Eric Davis, Matthew Kabwe and Tamara Brown
There's a very good reason It's a Wonderful Life is not only a Christmas favourite but also on many top-ten lists of great films. For one thing, it is a lesson on self-worth and how to maintain that during hard times. It speaks of family (especially resonant in an age of changing values). It has, despite the grimness of its beginning, a truly happy ending. TNB is bringing the great Frank Capra story to the stage this week and then taking it on a tour. If you don't know it (and even if you do), find out what happens whenever a bell rings. (Fredericton, Miramichi, Saint John, Moncton)
It is one of the most reliable companies in the country, let alone one of the best young people's theatres. Geordie, in Montreal, is revving up to the holiday season with a mainstage production of Robin Hood. In this Paula Wing adaptation you'll find some pretty terrific actors: Tamara Brown, Eric Davis and Greg Kramer among them.
First there was the movie musical - rich with Irving Berlin tunes (the title song, "Happy Holiday", "Blue Skies") - and now there is a stage musical - White Christmas - and all the seriousness (war, financial distress) and frivolity (hammy show-acts) are there. How can you beat the delicious silliness of "Sisters": "Caring, sharing / Every little thing that we are wearing / When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome / She wore the dress, and I stayed home." The Arts Club knows a good thing when it sees it and is bringing back its beloved production for the season. (Vancouver)