Opening and Current Runs

ANTAGONISM
"A pair of two-man, one-act plays. Up first is Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter, the story of two hit men holed up in the dumbwaiter-equipped basement of a Birmingham boarding house. Beau Prichard, as a Cockney slob, is endearing, but his partner, Luke S. Walker, distracts us with his unrelenting snorts and sighs and hisses. Interrogation, by Prichard, is bland post-9/11 agitprop in the guise of a TV cop show. It's okay." (Annie Wagner) Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave, 323-7412. $6-$10. Thurs-Sat, 7:30 pm. Through Dec 23.

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER
"Like many children of the '70s, I loved reading the book, so it wasn't hard to be charmed by Shana Bestock's simply dressed production. Barbara Robinson's tale about a scruffy family of bullies hijacking a church pageant (and also about tolerance and class issues) is perennially successful." (Hannah Levin) Seattle Public Theater, 7312 W Green Lake Dr N, 524-1300. $14-$24. Thurs-Sat, 7 pm and Sun, 2 pm. Through Dec 24.

recommended BLACK NATIVITY
"The foot-stompingest, hand-clappingest, sing-alongingest Christmas show ever." (Brendan Kiley) Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900. $10-$42. Thurs, 7:30 pm, Fri, 8 pm, Sat 2 and 8 pm, Sun, 2 and 7:30 pm, Tues, Wed, 7:30 pm. Through Dec 27.

BUD, NOT BUDDY
See review this issue. Book-It Theater at Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, 216-0833. $15-$32. Thurs—Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 2 and 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm, Wed at 7:30 pm.

recommended A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
See Stranger Suggests, page 25. Stone Soup Theatre, 4035 Stone Way N, 633-1883. $14. Fri, Sat, 7:30 pm and Sat, Sun, 3:30 pm. Through Dec 23.

recommended A CHRISTMAS CAROL
"'God bless us, every one,' Tiny Tim chirps. The audience has been waiting for this catharsis. It collectively sighs out a year's worth of selfishness, and breathes deep of Tiny Tim's blessing. For a second, his clubfoot connects with the gonads of humanity, but not with the force or endurance of, say, The Nutcracker." (Cienna Madrid) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $15-$44. Thurs-Fri at 6 and 8:30 pm, Sat at 2 and 7 pm, Sun at 1 and 4 pm, Tues-Wed at 6 and 8:30 pm. Through Dec 24.

recommended THE CODY RIVERS SHOW: TANGLE
"This thing isn't sketch comedy exactly, but it's not standard theater, and it isn't funny so much as mesmerizing: a bizarre, impressively choreographed, breakneck montage of song, dance, puppetry, soliloquy, and oddly dramatic vignettes. Some lines are straight-ahead jokes: 'No more "that's gonna leave a mark," no more "tastes like chicken"... no more "okay, I'll shut up now."' Some speak volumes in a single sentence: 'I thought it was funny at first, but I didn't know you could shovel so fast.' And my favorite bit of dialogue: 'Throw this bag of powder in my face.' 'What if it's poison?' 'Exactly.' Exactly! Cody Rivers is clever, it's excellent, and—praise the Baby Jesus—it's new." (Lindy West) Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 877-278-4842. $10. Fri, Sat, 8 pm. Through Dec 23.

recommended THE DINA MARTINA CHRISTMAS SHOW
"Making a mockery of everything that's good and true while simultaneously infusing its audience with something close to 'the holiday spirit,' the Dina Martina Christmas Show is a Christmas miracle. Spawned from the cracked skull of Grady West, Dina is a singing, dancing, storytelling, and completely talent-free tornado—a comic creation as sturdy and seamless as Pee Wee Herman infused with the trashy blood of John Waters, and more reliably hilarious than those two sickos ever were." (David Schmader) Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 325-6500. $20. Thurs-Sun, 8 pm. Through Dec 30.

DINNER & DREAMS
Ongoing. The European-style dinner theater with cirque performers as garnish. Teatro ZinZanni, 2301 Sixth Ave, 802-0015. $99-$125. Thurs-Sat, 6:30 pm, Sun, 5:30 pm and Wed, 6:30 pm.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
"The conceit (a reading of a radio play of the film script, set in 1947) is corny but cute, the cast is game (Andrew Litzky is particularly resplendent in the multicharacter vocal antics, but everyone is excellent), and all the angel stuff gives Taproot a good excuse to drop a little Christian science, as they invariably must. Still, one closes one's eyes during the show and can only see the film's glory burned in the retinas—only Jimmy Stewart sounds like Grant Goodeve. I still cried, though. At the memory of the movie. That's how good it still is." (Sean Nelson) Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th St, 781-9707. $15-$30. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm, Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Dec 30.

LATE NITE CATECHISM
Ongoing. "The real point is not the adult-catechism monologue, but the script's gaps, in which Sister Aubrey Manning dispenses tissues to cover salacious displays of flesh and kitschy prizes to reward the dumbstruck targets of her improvisations." (Annie Wagner) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $24.50-$29.50. Fri, Sat, 8 pm and Sun, 2 pm.

THE MARTINI BROTHER'S HOLIDAY SHOWCASE
"A sombrero sails across the stage, a minute-and-24-second-long It's a Wonderful Life ends with a nuclear explosion, and everyone in the audience has to sit on one another's laps and play Santa." (Paul Constant) Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE, 352-8291. $10. Thurs, Fri, 8 pm and Sat, Sun, 2 pm. Through Dec 23.

MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL
Ongoing. "Ninety tight minutes of an insane, colorful, and sometimes actually laugh-worthy little train wreck that stops just before it starts to hurt." (Adrian Ryan) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. $45. Sat, Sun, 2 & 5:30 pm, Wed, 7:30 pm and Thurs, Fri, 7:30 pm.

THE MESHUGANUTCRACKER
One week only. A touring production about eight Chelmniks (citizens of a fictional town of fools) who gather to sing through the history of Hanukkah heroes. National Jewish Theatre Festival at Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. $36-$42. Thurs, 7:30 pm. Through Dec 21.

THE SANTALAND DIARIES
"Listening to David Sedaris's Christmas experiences in Macy's as an elf named Crumpet is a bracing curative for all the sap that flows so freely this time of year." (Chris McCann) Seattle Public Theater, 7312 W Green Lake Dr N, 524-1300. $14-$24. Thurs-Sat, 9 pm and Sun, 7:30 pm. Through Dec 24.

recommended THE SHOW
A one-man musical comedy by Troy Miszklevitz about a hustler, a singer, a salon owner, a television star, and a legendary fish. Washington Ensemble Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 800-838-3006. $10-$15. Wed-Sat, 8 pm and Sat, Sun, 2:30 pm. Through Jan 7.

recommended A TERRIBLE PRICE FOR WHIMSY
"The story, by Scot Augustson, concerns a boy inventor named Roscoe who eats too many chocolate-tequila balls and rides his Timecycle to the very edge of reality, destroying history along the way. This shadow-puppet odyssey, which bounces from a murderous Mary Todd Lincoln to an evil gang straight out of an Encyclopedia Brown novel to a Tijuana donkey show, is fucking funny." (Brendan Kiley) Theater Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 800-838-3006. $14. Thurs-Sat, 8 pm. Through Dec 23.

VOICES OF CHRISTMAS
"It's totally like Sister Act 2, except more Asian, and less watchable!" (Lindy West) ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, 938-0339. Wed-Sat, 7:30 pm and Sun, 1 & 5 pm. Through Dec 24.

Dance

recommended THE NUTCRACKER
"Any one of the buff, ambitious, mind-bogglingly flexible 8-year-olds in the Pacific Northwest Ballet could kick the pansy ass of any other performer, and in The Nutcracker, they also have strength in numbers. There are dozens of them, not to mention a 20-foot rat king, four cannons, a dancing monkey monster, a whip-wielding sultan, and a veritable army of toy soldiers with tight muscles and even tighter velvet pants. The pure brute force and distractingly well-defined bodies of The Nutcracker cast will dominate any other Christmas pageantry that stands in its way." (Sarah Mirk) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 684-7200. $18-$108. Thurs-Sat at 2 and 7:30 pm, Sun at noon, Tues—Wed at 2 and 7:30 pm. Through Dec 28.

A TAP DANCE CHRISTMAS CAROL
Ms. Ebenezia Scrooge taps her way through time. Anacrusis Modern Tap Dance at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 325-3113. $18-$24. Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 2 and 8 pm. Through Dec 28.

Cabaret

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'
Tony award winning musical with scores of stompin', struttin', and high hattin' Fats Waller tunes. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729. $26.50. Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat at 7:30 and 9:30 pm. Through Dec 23.

THE BEDROOM CLUB Last Supper Club, 124 S Washington St, 748-9975. $10. Wed, 9 pm. BURLESQUE BEHIND THE PINK DOOR Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 443-3241. $10. Sat, 10:30 pm. COLUMBIA CITY CABARET Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave S, 723-0088. $20. Fri, 8 pm. Through Dec 29. LIVE BURLESQUE SeaMonster Lounge, 2202 N 45th St, 633-1824. Free. Tues, 11 pm.

WICKED CHRISTMAS
"I don't recall if the actors used jazz hands, but you have the impression that they would. Or that they would be very, very careful not to—too careful." (Brendan Kiley) Crepe de Paris, 1333 Fifth Ave, 623-4111. $55. Thurs-Sun, 6:30 pm. Through Dec 26.

Improv & Comedy

THE COMEDY SHOP Columbia City Theatre, 4916 Rainier Ave S, 723-0088. $12 adv/$15 DOS. Sat, 8:30 & 10:30 pm. COMEDY UNDERGROUND 222 S Main St, 800-325-7328. $6-$15. Fri, Sat, 8:30 & 10:30 pm. GIGGLES COMEDY CLUB 5220 Roosevelt Way NE, 526-5653. $12. Fri, Sat, 8:30 & 10:30 pm. LAFFHOLE! Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, 388-0569. $5. Wed, 9 pm. Through Jan 2.

JET CITY IMPROV Historic University Theater, 5510 University Way NE, 352-8291. $8-$10. Sat, 8 pm and Fri, Sat, 10:30 pm. THEATRESPORTS Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley, 587-2414. $8-$12. Sat, 8 pm and Fri, Sat, 10:30 pm.

Late Night

MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS
"Merry F'ing X-mas is impersonal and played-out satirical sketch comedy. Despite some good premises, a likable cast, and better singing than Voices of Christmas (I'm not kidding), we already know the jokes: China exports crap, some kids need Ritalin, and Santa likes liquor." (Tom Shortliffe) Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave, 800-838-3006. $5-$7.50. Fri, Sat, 10 pm. Through Dec 23.

Support The Stranger

Special Events

SPIRITUS—RENDEZVOUS WITH THE DEAD!
One night only. Featuring Faye "the Tattooed Psychic." Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-5823. $15. Thurs, Dec 21, 8 pm.

STEPHANIE KALLOS
Kallos reads from her debut novel, Broken for You. Ravenna Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave NE, 525-2347, 7:30 pm, free.