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Entertainment Highlights: Holiday Shows Come to the Stage

A ‘Miracle’ in Enfield, ‘White Christmas’ in WRJ

  • Cast members of 'White Christmas' are, from left, Alex Sylek, Stacie Bono, Katerina Papacostas and Brad Bradley, front. (Photograph by Amanda Rafuse)

    Cast members of 'White Christmas' are, from left, Alex Sylek, Stacie Bono, Katerina Papacostas and Brad Bradley, front. (Photograph by Amanda Rafuse)

  • Cast members of 'White Christmas' are, from left, Alex Sylek, Stacie Bono, Katerina Papacostas and Brad Bradley, front. (Photograph by Amanda Rafuse)

Though there’s no thematic throughline in Shaker Bridge Theatre’s current season, no motif connecting its five plays, the company is still pulling off a holiday show.

A holiday show of a sort, anyway.

“I wanted something that would be appealing to audiences for the holiday season, and we’ll never do A Christmas Carol,” said Bill Coons, the Enfield theater’s founder. “That’s not going to happen.”

Instead, Coons chose a Christmas version of Miracle on South Division Street, a comedy penned by Tom Dudzick that premiered off Broadway last year.

The play follows a Buffalo-based family who gather annually, as per tradition, to commemorate the family miracle. That miracle? The appearance of the Virgin Mary to the family grandpa on Christmas Eve in 1942. At Christmas Eve present, the tradition gets thrown for a loop.

The holiday version of the play, also written by Dudzick, isn’t a total rewrite, Coons said. Instead, it alters settings, places and bits of dialogue. The script’s malleability means it can work for the holiday season without dwelling on it.

“We try not to hammer people over the head with it, use the word Christmas every other line,” said Coons, who also directs.

However, keeping with the holiday spirit, the play is accessible in a way that Shaker Bridge Theatre isn’t exactly known for.

“I think it’s probably — and this is somewhat different than usual for me — I think this is probably suitable for families,” Coons said. Though young children might not be old enough to come, the director figures the play’s suitability extends to middle school-aged students.

The four-person cast boasts a local actress (Jeannie Hines, known locally for — and as — Sylvia) and three equity actors from New York (David Bonanno, Brandy Zarle and Peggy Cosgrave). When holding auditions in New York, Coons said, he was amazed when Cosgrave walked in to try out for the part of family matriarch Clara — she had played that part in the original production, as well as during previews and development phases.

“She knows the whole history of the piece,” Coons said. “She’s just a great source of information.”

Coons said he sent Dudzick an email after awarding Cosgrave the part, and the playwright told the director that “the audiences will eat her up with a spoon.”

“Miracle on South Division Street” will run from Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults. To make reservations, call 603-448-3750 or email reservations@shakerbridgetheatre.org.

Theater

Northern Stage will put on a December-long production of Irving Berlin’s famed White Christmas, directed by Carol Dunne, the White River Junction company’s new artistic director, starting with a preview show on Wednesday. Tickets for Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. preview are $35. For other times and ticket prices, go to northernstage.org.

∎ Dartmouth history professor Jere Daniell will discuss the historical importance of lumber in the Upper Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, a talk programmed with Cirque Alfonse. Daniell’s free lecture will be held at the Greater Hartford United Church of Christ. Cirque Alfonse’s logging camp-set show, Timber!, will begin its run at the Hopkins Center the next night. For show information, go to hop.dartmouth.edu.

Best Bets

The Michael Vincent Band, a bluesy trio in their early 20s with New England roots, will play a show at Haverhill’s Alumni Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Despite their ages — the oldest member is 23 the Mississippi-based group has been touring for seven years. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from alumnihall.org.

∎ The No Strings Marionette Company will premier Bully! For The Three Big Pigs, a new show, at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph on Saturday. The 11 a.m. show combines the classic tale of the three pigs (and wolf) with a parable on how to effectively deal with bullying. The puppeteer duo, after the show, will allow kids and parents to see the marionettes up close. Tickets are $6, and can be purchased online at chandler-arts.org or by calling 802-728-6464.

Looking Ahead

As far as the Upper Valley music scene goes, Dr. Burma is pretty much a household name, performing consistently around the area. The band, which mixes originals and covers from various genres, will host a New Year’s Eve show at White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall. The music starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $45. They can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.com.

Film

The Lebanon Opera House will host a screening of Ticket to Ride, which follows skiers and snowboarders onto the world’s most far-flung mountaintops, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $21, and can be purchased from lebanonoperahouse.org.

∎ Billings Farm & Museum’s 4th Annual Woodstock Vermont Film Series will continue this weekend with a screening of In the Shadow of the Moon at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The documentary gathers Apollo astronauts to tell their stories. Tickets are $9 for adults, and are available from billingsfarm.org/filmfest or by calling 802-457-2355.

Bar and Club Circuit

Eclectic guitarist Frank Kelecy will play at Lebanon’s Stone Arch Bakery on Sunday, starting at 11:30 a.m.

∎ Wanda and the Sound Junkies will perform at Sunapee’s One Mile West starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

∎ Indie rock duo SIRSY will return to Lebanon’s Salt hill Pub on Friday. The next night, mainstay Brooks Hubbard will perform at the bar. Both shows start at 9 p.m.

∎ SIRSY will also make its way down to Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Saturday. On Friday, Manchester, N.H.-based acoustic rocker Dave Bundza will perform. Both shows begin at 9 p.m.

∎ Arthur James will play at Salt hill Hanover on Friday. The next night, The Squids will take the floor. Both shows begin at 9 p.m.

∎ Jim Roberts & Doug Morse will perform at Jesse’s in Hanover at 5 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Classic rock group the Sullivan Davis Hanscom Band will play at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, starting at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Hanover’s Canoe Club is closed on Thanksgiving, but will open back up on Friday with a piano performance by Keith Bush. Vocalist, pianist and flautist Susan Gabriel will play on Saturday, followed by guitarist Phil Singer on Sunday. Bob Lucier and Gillian Joy will play piano on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. All music begins at 7 p.m.

∎ Nashville recording artist ClaCanfield brings his talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

∎ The Adam McMahon Trio, an eclectic Upper Valley group, will play at West Lebanon’s Seven Barrel Brewery at 9 p.m. on Friday.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic hosted by Chad Gibbs on Mondays at 7 p.m.

∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.

∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@v ews.com or 603-727-3242. Send Highlights to Highlights@vnews.com.