Classic ‘Nutcracker’ and ‘Christmas Carol’ revive holiday magic

“The Nutcracker,” the celebrated ballet set to music by Tchaikovsky, will be performed by the South Shore Ballet Theatre Dec. 17-18.
Image by ABBEY KNOLL PHOTOGRAPHY

Americana Theatre Company reimagines Dickens’ classic tale of moral redemption by a loving family

THE BOSTON GLOBE – Two sublime and popular holiday classics are featured in regional productions this week. “The Nutcracker,” the celebrated ballet set to a treasured and familiar score by Tchaikovsky, will be performed by the South Shore Ballet Theatre Dec. 17-18. Meanwhile, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” will be given a local habitation and a slightly new name by the Americana Theatre Company in Plymouth in performances through Dec. 18.

Demonstrating that the seasonal favorite is all it’s cracked up to be while celebrating the magic of the holidays through the joy of dance, South Shore Ballet Theatre has offered a full-length production of “The Nutcracker” for 14 years. Based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and set to Tchaikovsky’s music, “The Nutcracker” is “the quintessential enchantment for holiday season entertainment,” according to the company’s founding artistic director Marthavan McKeon. The dance depicts a child’s charmed world on Christmas Eve, inhabited by dancing snowflakes, the magical Land of The Sweets, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, among other animated confections.

South Shore Ballet Theatre graduates will perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop. Former Boston Ballet Company soloist Leslie Woodies “is sharing her expertise with the dancers,” McKeon said, “as well as working with me to update this year’s production with quite a few surprises for the audience.”

The theater will offer performances on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18, at 1 and 5 p.m., at Thayer Academy Center for Performing Arts, 745 Washington St., Braintree. Tickets are $20 to $30, available at 29965.danceticketing.com.

JT Turner performs A Christmas Carol at The James Library, image by Marci Diamond

While “The Nutcracker” is performed to the exacting standards of tradition, Dickens’ classic tale of moral redemption by a loving family, “A Christmas Carol,” has been reimagined by Americana Theatre Company, a professional theatre company based in Plymouth. The company is premiering “An Americana Christmas Carol,” a new original work, at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, located at 11 North St. The new take on an old favorite was written by artistic directors Derek Grant Martin and Jesse M. Sullivan and is directed by Martin.

“We’ve always anticipated producing ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but visualized adding a uniquely Americana stamp on the classic,” Martin said. The play’s authors sought to combine the redemption theme of the classic “Christmas Carol” story with the wild, comedic farce elements of a show such as “Noises Off,” he said.

Upcoming shows take place on Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 13-18 at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays Dec. 11 and 18. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for students and seniors, and available at americanatheatre.org.

A significantly different take on Dickens’ classic tale will be offered by Boston-based actor J.T. Turner, who portrays both the author himself and every character from his popular holiday tale in a one-man show at The James Library & Center for the Arts, 24 West St., Norwell on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 8:15 p.m.

According to The James, “Charles Dickens was famous for bringing his ‘A Christmas Carol’ to life for audiences every year, and this version brings all the drama, comedy, and redemption Dickens intended.” Admission is $20 for adults, and $10 for students with an ID.

Sweet singing in the choir will be offered this week by the Pilgrim Festival Chorus in a program titled “Messiah and Carol Sing-along” to take place on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Church at the Green, 6 Plympton St. in Middleborough. The program consists of both Christmas carols and the familiar choruses from Part I of Handel’s widely performed masterpiece, concluding with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Tickets are $10 for those 12 and over and available at the door. Children under age 12 are admitted for free. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to pilgrimfestivalchorus.org.

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By Robert Knox, correspondent