Theater: New and Noteworthy

"This Is the Week That Is": Jennifer Childs (left) and Susan Riley Stevens in the 1812 Productions show through Dec. 14.

New This Week

An American Christmas Songbook (Bristol Riverside Theatre). For those who just want to sing. Thursday through Dec. 17.

The Art of Swimming (Tiny Dynamite). A great female athlete and the world that didn't believe her. Wednesday through Dec. 17.

A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre, Princeton). A big, neighborhood sugar plum, with lots of kids on stage. Tuesday through Dec. 31.

Ebenezer Scrooge's Big Playhouse Christmas (Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope). Kid-friendly mash-up of holiday song and holiday story. Friday through Dec. 31.

Home for the Holidays (Gateway Playhouse, Somers Point, N.J.). Family and celebration. Friday through Dec. 17.

Home for the Holidays (Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven, N.J.). A totally different, home-grown production. Friday through Dec. 17.

The Miser (Stagecrafters Theater, Chestnut Hill). Moliere's comedy of a brother and sister, their respective soulmates, and their skinflint dad. Sunday and Friday to Sunday.

One Unforgettable Christmas (Broadway Theatre of Pitman, N.J.). A family's faith is tested, delightfully, songfully, near the holiday. Through Dec. 17.

Secrets for the Holidays (Tongue & Groove, the PlayGround at the Adrienne Theatre). You provide the secrets; they improv on them. Friday.


Reviewed by Julia M. Klein (J.M.K.), John Timpane (J.T.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).

Aladdin: A Musical Panto (People's Light, Malvern). Keeping the British tradition of the panto very much alive. Promises to be hilarious. Through Jan. 7.

Annie (Walnut Street Theatre). A carrot-top, a hard-knock life, and a durable sunrise. A disappointing production, too loud, too slow, too awkward. Through Jan. 7. - T.Z.

Beauty and the Beast (Media Theatre). The Menken/Ashman gem that seems to get better with age. Excellent family holiday bet. Through Jan. 14.

The Brownings (Orbiter 3, FringeArts). Sam Henderson's comic rethinking of the time-honored poet/spouses. Could get a little wild. Through next Saturday.

A Christmas Carol (Walnut Street Theatre). Wouldn't be Christmastime without it. An hour-long, family-friendly version. Through Dec. 23.

A Christmas Carol (Hedgerow Theatre Company, Rose Valley). The 25th anniversary of the theater's special version of the Dickens classic. Through Dec. 24.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] (Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington). The title speaks for itself. Through Dec. 23.

Cooking with the Calamari Sisters (Penn's Landing Playhouse). A funny Philly tradition continues. Through Dec. 17.

The Craftsman (Lantern Theater Company). Bruce Graham world premiere. Dutch patriots discover one of them has sold priceless Vermeers to the Nazis. Thought-provoking, with fine performances. Through Dec. 17. - T.Z.

Every Brilliant Thing (Arden Theatre Company). An audience-participation heartbreaker. Scott Greer shows brilliant comic chops in turning this one-man show into a cast of 80. Ends next Sunday. - J.T.

The Fantasticks (Eagle Theatre, Hammonton, N.J.). Durable, popular tunefest about two neighboring dads who create a love match. Through Dec. 10.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Walnut Street Theatre, Independence Studio on 3). A 1940s-era radio recreation, faithful to the feeling. Through Dec. 17.

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole (People's Light, Malvern). World premiere. Dulé Hill (West Wing, Psych) stars as Cole on the last night of his 1950s TV show. Hill shines, as does Daniel J. Watts as Sammy Davis Jr. Ends Sunday. - J.T.

My Fair Lady (Quintessence Theatre Group). A two-piano concert version of the beloved musical. Sounds like a pretty good idea! Through Dec. 23.

Peter Pan (Arden Theatre Company). Speaking of that capable Peter, here's the front story to Finding Neverland's back story. Through Jan. 28.

Plaid Tidings (Montgomery Theatre, Souderton). The theater's traditional show of holiday faves sung by four guys in plaid ties. Ends next Sunday.

Rasheeda Speaking (Allens Lane Arts Center, Mount Airy). A workplace thriller about tensions in a supposedly post-racial world. Ends Sunday.

This Is the Week That Is (1812 Productions/Plays & Players Theatre). The theater's raucous year-end satire-fest. It's hard to satirize an already ridiculous political year, but 1812 tries - with only intermittent success. Through Dec. 14. - J.M.K.

TouchTones (Arden Theatre Company). World premiere of Michael Hollinger and Robert Maggio's musical about communications-age intimacy. Racy, engaging, and ultimately romantic. Ends Sunday. - J.M.K.