Christmas Shows & Performances
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Christmas Shows & Performances
I'm looking for some non-religious local performances to
interest an energetic but music-loving 8 yr old boy. Any
feedback on: Mark Morris Hard Nut (appropriateness?), Harlem
Boys Choir, Velveteen Rabbit (too young for him?), or other
suggestions? Thank you!
I definitely don't think an 8 year old is too old for
ODC's ''Velveteen Rabbit''. That's a great choice. I do think
he may be too young for ''The Hard Nut'', not because there's
anything particularly inappropriate in it, but because the
humor in it is most appealing to people who grew up in the 70s
and/or have seen ''Nutcracker'' one too many times. One really
good choice for kids is the Revels. Their performances are non-
religious and tend to focus on the winter solstice, not
Christmas. There's audience participation (singing and
dancing) that makes it fun for the kids.
Peter and the Wolf is coming to town mid-December! Also, try the
local symphonies. I'm assuming that Nutcracker's Christmas theme
is too religious for you . . . but it really is only a backdrop
of a tree, nothing further, if you are considering it.
I absolutely love the Dance-Along Nutcracker, which is at the
Yerba Buena Center in SF the first weekend in December -- silly
show tunes, usually hillarious, sometimes performed in drag,
interspersed with music from the Nutcracker that the entire
audience dances to. Tu-tu's to rent if you don't have your own,
and lots of silly costumes. It's entirely carefree,
nonjudgmental, beautifully executed, not passive, and fun for
both adults and kids.
I don't know if this is local enough for you, but we just got
tickets for the SF Symphony's performance of ''Peter and the Wolf''
on December 14. It should be a lot of fun!
Check the December issue of ''Parents' Press,'' which has special
listings of ''Nutcrackers,'' menorah lightings, Kwanzaa events,
etc., as well as its usual events calendar--lots of holiday
performances noted there as well.
My kids were pretty young when we began taking them to the Christmas
Revels to celebrate the winter solstice; I'd guess they were seven or
eight. Now they're teenagers, and we take their cousins, aunts, uncles
and grandparents, whoever is in town, each year. I absolutely treasure
this beautifully crafted jewel of community musical theater. You can
sing, dance, or just quietly hum along to a different presentation each
year. It's held at the magnificent Scottish Rite Theater near Lake Merritt
in Oakland. The large cast of great performers of all ages includes the
wonderful Wendell Brooks, of Berkeley High fame; this year, Geoff Hoyle
returns as a Shakespearean fool, and Deborah Doyle reigns as Queen
Elizabeth I, a powerful woman calling for peace and justice (and yes, it's
almost always timely). Order your tickets online at www.calrevels.org or
call Frantix at 415-621-1216. There are matinee and evening
performances on Dec 13, 14, 20, and 21 and evening performances
only on Dec 12 and 19. Welcome Yule!
The Oakland Civic Orchestra is performing a free
concert, ''Music for the Whole Family,'' on Sunday, Dec. 14.
Although it is not all holiday music, we will be performing the
Nutcracker Suite, as well as Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz and
Thunder and Lightning Polka and Bach's Concerto for Two Violins
(The Bach Double). This will be a family-oriented concert; we
are planning special kid activities and opportunities for kids
to participate. The music, while classical, is all very
accessible. The concert starts at 3 pm and is at the Oakland
Veteran's Memorial Building, 200 Grand (at the corner of Grand
and Harrison, near Fairyland). Feel free to email me with any
questions, or you can call (51) 834-4314 during business hours.
I would be grateful for any comments on the ACT production of "A
Christmas Carol." In your opinion, is it appropriate for young children?
I would imagine that it is not. My child is 4 yrs. old, and able to sit
through and enjoy "The Nutcracker" ballet, so behavior in a theatre during
a somewhat lengthy performance is not my concern. Content is my
concern for the performance scary? Any comments?
I haven't seen the ACT's Christmas Carol, but I had a holiday tradition
of taking my daughter to the production at Mills College. I love the play,
but taking a young child, I realized how wordy it is, lots of long speeches
with not too much action (long on plot, in other words), and she was bored
most of the time when I took her as a pre-schooler. I don't think at
that time that she even realized that the ghosts were supposed to be
ghosts, and thus scary. Basically I would advise not taking a young
child, but instead familiarizing her with the story by having her
watch the old movie, or one of the cartoon versions. Then in a year or
so, she will enjoy the play more by knowing what is going to happen ahead
The Muppet Movie version of C.C. is available on video and it is
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