Theater for the holiday season

Onstage Atlanta is one of the busiest playhouses during the holidays. Lesbian director Cathe Hall Payne is involved in two productions. She is directing the musical “Sanders Family Christmas” and is involved in “Mary, Did You Know?,” which is a musical/comedy revue with an all gay/lesbian cast. “‘Sanders’” is about family; why not have a show for our family?,” she says.

“No one does anything like this for gay audiences.” The company also has the “2013 Merry Little Holiday Shorts” on tap. All shows are at Onstage’s new home in Decatur. Across town, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre is also staging “Sanders Family Christmas” at their new Cobb Civic Center home. The production uses the original cast of the beloved Theatre in the Square version, including out performers Alan Kilpatrick and JP Peterson.

Three seasons ago, a stage version of the beloved TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – the ultimate outsider wanting to be accepted – opened during the holiday season at the Center for Puppetry Arts and became a hit. It’s back as well this year and is terrific fare for children and adults.

Actor’s Express had gotten into the Christmas spirit big time 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.”

Other seasonal treats include “The Game’s Afoot” at Stage Door Players; Synchronicity’s “Peter Pan and Wendy;” “Christmas Canteen” at Aurora Theatre; “The Gifts of the Magi” by Theatrical Outfit; and the irreverent “Invasion: Christmas Carol” at Fabrefaction, presented by Dad’s Garage.

Speaking of “A Christmas Carol,” it’s back again this year in the Alliance Theatre’s loving version. Long a staple in the ATL, this outing is a significant one – lead actor Chris Kayser will no longer be playing Scrooge after this season. If you’ve not seen this, it’s the perfect year to do so.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St. NW at 18th
Through December 29

“The Santaland Diaries”
Horizon Theatre
1083 Austin Ave.
Through December 31

“The Gifts of the Magi”
The Balzer Theatre
84 Luckie St.
November 27 – December 22

“Sanders Family Christmas”
Onstage Atlanta
2969 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur
November 29 – December 22

“Christmas Canteen”
Aurora Theatre
128 East Pike Street, Lawrenceville
November 29 – December 22

“Invasion: Christmas Carol”
Fabrefaction Theatre
999 Brady Ave.
November 29 – December 23

“A Christmas Carol”
Alliance Theatre
1280 Peachtree St. NE 
November 29 – December 29

“The Game’s Afoot”
Stage Door Players
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody 
December 6 – 22

“Peter Pan and Wendy”
14th Street Playhouse
173 14th St. NE

“Ho, Ho, Home for the Holiday and a Connie Sue Day Christmas!”
Actor’s Express
887 W. Marietta St. Atlanta, GA 30318
December 13 – 22

“Sanders Family Christmas”
Cobb Civic Center/Jennie T. Anderson Theatre
548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta
December 13 – 22

“Mary, Did You Know”
Onstage Atlanta
2969 East Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur
December 18