While there's something to be said for the traditional Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers, this holiday season boasts a bouquet of shows that are a little less run-of-the-mill. From the tawdry (Naked Girls Reading) to the zany (the knife-throwing Danger Committee) to the campy (Miss Richfield 1981), here are our picks for the best in offbeat holiday productions.
'CINDERELLA' & 'SINDERELLA'
After years of sending up the classic "Nutcracker Suite" with their glitzy, campy "Nutcracker (Not So) Suite," Ballet of the Dolls skewers another fairy tale with a dual set of shows. Taking inspiration from "The Addams Family" cartoonist Charles Addams, the family-friendly "Cinderella" gets a gloomy, gothic twist, while the adults-only "SINderella" is set in a brothel. ("Cinderella": 8 p.m. Thu. 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. & Dec. 22-23. All ages. $10-$27.50. "SINderella": 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; various times through Dec. 31. 18 & older. $22.50-$29.50. Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls. www.ritzdolls.com.)
MISS RICHFIELD 1981: '2012: WE'LL ALL BE DEAD BY CHRISTMAS!'
Drag lady Miss Richfield 1981 has become something of a local treasure, sending up suburbia and seasonal schmaltz with her annual Christmas show. This year's show centers around the supposed end of the world, as predicted by the Mayan calendar. The two-hour variety show includes comedy, music and dance numbers, video segments, an audience singalong, improv and costume changes galore. (8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $30-$38. 612-339-4944 or www.illusion theater.org.)
'THE COMEDY ROAST OF MR. SCROOGE'
If you like your holiday fables with a boozy, irreverent, rated-R-for-language twist, head to Camp Bar's "Comedy Roast of Mr. Scrooge." Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the rest of the gang finally get to cut loose and give Ebenezer a piece of their minds, via the tradition of a comedy roast. (9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Wed., 9:30 p.m. Dec. 21-22. $19.50-$24.50. Camp Bar, 490 N. Robert St., St. Paul. 800-838-3006.)
'THE SANTALAND DIARIES'
It didn't take long for David Sedaris' iconic 1996 essay "SantaLand Diaries" to get adapted to the stage, where it now is a seasonal favorite. His absurdist tale of his true-life experience working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand bitingly exposes the seedy underbelly of the holiday season. For Frank Theatre's production, Joe Leary returns to his acclaimed turn as Sedaris' "Crumpet, the Elf" under the direction of Wendy Knox. (8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 8 p.m. Mon. Through Dec. 23. $25. Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Av. S., Mpls. 612-724-3760 or www.franktheatre.org.)
'WE THREE KINGS: A STOCKING FULL OF AWESOME II'
Renaissance Festival faves the Danger Committee return to Brave New Workshop with their holiday show, a danger-filled extravaganza of juggling, comedy and knife-throwing. The trio will offer up new material and Danger Committee classics for "A Stocking Full of Awesome II," which promises a healthy mix of death-defying antics and laughs. (8 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 7 & 10 p.m. Sat.-Sun.; more dates through Dec. 31. $25. Brave New Workshop, 824 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-332-6620 or www.bravenewworkshop.com.)
ROCKSTAR STORYTELLERS: SHOW OF THE FUTURE
The end of the world is a popular point of inspiration for holiday shows this year. So it goes with the Rockstar Storytellers' holiday show, which is set in the post-apocalyptic future. The dryly funny wordsmiths including Joseph Scrimshaw, Laura Bidgood, Tom Reed, phillip andrew bennett low and Allison Broeren will tell tales that look back at 2012 and into the future. (8:30 p.m. Sun. $10-$12. Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949 or www.bryantlakebowl.com.)
LOVELY CREATURES CABARET: 'JINGLE BOOBS'
Leave it to the sparkly ladies of burlesque to really spread the holiday cheer. The Lovely Creatures Cabaret brings its holiday production to Bryant-Lake Bowl, along with the Kalaj Belly Dance Company, Mona Montague, Doc the Houseboy and special guests Sweet LillyBee, songstress Red Austere and magician William Bradshaw. (10 p.m. Dec. 21. $10-$12. 18-plus. Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949 or www.bryantlakebowl.com)
LE CIRQUE ROUGE: 'THE LAND OF MISFIT TOYS'
Burlesque troupe Le Cirque Rouge is back with its long-running holiday special. "The Land of Misfit Toys" will have the gals all dolled up alongside tunes by "naughtybilly" bluegrass band Courtney McLean and the Dirty Curls. (9 p.m. Dec. 22. $17-$20. Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul. www.lecirquerouge.net.)
NOMAD'S FESTIVUS CELEBRATION
Introduced to the world by a 1997 episode of "Seinfeld," the made-up holiday of Festivus has become part of our cultural heritage. The Nomad has been hosting its version for five years, complete with a gathering around the Festivus pole, the traditional "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength," and a ham loaf, plus live music from Fairfax AK, Nallo, Sonicbouquet and the Humbugs. (9 p.m. Dec. 22. Free. Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. 612-338-6424.)
Jewbilee is the place to be for Christmas orphans on Dec. 24. This year's features live music from the Sons of Moses (featuring Bobby Z of Prince and the Revolution fame), Sim Glaser, the Minnesota Free Music Klezmer Orchestra and DJ Mike 2600, plus stand-up comedy from Laura Thorne, Pat Susmilch and Dan Mogol. (8 p.m. Dec. 24. $3. 18-plus. 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls. 612-332-1775 or www.first-avenue.com.)
NAKED GIRLS READING: 'A VERY NAKED HOLIDAY'
Naked girls, reading. You can't really go wrong with that concept. The simple but can't-miss equation includes one part naked girls -- in this case, local burlesque performers Elektra Cuete and Dahlia Dulce and others -- and one part literature. For the holiday version, they'll read from "A Christmas Carol" and other seasonal favorites. (7 p.m. Dec. 28. $20 at the door only. Hennepin History Museum, 2303 3rd Av. S., Mpls. www.nakedgirls reading.com/minneapolis.)