This holiday season, Oregon Art Beat and Arts and Life are helping you navigate the seasonal performances — some old and some new — with weekend previews of our best bets. Check out some of what’s on tap this weekend.
Rudolph On Stage!
Great bouncing icebergs! It’s another children’s Christmas story adapted for wine-swigging adult audiences. But this show, a stage adaptation of the 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has some unexpected producers.
Sure, Shelley McLendon and her Bad Reputation Productions are known for the popular bar plays modeled after ’80s cult movies (Road House: The Play and The Lost Boys - Live!), but a children’s Christmas special? Who would have thought?
As it turns out, Rudolph has a number of quotable lines and nostalgic scenes ripe for parody, making it a perfect fit for the Bad Reputation mold. Audiences will still have to go back to their childhood to get the jokes — or watch a rerun of the special the night before. But here’s something else unexpected: The group is putting on kid-friendly matinees December 14 and 21.
November 29-December 21, CoHo Theater, Portland
More Weekend Holiday
Artists Repertory Theatre: Xmas Unplugged
A holiday debauchery double bill for mature audiences, Xmas Unplugged is two short plays: The Reason for the Season and The Night Before Christmas. Playwrights Matt Pelfrey and Anthony Nielson’s shorts feature a churlish Santa, a kidnapped elf and a handful of hapless souls.
November 26-December 29, Alder Stage, Portland
The Oregon Symphony offers a bevy of holiday options this year, but this weekend pops master Jeff Tyzik conducts the symphony with the Pacific Youth Choir to bring you your favorite carols.
December 1, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Pianist David Benoit and his quartet play Vince Guaraldi’s music from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. They also perform a tribute to Charles Schulz with songs including “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”
December 3, Tower Theatre, Bend
Portland Center Stage: Twist Your Dickens
A comedic sendup of A Christmas Carol from the improvisational troupe The Second City, this show has characters of the classic tale finding themselves mixed up in zany holiday sketches.
Through December 22, Main Stage, Portland
Oregon Cabaret Theatre: It’s A Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play
A piano, sound effects and five actors tell the classic George Bailey tale in a live radio play production. It’s a tried-and-true way to step back into the golden age of radio.
Through December 31, Cabaret Theatre, Ashland
Stumptown Stages: It’s a Wonderful Life
A new musical adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic film is directed by Tony Award-winner Corey Brunish. The Stumptown original was nominated for several PAMTAs after it debuted last year.
Through December 22, Brunish Hall, Portland
Portland Center Stage: The Santaland Diaries
Based on David Sedaris’ true-life experience as Crumpet the Elf during a memorable holiday season, this humorous Portland holiday tradition has Darius Pierce returning as Crumpet.
Through December 29, Ellyn Bye Studio, Portland