Don’t miss these 6 hol­i­day hits

Fun fam­ily times from Peter Pan and The Lo­rax to The Nutcracker

Annex Post - - ARTS - By Ron John­son

THE BELLE OF THE BALL

This year, Young Peo­ple’s The­atre ( YPT) is mount­ing the Dis­ney clas­sic Beauty and the Beast, and they’ve put to­gether a won­der­ful team to bring the story to life. Lead­ing the way, and mak­ing her YPT de­but is Ce­line Tsai as Belle, who is fresh from an ap­pear­ance at the Mu­si­cal Stage Co.’s Un­Cov­ered con­cert se­ries at Ko­erner Hall, along­side the likes of Brent Carver and Jackie Richard­son. And how about Damien Atkins as Lu­miere? Surely fan­tas­tique. YPT never dis­ap­points. Beauty and the Beast runs un­til Dec. 31, Young­peo­plesthe­atre.ca.

SPEAK­ING FOR THE TREES

There is some­thing spe­cial about Dr. Seuss, es­pe­cially around the hol­i­days. And although watch­ing Jim Car­rey as the Grinch the hun­dred or so times it will air on TV is a guar­an­teed good time, the fine folks at Mirvish have plucked another Seuss gem for one of their hol­i­day pro­duc­tions: The Lo­rax. This won­der­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal fa­ble tells the story of the Once-ler and his boy­hood hunt for Truf­fula trees. This pro­duc­tion, which has its North Amer­i­can pre­miere at the ven­er­a­ble Royal Alexan­dra The­atre in Toronto, is straight from Lon­don’s Old Vic the­atre where it was dubbed the best fam­ily pro­duc­tion since Matilda (which, as you might re­call, was pretty won­der­ful). The Lo­rax runs Dec. 9 to Jan. 21, Mirvish.com.

PETER PAN

This Soulpep­per pro­duc­tion is part of the the­atre com­pany’s Fam­ily Fes­ti­val, which puts on a slew of works ideal for this time of year. On of­fer is the Bad Hats The­atre pro­duc­tion of Peter Pan, which scooped up three Dora Ma­vor Moore awards last year in­clud­ing the prize for best the­atre for young au­di­ences. Here, the well-worn story of a boy in Nev­er­land who re­fuses to grow up is given the mu­si­cal treat­ment. It stars Fiona Sauder as Peter and — added bonus — ticket hold­ers who use the Cherry Street en­trance will also get in to the Christ­mas Mar­ket free of charge. Peter Pan runs from Dec. 8 to 31, Soulpep­per.ca.

PINOC­CHIO

Just when we were start­ing to think Ross Petty was the only pan­tomime game in town, along comes this up­start from the other side of the river in the city’s east end. Pinoc­chio: A Merry Mag­i­cal Pan­tomime was cre­ated by the hus­band-and­wife team of Rob Torr and Dora Award–win­ning chore­og­ra­pher Stephanie Gra­ham. The cast for this night of hol­i­day hi­jinks and sing-alongs in­cludes Kevin Aichele, Ryan Brown, Cyn­thia Hicks and many more. Pinoc­chio plays at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, 243 Coxwell Ave., lo­cated across from the ab­so­lutely de­li­cious God­speed Brew­ery. It runs Dec. 22 to 31, Tor­rent­pro­duc­tions.com.

NUTCRACKER

Since its pre­miere in 1995, one could eas­ily make the ar­gu­ment that the Na­tional Bal­let of Canada’s pro­duc­tion of The Nutcracker has be­come the show to see in the city dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. It is one of the finest of its kind, fea­tur­ing chore­og­ra­phy by James Kudelka, and it is full of so much Christ­mas cheer one can al­most smell the yule logs a-burn­ing. It is a day to dress up the chil­dren and head down­town, and per­haps walk over to Nathan Phillips Square fol­low­ing the show. It’s a mag­i­cal mem­ory that all Toron­to­ni­ans de­serve to have. It runs Dec. 9 to 30, Na­tional.bal­let.ca.

IT’S A WON­DER­FUL LIFE

The Lower Oss­ing­ton The­atre takes au­di­ences back to Christ­mas Eve in Bed­ford Falls circa 1947 as they bring the beloved clas­sic film It’s a Won­der­ful Life to the stage this month in a live ra­dio play. It’s a Won­der­ful Life runs on week­ends, Fri­day to Sun­day, un­til Dec. 30, Loweross­ing­tonthe­atre.com.

L–R: ‘The Lo­rax’ and ‘Peter Pan’ on Toronto stages now

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