Arts & CultureTheater Notes

Christmas Belles, A Christmas Carol and More in Local Theater

Christmas Belles Three sisters in a small Texas town are bitter, menopausal or just plain cranky during the holidays, but determined that the church Christmas show must go on. There are power struggles between would-be directors, the celebrity Santa Claus is sick, and the cast gets food poisoning. Can they pull it off, and is there room for an Elvis in the nativity scene? Two nearby theaters are producing this one, so you have plenty of chances to see it this year.

Christmas Belles, by Jones, Hope and Wooten, is presented by Arts Oglethorpe at the historic Crawford School Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $13 in advance, $18 at the door and available at or 706-202-1211.

It is also presented by Winder-Barrow Community Theatre at the Colleen O. Williams Theater Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., with a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, Dec. 17. Tickets are $10 and are available at 770-867-1679 or

Burlesque Beta Unwrapped The December edition of Secret City’s Burlesque Beta event is a chance to get in the holiday mood in a body- and sex-positive way, open-mic style. Secret City offers a supportive environment for performers to try out their striptease, dance, music, comedy and more. If you want to show your own seasonal spirit, contact them in advance to get on the naughty list. The unwrapping is at Go Bar Saturday, Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. For more information, visit

A Christmas Carol The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, whose cold, selfish heart is unfrozen after a journey to the past, present and future, is a Christmas tradition. There are two opportunities near Athens for enjoying this holiday favorite adapted from the classic by Charles Dickens.
An adaptation by Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham, directed by Farley Richmond, is presented by Circle Ensemble Theatre Company at the Winterville Auditorium Saturday, Dec. 2, Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. weekend matinees on Dec. 3 and 10. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and available at

An adaptation by Craig Sodaro is presented by Children’s Playhouse of Winder-Barrow Community Theatre at the Colleen O. Williams Theater Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit Barrow County Holiday Connection. Tickets are $10, $5 for kids and available at 770-867-1679 or

Curtains It’s a musical about and for theater people, with the necessary play within a play. That play, Robbin’ Hood of the Old West, is so bad that the sudden death of its less-than-stellar leading lady (Florence King) could hardly make it worse—until Det. Frank Cioffi (Josh Darnell) enters the scene to investigate her death as a murder. All the cast and crew are under suspicion. Fortunately, Cioffi turns out to be a fervent fan of musical theatre who is determined to salvage the show along with solving the crime. Can he keep things professional with the fetching ingenue (Rebekah Lee), who is one of the suspects?

Directed by Jonathan Sparks, it has a large cast of some of Town and Gown’s shimmering stars, such as Amy Miller, Justin Sanders, Sam Hopkins, Margot Hitchcock, Don Smith, Speedy Arnold and Jordan Ritchie. While the original Broadway show got mixed reviews, it received eight Tony Award nominations. (David Hyde Pierce, who played Cioffi, won for Leading Actor in a Musical.) It has potential for standout performances and a cast that can deliver, promising a lighthearted night both for show people and those who merely dream of being in show business.

Curtains, by Rupert Holmes, Peter Stone, John Kander and Fred Ebb, is presented by Town and Gown Players at the Athens Community Theatre Friday, Dec. 8, Saturday, Dec. 9 and Dec. 14–16 at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on Dec. 10 and 17. Tickets are $18, $15 for students, seniors and members, and $10 for students and members Dec. 14. They are available at 706-206-8696 or

It’s a Wonderful Life Rose of Athens is performing a radio play, adapted by Joe Landry, of this Christmas classic about a man who learns—just in time—that there is much to live for. It’s their annual Yuletide Celebration Holiday Fundraiser at Rose Hall (150 Fritz Mar Lane) Wednesday, Dec. 13–Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available via or

Shenandoah Christmas It’s a little-known musical set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Civil War. A man goes to war looking for his missing brother, and learns in the process that Christmas miracles can happen. Featuring a large cast with a wide range of ages, it offers new songs, favorite Christmas carols and bluegrass classics.

Shenandoah Christmas, by Linda Nell Cooper and Mike Speck, is presented by Brightstone Productions at Oconee Civic Center Thursday, Dec. 14–Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:30 p.m matinees Dec. 16 and 17. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 at the door and available at