call (918) 596-7111. Student rush tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 prior to each performance.
Also This Week
Tulsa Spotlight Theatre presents a Children's Theatre production of Babes in Toyland, directed by Bruce Webb. Performances are at 1381 Riverside Drive, Dec. 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19. Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays & Sundays at 2pm. Call the Spotlight Theatre for reservations at 918.587.5030.
Booksmart Tulsa and Tulsa Press Club present "3 Wise Men: An Evening of Holiday Humour," Dec. 14 at 7pm at the Harwelden Mansion. Award-winning Washington Post writer and author of Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present Hank Stuever will join Oklahoma author Michael Wallis and KWGS radio personality Scott Gregory in comically commenting on the holiday season. Audience members will enjoy food, drinks, and music by Klondike 5. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. For advanced tickets, call (918) 583-7737.
Owasso Community Theatre Company offers acting workshops. Students will work on improv, scene study, monologues, and more. Classes run Dec. 6-12 and Jan. 3-17. The class costs $35 and begins at 5pm for beginners, 6pm for advanced.
Tulsa Camerata presents Winter Nights, a holiday-themed concert including pieces by Mozart and Bach, Dec. 16 at 7pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Purchase tickets at tulsacamerata.org.
American Theatre Company presents A Christmas Carol, Dec. 9-23 in the Williams Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Karl Krause will return as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Steven Fendt will also return. Tickets are $24-$30 and can be purchased at myticketoffice.com.
Tulsa Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Dec. 11-23. More than 120 local children and students join the ballet company for this fast-paced holiday story. Purchase tickets at tulsaballet.org, or by calling (918) 749-6006.
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