Atlanta stages bursting with holiday fare this season

The days when Christmas entertainment at theater companies meant “A Christmas Carol” and little else are long over. Almost every local venue has a show running during the holidays, including some goodies for LGBT patrons.

For starters, “The Santaland Diaries” will be back for its 18th year at Horizon Theatre. It’s based on gay writer David Sedaris’ own experience as a department store elf, as he wrote about in “Holidays On Ice.” Horizon’s mounting has become an annual gay favorite. The Sedaris figure is again played by Harold M. Leaver, who has been with the show since its beginning. One new 2016 aspect is that while his co-stars will be back, Leaver will actually mouth their dialogue, since it’s his character’s recollection of them. He will have some room for improvisation, too.

As always, OnStage Atlanta is one of the busiest playhouses during the holidays. Lesbian director Cathe Hall Payne is directing the musical “Scrooge: The Musical,” and the company also has “Merry Little Holiday Shorts 2016” on tap.

Actor’s Express has gotten into the Christmas spirit over the years by bringing in Libby Whittemore, who will bring her cabaret-style act and alter ego, Connie Sue, to the company for “Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas.”

Speaking of “A Christmas Carol,” it’s back again this year in the Alliance Theatre’s typically lavish version. Long an ATL staple, it will return for the third time with actor David De Vries as Scrooge after Chris Kayser hung up playing the character. The Alliance is doing double duty with actress/singer Courtenay Collins in “Courtenay’s Cabaret: Home for the Holidays.”

Six years ago, the Center for Puppetry Arts bowed a stage version of the beloved TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and it became a runaway hit. It’s back this season with its outsider main character and is wonderful for all ages.

Those looking for original fare can find it in Theatrical Outfit’s “Big Fish,” based on the quirky Tim Burton film, while Stage Door Players is presenting an encore of out playwright Topher Payne’s holiday comedy “Let Nothing You Dismay.”

Other seasonal treats include Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s “Peter Pan;” “Christmas Canteen” at Aurora Theatre; “A Christmas Story: The Musical” courtesy of the Broadway In Atlanta series; “Plaid Tidings,” a sequel to “Forever Plaid,” at ART Station; the return of “The Snow Queen” at Serenbe Playhouse; and the satirical “Invasion: Christmas Carol” at Dad’s Garage. In other words, there’s plenty of Yuletide theater treats for those looking.

“Christmas Canteen”
Aurora Theatre
128 East Pike St., Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Through December 23

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
Through December 31

“The Santaland Diaries”
Horizon Theatre
1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307
Through December 31

“Scrooge: The Musical”
OnStage Atlanta
2969 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, GA 30030
November 25 – December 18

“A Christmas Carol”
Alliance Theatre
1280 Peachtree St. NE Atlanta, GA 30309
November 25 – December 24

“Invasion: Christmas Carol”
Dad’s Garage
569 Ezzard St, Atlanta, GA 30312
November 25 – December 30

“Merry Little Holiday Shorts”
OnStage Atlanta
2969 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, GA 30030
December 1 – 11

“Big Fish”
The Balzer Theatre
84 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30303
December 1 – 18

“The Snow Queen”
Serenbe Playhouse
9110 Selborne Ln., Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268
December 1 – 31

“Let Nothing You Dismay”
Stage Door Players
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, GA 30338
December 2 – 18

“Courtenay’s Cabaret: Home for the Holidays”
Alliance Theatre
1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
December 2 – December 24

“Peter Pan”
Cobb Energy Centre
2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Marietta, GA 30339
Dec 9 – 10

“Ho, Ho, Home for the Holiday and a Connie Sue Day Christmas!”
Actor’s Express
887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318
December 10 – 18