In the midst of holiday madness and Black Friday sales, it was "A Grand Night for Singing" at the Lesher Center as the Diablo Theatre Company presented a fresh, often humorous look at the canon of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.
Director Terry Barto and musical director Brandon Adams craft novel arrangements for the duo's beloved songs, turning "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair" into a seductive, much more sophisticated number, and the more obscure "The Gentleman is a Dope" and "Don't Marry Me" into lighthearted fun.
Barto's choreography also adds a distinctive interpretation to well-known numbers as well as seldom-heard songs from shows such as "Allegro."
The tight ensemble of veteran performers includes Noel Anthony, Tielle Baker, Nicole Frydman, Michael Scott Wells and Elise Youssef.
While all the performers have plenty of opportunities to shine, the Andrews Sisters-type harmony on several numbers is especially effective. Kelly Tighe's deceptively simple set and David Lam's beautiful lighting create the perfect ambience for a night of legendary music.
"A Grand Night for Singing" continues through Dec. 7. Call 925-943-5846 or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.
A Bay Area tradition continues with Center Repertory's annual production of "A Christmas Carol," running Dec. 12-22, at the Lesher Center.
Charles Dickens' beloved story receives a lively adaptation by Cynthia Caywood and Richard James as spectacular special effects and scary ghosts tell the story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim.
Directed by Scott Denison, the production is brimming over with music and dance, love and laughter. For tickets to this colorful, warmhearted holiday favorite, call 925-943-SHOW (925-943-7469) or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.
What could be better than two versions of "A Christmas Carol?"
The American Conservatory Theatre presents its own music-infused production of Dickens' beloved tale featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts.
Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your "humbugs" at the door. The show runs Dec. 6-28, at American Conservatory Theatre, 415 Geary St., San Francisco. Call 415- or go to www.act-sf.org.
Definitely in the holiday spirit, the Contra Costa Wind Symphony presents a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave.
Entitled "Winterfest," the concert features harpist Alexandra Nieuwsma and the wind orchestra as they perform seasonal favorites with a new twist. For more information, go to www.ccwindsymphony.org.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre, at 951 Pomona Ave., in El Cerrito, offers a slightly different holiday treat with "A Child's Christmas in Wales" through Dec. 15.
An adaptation of poet Dylan Thomas' lyrical boyhood reverie, the show features puppets interacting with the human characters as the mystical creatures of Thomas' imagination come to life. Christmas carols, both familiar and new, add to the fun.
Call 510-524-9132 or go to www.ccct.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org.