Valley stages feature holiday fare

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I met this great kid named Jake that I run into every now and then — always eager to learn about his next acting adventure. Lately I get the same polite answer every time I ask.

Piglet and Pooh from the 2009 VYT production of A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail

It’s “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail” presented by Valley Youth Theater in Phoenix.

I like to believe my mind is simply in holiday denial rather than admitting the memory might be fading a bit with the years. And I appreciate that Jake always shares his news graciously and cheerfully as if for the first time.

You can see Jake and plenty of other talented Valley youth performing Dec 3-23, in one of many Christmas theme shows appearing on Valley stages during the next several weeks.

Childsplay in Tempe, a professional company presenting theater for young audiences and families, brings back last season’s hit featuring Junie B. Jones of storybook fame.

“Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” is playing now through Dec 24 at the Tempe Center for the Performing Arts.

Comedies make for great holiday stress relief, and East Valley Children’s Theatre is presenting a piece by Barbara Robinson that we don’t often get to see on stage.

It’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” — being performed Dec 2-12 at Mesa Arts Center — which recounts the antics of a bunch of kids who really had no business being cast in a Christmas show.

I love seeing shows at the MAC because I so often stumble on street fairs, museum events and other lively happenings in the area. As with the Herberger Theater Center and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, a little walking takes you a whole lot of places.

Creative Stages Youth Theatre in Peoria presents its first original musical, “Merry Christmas Frankenstein,” from Dec 3-19. They describe it as a sort of “Nightmare  Before Christmas” meets “Young Frankenstein.”

Kids like Jake get so excited when others come to see them perform — putting a great deal of time and energy into theater that can transport us from the too often rushed and worried times of the season.

Remember Valley theater productions as you’re planning activities to enjoy with friends and family this season. Your attendance, appreciation and applause means so much to those who create, craft and perform the work.

When the youth at your local schools, religious settings and community organizations present holiday fare — whether visual arts, music, dance or theater — please go and support the cause. And consider a one-time or ongoing gift of time or money.

The arts created by those alongside and around us is a gift to the community that lasts through every season…

— Lynn

Note: Check the print and online editions of the Raising Arizona Kids magazine calendar for more holiday events and activities suitable for families, and kindly comment below if you know other another holiday production our readers might enjoy. Finally, remember that museums and performing arts venues often offer great holiday gift selections, and that tickets to upcoming performances make unique gifts for teachers, family members, friends and others.

Coming up: Holiday music for Valley families

Check out this free event happening tonight!

Update:

I’m posting this week about holiday arts events and opportunities, rather than posting a ‘this week in the arts’ sort of roundup. But here’s an event taking place this evening that’s free and open to the public, and sounds like a perfectly lovely way to unwind before “turkey day.”

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