How do you get in the holiday spirit? Well, elves help and so do ghosts of Christmases Past. Somehow Rat Kings and Nutcrackers figure and so do Bing Crosby, a Red Ryder BB gun and maybe an angel or two. We can’t guarantee a white Christmas in Portland, but there’s plenty of holiday cheer, with or without the snow.
Nov. 4 through Dec. 18
Lakewood Theatre, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego
The great Irving Berlin movie musical has been converted to the stage, and though Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney won’t be there, Lakewood musicals have a good reputation, so the title song will be in good hands.
“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol”
Nov. 15 through Dec. 24
Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 S.W. Morrison St.
The Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas has gotten a serious shaking from Seattle playwright John Longenbaugh. Instead of Scrooge, a reclusive Sherlock Holmes is on the scene to deduce the facts of a particular visitation by a peculiar trio of ghosts. The show stars two of Portland’s favorite actors, Michael Mendelson and Todd Van Voris, as Holmes and Watson.
“A Christmas Story”
Nov. 20 through Dec. 24
Portland Center Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave.
This is the stage adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s great Christmas reminiscence about growing up in the 1950s, when a bar of soap in the mouth was the antidote to bad language and the Little Orphan Annie radio program was just about the best thing going — except for that Red Ryder BB gun, which Ralphie Parker desperately hopes is under the tree. This popular comedy returns for another season at Portland’s biggest theater.
Nov. 26 through Dec. 30
Do Jump!, Echo Theatre, 1515 S.E. 37th Ave.
Do Jump artistic director Robin Lane has explored the intersection of physical comedy, acrobatics and the dream world for more than 30 years, and this holiday show assembles the best of her research into one family-friendly holiday show.
“The Santaland Diaries”
Nov. 29 through Dec. 31
Portland Center Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave.
The career of humorist David Sedaris started with an essay he wrote about his experience playing an elf in the Santaland at Macy’s in New York. He read the essay on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and it’s become a holiday tradition. It’s been a hit at Center Stage for the past two seasons, and it returns this year with Jim Lichtscheidl playing Sedaris in the one-man show.
Trey McIntyre Project
Portland Center for the Performing Arts – Newmark Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway
During the past decade, choreographer Trey McIntyre has gained national recognition, thanks to a vivid, musical style that starts with ballet and embraces everything else from jazz dance to hip-hop. His company, which he started in 2008, comes to town courtesy of the city’s premier dance presenter, White Bird.
Scottish Rite Center, 1512 S.W. Morrison St.
The Portland version of the celebration of medieval and Renaissance English holiday traditions is an elaboration on the idea that originated in 1971 in Cambridge, Mass. It features period music, dance, rituals and folk plays, and during its time in Portland it has developed an enthusiastic following.
Dec. 8 through Jan. 1
Imago Theatre, 17 S.E. Eighth Ave.
Imago has investigated the comic possibilities of animals for the past three decades, creating a series of shows and sketches that have delighted kids throughout the U.S. and abroad. The company’s crisp, hilarious holiday show usually has a wintry theme to it, and this year, adds a feline dimension, word has it.
“Angels in America: Millennium Approaches”
Portland Playhouse, World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon St.
This edgy little Portland theater company, temporarily housed at downtown’s World Trade Center, may be back in its real home in a Northeast Portland church in time to open the first part of Tony Kushner’s magnificent and theatrically brilliant “Angels in America” — which would be perfect since angels ARE involved. But even if it’s not, the company’s creative approach to theater-making should promise a memorable evening of this particular visitation.
For two weeks, Oregon Ballet Theatre trades off productions of its traditional Balanchine version of “The Nutcracker,” always beautifully danced, with something a little less traditional — a dance and music revue hosted by artistic director Christopher Stowell; a sort of large-scale supper-club show.