Dana Oland: It’s a wonderful Christmas filled with performances galore

Celebrate the season with music, theater and dance.

November 22, 2013 

Everyone makes a difference in the world — even in the simplest ways. We may never know the impact each of us leaves behind.

That’s the lasting message of Frank Capra’s movie masterpiece “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and a great message at the holidays.

The black-and-white film starred Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, an ordinary guy who wishes he had never been born and gets help from his guardian angel to realize he is “the richest man in town.”

The film is part of American lore and culture, and for many it defines the season — alongside Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Even people who have never seen the whole film know the story and its famous cultural touchstones — Zuzu’s petals and “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

This year, three theaters in the Treasure Valley will produce their takes on “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Boise Contemporary Theater offers a new take on the classic by Steven Murray, “This Wonderful Life.” It pays tribute to the film and places it in a new context through marking its effect on viewers today, says actor Tom Ford.

“I love this movie so much,” Ford says. “So, in some ways this play is about my need, my desire to share this movie with people.”

Of course, this is BCT, so it is laced with dark humor and irony as its main character — like Stewart’s Bailey — contemplates suicide.

Expect an experiential approach by director Drew Barr. From the moment you walk in the door, there will be things to touch and read and learn about the movie. • 8 p.m. Nov. 26-27 and 29-30, and Wednesdays-Saturdays, Dec. 4-21, and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14 Box office: 331-9224. BCTheater.org.

• Starlight Mountain Theatre will present Keith Ferguson and Bruce Greer’s musical version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s a lesser-known adaptation, but it’s a winner, says director and choreographer Dale Hoopes. The cast ranges in age from 6 to 28 and comes from across the Treasure Valley.

“(I’ve loved) this story since I was a kid,” Hoopes says. “The message is brilliant that one life can touch others.” • 7 p.m. Nov. 29, 1 and 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Kuna Performing Arts Center, 637 E. Deer Flat Road. StarlightMT.org. 462-5523.

• Boise Little Theater revisits all the pathos, love and laughter of George Bailey’s story in “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” On Christmas Eve 1946, the players at radio station WCOF bring all the characters from the film alive — plus commercials. It’s an engaging and memorable way to celebrate the season. • 8 p.m. Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7 and 13-14; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12; and 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 8 and 14, 100 E. Fort St. BoiseLittleTheater.org.

MORE HOLIDAY THEATER

Treasure Valley Children’s Theatre presents the award-winning play “A Spell of Cold Weather,” a magical holiday story about a friendship between a lonely little girl and a fairy named Tomos Trickman. • 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21, 703 N. Main St., Meridian. 287-8828, TreasureValleyChildrensTheater.com.

• Dickens’ beloved “A Christmas Carol” gets the Broadway treatment in Music Theatre of Idaho’s production of Alan Menken, Lynn Ahren and Mike Okrent’s musical. You’ll find high-tech ghosts, dancing Fezziwigs and messages of charity, kindness and love. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-14, with 1:30 p.m. matinees Dec. 14-15, Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. S. MTOnline.org.

• Knock ’em Dead Dinner Theatre’s holiday revues are renowned, and this year’s “We Need a Little Christmas” is no exception. You’ll find your favorite KED performers in a series of show-stopping skits and musical numbers. • 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays with dinner at 7 p.m.; and 7 p.m. show only on Thursdays, Nov. 29 through Dec. 21, 415 E. ParkCenter Blvd., Boise. 385-0021, KEDproductions.org.

• Stage Coach Theatre goes “Dashing Through the Snow,” a wacky, slightly naughty farce set four days before the big day in Tinsel, Texas. A bevy of eccentric guests arrives at the Snowflake Inn, including Mrs. Claus on a tryst with an elf, and the cast from a low-budget touring production of “A Christmas Carol.” • 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 29-30, Dec. 5-7 and 12-14, and 2 p.m. Dec. 8, 4802 W. Emerald St., Boise. 342-2000, StageCoachTheatre.com.

DANCING ‘NUTCRACKER’

A growing Christmas tree and glittering Sugar Plum Fairy go a long way to putting you in the holiday mood. Here are three chances to see “The Nutcracker.”

• Eugene Ballet brings its touring production of Toni Pimble’s “The Nutcracker” as part of the Caldwell Fine Arts series. For many years, this company performed this Disney-esque production regularly when it was allied with Ballet Idaho. The two companies split six years ago, and Eugene continues to travel to Idaho to perform. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, Jewett Auditorium, College of Idaho, Caldwell. CaldwellFineArts.org.

• Ballet Idaho’s “The Nutcracker” is always a delight, with more than 100 Treasure Valley children in the cast in roles from mice to angels. Grand sets and glittering costuming top it off. This year the company will perform to a recorded score. • 8 p.m. Dec. 20; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21; noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 22, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. BalletIdaho.org.

• Idaho Regional Ballet, a youth company based at Eagle Performing Arts, will perform Lisa Moon’s adaptation of “The Nutcracker” at the Special Events Center on Boise State University’s campus. The performance will feature Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Leta Biasucci and Boise native Ben Griffiths in the roles of Sugar Plum and her Cavalier. • 7 p.m. Dec. 20; and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21, Special Events Center, Boise State University.

MORE DANCE

• Irish Dance Idaho will celebrate a “Celtic Christmas” at the Nampa Civic Center. You’ll see the academy students kick up their heels in both hard and soft shoe styles. • 7 p.m. Dec. 20, Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. S. IrishDanceIdaho.com.

MUSIC

One sure sign of the holidays is people gathering to lift their voices in song and listen to the songbook of holiday music.

• Start the celebration with the annual “Hymns of Thanksgiving” performed by the 325-member Hymns of Thanksgiving Choir and Orchestra. Boise State’s Jim Jirak will lead the choir, and Marvin E. Stallcop takes charge of the orchestra. This year’s soloists are pianist Del Parkinson and Ezra Quartet violinist Jennifer Whittle. • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24, CenturyLink Arena, 233 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise. Free.

• The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show is a two-fer. The first half will celebrate 40 years of Oak Ridge Boys hits, then the second half becomes a winter wonderland of holiday tunes, from rockin’ Santa songs to sit-by-the-fire ballads. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. MC.BoiseState.edu.

• The annual Living Christmas Tree with a 100-plus voice choir will tell the Christmas story through music and pageant. Plus, see the stunning 23-foot sparkling tree. • 7 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 9, and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Nampa College Church of the Nazarene, 504 E. Dewey St.

• The Boise Philharmonic and its Master Chorale bring on the “Hallelujah” with their performance of one of the world’s best-loved holiday musical works — Handel’s “Messiah.” Originally written for Easter, this luminous composition and its “Hallelujah Chorus” have come to signify the Christmas spirit. Guest conductor Raymond Harvey will be at the podium along with chorale conductor Jim Jirak. • 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. 344-7849, BoisePhilharmonic.org.

• Bring on the holiday tubas with Boise’s TubaChristmas. It’s part of a national event that finds tuba players across the nation oompah-ing holiday carols in their communities. The Boise edition happens Dec. 7 with two performances. Find them in The Grove plaza at 3:15 p.m. and in the Idaho Capitol Rotunda, 700 W. Jefferson St., at 4 p.m. Free.

• James Ogle and the Meridian Symphony will ring in the holidays with the community orchestra’s concert of “Christmas Favorites.” On the program, you’ll hear music from “The Nutcracker” and “Babes in Toyland,” and with a special appearance by the Boise State Choir, Mendelssohn’s choral cantata “Vom Himmel Hoch.” • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Centennial High School, 12400 W. McMillan Road, Boise. MeridianSymphony.org.

• The Boise Philharmonic also will present Holiday Brass with Organ at the Cathedral of the Rockies. It’s a collaboration between the BP brass quintet and Cathedral organist David Young. • 3 p.m. Dec. 8, Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St., Boise. 344-7849, BoisePhilharmonic.org.

• The Boise State University Family Holiday Concert features the BSU orchestra, jazz and classical ensembles, choral groups and the Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band. Proceeds will benefit BSU music scholarships. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise.

• The Piano Guys return to Boise with their “Home for the Holidays” show. The group will perform classics such as “Let it Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” and two original compositions. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Circle, Boise. Boise State Tickets.

• The Boise Gay Men’s Choir makes its debut with “Home for the Holidays,” a celebration of the season. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St., Boise. 649-6156, BoiseGayMensChorus.org.

• Celebrate Christmas with Curtis Stigers and many of Boise’s rockin’ musicians, including Bill Coffey and his Cash Money Cousins, The Divas of Boise, Emily Braden and more, at the Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza. It’s three nights of holiday fun that will benefit Interfaith Sanctuary. • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23, Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. EgyptianTheatre.net.

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