Santa Cruz will get its holiday theater fix

With the absence of Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s beloved but defunct holiday play, will local theater lovers go without live entertainment this fall? No way.

As the fall approaches, theater lovers are dealing with the realization that Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s long-running and much-beloved holiday show won’t be happening this year. The holiday panto — which, in past years, has included funny re-imagined productions of “Gretel & Hansel,” “Cinderella,” “The Princess & the Pea” and “The Wind in the Willows” — was a casualty of SSC’s big budget cuts earlier this year.

But theater abhors a vacuum. And those in the mood for a bit of holiday cheer in the theater will have offerings from which to choose. Are other local theater companies actively rushing to fill the breech left by SSC? It certainly appears so.

The local company Ghostlight Theatre, to name one, is planning a holiday production of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ in conjunction with San Francisco State University at Actors’ Theatre Nov. 21-23.

An even bigger deal comes by way of Cabrillo Stage, the wonderful professional musical company that produces those terrific musicals every summer at Cabrillo College. With a spanking new facility ready to open, Cabrillo Stage will present “Scrooge,” adapted from the most enduring Christmas story — well, second most enduring — Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” Come for the show, come to see the new theater, either way, it all starts Dec. 17 for a two-week run.

As for that other holiday tradition, “The Nutcracker,” Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre will present its traditional take on the popular ballet once again at the Civic. You can even audition for the ballet on Sept. 26.

And, the great Tandy Beal returns with her company to stage the fabulous “Mixed Nutz” show, subtitled “The Nutcracker Remixed,” opening Nov. 20 at UCSC.

Yes, Shakespeare Santa Cruz will be missed this holiday season. But no one’s going to be sitting in the dark.


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