Staging the Holidays: Local theater groups bring Christmas to life

James Johonnott, photos by Andrea Paulseth

YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT, KID! Celebrate Christmas, Parker family style, with the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production of A Christmas Story in December.
YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT, KID! Celebrate Christmas, Parker family style, with the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production of A Christmas Story in December.

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and the holiday season ahead, the urge to get out of the house for an evening will be greater than ever. If you’re looking for a night out at the theater or an afternoon show for the kids, the Chippewa Valley has tons of great options this December.

The holiday classic A Christmas Story is coming to The Grand stage. See Raphine in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. All the elements from the beloved movie are here: the temperamental furnace, the playground lamp post, Scot Farces, and the infamous leg lamp. You can catch all the fun in the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production at the Little Grand Theatre during the first and second weekends of December, Fridays at 7:30-9:30pm, Saturdays at 1:30-3:30pm and 7:30-9:30pm and Sundays, at 1:30-3:30pm.

In the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre production Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Junie B. Jones is super-excited about the upcoming Holiday Sing-A-Long and Secret Santa gift exchange at her school. Too bad Tattletale May keeps ruining all her fun! So when Junie B. draws May’s name for Secret Santa, she comes up with the perfect plan to teach her nemesis a lesson. Head to the Oxford Theatre and check out what Junie’s got in store during the first and second weekends of December, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 11am and 1:30pm, and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1:30pm.

A Little House Christmas, based on Christmas stories from the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a family-friendly reminder to put down the phones and enjoy the company of others during the Christmas season. The play, presented by the Menomonie Theater Guild, highlights values such as generosity, kindness, and humanity to help get you in the true Christmas spirit. Head out to Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts and catch a ride to the house on the prairie during the first and second weekends of December, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm.

Get ready for some wacky Nordic antics with Ole and Lena’s Family Christmas Dinner and Show. This year Lena has invited the whole family – even her snooty cousin Mildred from Edina. Ole really wants nothing to do with the whole thing, especially the part where Lena has him dress up in the old Santa suit and hand out presents. Can Sven get Ole out of playing Santa? Laugh and enjoy a dinner at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, Dec. 9 and 10 from 6:30-9:30pm and Dec. 11 from 2-4pm.

If you missed a performance of The Nutcracker last month, check out the Continental Ballet’s The Nutcracker. For her family-friendly version of The Nutcracker, director Riet Velthuisen presents a traditional staging of Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday ballet except for one change: There is no battle scene. Instead there will be a friendly encounter with the mice rather than a battle. A one-time performance is planned at the Mabel Tainter on Dec. 16 from 7:30-9:30pm.

The ladies are serving it up again. Away in the Basement: A Church Ladies Christmas takes us back to 1959 and the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. In the midst of holiday preparations with sprinklings of love in the air, the ladies in their witty, down-to-earth style are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. There will be two performances at the State Theatre on Dec. 18 from 2-4pm and from 6-8pm.

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