The holiday season is packed with extra obligations, but several local theater companies can offer a break from the hustle and bustle.
If you're looking for holiday fun, consider "A Nutcracker Christmas Carol" at Chattanooga State Community College or "A Tuna Christmas" at Dalton Little Theatre. If you're nearing your limit on Christmas immersion, you might be better served with "Seeing Stars in Dixie" at Oak Street Playhouse or "Gods and Disasters," presented by the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga. All four productions will present final performances this weekend. A fifth offering, "Annie," still has several dates remaining at Chattanooga Theatre Centre (see next week's ChattanoogaNow for more).
The title alone should be a clue that "A Nutcracker Christmas Carol" will be no ordinary experience. This whimsical musical incorporates the broad parameters of "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker" with bits of "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street," "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Though created as a lighthearted spoof, it still resonates with the lessons of transformation and redemption popular in so many Christmas stories.
• When and where: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, in the C.C. Bond Humanities Building at Chattanooga State Community College, 4501 Amnicola Highway.
• Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children; free with ID to CSCC students, faculty and staff.
• Phone: 697-3246.
Part of the humor of "A Tuna Christmas," the second in a series of comedic plays set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, comes from seeing the actors (two men) portray 20-plus characters (men, women and children). Jerry Draper and Randy Forester bring to life this satire of small-town Southern life and attitudes with an eye-popping array of costumes, wigs and mannerisms.
• When and where: 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at Dalton Little Theatre, 210 N. Pentz St., Dalton, Ga.
• Tickets: $15 adults, $12 seniors/members, $10 students 13 and older, $5 children 12 and under.
• Reservations: 706-226-6618, www.daltonlittletheatre.com.
Humor with heart
The Southern-style humor in the dramatic comedy "Seeing Stars in Dixie" has drawn comparisons to a couple of classics in the genre, "Crimes of the Heart" and "Steel Magnolias." Competition for a small role in a movie filming in Natchez, Miss., in the 1950s brings out the best and worst in the characters, revealing the moral at the heart of the story: Don't make assumptions about people based on stereotypes.
• When and where: 6:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, at Oak Street Playhouse, corner of Oak and Lindsay streets at First-Centenary United Methodist Church.
• Tickets: $20 for the dinner-theater presentation; groups get $2 discounts per ticket.
• Reservations: 756-2428, www.oakstreetplayhouse.com.
Actors with the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will poke fun at the idea of the end of the world -- or at least the end of the company's third season -- in the original work "Gods and Disasters." The play incorporates dance, spoken word and poetry.
• When and where: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at St. Andrews Center, 1918 Union Ave.
• Tickets: $10.
• Information: 987-5141, www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com.
Get breaking news from the Times Free Press on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timesfreepress or by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter at the right: