Christmas has gone and New Year’s is still several days away. This weekend is nestled nicely between the two holidays, and if you can pull yourself away from the Hominy Grits Bowl on ESPN III, you might enjoy yourself in this fine theater season.

A Christmas Carol

The Guthrie production lacks some of the gravitas and full-throated pageantry of years ago, but it is still an occasion — an outing for families and individuals who want to celebrate their yule with the story of a bitter man who is transformed. J.C. Cutler plays the miserly Scrooge. Kris Nelson is noteworthy for his suffering Bob Cratchit.

7:30 p.m. Fri., 1 & 7:30 p.m . Sat., 1 & 7 p.m. Sun., ends Sun., Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls., $28-$85, 612-377-2224


Phantom of the Opera

If you’re looking for an event on a grand scale, this behemoth usually serves the purpose. The producers have “streamlined” the mega-musical’s staging — which means it only needs 21 trucks to transport. The chandelier is still there, and so is the story and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score.

8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1 & 6:30 Sun., ends Jan. 5, Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $44-150. 1-800-982-2787 or


The Wizard of Oz

Speaking of Lloyd Webber, he has inserted himself into this classic. Most of the original songs remain, and Lloyd Webber wrote new material to “fill in a few holes.” This Canadian production has Danielle Wade musing on life over the rainbow as Dorothy, but the Wicked Witch (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan) elbows her way into a greater presence. Hmmm, don’t suppose the success of “Wicked” had anything to do with that.

7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., ends Sun., Ordway Center, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, $26-$98, 651-224-4222 or



Traci Allen plays the title role with near perfection, but the stepfamily devours the furniture. Dean Holt and Reed Sigmund squabble as Pearl and Dorcas — the sisters from Hell — and Autumn Ness kicks in as the mother. It’s all over-the-top in Peter Brosius’ production, which has drawn rave reviews from audiences.

2 & 7 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Sat., 2 & 5 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Mon., ends Jan. 5, Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls., $10-$52, 612-874-0400 or


I Saw Daddy Marry Santa Claus

Catching the zeitgeist is what Brave New Workshop is supposed to do, and they do it well here. Lauren Anderson, the funniest woman in Twin Cities theater, heads the cast. Taj Ruler and Andy Hilbrands stretch their comic legs, too, in a series of sketches that spoof holiday traditions, Rudolph’s place in the reindeer pecking order and the back story on Mrs. Claus.

7 & 10 p.m. Fri., 5 & 8 p.m. Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun., ends Feb. 1, Brave New Workshop, 824 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $26-$36, 612-332-6620.

Triple Espresso

Yes, it’s still warm. The coffee, that is. If you have had your fill of holiday-specific stuff and just want to ease into some laughs, this familiar old shoe makes a lot of sense. Three performers try to fashion a comeback and can’t make it work. That plot, though, is just an excuse for entertaining performance set pieces. We’re happy this show comes back now and then.

8 p.m. Fri., 5 & 8 p.m. Sat., 3 & 6 p.m. Sun., ends Feb. 16, Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., $31-$36, 612-874-1100.


A Year with Frog and Toad

It’s short and sweet and made for kids. Old Log is doing the hourlong reduction of a show that premiered at Children’s Theatre Company and then had a Broadway run. Brian Pekol and Robert J. Knutson portray the amphibious friends who cavort through a series of charming stories. Our critic said Kent Knutson’s production “beautifully captures the innocence of the source material.”

1 & 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., ends Sat., Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St., Excelsior, $16, 952-474-5951 or


Words by … Ira Gershwin

For entertainment of a more-adult nature (not THAT adult!), this show by Joseph Vass spools out some great tunes from the American songbook. Ari Hoptman plays Ira Gershwin, who explains his rise as a great lyricist in such a way that we really do learn something about the art. T. Mychael Rambo and Jennifer Grimm give voice to the music.

7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., ends Sun., Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul, $25-$58, 651-291-7005.