'Christmas at the Biltmore opens Friday in Brentwood

BRENTWOOD -- The Brentwood Arts Society will open Steve Kinsella s "Christmas at the Biltmore at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Edna Hill Middle School, 140 Birch St.

"Christmas at the Biltmore follows the life-changing journey of three families as they vacation at a rustic resort in the mountains. Although they try to escape their daily lives, the holidays only magnify their problems.

In the lead role is Shellie award winner Richard Howarter. The play was written and will be directed by Kinsella, another Shellie award winner while award-winning costumer Hope Birdwell will helm the costuming duties.

Additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec 1, 7, 8 and at 2 p.m. Dec 2 and 8. For tickets, call 925-516-1741.

Cost is $18 general, $14 seniors and students.

Also available is a family ticket for two adults and up to three children for $48.

Mariachi Divas at El Campanil Theatre Saturday

ANTIOCH -- The ever-popular Mariachi Divas will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St.

The Southern California group is a unique multicultural, all-female ensemble. Winners of the 2009 Grammy award for best regional Mexican album of the year, they often can be found strolling the streets as official mariachis of Disney s California Adventure.

Adults: $27; seniors (62 and over) $24; children (under 18) $15.

For tickets and information, call 925-757-9500 or go to www.elcampaniltheatre.com.


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The 'Nutcracker continues in Antioch

ANTIOCH -- The Pied Piper Players present the "The Nutcracker at the Virginia J. Calisesi Studio Theatre, 512 W. Second St., Antioch.

The performance is a musical based on E.T.A. Hoffmann s "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with music from Tchaikovsky s "Nutcracker Suite. Frank Ballesteros directs.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Additional performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8; and 2 p.m. Dec. 9.

Admission is $10 for everyone. For information and tickets, call 925-234-1465.

Stage Right to open 'It s a Wonderful Life

ANTIOCH -- Stage Right Conservatory Theatre opens "It s a Wonderful Life 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center, 213 F St. in Antioch.

Additional performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 14 and 15 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16.

Adapted by James W. Rodgers, the play is based on the film by Frank Capra and produced by special arrangement with the Dramatic Publishing Co. "It s a Wonderful Life is the saga of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty. George s guardian angel descends on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him what the world would have been like had he never been born, and to show him that his life has been, after all, a wonderful life. True to the original, this adaptation has all your favorite characters: George and Mary Hatch, Clarence, Uncle Billy, Aunt Tilly, Violet, and, of course, the Scrooge-like villain, Mr. Potter.

General admission is $10, students and seniors $8, children $5. Seniors pay only $5 on both Sunday matinees. For more information call 925-216-4613 or visit www.srctgrp.org.

'Humbug in Antioch for 38 years

ANTIOCH -- Resurrection Theatre presents its 38th annual "Humbug at the Virginia J. Calisesi Studio Theater, 512 W. Second St.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16. Additional performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 and 1 p.m. Dec. 24.

Based on Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol, the traditional Antioch Christmas classic with a Christian message is directed by Frank J. Ballesteros who also stars as Scrooge.

Admission is free. 925-234-1465.

'Nutcracker set at El Campanil Theater

ANTIOCH -- Brentwood Children s Ballet Theater opens its eighth annual production of the "The Nutcracker Dec. 15 at the El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St.

The timeless holiday tradition brings a young girl s Christmas dream to life. This beautiful production is geared toward children s enjoyment but will also entertain the young at heart.

Performances are noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16. Reserved seating is $20 for orchestra, $18 for loge and $16 for opera.

A special reduced price is offered at the 4 p.m. performance on Dec. 15. Doors will open at 3 p.m. with an opportunity for guests to have their photo taken with the dancers. Admission is $18 for orchestra, $16 for loge and $14.

To reserve a seat, call 925-757-9500, or go to www.elcampaniltheatre.com. For information about the Brentwood Children s Theater, go to www.brentwoodballet.org.

'Messiah set for performance at El Campanil

ANTIOCH -- George Frederich Handel s most successful and best known oratorio "Messiah comes to the El Campanil Theatre with orchestra members from cities throughout the Bay Area, including many from East County. The chorus consists of East County residents who meet once a week in Brentwood.

The performance is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 602 W. Second St.

Guest soloists include: alto, Jennifer Champeaux-Alto, director of choirs at Johansen High School in Modesto; bass, Richard J. Colla, music educator and concert choir and chamber singers director at Modesto Junior College; tenor, Ricardo Campero, a dedicated music educator teaching choir and band at Ceres schools; and Tina-Maria Garcia, who lives in Oakley, attended Liberty High School where she was

part of the choral program.

Conductor Susan Stuart "graduated from Liberty High School after 35 years as the choral director. She continues to be involved in many musical endeavors.

Tickets are $12 for everyone and can be reserved by calling 925-757-9500 or online at ww.elcampaniltheatre.com.

Brentwood Writes hosts poetry open mic

BRENTWOOD -- Brentwood Writes will bring all forms of the written word at Open Mic at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Gallery on Second.

All short work -- poetry, short story, nonfiction, or any other creative work -- is welcome. Participants are allowed five minutes each to perform. The group encourages participants to bring work on any subject, their own or that of another writer, as long as it is neither insulting nor abusive. Everyone is invited whether performing or listening and enjoying.

This event is free and open to the public. Brentwood Writes is an adjunct of the Brentwood Art Society and the Brentwood Community Library. Kati Short, poet laureate, is the host.

The Gallery on Second is directly across from the city hall fountain. For more information, contact shortkati@yahoo.com or call 925-634-6655.

Local artists show set at Lynn House

ANTIOCH -- The eighth annual Local Artists Collection runs Saturday through Dec. 22 at the Lynn House Gallery, 809 W. First St.

The exhibit, a local favorite, features more than 35 local artists and is a diverse, non-themed, mixed-media exhibit of artworks featuring paintings and photographs. The show is a local favorite and provides the community an opportunity to view and purchase art during the holiday season.

A reception will be held 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the gallery. The reception and exhibit are free. The Lynn House Gallery is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, during exhibits from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.art4antioch.org or contact Diane Gibson-Gray at the Arts & Cultural Foundation at 925-325-9897 or email Diane@art4antioch.org.

Freedom High Jazz Band to perform with Gillette

OAKLEY -- The Freedom High School Jazz Band and The Band Boosters present a concert at 7 p.m. Friday at the Freedom High School multipurpose room, 1050 Neroly Road, Oakley. The show features the Jazz Band with Mic Gillette, formerly of Tower of Power, and a few of his friends.

General admission is $10 and $12 at the door. Children are $5. (free for children under 4).

For tickets and information call 925-625-5900.

LUHSD foundation plans festive, holiday tour

BRENTWOOD -- Embrace the spirit of the season in the heart of far East County where you will tour festively decorated homes and businesses for the holidays noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The tour is presented by the Liberty Union High School District Education Foundation with proceeds benefiting the foundation. Admission is $35 in advance and $40 at the door (incudes a glass of wine). Tickets can be purchased at www.educationwins.org or at Hannah Nicole Vineyards, 6700 Balfour Road, Brentwood. For information, call 925-634-2166, or go to www.educationwins.org.

Black Diamond Ballet Theatre returns

PITTSBURG -- With renovations completed at the historic Creative Arts Building, Black Diamond Ballet Theatre returns to the stage after a three-year absence, with director and choreographer Sharon Idul s full-length "Nutcracker.

More than 50 local student performers join the cast of professionals for the traditional holiday show.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Creative Arts Building, 250 School St.

Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (62 and older) and $15 for 17 and younger.

Tickets are available online at www.blackdiamondballet.org or can be purchased at Railroad Book Depot, 650 Railroad Blvd., Pittsburg (925-427-2334), or at the Delta Ballet Academy, 300 G St., Antioch (925-754-9833).

Black Diamond Ballet Theatre is affiliated with the nonprofit Delta Children s Ballet Theatre and is the first professional ballet company in East Contra Costa County.